Category Archives: Voyages

Blogs devoted to the voyages we make in travelling between the places sv Windependent visits.

Fair winds and a following sea ……

With our repairs completed and our new ‘bumpers’ installed we were back in the water by 2 pm on Wednesday, the 3rd, and planning to leave for Roccella.   The forecast gave us south-easterly 15 to 20 knot winds for the whole passage and even a slight reduction for our planned arrival at Roccella on Friday morning.

But first, after 24 hours of dockyard work the boat was a tip, the compartments above the engine spaces are full of everything from the passarella and tool kits to the fishing gaff and hose fittings.   All of this had to be removed to give the fitters access and now had to be replaced.   Then there were fenders and mooring ropes to stow away, loose kit to be secured and everything generally prepared for 2 days at sea.   So as soon as we were afloat and away from the dockyard slip we anchored off Lefkas Town Quay and set about preparing the boat for sea with an eye on the clock.   The Lefkas  bridge opens on the hour and happily by 2.50 we were good to go, weighed anchor and joined the queue of yachts waiting to transit the bridge.   This takes a bit of boat handling to maintain position in the canal, in a cross wind, not too close to the others ahead or astern of you so as to time your arrival when the bridge opens.

The sunken yacht refloated, almost.

Once through the bridge we passed the newly re-floated sunken yacht.   Apparently the yachtsman involved had started a FB page to raise funds to help pay for the salvage ….. Whilst I have every sympathy I am pretty sure I would not have been on that wall in those winds, and definitely would not have used a kedge anchor – oh, and I don’t use FB!

Wednesday sunset

But we were off, and we had the predicted ‘fair winds and following seas’.   Generally south-easterly and 15 ish knots although close to the island they were a bit variable so I didn’t put the sails up.   We needed to make 5 knots for two days and so faffing around with sails in variable winds was just going to be frustrating.    Over night, with the winds settling to 15 knots from behind us, Valeria recorded us as surfing at up to 8 knots on occasions.  Once I woke on Thursday morning we did get the sails up and were making 5 or 6 knots running before a 15 to 20 knot wind, all of which left us well ahead of schedule and by Thursday evening we had dropped the Main Sail and were under the Jib alone and still making 5 knots.

So with nightfall we furled away the jib and ‘sailed’ under ‘bare poles’.   This is when you are running with the wind behind you, being pushed along by the wind acting on the hull alone.   As we are so tall and wide we have a lot of ‘windage’ and even without sails or engines we were making 3 to 4 knots which was the exact speed we needed to make to get to Roccella at 8 am when the Marina opened for business.

But then fair winds and following seas became too much too little and the wrong direction.

As we approached the Italian coast on Thursday evening into Friday morning we could see lightening all along the Calabrian coast.  Lots of it.  As we got closer to the coast we began to get VHF reception and Italian weather forecasts which were predicting south easterly gales and thunder storms in the Ionian Sea area.  As the evening wore on the wind began increasing slowly and all the thunder storms seemed to move along the coast to sit right in front of us, over Roccella.

Having seen the entrance to Roccella in south-easterly gales last year, with breaking seas over the sand bar, I did not fancy trying to negotiate the entrance with heavy beam seas, in a thunder storm and so at about 2.30 am I made the decision to head for a port of safety.   On this coast there are two, Messina and Reggio, or Crotone.   The Messina Straights are not particularly inviting in a south-easterly gale so it meant heading for Crotone, 40 odd miles, or 8 hours, north east along the coast.  So with Roccella just 20 miles away we steered away.

By now the thunder storms were beginning to move off the coast and as we headed north east they were moving with us and the forecasts were predicting ‘instabilities moving rapidly north east’.   We had lightening on three sides of us and by day break I could actually see the roll of cloud marking the edge of the squall line out to sea on our starboard side.

As the storms, easily visible on radar, did seem to be moving north east I decided to head out to sea for the roll of cloud, away from the lightening strikes.     Blow me if the wind didn’t drop, swing around through 90 degrees and start up again from the NW.   In military parlance the storms, which had been marching steadily north east in Column of Route, had just done a Right Turn on the March and were now Advancing in Review Order straight at us!

Thunder storms and squalls make their own wind and so trying to avoid them is a generally futile endeavour, but weighed that futility against the danger of a bolt of lightning using our nice aluminium mast as a grounding rod, which would fry our navigation aids, I gave it a go anyway.   Valeria stowed all our electronics in the oven and microwave as both act as Faraday Cages which should protect them from lightening, and off we went.

Not so fair and coming from every dirdction

At 8 am getting no closer to either Roccella or Crotone and still being chased by the storms I called Roccella, hopefully.   We were told ‘you can come’ and so we altered course back south.      In daylight the thunderstorms were easy to identify, looking completely different to mere rain showers.   There was the low, dark cloud base and then beneath it the dull, almost dead grey of the torrential rain which provides a contrasting backdrop to the lightning bolts hitting the sea surface.

For two and a half hours I successfully managed to skirt these storms.   Watching them on the radar was like hill walking, there was always one more crest to scale, always one more storm behind the ‘last one’.    The winds were from everywhere and as we clipped the edges of some of the storms we had winds gusting to 30, even 40 knots.   With the wind constantly changing direction the seas were ‘confused’ and had been whipped up to 5 metres high with breaking crests; at the Helm Station I am 4 metres above sea level and I was looking up at these waves!

With these sort of sea conditions moving around the boat is a real challenge.   You move one foot or one hand at time.  Move a hand and a foot and you are flat on your face.  I won’t even go into toilet breaks whist wearing full foul weather gear and a safety harness in a boat pitching, rolling and yawing in 5 metres jumps.

The squall line as we headed west for Roccella.

Finally at 10.30 the southern-most squall passed us and there were just a few mere rain showers to the west so I altered course for Roccellla.   But there was a sting in the tail of the storms.  Two thunderstorms appeared ahead of us, one crossed in front of us but the second one there was no avoiding.   Unlike the others we’d skirted the wind was almost non existent, the seas were still 4 or 5 metres high and confused but were no longer breaking, being beaten down by the torrential rain, visibility was down to a boat’s length and the lightening was striking the sea ahead of us.   The strikes and the thunder were simultaneous, and deafeningly loud, literally someone toppling a wardrobe, a big one, right upstairs.   Far too close for comfort.

Hoping that lightening really does not strike the same place twice, and that the plastic deck would provide sufficient insulation despite my exposed position and dripping wet foul weather gear we motored on, and on, and on.    My big fear was a lightening strike to the mast – a very real danger.   Without the electronic navigation aids we’d be relying on a mobile phone GPS, a paper chart and a magnetic compass, although how that would fare in a lightning strike I have no idea!   Longest hour and a half of my life to be honest.

Hint of a rainbow, also beaten flat by the rain

The first inkling of an end to it was a lessening of the rain drumming on the hull, then some slight definition to the horizon and finally lighter grey skies.    Although the seas were still huge the reduced wind and hammering by the rain had calmed them down a bit and I pushed the throttles forward again and we were making 5 or 6, sometimes 7 knots towards Roccella.   Now was not the time for single engine, fuel efficiency!

Roccella!!!!

Finally, after about 12 hours of driving around in a circle, we could make out the coast, then the castle and watch tower over Roccella.  The seas were still 3 metres high across the sand bar as we approached and turning into the harbour entrance put them on our beam so we were rolling around a bit as we headed for the entrance, but by comparison this was nothing.   Our reserved winter berth required a bit of tight, stern first manoeuvring to get into but then we were in.   The Marina Manager, Francesco, helped tie us up and was telling us that the local fishermen had been reporting 5 metre seas!   Tell us about it!

But we were safely in.  I had been on watch at the Helm Station continuously for 16 hours straight, drenched and dodging thunderstorms for 12 of them.   Valeria had been in the saloon passing me food and coffee and praying, continuously.   It all started going south on 4 October, my mum’s birthday and the day she died.  Perhaps she was watching over us.

In the words of the Beach Boys, ‘This is the worst trip I’ve ever been on.’

Let’s not do it again, ever.

…. as if it never happened!

On to Cephalonia

The last couple of days in Katacolon started to drag and so  we took the first opportunity of not un-favourable winds to push on to Cephalonia.

The cruise ships arrive very early each morning

Thursday was the day.  Light winds all morning with relatively light north-westerly winds off Cephalonia as we were to arrive in the afternoon. The earlier we set off the better and so we slipped from the town quay in Katacolon after lunch on Wednesday and went to anchor outside the harbour planning an early night and a pre dawn departure on Thursday.  It also meant we wouldn’t have to avoid cruise liners arriving as we set off!   The passage north was almost 60 miles, or just under 12 hours, and was calm almost the whole way there; we were moored on the Argostoli town quay by 4pm.

Anniversary 2018

We have a week in hand now and plan to stay on the town quay throughout. We have spent time in Argostoli before, and our friend Keith did such a good job of showing us around Cephalonia we felt there wasn’t a lot of need to explore further.  So we will just soak up life in Argostoli, celebrate our wedding anniversary and prepare for all our visitors.

Mauro and Adri are to join us,on the 7th then Valeria goes home with them on the 10th.  Marisa comes out for a week on the 11th and then Valeria returns as Marisa leaves and brings Charlie and Ana with her!

Our new neighbours

Looking forward to busy month and as we’ll not be going far, perhaps some sailing!!

Adama to Katacolon

We left Adama at 2 pm on Tuesday, 21 August headed for Porto Kayio, Methoni and Katacolon.  This was a total of just over 200 nautical miles and, due to the settled weather we decided to do it in three days.

The first leg, Adama to Porto Kayio was the best part of 100 miles miles, or 20 hours and we did this as an overnight passage to arrive in the morning as other boats would be leaving.  The weather was also predicted to be calm which was good.  According to the Pilot Book the two easternmost fingers of the Peloponnese, Capes Malea and Matapan, should be treated with respect as far as the weather is concerned and can be subject to violent winds.  We had a little taste on our way up here from Crete last year, but this time made the passage without much wind at all, the biggest challenge was all shipping using the Steno Elafonisou, the channel between Cape Malea and Nisos Kithera.

Approaching Porto Kayio
Porto Kayio

We made good time and  were anchored by 9.30 am on Wednesday.   We spent the day resting and swimming before going ashore for an early dinner. unfortunately it was not as good as we remembered and so leaving on Thursday was not such a chore.

Thursday saw us up at 6 and away by 6.30 heading for Methoni.  Methoni has the ruins of a Venetian fortress occupying the entire headland which looked pretty impressive as we’d sailed passed last year so I wanted to visit.  After a straightforward passage we anchored at 4.30, put the tender in the water immediately and went ashore. I had a look around the castle while Valeria supped wine on the beach.

Artists impression of the fortress from the north

The castle is Venetian and was built in the 13th century to control the east west trade routes around the Peloponnese.  Although it looks spectacular there is little actually there apart from the round tower and the adjacent castle gate overlooking the old galley harbour.    It passed to the Ottoman Turks who built the hexagonal tower, the Bourtzi, at the southern tip of the headland after they took the fort in 1500.    This apparently had little defensive value but did help enclose the galley harbour.

Main entrance
Southern gate
Bourtzi tower from southern gate

Interior of the fortress looking north-east
Granite column from an early Christian shipwreck, erected in the main Piazza d’armi by the Venetians in the 14th century

View from the Kastro taverna

After an hour or so hiking around the site, it is very large, I went back to Valeria and we went for a meal to Taverna To Kastro right outside the castle entrance.  And what a fantastic meal, mini cheese pies, stuffed zucchini flowers and a delicious mousaka.  Our intention had been to spend a day here looking around but we decided to push on so that we wouldn’t have to travel on Valeria’s birthday.u

Anchorage off Methoni

So, at 6.30 on Friday morning we set off again for Katacolon.  This is the small port and cruise ship terminal close to the ancient site of Olympia, the home of the Olympic games.

Nisyros to Milos

We spent another 5 days in Pali waiting for a break in the wind to allow us to continue westwards and eventually we had to settle for a ‘least worst’ option.

But staying a few extra days allowed us to enjoy one of the parties associated with the festival of the Virgin Mary.    Although the main event takes place in Mandraki we were advised to head for the monastery close to Nikia for the evening.   Following the religious service there is a meal of bean soup followed by Greek dancing.   The meal was simple, but free, apparently sponsors wait years for a chance to provide the meal!   The dancing was very informal, everyone just having a good time.  What struck me was the number of youngsters taking part in these traditional dances.  And it was busy, maybe a couple of hundred people and every hire car on the island parked for a kilometre along the road leading down to the monastery.   The only transport we could get was a small quad bike.  Very under powered and not suitable for the mountain roads.  Suffice to say, never again!

