Storm Bound in Astipalea

Fri 6 May 2011 14:01
36:37.15N 26:23.72E
Today, 6 May 2011.  Storm bound in Vathy, Astipalea.  We could not have a more secure and sheltered anchorage and are lying in this enclosed bay in company with just one other yacht, the Dingo, which has a Dutch couple on board together with their three young children.  They are completing their circumnavigation after five years away from Holland.  Ashore there is very little, just the the taverna Calini, but the surrounding hills have majesty and beauty in spite of their somewhat desolate appearance.
But to turn to the start of the story .... I arrived in Marmaris on 14 April to oversee the relaunch of Lovesail and to prepare her for cruising, starting 1 May.  Lots of good work had been done by Christian and his team but as usual there remained much to be done.  Unfortunately the new wind generator â AirBreeze, made in USA â appeared to have a fault so it was returned to the supplier.  They were unable to remedy the fault before our departure so we took our money back and Iâve now ordered a new one in the UK which I can collect in June and then fit on board. Elizabeth then arrived on 27 April, just in time for the royal wedding which we watched in the English pub at Netsel marina.  Last minute jobs completed just in time before Nic and Monica joined us on 30 April allowing us to cast off as planned in 1 May, exactly three years after we sailed out of Venice on our first journey.  After a little motoring we picked up a following wind and up went the spinnaker.  Breeze picked up and before long we were making good speed for Symi where we anchored at Panormitis. Next day we went to town and completed the clear-in formalities.  A bit of a problem getting back to Panormitis as the the bus wouldnât start.  This was resolved by jumping in the back of a pick-up truck for the mountain ride.  Whoopee!
Next day another comfortable sail to Nisiros â the volcano island â but had to contend with docking in quite a fierce cross wind.  Two attempts were required since our anchor dragged the first time.  Skipper and crew did a good job and no panics and no damage.  Windy night in port with horrible gritty dust (from the pumice quarries) so it was a relief to slip the next morning in breezy conditions, although forecast was for wind to die down.  Wrong again.  Force 5/6 for much of the way, eventually dropping to 4/5.  Lovesail enjoyed it but others found it a bit uncomfortable.  Given the dubious outlook we chose to head for Vathy rather than the main town (Hora) in order to be sure of a secure place to sit out the meltemi.  Although the wind failed to arrive on Thursday, itâs set in today, Friday, and we are very glad to be where we are.  We could be here for another couple of days but that should give us the chance to explore the island by land.
Next stop, Anafi, en route for Thira (Santorini).

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