Short week

Dick and Irene Craig
Sat 30 Aug 2008 09:57

Before we leave the town quay at Ios, we are able to access Wifi which enables us to send and receive our emails as well as sending off the latest blog. Although we have an aerial which permits us to connect to a variety of networks within a five mile area, this only works when there are Wifi networks available. We received an email from our agent in Spain. Apparently the pump which services the swimming pool is making a dreadful noise and is on the way out. We have to give instructions for it to be replaced.

Very strong winds in the Aegean are forecast for Wednesday until the end of the week so on Tuesday we leave Ios and make our way to Kimolos, right next to the island of Milos. We had initially planned to visit 2 other islands en-route but the pilot guide stated that the anchorages were exposed to the meltemi so bearing in mind the weather-forecast, we decided to give them a miss.

The wind was very slight when we left the town quay at Ios but nonetheless we managed to sail most of the 36 miles to the Pirgonisi anchorage ,with the wind blowing no more than force 3 to 4. For an hour, we were travelling on a broad reach so we raised the cruising-shute, a sail we haven’t used for quite some time.

As we neared the bay where we were planning to anchor, we were close hauled, the wind was blowing 26 knots and we were rushing along. Well, we proceeded at up to 9.5 knots which seems like rushing when you have a sail boat. We sailed into the bay which didn’t look as if it had much cover though the pilot book said that it provided excellent shelter. White horses danced right up to the shore. In a previous life I wouldn’t even have contemplated staying here in these conditions, but we have sailed a lot of miles using Heilkell so we took him on trust and dropped an anchor, putting out masses of chain in readiness for the meltemi.

The wind was blowing force 6 as we anchored while 2 miles away, it was only blowing force 4. I hate to think what it will be like when the strong wind arrives.

As we sat in the cockpit eating lunch, apart from the howling wind, it was difficult to realise that the wind was blowing force 6. It became very apparent however, when we later went up to the fly-bridge to cover up the navigation instruments and the seating, for the night.

Other boats came and went though more stayed at anchor than having to endure the meltemi, blowing force 8 and greater as the topology of the various islands invariably increased the wind strength by another 10 knots. At no time were there any more than half a dozen boats in this anchorage although there was room for very many more. Some of the boats which didn’t stay must have had deadlines to meet. Perhaps the charter boats had to be returned and there was no time to linger. A catamaran anchored nearby for several hours, then raised the mainsail with 3 reefs set and battled into the wind. It wasn’t really too smart to be out there unless it really was essential.

After 3 nights at Pirgonisi, we woke to a flat sea and wind blowing force 3 to 4. We ate breakfast, prepared the boat, raised the mainsail, pulled up the anchor and we were away, sailing for nearly an hour before the wind dropped completely and we had to switch on the engines. Thus we arrived at Adhamas, located on the northern shore of the huge natural harbour of Ormos Milou, Milos, where we dropped an anchor and tied up stern to the concrete pontoon, with a cross wind trying, but failing, to blow us onto a Lagoon 380 catamaran.

We declined the water and electricity provided as we had full tanks and full batteries. We declined the diesel as we had filled up while we were at Ios town. A man arrived with a basket of figs and a few small, red grapes but when he told me he wanted 6.5 euros for 6 end of season figs, I declined his offer. I had been offered a kilo of figs for just 4 euros when we were at Skala on the 12th of August ..

This is the island where the Venus de Milo was found by a farmer, in the late 19th century. She had the full complement of arms at the time. However, during the subsequent debacle between the French, who had purchased her, and the Sultan, who had stolen her and put the statue on a ship bound for Istanbul, the statue lost her arms.

As I sit here in the sunshine, writing this blog, a mono-hull reverses towards the concrete pontoon. Whoops! It crashed into the concrete pontoon. Glad it isn’t my boat. They probably think the same, as it is a charter boat.

We hope to leave here tomorrow or Sunday but will check the latest weather forecast before we make our final decision. It is an 80 mile passage and to ensure we leave here in daylight, lots of volcanic rocks in the sea, and arrive in daylight, we will commence the journey mid afternoon.

As we check the forecast for the new few days, it looks as if the weather will be most suitable for us to depart Milos late afternoon today, Saturday. We will eat our main meal at lunchtime which gives us more flexibility later when we can eat sandwiches or rolls at times to suit.

I am astonished, as I mop the dew from the decks, how many boats are departing this harbour with around 16 people on board, with hardly enough sitting room for them all. It cannot be comfortable to be so crowded together. Cest la vie