Our constant examination of the forecasts gave our 24 hour window of opportunity as Friday and Saturday and we decided to make the trip to Milos, some 140 miles in one over night, 27 hour passage.  The forecast was for head winds the whole way, but less than they had been, or would be.

Sunrise over the Datcha Peninsula

So we were up early on Friday and set off  at 6 am, just after it was light enough to see the harbour entrance and its sand bank.    It was not a particularly pleasant passage.   The wind was building the sea into a short chop over an existing residual swell which resulting in a short,  confused sea.  As the day wore on the wind was gusting to 18 knots requiring both engines to stay on course and keep up any speed, 4 knots was the best we could do!

Sunset off Amorgos

We passed north of Astipalia at lunch time and at sunset we were passing the south western tip of  island of Amorgos.   As the sun went down the wind and sea dropped away a bit and our speed increased slightly.    We passed north of Ios at 2 am and as the sun rose we were approaching the island of Polyaigos , just east of Milos.

Sunrise off Milos

Despite the less than favourable weather we arrived at the port of Adamas, as planned, at 1130 and moored to the yacht pontoon.   A tiring passage and not the most comfortable but we are back on schedule with a day or so in hand, although had to skip Astipali, Santorini and Ios.

Adamas

We’ll be in Milos now until probably Monday or Tuesday before the wind dies down again a bit although this next leg should see the winds from the north as we head south of west.  That is a good point of sail for us, but we’ll see !!

Heading west

Sitting in Marathouda on Wednesday 8 August we examined the weather forecasts because we are back to dodging the Meltemi which was always going to be our biggest challenge in heading west across the Aegean.

Although not the Meltemi, currently the winds across Simi tend to be light overnight and into the morning before picking up to between 15 to 25 knots from the northwest in the afternoon and early evening but the Meltemi was due to begin blowing in earnest at the weekend and remain with us for most of next week. We needed somewhere to sit it out.

We had hoped to visit Monastery Bay on Symi’s west coast before heading off for the island of Tilos and then Astipalia planning to leave early in the mornings and arriving as the wind picked up.    The Pilot Book describes the port of Livhadia on Tilos as quite small and stated that the laid moorings off the town quay were ‘reported to be in disrepair’.     In settled weather we’d have gone and looked and if necessary anchored in the bay, but the PB further advised that the anchorage was not tenable in a strong Meltemi although did not attempt to quantify the description ‘strong’, so there was no Plan B.
However: Nysiros was only a few miles further to sail and we knew it was well sheltered.  If we couldn’t get in we could go across to Kamares on Kos and anchor there.

So we set off horribly early on Thursday morning, by which I mean 4.30 am horribly early, aiming to be in Pali by 11.30, thereby beating the afternoon blow and arriving between the rush hours.

The entrance to Ormos Marathouda

It can be quite daunting leaving a pitch black anchorage under just star light with the radar and echo sounder the only real clue as to how far away that shadow is!  That shadow being the rocky coast line or off laying island!

Sun rise over Symi

The moon rose at about 5 but was a sliver of a crescent and was of little help other than to hint at where we’d been. But by 5.30 the sky was lightening and by 6.30 the sun was rising over the island but by then we were clear of Symi and its outlaying islands and were set on our course towards Nisyros.   The passage went as planned and we arrived in Pali at 11.30 and even found ‘our’ spot on the harbour wall was vacant.

And so we settled back down to wait for a break in the Meltemi to allow us to continue our voyage west, but it isn’t looking likely that the winds will die down sufficiently for the rest of the week or much of next week either.   But we’re not alone., even those heading north or east are sitting it out too!

Turkey !

Our reasons for a return visit to Kos were two-fold.  The first was to meet Zeynep who was to travel with us to Bodrum, and the second was to officially leave Greece before entering Turkey.

With our plans to visit Turkey fairly well established before we left Roccella we have been chatting with Zeynep about perhaps meeting up in Bodrum; her parents have a house there.   As time went on the likely window of opportunity narrowed to mid July and finally settled on Wednesday 17 July, in Kos.  It was cheaper for Zeynep to fly to Kos, get an Air B&B and a ferry to Bodrum than to fly direct.   It was even better that we could be in Kos when she arrived so she didn’t need the room overnight or the ferry!  She arrived at just after midnight and after a welcoming glass of Prosecco it was off to bed.

