Lindos, Rhodes - N 36:05.247 E028:05.276

Charles & Maggie Bevis
Sat 10 Jun 2017 15:45
Happy Birthday Lottie!

We spent a whole month in Crete and explored, visited friends, made new ones and wined, dined, held weekly bar-b-ques with other ‘ achties' and all in all, had a really delightful time whilst at Greeces largest island. Oh, and Maggie got her ‘trigger’ finger fixed for a bargain price.

As I sit in the sunshine and write this, it is 45 days since we launched ALKIRA at Kilada on 12 April; that seems like ages ago, and so much has happened.  We hear that at home things have been well and truly mucked up properly and the UK now has a lame duck weak government, beholden to some political minority in Ireland - honestly leave you alone with a country…last year you b……..d us up over Brexit and now king Jeremy Ist looms even closer.  How did you let that happen? We are all doomed!

Out here we have spent the last week waiting for the weather to allow us to scoot across to Rhodes.  Well the good news is we have done it, but not without a lot of huff and no little puff, well puff, puff and puff.  

Charlie had a cunning plan to leave Crete on Thursday am and ride the winds of a small depression across the southern Aegean.  The plan should have allowed us to take following winds during most of the crossing to Lindos.  We watched the weather very carefully to get the timing right but, as in all the best laid plans of mice and well, sheep, something went badly wrong.  To put it simply, said weather didn’t do as it was supposed to and we arrived very tired and like a couple of shaken jellies!

We left the marina in Agios Nikolaos on Wednesday, as planned, and anchored 10 miles to the north off Elounda in the Spinalonga lagoon.  We had a beautiful barbecue supper in the cockpit before turning-in ready for an early (06:00) start on Thursday.  

At about 01:00 we were woken by a really violent thunderstorm, that came with 35 knot winds, first blowing one way and half an hour later equally hard from the exact opposite direction.  After some two hours of this there there was a break so we went back to bed.  Charlie was awakened again at 04:00 by more thunder and a terrific lightning storm in the mountains around the bay - but this time there was no wind.  We have a very useful app on the computer that shows us where the storms and lightning strikes are.  We could tell there were storms at the Western end of the island but not much activity where we were at the East end and, more important, none at Karpathos (our half way respite destination some 80 miles distant).  

The prevailing summer winds blow strongly from the North East and are known as ‘meltemi’ winds.  These funnel through the gaps to the east and west of mountainous Crete which sits astride the Aegean.  The seas at either end of the island have an unpleasant reputation for being rough when these winds blow.  The weather charts showed the next tranche of wind was expected to arrive on Friday and to last until Monday 12 June. Just time for us to get across…. 
So off we jolly well set at 05:00 during a lull between thunder storms.  We crept out of the bay past the fortress and one-time leper colony of Spinalonga, out into the darkness.

All went to plan except the wind just wasn’t there!  But as we approached the East end of the island the wind finally put in an appearance and we then had an uncomfortable ride until we were clear of the island.  We approached Karpathos in the late afternoon with the last of the SE wind (that shouldn’t have been there) and found a safe but totally un-inspiring anchorage right next to the airport runway at the south end of Karpathos.  Shortly after we anchored the promised NE winds arrived in force, fortunately we were securely anchored (50 mtrs of chain out in just 3.5 metres of water) and the sea inside the bay was calm-ish!

Another early start on Friday saw us leave the anchorage at 06:00 and motor sailing along the South coast of Karpathos.  Charlie then made one of his (very rare (hmm hmm)) mistakes and instead of hugging the coast to take advantage of the calmer seas in the lee of the cliffs that extend to the north end of the island; he was  seduced by the much shorter straight line distance to Rhodes.  As we came clear of the island it got very sploshey indeed.  With sail shortened right down we had a VERY rough five hour crossing between Karpathos and S. Rhodes, enduring short seas of 2+ m and winds that at times exceeded 38 knots, before finally reaching the shelter afforded by Rhodes.  
Nothing broke and no-one was ill but we arrived encrusted in salt and in some disarray downstairs where things had dislodged themselves and leapt out of cupboards as we lurched from wave to wave. However, no damage to either the boat, its contents or us thankfully.  So far the only casualty was a mug of tea (needless to say, mine) which flew from the cockpit across the boat into the galley throwing tea everywhere as it went.  The mug is now on the bottom of the Aegean, some 1,000m below the sea surface - that should entertain some archeologist in a future millennia but will also provide a nice little house for a crab or other sea creature! 

Anyway folks, we arrived in a really charming little bay just south east of Lindos at 15:00 hrs.  The entrance to this place is tiny and quite daunting - Maggie was heard to mutter ‘ are you really really sure about this?’ - (and it’s not for the first time these words have been uttered).   There is a entrance passage about 80ft wide between jagged rocks and this is not evident until you are some 20m away.  


The entrance to ‘our’ bay (well we are the only boat here!

The gap in the rocks leads into an enchanting lozenge shaped sandy lying parallel to the coast but hidden by the rocks.  The bay itself is fringed by rocks to north and south and with beaches in the NE corner and along the west shore.  

An acropolis stands high above the bay to the north east of us and this is floodlit at night.

The beach scene at the West end of the bay with the chapel on the left

Of course there are loads of swimmers and sunbathers but forthunately no jet-skis. Trip boats pop in and out to show off this pretty bay and then leave just as suddenly.  Most importantly it is sheltered and there is no swell (as yet) although the wind does gust down from the high cliffs on the inshore side and buffet us at times.  There is a small chapel on the Southern side of the bay and yesterday (Friday) between 15:00 and 19:00 there were four or maybe five weddings.

A trip boat negotiates the entrance 

Outside the wind continues to blow hard, but we catch only the occasional down draught.  We have two lines out astern holding us steady and an anchor laid out in the middle of the bay.  So far we are safe and secure and we both enjoyed a really good sleep for the first time since Wednesday.

Maggie’s first job this morning (Saturday) was to remove the stitches from her right hand.  That went well and I wasn’t required to participate as she is left handed and the stitches were in the palm of her right hand.  We have both been on cleaning duty this morning, clearing up after the last few days acrobatics.   

We shall need to complete yet another sweep of the supermarkets in Rhodes town next week, stocking up on wine and food (not necessarily in that order) before we reach the ‘dry’ coast of Turkey in about a week or so’s time. 

Rhodes is the most easterly Greek island to which we will travel this year - unbelievably, our 3rd year in Greece.  The 5 year plan has taken us to more places than we could ever have imagined at the start of this odyssey and continues to delight us both virtually all of the time. Once the hard work of getting the boat sorted and back into the water each spring, followed several months later by the lift-out and all that wine, enjoy G&T o’clock in many ports along the way and read more books than we’ve ever read in our lives before, what’s to complain about? - What a life… Shame about the bumpy bits.

That’s all for now - Curses on all our political leaders and of course on the taxman!