39 08.6 N 23 51.9 E
Alonnisos 1st – 4th August
We left the delightful island of Panayia and again motored to our next destination which was the island of Alonnisos the largest of the numerous islands that make up the Marine Park. We looked in to the tiny bay/ harbour of Stena Vala which seemed lovely but was unfortunately full so we pressed on until we got to Tzorti where we found room to anchor over sand. We had a reasonable night here though the wind was swirling and got up at one stage accompanied by a lightning storm in the distance but not too much rain. Some of the boats that were tied back to the rocks had to slip their ropes during the night and Rob witnessed some fun and games as they disentangled themselves – he was glad we were just plain anchored! The following morning before we got up we had a downpour which lasted for about 45 minutes but there was no wind so we just waited until it had passed before clearing the boat ready to head for the main town of Patitiri just 3 miles down the coast and after waiting around for about 20 minutes in the harbour a space came free on the jetty designated for yachts. We were soon anchored and tied back to the quay – surprisingly no one came to assist us with our ropes despite there already being several boats there – probably the first time that has happened to us – just shows that charter boat crews are not the same as home owners when it comes to things like that! We have started to see more and more charter boats many of them with Italian clients and some with professional skippers. We were hailed by our friends Alain and Annie a few minutes after arriving and they asked us to check out a space for them which Jacky duly did. However in the interim a fast catamaran ferry arrived and sped into the harbour causing havoc on the jetty with boats lurching on their lines and surging all over the place! Alain watched this and changed his mind about staying and it has to be said so did we! However we pulled further of the quay and when the ferry wasn’t coming or going it was ok. The town was busy with tourists and rather noisy too especially at night with cars and motor bikes driving along the road that backs the quay. But despite this we did enjoy our stay here – buying fresh produce at a couple of reasonable supermarkets and we also ate a meal at a restaurant recommended in the Rough Guide. We were joined by Alain and Annie who had walked the 1.2 kilometers from the bay where they had decided to anchor. The dish of the day was local goat in a tomato sauce which we all had and it was delicious huge portions – the cut was like a gigot chop of lamb but much bigger and so tender – obviously had been long and slowly cooked.
We had a rather better night on the quay than anticipated as there were no ferries so the water was calm so after the noise of the traffic and tourists died down around 0200 all was well! However we decided one night was enough and beat a retreat to another island close bye – Patitira where we found another lovely bay to anchor in. Here we met two Australian flagged yachts Summer Wind and Sarenity and were given some advice from Trevor on the latter re where to anchor etc. We were soon hooked onto a nice sandy patch and tied back to the rocks at the head of the bay with Alan from Summer Wind taking our first line for us and then he even swam out and checked the anchor was ok too! Brilliant chap! We had two lovely nights here and enjoyed some swimming and snorkeling but also had a drenching as we had a thunder storm that lasted for several hours accompanied by torrential rain. (Well at least it gave the boat another good clean!) We had several chats with the owners of the two Ossie boats Holly and Alan are in fact a Kiwi and a yank! And they know Trevor and Lesley from Kishorn and have also met Andy and Pam from Grand Slam – a small world eh? Trevor and Vicky from Sarenity are from Sidney and we have seen their boat around over the last few weeks so it was good to meet them and get introduced properly. Summer Wind is up for sale as her owners often do big boat skippering and they have another contract to deliver a 70 footer in the USA. They are taking their boat to Ragusa Marina for the winter – this marina has established itself as a ‘great place’ to be and we know several other yachties who have headed that way including Chica with Rick and Cobi on board. Anyway Alan and Holly have had excellent reports from some friends who wintered there last year and are returning there again so I guess that speaks for itself. Both boats wintered for two years running in Finnike and they speak very highly of the live aboard community there. We also met a very couple on a motor boat – they were from South Africa but now live and work near Thessaloniki – Adrian and Ellimarie. They kindly gave us a weather forecast later that evening having taken their dinghy to the entrance of the bay where a phone signal was available.
On Thursday we were joined in the bay by 4 chartered boats with Italians on board so our peace was rather disturbed especially by the last boat to arrive who were all that one imagines Italians on holiday to be like loud noisy and very obtrusive – one of the guys spent an hour drifting in a blow up arm chair playing his guitar! Another collected loads of debris from around the near bye beach and at 2200 set it on fire! We were already in bed and were woken by angry shouting from one of the other Italian boats where the crew obviously felt this fire was inappropriate (as did we) much yelling ensued and eventually the fire was doused out with sea water and we returned to bed!
On Friday morning we were up bright and early (0630) and soon had the ropes clear the dinghy on board and the main sail up ready for our next journey to Skopolos.