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Sunken Yachts, Epic Sails and lots of Laughs

20th September 2022 - D-Marin Zea Marina, Athens - Sounio (31.9 nautical miles)

After getting Rockhopper ship shape and in guest-mode, we also took the opportunity to get some fuel onboard. This would be our last opportunity before Kas. From our position on pontoon C we wondered how a fuel truck would get to us but, sure enough, after a couple of false starts (I.e. me randomly assuming any Greek man who approached our pontoon was the fuel guy), Alex appeared. He wrestled an extremely long hose to the boat and proceeded to come onboard and fill up the tanks himself. Usually the guy just hands up the pump and we sort it ourselves but Alex was insistent. He topped them both up to the brim. We were set. By 2pm we had heard from the guys that they had landed. It was the day of the Queen’s funeral and Lisa and Niki were watching it unfold whilst the taxi brought them to us. I had tried to get BBC iplayer to work via a VPN but it kept cutting out.

By 3pm Carl, Lisa, Niki and Gav were onboard. Once settled and after a celebratory beer we got changed and wandered over to MegaYacht row for a few cocktails and dinner.

The guys were with us for a week and with great relief, I could see that the weather forecast had eased off a bit. There would be some times where we might need to hunker down but all in all, the northerly Meltemi wind looked to be behaving itself. In fact it looked like we were going to get some cracking sails in.

The next morning we had a few jobs to do before setting off. Our friends Dave and Susan were on a different pontoon and had left their sunglasses on our boat a couple of days before so Carl went to return them and then get the transit log stamped out of Athens. After me insisting that he go and stamp us in on our arrival and it taking an hour, we purposefully didn’t bother mentioning that we had additional crew with us. It fell into the ‘too difficult’ bracket. Meanwhile, the rest of us walked over the road to the supermarket to provision the boat for the next week. We hadn’t had the opportunity to do it before they arrived as we were frantically cleaning the boat. Mind you, sometimes it is easier to provision when everyone is there so people feel free to pick what they want and help themselves during the trip.

By 10:20am we were all back onboard and ready to slip the lines. No dramas in getting out of the marina, especially with several extra hands to help. We set off for the anchorage of Sounio and the Temple of Poseidon. For the first few hours we motored on the port engine. Calms seas was probably a good start for the crew to get used to the motion of the ocean however, by 2pm the wind had picked up sufficiently that we could hoist the main sail and unfurl the jib. We were doing a very respectable 5.2kn in about 12kn of wind and all was well. Just after 5pm we approached Sounio bay and dropped the anchor on a sandy bottom in 10m of water. We were anchored just below the cliff with the Temple of Poseidon above us. You couldn’t get a more quintessentially Greek anchorage if you tried. It was still quite windy and the girls were desperate to get into the water but it was quite chilly in the breeze. We showed them our trick of hunkering down in the sugar scoops, out of the wind, and soon enough they were warming up. Sufficiently enough for Lisa to be the first to brave the water. “It’s alright once you’re in!’

Being a tad lazy we decided to have a few beers instead of walking up to the temple. We did send the drone up to get some spectacular fews of the temple and someone’s wedding that was taking place. Niki had kitted us out with Rockhopper T-shirts so that evening we had a little photo shoot.

21st September 2022 - Sounio - Ormos Fikiadhia, Kythnos (25.1 nautical miles)

