Santorini

36:20.19N 25:26.05E
 
Monday 5th October 2009
 
Up early for the 50 nmiles or so to Santorini - the island we really want to see.  Started to pull up the anchor just after 7 a.m. and it soon became clear that someone had laid theirs over our line.  Fortunately the water was clear and not very deep so we could see the problem - unfortunately it was a double whammy - not only did we have a chain over our line, but that chain also had a chain over it.  We had lifted an anchor off the bottom, but it was apparent that we couldn't sort it out from above, so Steve donned his mask and dived down to assess the problem.  The water was about 4 metres deep, and he was able to get down to the bottom, but couldn't spend much time down there before running out of breath.  To add to the difficulty, there was nobody on the boats that owned the anchors so they couldn't let off their chains to take the strain off.
 
Steve made a series of dives in which he managed to lift and move one chain, and then lift the offending anchor over our line and drop it back on the bottom.  Luckily he was able to get us free, though he was absolutely knackered from the effort.  We are not perfect when laying our anchor, by any means, but these idiots had laid theirs at a ridiculous angle to get them over the top of ours.  One of the joys of sailing in the Med it seems.
 
Anyway, 40 minutes after beginning to raise the anchor, we finally had it on board and set off for Santorini.  The wind had come round to the North, but it was light, and the big swell still coming from the south after several days of Southerly winds kept stopping us in our tracks when we tried to sail.  So we ended up motoring most of the 54 nmiles.
 
It was well worth the effort, though, as we entered the caldera and the awesome sight of the sheer cliffs came into view, topped by the white houses of the towns that seem to cling to their tops. 
 
            
Entering the caldera                                                                        Sheer cliffs with towns on the top
 
Having feasted our eyes on the wonderful views from sea level, we passed on through the caldera and out through an opening in the south of the island and made our way along the south coast to Vlikada on the south eastern tip.  As we made our way along the coast, it was amazing to see the different types of rock that make up the island.
 
           
                                           
Tomorrow, we will catch the bus into Fira, the main town, to see the caldera from a different perspective!