That was the easy part.  The real faff was leaving Greece.

We’d been to see the Port Police when we arrived.  They directed us to Customs who would endorse our Crew List which would enable the Port Police to permit the boat to leave Greek waters.   The Customs Office was closed so we went back first thing on Wednesday morning.  The Customs office was in fact only interested in whether I had paid VAT on the boat; the Greeks are such sticklers when it comes to paying tax!!!   Having convinced the Taxman that I had paid VAT we were then directed to Immigration to endorse the Crew List, which did make more sense, but there is no ‘Yacht Crew’ lane at the ferry terminal.

Between Zeynep and Valeria we managed to get around the herds of tourists headed to Bodrum and got the necessary stamps on the Crew List.  It was made plain we had to then leave Greece almost immediately, tricky as we still had to visit the Port Police, who happily endorsed the Crew List and sent us on our way.

Approaching Bodrum

The trip across to Bodrum was 2 hours, motoring in light winds.  Once into Bodrum and tied up to the Immigration jetty we then had to wait for 2 hours while our Yacht Agent conducted all our immigration proceedures.  Straightforward, but bloody expensive at €180, but there is no option, you can’t leave the boat until the paper work is all done.  Luckily we’ll be leaving Turkey from Bozburun, where it is supposed to be a lot cheaper!

Bodrum castle dominates the harbour
Bodrum castle dominates the harbour

But we have got here.  About a week late according to our original plans but that isn’t at all bad and it meant that we could meet up with Zeynep who has already got an itinerary worked out for us for our stay!

The Rodos Cup ……

We have just discovered that each year there is an inter island race called the Rodos Cup.  It starts in Kos, goes to Kalimnos, Nisyros, Simi and then Rhodos.  I know this because on Saturday, 14th,  the Port Police turned up with a  notice saying that between 17 and 19 July the port of Pali was closed due to the Rodos Cup race!!!

Happily were planned to go on Tuesday anyway !!!!

We’ve seen a lot of the Port Police in Pali. They check the port 2 or 3 times a week and are the busiest Port Police officers we have ever come across!    And a thoroughly nice bunch of guys they are as well, polite, efficient and enforcing the rules, which is good to see, if your papers are in order.  No DEPKA, go to Kos, now, and get one,  Flitting between Turkey and Greece without bothering with immigration?  Go back to Turkey, now.     They were even checking local fishing boats for life jackets!   I thought fishing boats were exempt from absolutely all rules and regulations!

Happily on Tuesday, 17th June, the weather was forecast to be relatively clement and we would be able to go across to Kos to meet Zeynep who was due to arrive on Tuesday evening, but more on that later.

Last night in Pali

And so on Monday evening we had our last night in Pali after almost 3 weeks here.  We arrived on 26th June, looking for shelter for a few days and just stayed; well I did, Valeria went home for 5 days.   But we have had the most fantastic time.  Nisyros is a lovely place, laid back, quiet and such a friendly island.   Our chosen car hire company, Manos K, would happily lend us a scooter to go to Mandraki to get cash, there is no ATM outside Mandraki.  They even rented us a car for 3 hours for a shopping run to Mandraki; fruit and veg selection is better there.   And our local taverna, Aphrodite, where we ate on many evenings presented us with a small bottle of Metaxa!     The only thing we could NOT understand is why so many people around the island use ‘worry beads’ ……

On Tuesday morning we were up at 6 am and were away by 7 in the morning calm.   Pali really is sheltered.  As soon as we were away from the harbour the wind was up to 28 knot, aparent wind speed.  But it was on the beam and we were soon galloping along at 6 knots under one reef in the Main Sail and we sailed virtually the whole way to the eastern end of Kos, before the wind figured we’d had it too good for too long.  As we approached Kos Town the wind stubbornly blew directly out of the marina no matter what our heading and we ended up describing a nice big circle around our destination, unable to tack and never really getting much closer!

We gave up at 11.30 and motored the last half hour getting in at 1220.   After a tidy up we went into Kos to find the Port Police to check out of Greece.   But that is another saga!

More outboard issues.

Leaving Patmos on Saturday we continued on our way towards Kos spending a night at anchor in Lipsi, on the island of Leipsos and another at anchor off the small harbour of Pandeli on the east side of the island of Leros.

