Moving west

Dick and Irene Craig
Mon 11 Aug 2008 12:22

As we left the bay at Pedhi, in Simi, we passed a huge rock, not shown on our charts. It was at least 4 metres above the water and 10 metres in diameter. We passed the rock during the day, in perfect visibility. We would not have seen it at night, unless there had been a full moon.

A fisherman, in a wooden rowing boat, pulled on the line which was dangling rod-less, in the water next to his boat. He unhooked a large fish and put it in his bucket.

Looking in the ships log I am reminded that we were at Panormittis, “monastery bay”, on September 5th last, en-route to Turkey. This is a bay within a bay and gives the impression that it is an inland lake. The abbey, standing just back from the waters edge, faces the gap between the hills through which we sailed, into the inner bay.

We are anchored in 2-3 metres and the bottom is covered in weed, resembling clumps of grass, pretending to be a flooded meadow. There are just a few boats anchored here. Occasionally a ferry arrives and deposits its passengers on the jetty, located on the other side of the bay, far enough away from the boats at anchor, not to be invasive.

There was a heavy dew on the boat this morning, threatening a change in the weather. We are expecting some fierce winds on Thursday or Friday, blowing down from the Cyclades but we still plan to move in that direction tomorrow. The temperature is already down from around 37 degrees during the afternoon, to 32degrees.

2 years ago today, August 4th, we took delivery of our catamaran. It doesn’t seem that we have had her that long, probably because the commissioning took the rest of the season and we didn’t start to use her in earnest, until May last year. It is odd therefore, and quite contradictory, that although we only left Plymouth on June 3rd, last year, it seems that must have been at least 5 years ago.

Just before 7.30am, we left Simi and made our way to Nisiros. We are attempting to move northwards as we travel west to the Peloponees, in the belief that the strong winds from the north east, will help us to get round the corner, when we start to move south west.

En-route to Nisiros, we passed very closely, travelling in the opposite direction, a beautiful, white, 4 masted, 438 foot sailing boat, presumably a cruise ship, which we had last seen in a harbour, in Rhodes. It is strange that we can travel for hours without seeing another boat and then when we do, it tries to get into bed with us.

When we visited the small marina at Palon, Nisiros at the beginning of last September, it was dirty and we had a nasty experience with rope round our propellers, rope hooked round the anchor and the rudder resting on a rock. The whole place has since been smartened up with a new wall and metal loops on which to tie our lines. The dredger, which had been in action when we were last there, had finished its job and moved elsewhere. The businesses, which had previously been at the waters-edge, were no longer there. The small boats had all moved to a shallower part of the marina, adjacent to the land with its natural incline. Although it was still necessary to drop an anchor, the whole experience on this occasion was most pleasurable. We stayed for 2 nights at Palon leaving at 6.30am to continue our travels.

The sea was flat calm when we left the marina but within half an hour we were sailing and managed to do so all the way to Astipalaia. The weather forecast, which we had checked the previous evening, was force 4 and we expected to be able to sail on a beam reach. By 9am the force 4 had become a force 6 and more close reach than beam reach, in a confused sea. However, we had known that strong winds were coming down from the Cyclades on this afternoon and were pleased that we reached our anchorage in the land locked inlet at Vathi before the wind strengthened.

Since leaving Turkey on the 30th July, the temperature has dropped by 10 degrees. This is probably due to the strong winds that we have been experiencing, making it more comfortable to sleep at night. However, on land, just a few hundred metres from where we are at anchor, protected from the wind, it is still much hotter.

The wind decreased as forecast, so on Sunday morning we lifted the anchor and moved out of the inlet at Vathi. As we left the shelter of the inlet last year and moved into the bay, we were quite unexpectedly attacked by big seas and strong winds. This year we were ready for the onslaught which didn’t happen.

We proceeded to the south of the island, the sails goose-winged, and the wind blowing no more than 6 knots, from behind us. We dropped our anchor in Maltezana bay and swam off the boat in clear blue water.

Late afternoon, the barometer dropped 8 bars. We were astounded having never experienced an instant drop of such magnitude. Within a few minutes, the barometer rose by 3 bars and an hour later by a further 3 bars. This was either warning us of a severe gale or the batteries in the barometer needed changing. As light winds were forecast for the next few days, we decided to check out the batteries.

It was dark when we left the taverna and returned to the boat in our rib, in flat seas. We had hardly boarded the boat when the wind hit us at 30knots and it was still blowing Monday morning. I don’t think we will be moving from this anchorage for a day or two.

The pink mini-mouse shoes which featured in the last blog have been demoted and my discarded boat shoes are back in use. Unfortunately, the new shoes are no better than being bare-footed when it comes to keeping the boat clean and, as I am usually the person who cleans the boat, you will understand my decision to resurrect the other shoes.


Below, the beautiful white sailing ship looking just like a model ship