After a peaceful night at anchor we woke early to make the jump into the Aegean. We would get a much better angle on the wind and shift the swell slightly aft of the beam if we bypassed the island of Kea in favour of Kythnos so that was the plan. By 8:20am we had raised the anchor and turned into the wind. Straight away we raised the sails and within 5mins the engines were off. We had 20kn of wind from the north and we shot out across from the mainland towards the island. There was a decent sized swell rocking the boat a bit when we were clear of the mainland but Rockhopper was flying along in 20-25kn winds so it was fairly exhilarating. The crew seemed to be holding up well although I think Lisa was still trying to get used to the motion of a cat over a monohull. Some staring at the horizon was required. Niki was doing surprisingly well; the previous sail from Gibralatar to Puerto Banus a distant memory. I was just pleased she wanted to come back after that! Carl N (as opposed to my Carl G) was loving it. As he had expressed an interest in crossing the Atlantic with us he was up at the helm with us sussing it all out. Our anchorage for the evening was on the western side of Kythnos, tucked right in behind the cliffs so well protected from the northerlies that were due to blow consistently for the next few days. There were two possibilities, Ormos Kolona and Ormos Fikiadhia, either side of a land spit created between the mainland and a blob of land sticking out with a church on it. We sailed the entire 25nm arriving at the entrance to Ormos Kolona at around 1:30pm. We had been forewarned by the lovely people on Navily but as we approached the anchorage we could see the wreckage of the super yacht “007” lying on its side in the water with a massive inflatable bund around it and another salvage vessel anchored nearby. Apparently the yacht had had a “GPS mulfunction” and had run aground several months ago. I think it was more of a skipper malfunction to be honest. Costly mistake. Equally annoying was the smell of diesel although the bay water looked clear but we decided to go round the land blob and into Ormos Fikiadhia. We dropped the hook in around 5m at 2pm. As we were expecting a bit of a blow I jumped into the water to go check out the anchor. In a sizeable patch of sand it had managed to find the only weedy patch to sit in. I swam round to the back of the boat and suggested that we move and reset. I stayed in the water and Carl N raised the anchor. Carl G manoeuvred us about a metre or two to the right and, with me giving the thumbs up, he dropped the anchor again to set it in a nice patch of sand. It was quite interesting to see the anchor lying on its side and then watch the chain go taught and the spade dig in as Carl backed down on it with the engines. It looked pretty solid. Time for an anchor beer.

We could see across the land spit to the open ocean beyond the protection of the island and it was still pretty lumpy so whilst there was still a bit of a breeze in the anchorage, we were at least being protected from the swell. Whilst we had a few G&Ts and a bit of a swim we watched the anchorage fill up around us. One catamaran anchored in front and had settled above our anchor so would have to move when we wanted to go but we would cross that bridge when we came to it. From the forecast over the next day or so it was clear we would be staying here for two nights. The wind picked up to around 22kn and we hadn’t budged so both Carls, Lisa and I decided to go for a walk up the land blob to the church on the top of the hill. We left Niki and Gav to mind the boat. We took the dinghy to the beach created by the land spit and sussed out a lovely cocktail bar right there on the beach. After our walk we’d go collect the Rousseau’s and settle in for sundowners.

At the top of the hill stood a lonely church, all locked up. From there we could see out to sea back towards Athens with the wind whipping up the waves. Looking south the coastline of Kythnos stretched out before us, tall cliffs and rugged terrain. It wasn’t a long walk so in no time at all we were heading back to the boat, getting changed and all piling back in to head to the shore and the Kolona Experience restaurant. It looked like quite a posh place for dinner but we had already decided to eat on the boat so we sat on the sofas outside the restaurant, sipping cocktails and watching the sun go down over the sunken super yacht.

The next morning we sat having breakfast and watching the boats around us raise anchor and head out. Across the land spit we could see massive waves on the horizon. As each boat came into view we watched it disappear under the waves then rear up and come crashing down, beating its way back to the mainland. As it was Thursday we can only surmise that these were charter boats having to get back into the vicinity of their charter base before the weekend. No one with a choice would have gone out in those conditions, certainly not beating into 2.5-3m waves.

The previous day when we walked up to the church we spotted a track from our anchorage around our bay towards a neighbouring one. It was another anchorage and a beach with several restaurants along it. After a bit of cajoling and stretching of the truth as to how long the walk would be, we managed to get us all off the boat and headed down the path. Carl and Lisa are seasoned walkers, Niki and Gav not so much (especially not in flip-flops) but with the promise of a pub crawl on the other end and Carl and Lisa spontaneously bursting out into song along the way we dropped down onto the beach and our first beer of the day. Taverna Nikitos was a charming little place and a lovely lady brought out beers and a few nibbles for us weary travellers. From there on we made our way to Coconuts beach bar and finally on to Baiocco Beach bar which was lovely. We had an early-ish dinner there then talked about getting a taxi back. The guy behind the bar had a friend of a friend who could give us a lift back to the boat but in the end we opted to walk back. Fuelled by a few drinks and entertained by the Nieldies singing, we made it back to the Kolona Experience bar for a nightcap. Luckily getting us all in the dinghy and then out again on the boat went without a hitch. Not a bad way to wait out some weather.

