13 October 2015 - Beginning of the end for 2015

Charles & Maggie Bevis
Tue 13 Oct 2015 08:33
38:38.344N 020:47.376E Abelike Bay, Megavisi.

So finally, here we our into our last week before we go to our winter base at Messalonghi.  The sea is still warm enough for swimming and when the sun is out day-time temperatures are 24-25C.  Night-time temperatures are 15 to 18C.  The humidity has gone but the weather is much more unsettled.  Good sailing winds! When it rains, it’s torrential!

We last wrote from Vathi (in Ithica - there are two Vathi's, one each on the islands of Ithaca and Megavisi).  From there we sailed North to Megavisi on the Tuesday, a delightful sail in a warm breeze and bright sunshine.  We anchored in a bay on the NW coast and dallied there for a day and a night, before being persuaded to move again last Thursday, initially to little Vathi because of concern regarding an approaching weather front with 30 knot SSW winds forecast.  Charlie didn’t much care for little Vathi, even though it would provide good shelter so, on the the Friday, we moved again and scurried into Sivota Bay to hide from this latest tranche of wind and rain which was due in our area on Saturday.  

It should have been a good idea but turned into a bit of a horror one way or the other.  True, we saw the Grand Prix on the Sunday, enjoyed a full english breakfast treat and we met and socialised with some nice people.  However, on our arrival, we had taken a vacant berth that we hoped would be sheltered from the anticipated SE gale, and true, it was.  The berth was in the SW corner of the bay, tucked away from the entrance in an area frequented by fishing boats.  The anchor was set and holding well with about 35m chain.  During the course of the Saturday night the rising wind outside brought a considerable swell into the bay, the wind and the water level rose until the adjacent road was flooded.  We started shunting to and fro and were unable to keep the mooring lines tight - the anchor had moved and given way.  In the early hours of the morning we launched the dinghy and set our second (kedge) anchor and after heaving this tight, we endured the remainder of an uncomfortable night.    

In the morning we were both tired and bleary eyed as we let go our moorings and heaved out into the bay to reset the main anchor, recovering the kedge at the same time.  The latter is a “fortress” anchor and Charlie couldn’t get it up (the anchor that is)!  We have a trip line rigged for just such an eventuality and so - back into the dinghy to reach and recover the anchor buoy, whereafter the kedge was recovered without further hassle.  Unfortunately in his haste to get back on board Charlie left the kedge line slack and a bight fell into the water where it was sucked into the bow thruster - bugger (mk1)!  We anchored in the bay while Charlie swam to release the line from within the propeller tunnel. 

All sorted after some 30 minutes (albeit with rather sore hands), we then re-laid our main anchor with some 60+m of chain this time and returned to our berth.  At 01:00 Charlie was awake as we had started bumping something - the anchor was not holding - again.  The kedge was still in the dinghy thankfully ready to be deployed, so once again, in the middle of a rain squall he set off in his sleeping shorts to lay the thing again.  Thanks to our neighbour John who came up on deck to see what was happening and to Maggie’s relief, offered to help.  Job done, Charlie put the line on the windlass drum to heave us out of trouble and the kedge dragged.  So back into the dinghy again and the kedge was re-laid on a longer line and heaved tight.  It held - so dry shorts on and back to bed for the remainder of a second uncomfortable night.

At 11:00 on Monday with the wind now past we said farewell to friends and recovered the kedge, and then having let go the stern lines, heaved on the main actor.  It was badly fouled (Bugger Mk 2) again and after a quick change into working shorts, Charlie was ready for more swimming.  The only thing to do in these circumstances is to get up close and personal with the crap on the end of the chain with assistance from Maggie on deck.  The mess on the end of the chain was heaved up to the surface to reveal 2 old mooring anchors complete with various chains, ropes and a fishing net, all caught in a large bight of our chain and with our anchor caught on something unseen further below that lot.  A “messenger" was passed through the upper rubbish and our chain slacked away to allow Charlie to release the bight.  After about 40 minutes of hard work, we were free from the first encumbrance and we then cleared our own anchor with Charlie working in the water and Maggie doing stirling work on deck with preventers and windlass controls.  

All that can be really said is that Sivota bay is not peaceful with an onshore wind and the SW corner is to be avoided at all costs.  Mags and I are now rather good at extricating ourselves from such situations, ( we think this is the 6th or 7th time this season that we’ve had to deal with fouled anchors), the latter being the most challenging, but thank heavens the water is warm!!  No harm done, and no damage to the boat although Charlie’s hands are sore and his knuckles somewhat raw from battling with the barnacles in the bow thrust tunnel!  Sorry, we were too busy to take photographs!

Monday night sees us at anchor in a cove called Ormos Abelike in NE Megavisi  - exactly the same spot where we were last week before going to Sivota.  The sun now sets behind the island at around 17:30, we have finished our cocktails and supper is on the stove.  Maggie has done a Caesar Salad with chicken and bacon and it smells delicious, to be followed with home made orange pie (courtesy of Sivota Bakery) and a small splash of cream. There will be a film show tonight and then an early bed!  We had the place to ourselves initially, but during the afternoon 2 other yachts joined us, apparently live-aboards rather than holiday charters, but all is quiet and very peaceful and pleasant.

Tuesday morning and it's bright, sunny and flat clam in here, although there is still a brisk wind outside, off the island.  Laundry today ( so the Honda handbag - generator) is to be lifted and and “Dolly” will be put to work alongside Charlie who will get some jobs done.  Maggie will multi task at some point but is putting off doing anything too strenuous until we go into Messalonghi, then the hard work will really begin.

alkira {CHANGE TO AT} mailasail {DOT} com