Arriving in Leipsos the wind was slightly stronger than I felt comfortable to leave the boat while we went ashore, so we stayrd on board, setting off for Leros the following morning.

As we approached the anchorage off Pandeli we came across our first rain in weeks.   And not a gentle shower either.   The rain was heavy enough to show up on the radar and arrived at Pandeli just as we did.   We got well and truly soaked anchoring, and just as we finished the sun came out!

Rain approaching our anchorage ….
The red splodges are radar echos overlaid on the chart display

We dropped the tender in the water intending to go ashore and have a wander around the town but got about 50 metres from the boat when the outboard packed up again.   To say I was less than impressed was an understatement.   We managed to limp back to the boat and after numerous attempts to start the engine I gave up.

We plan to spend day or so on the Town Quay in Pothia on Kalymnos but this is now going to revolve around finding a mechanic.

Naoussa to Nisos Denousa

We left Naoussa on Wednesday 13 June heading for the island of Patmos one of the northern island in the Dodecanese chain which runs down the coast of Turkey to Rhodes. It is a trip of 70 or 80 miles or 16 hours and so rather than do an overnight passage we decided to break it into two and stop over night on the island of Denousa 10 or so miles east of Naxos.

We arrived at Denousa at 6.30 pm and anchored in a small bay called Ormos Dhendro.    Valeria informed me that it was a nudist beach – I had to take her word for it as there was no way I was going to grab the binoculars and give a second opinion.

But the reason we were there was that this bay was sheltered from the northerly winds which were due to die out overnight. However, just in case the wind hadn’t checked what it was supposed to be doing I set loads of alarms on the Navigation Computer and slept in the saloon where I could hear them, then got up every so often to double check.

The bay was deserted except for one other yacht and the only lights were our anchor lights. It was a cloudless night and the Milky Way was easily visible, worth loosing sleep for!    Thursday saw us up at 6 am for the 8 hour passage to the town of Skala on Patmos.

Farewell Scarlett, hello Syros

We have spent almost 2 weeks with Graeme and Jayne but Friday morning, 1 June, it was time to say our farewells. The Meltemi was abating slightly and we both wanted to be on our way, Scarlett headed north to Olympic Marina to collect a package and ourselves east towards Syros on our way to Kos.

After our farewell meal the previous night we said our good-byes again and then set off. It was rather a sad departure as we’re not entirely sure when we’ll see them again as our plans diverge significantly now, but you never know, it is a small world.

Two reefs in the Main and 60% of the Jib ….

Syros is the next island east of Kythnos and we expected it to take us 5 hours to get there.   We left Merikha dead on 9 am knowing we’d have to motor into the wind along the north west coast of the island. Once clear of Kythnos we were expecting northerly 20 knots winds which would enable us to sail across to Syros. The wind picked up as expected, died away then came back with a vengeance, hitting 30 knots with a few stronger gusts.  This required both reefs in the Main Sail and taking in some of the Jib too.   Suprisingly our weather forecasts didn’t predict Force 7 winds, if it had we’d have stayed put.  So we had a bit of a rough ride for a few hours although the boat was handling well, even reefed down we were making 5 knots.

… but at least it was behind us and not right ahead for a change!!

As the afternoon progressed the wind began to drop to a constant 23 knots, Force 6, from the north and then dropped to 16 or 17 knots, a gentle Force 4 or 5, from the north west as we approached Syros.  As the wind dropped so did the sea and the ride became easier.   I rolled out the Jib fully and we should have taken out the reefs in the Main Sail as the wind dropped, but I decided not to suggest this to Valeria as she wasn’t enjoying herself that much. So we bimbled along in gradually smoother and more comfortable seas, still making 4 knots, until we arrived in the lee of the headland sheltering Ormos Finikou, our destination for the weekend.

Finikas harbour

Dropping the Main was easy as it was mostly down any way and we found ourselves a spot to anchor off the town quay on the edge of a field of mooring buoys.   We had no intention of going onto the quay after our week in Merikha.  As soon as we anchored Valeria produced a delicious chicken curry she’d managed to prepare once the conditions calmed enough to allow her to stand in the galley unaided!

We will now wait here until Monday as the Meltemi does an encore before it takes a well earned rest for most of next week but it is scheduled to return at the weekend.