23rd September 2022 - Ormos Fikiadhia, Kythnos - Ormos Livadi, Serifos

(28 nautical miles)

The next morning it was time to make tracks. The wind had calmed down a bit although not much. It was blowing about 18kn from the NE so the island would give us some protection before we made the jump across to Serifos. Firstly, we had to wait for the Bali catamaran to leave. Luckily they were nice people, saw that we were getting ready to go and said that they too would be leaving shortly. The anchor was up by 8:50am and we raised the sails whilst still in the lee of the land blob. We cautiously put one reef in the main, just in case. We moved sufficiently out from the island to pick up the breeze and then, engines off! It was all plain sailing until we popped out into the gap between Kithnos and Serifos and took the swell side on. Still, Rockhopper seemed to be lapping up the miles so we carried on. Carl N signed up for watch duty to get some experience at the helm which was ace.

In our lull in Kythnos, the gang had made their return journey plans and, based on the weather, we had decided it was doable getting to Santorini in sufficient time for them to get a flight back to Athens before making their flight home. Bless them for being flexible with their schedules.

We came round the southern end of Serifos and approached the main bay of Livadi on the south east corner. There was a marina there but we opted to anchor. Navily had told us it was a muddy/weedy bottom so we prepared to bed the anchor in slowly. There was 12kn blowing us back so after a couple of attempts and a slow increase of revs with time in-between to allow the anchor to sink into the mud we were set in 4m.

That evening we dinghied across to the promenade and went off in search of a beer or two and a lamb kleftiko, a moussaka and some big beans. Whilst sat in one of the bars Gav spotted a guy walking past that he recognised. Jamie had worked with Gav and Carl at Sizewell a few years back and they hadn’t seen him since. It was such a random coincidence as they had no idea he was travelling around the Greek islands. After a beer and a catch up he went on his way and we settled on a restaurant for our Greek cuisine. Alas, no kleftiko, moussaka or beans but we all couldn’t be bothered to get up and leave so had something else instead. There was always a greek salad and some saganaki!

24th September 2022 - Ormos Livadi, Serifos - Kolitsani Cove, Ios (46.4 nautical miles)

The previous evening we had looked at the wind forecast and decided to bypass Sifnos and head straight for Ios. It was a long stretch of at least 45nm but it would make the most of the northerly wind and get us closer to Santorini. The wind was due to start shifting round to the south so we wanted to get the longer journey out the way while we could still sail. And sail we did! We raised the anchor at 7am with Lisa, Niki and Gav still in bed. Bless him Carl N was up to give moral support and put the kettle on. It was due to be around 20-25kn again so we chose to keep the first reef in the main. Carl N had a go at keeping Rockhopper into the wind as we raised the sail. The handling of our white square boat takes a bit of getting used to. Pretty soon we were out of the lee of Serifos and experiencing very lumpy seas. We bounced our way along at 6.3kn for several hours, Carl N taking his turn on the helm to balance it out between the three of us. By around 11am the sea state has started to calm down and the wind balanced out at around 15kn. Lisa had remained below decks as she wasn’t feeling too good but Gav came out early on followed by Niki a while later. In fairness there wasn’t an awful lot to do apart from stare and the horizon watch us bounce about.

Santorini, whilst a beautiful island, is not particularly great for anchorages. The sunken caldera in the middle is pretty deep and the southern anchorages are exposed so the weather has to be right to stay there. A lot of people get to Ios, leave their boat on the dock there and take the ferry across to see it. That was our plan if the weather would just not play ball. However, at this point in the trip we were becoming quietly confident that this would all work out. We sailed down the western side of iOS, passed the bay with the ferry terminal and into a small cove. Kolitsani had one other occupant, a trimaran that was anchored close to the shore. We dropped our hook in 4m into lovely clear blue water at 2:20pm and promptly jumped right in. Another day of anchor lift to anchor drop sailing. Beautiful! Also very rare in the Med.

