Steni Vala, Alonnisos

39:11.52N 23:55.5E
 
Thursday 7th July 2009
 
After a peaceful night we lifted the anchor and set off for Steni Vala on the next island, Alonnisos.  This meant we would be entering the area covered by the National Marine Park of the Northern Sporades and we were hoping to see some dolphins.  This would be the longest sail of Kerrie and Lee's trip, about 20 miles or so.  Wind was light, but we hoisted the sails and soon it came round behind us, so we put up the twin headsails.  Steering with these up is a delicate matter, as you have to keep both sails full by keeping the wind more or less directly from behind, but Kerrie did a brilliant job, soon working out how to steer to coax the wind into a sail that has backed. 
 
Before long we turned the corner and had the wind on the beam, and had a lovely sail along the coast to Steni Vala.  No dolphins, unfortunately, but there's still time.
 
We tied up bows to the quayside, and then found that the echo sounder said we had 0 metres of water below the keel.  Although we were still afloat, this meant that any amount of swell or wash would have us bumping the bottom, so we came off and moved further up the quay.  Still only 0.4 metres off the bottom, but enough to keep us off in a swell, so we settled here for the night. 
 
We took the rib round the little headland to a neighbouring cove, and swam off the beach.  The view from here was beautiful and we spent a couple of hours just lazing and swimming.  Lee went snorkelling and found the day's treasure - a tiny hermit crab.
 
                                              
The view from the cove next to Steni Vala                                                                            Harry the hermit crab wondering where the hell he is!
 
Lee wanted to try driving the rib, so Kerrie and I elected to walk back to the boat along the path between the tavernas, and left the boys to play. 
 
That evening we ate out at one of the tavernas on the quayside and watched the sun go down over the neighbouring island.
 
Steni Vala is a lovely spot, but depths off the quay are very shallow, so bows to is a must, and anyone with more than our 1.8 draught would need to be very cautious when coming in.  The pilot says there are old mooring chains there, but we looked hard for them, having already come a cropper once, and we couldn't see any.  The water is shallow and clear and we could see the bottom, but no chains.  Maybe they have removed them??