Vathi, Nisos Astipalia 36:37.1N 26:23.7E

Sue & Alan
Mon 2 May 2016 12:41
Early start yesterday, rubbish to bin, tanks to top-up to full, electricity off, lines ready to skip and passerelle stowed. It's noticeable how everything seems much noisier in the early hours of the morning when everyone else is horizontal makin' zzzz's? It also takes us lot longer to detach ourselves from dirt when moored-up to it. Like when on hook we can be up and away within minutes. Yesterday it took us nearly 1½ hours because we needed to shower before topping-up water tanks (made sense) and even when we'd slipped stern lines we still had 80m chain to get up in a fairly strong wind, not to mention 14 fenders to stow properly! We were underway negotiating the shallow entrance by half seven. The 2.5m depth we saw coming in reduced to 2.3m going out and given, we draw 2.23m draught we didn't have a lorra space between our keel and dirt, just enough.
Under sail almost soon as we were clear of the harbour we'd left and the favourable forecast winds, NNW F4, were in compliance and we were very happy with 45NM or so to run over the next few hours of what was left of the morning and early part of the afternoon. As we cleared the influence of Kos landmas, to our N, the sea became little more boisterous and the wind picked-up a little. The F4 increased to F5 so  "Time to put bit of a reef in the main for a while" me thinks. By late morning we started seeing some 'orrible seas 'on the nose and all the signs were there for more wind to come......... and it soddin' did. Now seeing 'bow-bashing swell + waves + strong F6 backing from NNW to NW up to 30kn close hauling does not make My Lover a happy bunny. Specially when I chose to go below and check the steering gear (which is absolutely fine) leaving Sue 'home alone' in the cockpit for few minutes when it was about to become tadge more exciting. When I re-entered the cockpit to "'I think it's time to put another reef in the main" it was a good suggestion. Indeed, it soon became time to be close-hauling with a good two+ reefs in main and a deep reef in the jib too, leaving just enough canvas out to enable us to keep our momentum as the waves wash our foredeck, cabtop, leeward side-deck and sprayhood. All very pleasant as we maintained mostly 6kn beating towards our destination and prevailing winds, now firmly established F6 'on the nose' for our desired course over ground. We needed to round the N coastline and headland of Astipalias N 'wing' (a nasty looking lee-shore with tons of white-water breaking waves trying to clay their way up the cliffs) so stayed a good mile off. Some excitement when I noticed the fishing rod twitching madly. Me thinks "Squiddy's picked a good time to get eaten" and Sue had already mentioned this not being a good time to be fishing anyway? Whilst paying attention to both the fishing rod as well sailing the yacht (who says men can't multitask when we have to?) Squiddy's predicament soon became clear. Aerial bombardment! There was an overly zealous greedy seagull hovering ans swooping wanting to devour our good-lookin' squiddy. Bit sad really 'cause neither of us fancy seagull and chips and want to keep squiddy fit as a fiddle for when the fish get hungry again. With more than one thing to think about at same time it was necessary to get rid of a job so squiddy did a rapid exit from under the nose of the seagull and is saved for next time. The seagull if probably tellin' it's mates how it nearly caught the most crafty fish in the water 'cause every time it left flight and plunged into the water, talons and beak at the ready, it stopped suddenly and squiddy just squirted away at 6-7kn or more. Ultimately our gradual changes in course, turning more to port each time, gave us chance to enjoy conditions beam-reaching then running with the wind, until eventually we could enjoy just a single jibe to bring Ticketeeboo in the shadow of a lorra dirt to let us furl sails in more gental conditions. We're now on hook in same spot as last time. We haven't been ashore this time yet to visit Arkwrights equivalent of a Greek taverna (which is a great place to enjoy some traditional grub-of-the-day) and we were in bed until well after 10 this morning. We needed the sleep.
Today is positively overcast and looks like light rain from time to time Tomorrow promises some strong'ish W'ly winds, reducing next day (Wednesday). We have to decide whether to stay put or move because chances are from Thursday afternoon 'till Sunday morning it looks like 'orrible N'ly winds, possibly gales and we don't wanna be exposed to 'em if we can stay tucked-up somewhere nice.
There's a lorra gaots hear. We hear their bells clankin' regularly. It's a pleasant sound to wake up to. We've got lots water and have devised a stratagem to keep the beers cool and butter hard and are gettin' used to life afloat in the absence of making our own water and having chilled water, cold enough to make the teeth chatter and mouth implode when the fridge was working properly......... long time ago? Hopefully a temporary disposition for time being.
Love to J,R,S,F and M,P,S & T xxxx