Most of the islands in the Aegean have their main town which is called the same as the island itself so its just called the Chora, which just means ‘town’ in Greek. It would be a bit of a hike but we fancied heading up over the hill in search of the white-washed walls of a beautiful little Greek town with sunset bars and nice restaurants. Getting down the dirt track in the dark to the little cove was a problem for later. We were out out so put on our Rockhopper T-shirts and took the dinghy to shore. Ios town did not disappoint. We found this lovely bar overlooking the sea with chairs set out in a secluded areas of a garden. We grabbed enough chairs to sit around our little table with a spectacular view of the sunset. As we sat down and looked around the table we realised someone was missing. Gav had moved his chair to the table and as he sat down on it one leg had found a hole in the ground. The chair had toppled over along with Gav. He managed to save his glass of wine though! Professional!

After sunset we got ourselves lost in the little streets of the town and found a lovely restaurant for dinner. We even found a bar afterwards to have a few before braving the walk back down to the cove. All in all, a great night out with a lot of laughs!

25th September 2022 - Kolitsani Cove, Ios - Mylopotas Bay, Ios (0.76 nautical miles)

We fancied a swim and a chill day so we upped anchor the next morning and motored round to the bay next door. Mylopotas had a long sandy beach with restaurants along the length so after a day of swimming, sunbathing and reading (Niki even trimmed my hair!) we took the dinghy to the shore and went to have a few drinks and a fantastic dinner at a restaurant called Salt.

26th September 2022 - Mylopotas Bay, Ios - Kamari, Santorini (33.5 nautical miles)

At 8:40am the next morning we weighed anchor and headed in the direction of Santorini. There was no wind at all so we didn’t bother raising the sails. In fact it worked out well because everyone (except Carl G on the helm, bless him) was sat up the front enjoying the first time that the sun had reached ‘burny teaspoon’ temperatures as Niki calls it. The wind had finally died off to allow everyone to actually feel hot in the sun. Everyone except us had been to Santorini before so this was a real treat for us. We motored into the caldera with the towns of Oia and Thira with their white washed walls and blue roofed buildings, and luxury villas with infinity pools looking down on us. The reds and browns and greens and yellows of the volcanic rock below in stark contrast to the white buildings above was spectacular. Niki said it was such a different experience seeing it from the water. We did a slow loop around the crescent of the island, carefully avoiding three cruise ships that were just hovering in the 250m deep water between Tholos Naftilos, the centre of the volcano, and the main island of Santorini. We made our way round the southern end of the crescent on our way to our anchorage for the night. Again, the colours of the sheer rock face was stunning, this time pinks and whites and yellows.

Our destination was the anchorage at Kamari but to get there we had to pass through the most amount of charter catamarans that we’d ever seen. They were everywhere. Since we hadn’t seen them on Ios or the surrounding islands we could only assume that they were day charters from the island. Luckily that would mean that they would be leaving by 5pm to head back to port. We needn’t have worried though, as we approached the anchorage there was only one or two other boats and plenty of room for us. We anchored in 7.5m of black sand. We had got our guests from Athens to Santorini in time for their flight home the following day. And sailed all but one day. Well chuffed.

Kamari was a beach side resort on the coast as opposed to Oia and Thira which were on the other side and up on the hill. When we came ashore to have a drink and try to organise a taxi to Thira the restaurant owner was understandably a bit disappointed. He had wanted us to hang around there that night. A minibus taxi to Thira cost us around €45 but you can’t go to Santorini and not see the views from the top. Somehow we managed to get a table for all of us looking out over the sea although it was a bit chilly. We had a few nibbles and a few drinks looking out over a beautiful sunset. What a perfect place to end a lovely week with great friends. After a walk around and a few souvenir purchases we opted to get the taxi back to Kamari and go for a gyros. We had been told of a great place and the taxi driver dropped us right outside the door. The Greek version of a kebab after a night out was perfect. The wind was due to come in from the south so we were a bit concerned about swell in the anchorage but we all slept like babies. Possibly due to the wine and the kebab.

