Mandraki on Oinoussos, via Ormos Mersinia on Lesvos
38:30. 578N 26:13.005E Fri 4th August 2017
We arrived “home” to Goldcrest in the early hours of August 1st and were relieved to find the heat more bearable as the summer meltemi wind was blowing. It had clearly been blowing hard for some time, judging by the amount of dirt & dust all over the boat! We left heading south 2 days later after a few hour’s delay caused by our alarm at a more than usually stiff, squeaky rudder. In the end it seemed to loosen itself a bit and we had a lively downwind sail around the south eastern tip of the island. We anchored in another lovely quiet bay, Ormos Mersinia, and congratulated ourselves on getting the anchor to dig in at our first attempt. There are warnings of poor holding there and sure enough, in the middle of the night after some very strong gusts, our anchor alarm woke us. Goldcrest had drifted backwards about 100 metres towards the rocks, so we dumped all the rest of our chain and hoped the anchor would dig itself in again. David spent the rest of the night dozing on deck to keep an eye on things, but luckily we did not move again. The lesson learned was to put out much more chain the first time!!!
The next day was one of highs and lows as sailing sometimes can be. The high was being visited by a magnificent golden oriole which perched just inches from us and stayed there happily for nearly an hour. The lows were firstly, finding the roller furling mainsail had folded over in its slot in the mast. This lead to a few anxious hours while we tried to free it and imagined the worst if the wind had really picked up and we couldn’t put it away safely. In the end we did manage to free it by various manoeuvres, but in the meantime had also damaged our mainsheet traveller with an uncontrolled jibe. Luckily skipper was able to repair this in port later. We sailed for 2/3rds of the 34 mile passage and were actually grateful for once when the wind died for a while as we were trying to free the main.
Mandraki on Oinousses:
We arrived on the little island of Oinousses just off the north east tip of Chios mid-afternoon and were helped to tie up by skippers of two Turkish boats alongside us. Oinousses has a permanent population of just 400 and is only about 5 by 1½ miles in size, but it is the ancestral home of nearly a third of Greece’s shipping magnates. Their wealthy descendants come back here in the summer, many aboard super yachts which crowd the quayside near us. The only town has grand mansions in various states of decay or renovation and is a very attractive sight on the slope behind the harbour with a large blue painted church at the centre. It’s a gem of a place, with a lively holiday scene at the moment which gives it a buzz, but also means noise at night! Last night a live concert on the waterfront was followed by music from a nearby bar, so that peace only descended at 6am. The church bells and chanting of the priest started up at 7!! However on our first evening here we caught a performance of music and folk dancing which was part of a summer festival and fun to watch. Lindsay has enjoyed several good swims off a minute beach just around the waterfront which gives access to a sort of lagoon of shallow water which stretches right over to the little islands which give the port its shelter. All in all it’s one of those wonderful places you never knew existed till you find it on your route and is one of the joys of sailing. After this, we will probably give Chios a miss apart from an anchorage at the southern end. Next proper stop will be Samos where there seems more of interest to tempt us to linger a while.
Dancers from Thessaloniki at Friday night’s festival: