Chris and Alison
Mon 16 Aug 2021 18:45
Well, we have been riding out the Meltemi for 4 nights so far, this will be our 5th. The anchorage is wonderful, excellent holding in sand, the anchor is well dug into the ground - we have dived down to see that it is, and Muskie is gently swinging making a smilie face on the chart plotter. The gusts are a bit unnerving at first until we were confident that the anchor was holding but they still managed to keep us awake at night, everything sounds so much worse at night. We swim round the boat and the anchor buoy twice a day for exercise and to get cool. 

I wasn’t going to write a blog until we got sailing again but today changed all that. We woke and had breakfast and were trying to decide wether or not to go back to Lavrion earlier. The problem being, that due to the weather the charter boats were all still on their berths and there might not have been room for us. Anyway, just as we decided to stay put for one more day and mend the dinghy lifting patch that was threatening to come off the next time we lifted the dinghy onto the davits, Chris exclaimed "oh dear”, I went on deck expecting to find another job to be fixed but Chris was looking towards the land where there was a small amount of smoke. As we watched, the smoke quickly turned into thick black smoke and then the flames could be seen and the sirens started. Within less than 45 minutes there was a raging fire taking hold of the surrounding hills and sending black smoke towards Lavrion. The wind at this point, although eased from what it had been, was still gusting 15 - 20 knts from the North fanning the flames and smoke with it.
Chris’s phone alarmed and there was a warning from the Government to evacuate a  town just over the hill near to our anchorage urging the residents to go to Lavrion. Very soon after that another alarm went off urging another town to evacuate. Then the sky suddenly became alive with helicopters, Sky Cranes were first on the scene, exceptional pieces of equipment with exceptional pilots to match. They scoop down to within a couple of feet of the sea, scoop up water with a hose then fly off full of water in a tank. They were all around us. We put on the radio to see of anyone was trying to contact us to say we were in the way of a major operation, but nothing was heard so we thought as the helicopters now knew we were here and could see that we were at anchor, they might prefer us to stay put. This all started at 1000am LT. The operation continued all day with finally 9 helicopters in the sky of various sorts flying over our little bay in a circular patten. Chinooks with massive buckets swinging underneath, the Sky Cranes sucking up water from the surface and a variety of other helicopters with buckets all flying in a circle above us sometimes a bit too close for comfort. The fires raged, just as we thought they had got it under control another fire would break out and they would have to break off to start again in a different place. I watched a house on the hill just opposite to us, it had a roman style red roof and through the binoculars, I could see the fire getting very close to it, then sure enough it was covered in thick smoke and that was the last I saw of it. When the smoke cleared some hours later it was not to be seen. It is now 2130 and the place is quiet again. There is just waft of white smoke between the hills but blackened hills all around. 

We will move on back to Lavrion tomorrow, stock up again and then hopefully off to Sounion chasing the charter yachts to do a bit of sight seeing.

The Sky Crane scooping up water

Chris’s emergency signal on his phone.

Another bucket being filled

The fires raging