27th September 2022 - Kamari, Santorini - Vathy, Astypalea (48 nautical miles)

We had arranged with the taxi driver again to take the guys to the airport the next morning so we all went for an early breakfast at the restaurant on the beach. With fond (if a bit sad) farewells we hugged the guys goodbye and Carl and I took the dinghy back to the boat. We had a 48nm journey to do today so by 9am we had already weighed anchor and set off towards Astypalea. And then there were two!

We still had the reef in the main sail from the previous days of sail so, with 10-12kn of southerlies we shook out the reef and managed to sail at 5.4kn SOG north east towards Astypalea. We had travelled down quite far to drop the guys off at Santorini so we needed to head back up again towards Symi, which would be our exit from Greece, and the Datca peninsular, our entry into Turkey.

The wind was due to pick up again, albeit from the south, so we needed to get across and tuck ourselves in on the north of the island for a few days. The island of Astypalea is shaped like a butterfly with the main Chora in the middle on the southern side. We had hoped to anchor on the northern side but close enough to the town so that we could cycle across the small land spit. Unfortunately as we rounded the first ‘wing’ of the butterfly it was clear that there was no real protection from the wind in the middle. There was almost a funnelling effect. So we opted for a little inland sea on the righthand ‘wing’ with a narrow opening, called Vathy. It looked really protected and with plenty of space. Unfortunately it was quite a way from the town and really there are only goats to talk to there so we ended up spending two days on the boat getting it tidied and doing some washing.

29th September 2022 - Vathy, Astypalea - Gyali, northern unmarked anchorage

(47 nautical miles)

After two days in our quiet little spot we were keen to get moving. So at 7:30am we weighed anchor and headed out of our little safe haven. The wind had softened sufficiently that we had rigged the Code 0 in the hope of being able to sail. Alas it was a bit hit and miss with us unfurling it, furling it, motor-sailing with the main and then having a go again. We were now directly south of the large island of Kos so the swell was minimal but also the wind was a bit flukey. We wanted to get to Nisyros but the wind angle just wanted quite taking us there so, as 6pm was approaching we opted for a night at anchor on the northern side Gyali, another butterfly shaped island (possibly a bit more bat shaped that the last one). There wasn’t much there apart from a lovely sandy spot in 5.7m to drop our anchor and have a swim.

30th September 2022 - Gyali, north - Port of Palon, Nisyros (10.8 nautical miles)

It wasn’t far to get to the Port of Palon on Nisyros, barely 10nm, so an early start wasn’t necessary. Around 10:30am we weighed anchor and raised the sails. The forecast was for fairly strong winds. We were getting 18kn coming from the SE even in the lee of Gyali island so we put two reefs in the main and one in the jib and peaked our noses out from the island, hoping for the best. It was spirited, but not too bad in the end. We headed directly for a little dot of an island called Strongyli before tacking down towards Nisyros. The entrance to the harbour was known to silt up on one side so it was quite a narrow opening to navigate. he depth gauge dropped to 1.3m under our keels but no less. Kind souls on Navily had warned us which side of the channel to stick to. The harbour had no lazy lines and had boats tied on the breakwater side and on the town side so we had to be careful not to drop our anchor too far out to risk entangling it with the boat’s anchor or chain opposite but enough to hold us in place. We chose the town side and, as we back up towards the quay side, a guy from the Captain’s House restaurant came to take our lines. He happened to be the guy who ran the rental car place so after a walk up and down the quay side we booked a buggy for the following day. It would have been much cheaper (and more comfortable) to just rent a small car but we got carried away with ourselves and picked form over function.

The next morning we picked up our BeachBuggy and set off. Within two minutes Carl declared that it sounds like a bag of nails and sort of changed gear when it wanted to. Still, we looked cool and well touristy so we decided to embrace it. I tried to connect my phone to the bluetooth radio to get some tunes going and look even cooler but it didn’t work. Neither did the radio. Even if it did work it probably would not be heard over the engine noise. Ah well, we would have to settle for looking cool instead. First stop, the volcano!

We dropped down into the 3km wide caldera in the centre of the island and parked up by the crater. We were in luck as the tour buses had not arrived yet. Nisyros is an active but not erupting volcano so as you walk around there are areas of fumaroles (vents). The colours in the sand were incredible. It was also pretty hot, so after a wander round, having the place entirely to ourselves, we looked up and saw the first of the tour buses arriving. That was our cue to leave.

Next stop was the town of Nikia, perched on the rim of the caldera. We took the buggy up to Prophet Elias church which was practically the highest point of the island. We had a moment when the buggy’s automatic gearbox decided to change gear halfway up a steep hill effectively stopping us in our tracks. We had to roll back towards the bottom and give it a nail biting run up to make it to the top.

After a brief prayer was said, we admired the white washed walls and blue roof of the church. The spot was very quiet, not eerily so, more peacefully so. From the viewing point you could see spectacular views out to the islands of Gyali, Kos, and the Turkish Datça peninsula. Looking back towards the island’s interior was the magnificent view of the crater. Driving back down to the town of Nikia we stopped off at the volcanology museum. Very interesting to see how this set of islands had developed over the millennia.

We then ventured through the narrow streets and found a lovely cafe in a little square opposite a small church. Every now and then, walking through the streets, you would see the view far down below to the sea.

We took the road back down to the crater rim and headed round towards the town of Mandraki, another beautiful Greek town akin to Mykonos but a bit more traditionally Greek, I was told. After a wander round and a late lunch we set off back towards Palon and the boat. We’d had a lovely day exploring the island and to top it all off we had a fantastic meal at the Captain’s House restaurant.

2nd October 2022 - Port of Palin, Nisyros - Marina Symi ( 37.2 nautical miles)

As usual, the weather was checked two to three times a day and we were aware of a strong blow coming which would be lasting for at least four days. We weren’t keen being on a town quay dock, held at anchor with a strong cross wind so our other option was to head to Symi and get tucked up into a marina. We could then check out of Greece there and it would be a short hop to the entry port of Datça. The wind was due to pick up in the afternoon and we really weren’t keen try and dock our boat onto a marina pontoon with a strong crosswind. So at 6:30am whilst it was still dark, we slipped the lines and raised the anchor. It’s never quiet raising an anchor on a catamaran, so apologies to those still sleeping, but needs must.

We raised the sails when we had cleared the harbour and had a good hour and a half of sailing on full main and jib. As the sun rose in the sky so the wind dropped and we were reduced to motor-sailing. This coastline is quite bizarre in that the Turkish Datça and Bozakkale peninsula's jut out quite far with the Greek island of Symi nestled in-between. In previous years the Greek and Turkish authorities were at odds with one another so straying into the others waters was a no-no. We tried to keep as far away from the coast of Turkey as possible but it ends up being quite a detour. It reminded us that we had come all this way and our winter home was not so far away. A sense of achievement was already starting to wash over us. This was quickly doused when we approached the narrow gap between the island of Nimos and the main island of Symi on the northern side. The wind picked up to 22kn and our little hearts sunk at the prospect of docking the boat in a 20kn crosswind. We had already decided against the town quay in the main bay of Symi town as they had a complicated mooring ball arrangement instead of lazy lines tied to the dock. Didn’t fancy getting one of those wrapped round the props so we were aiming for the next bay over in Pedi. The marina got some good reviews, there were a few nice restaurants in the bay and there was an inexpensive bus to take you up and over the hill to the town of Symi.

The mindset of, ‘Ah well, whatever happens it will all be over in 30mins’ came over us and with steely determination we approached the marina. Which was really just a pontoon on one side of the bay. The wind did drop but only to about 15kn so got ourselves ready and radioed the marina. They told us where to go and we started to see a marinero head to our spot. Luckily there was a large gap for us to fit into but he was indicating that we were to sidle in next to another catamaran and the wind would be blowing us onto it. Carl essentially ferry-glided us across and into the spot. We were always going to come up again the boat next door whilst tying the stern lines and getting the lazy lines on but the key was to nudge it parallel to the boat, i.e. no sharp corners and gently. Carl nailed it. One worry was that the pontoon had weirdly positioned lazy lines. The marinero only offered us one to tie off to our port bow. He then came over in a dinghy and asked for one of our lines to tie to the lazy line and across to our starboard bow cleat. We weren’t sure what that was supposed to achieve but it wasn’t really a time to argue. We were in. Hanging off one line at the front but there you go. This would be home for a while. The wind continued to pick up. We decided to stay with the boat the gap on our starboard side was filled. With this wind and skippers of varying skill coming in, it was best to help fend off if needed. A Bali 46ft catamaran with six German guys on it came into the spot next to us. They were being blown on to us but coupled with their number and me with the big ball fender shoved in strategic places all was good.

That evening we watched as the pontoon filled up. We were so glad we arrived when we did as the wind continued to blow and gust over 20kn. Some did really well, others failed miserably and some bailed and went to anchor. We watched a skippered charter boat rather heroically time his entry into a very small spot between two boats, in-between large gusts. It was the last spot on the pontoon and the owners on the two boats either side were up at the bows nervously looking on. He got a responding cheer from us looking on, and a huge sigh of relief from the two either side.

Meanwhile back at our side of the pontoon, we had a chat with our very friendly German neighbours about the weather and their trip. We commented that this wind was set in for at least three possibly four days. They said ‘Ah well we are off tomorrow.’ They had a weeks charter and didn’t want to waste time in a marina. Both Carl and I inwardly groaned. A large boat that was being blown onto us was talking about leaving in 20kn winds. Great.

The next morning we hung out waiting for when they would decide to go. It was blowing a hooley and I sat ready to deploy the big ball fender in the vain hope that that would be enough. We couldn’t go anywhere until they left. Turns out the buggers didn’t leave that day and only told us this after 2pm. Day of exploration wasted. They did leave the following morning though in marginally better conditions. We watched as their fenders got tangled with ours, and then rolled out while they just watched, then the inevitable, gel coat to gel coat scraping, right across out logo on the front of the boat. As he gunned out of the berth we heard the ‘Scheisse!’ from the skipper. They yelled back ‘Is it ok?’ Which is something, but what could we say? Later on when we could survey the damage it thankfully wasn’t too obvious. As battle scars go it was no Ibiza!

The boat the other side of us chose to go too but that wasn’t so much of an issue as it was being blown onto the boat the other side of it. That left a gap either side which was not ideal either. No one came that afternoon so we decided to get the bus across to Symi to have a wander and go for a meal. The following morning I knew more boats would come. At 10am Carl wandered off to go talk to the marina staff and then, on the spur of the moment decided to go for a walk around the bay. As he was telling me this on the phone the marinero came up to me and said that a boat was coming in next to us and it had an inexperienced skipper onboard so best to be ready with a fender. Great. Carl started to hot foot it back. Too late. I quickly moved a few fenders from the other side across to the port side and stood there with my singular ball in hand, muttering a few choice words for my husband. In fairness to the skipper, she brought the boat in pretty straight and after a nudge or two which was fended off successfully she was in. No worries, as I was stood chatting to them the marinero appeared again and said there was another boat coming the other side of us. I frantically untied the extra fenders on the port side and transferred them to the starboard side just as this monohull made its approach. Still no husband. In fact, the husband watched in horror from the opposite side of the bay as the monohull, which started off well, veer off to the side in line with our bow and then end up almost sideways between us and the boat on the opposite side of the gap. I stood there not sure where to even put the ball but somehow the skipper retrieved the situation and went elsewhere. By the time Carl made it back another cat had come in next to us with no dramas, so all was good.

Anyhoo, the weather was finally easing and the next day we would get the bus to Symi, check out of Greece, get the bus back and then head for Turkey. Our final country in what had been an eventful, fantastic, anxious, relaxing, awe-inspiring meander/race across the Med. We were almost there!



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1 commentaire

Patricia Stone
Patricia Stone
09 sept. 2023

This brought back memories! I went to Symi in about September 1981 on a day trip from Rhodes whilst holidaying in Lindos. Fab holiday. Oh, but was the return ferry trip rough! 🤢but not quite 🤮🤣🤣 xxx

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