Wed 12 Sep 2007 21:44
FRIDAY 7 SEPTEMBER 2007                                                                THIRA POSITION      36:24.70N    25:25.53E
Left Astipalaia heading for the volcanic island of Thira (also known as Santorini) ... What can we say about today ??  Well, we left at 06.50hrs, and we finally grabbed hold of a mooring at Thira at 01.00 on Saturday morning...   We headed straight into a westerly wind, which strengthened all day, and turned into a force 8 gale.  We were on the way to meet our friends, Stu & Beccs, who were delayed on their ferry due to bad weather (sailing the same way as us!), they couldn't get off the ferry for an hour because of the rough conditions ..   Back on Lady Liv, waves were crashing over the bow and landing on us in the cockpit, and we donned foul weather gear (and shorts) and rode the large rolling waves.   We sailed most of the morning and early afternoon, and then motorsailed  to help keep the boat moving in the right direction (!).  The engine stopped a couple of times, but thankfully restarted, but  we headed into the volcanic crater towards our anticipated mooring as it was getting dark - then the fun really began !   At  19.30 we were looking for a mooring, but apart from the fact that all the huge mooring buoys (some unlit, very dodgy) were taken by cruise ships or other boats, the waves were crashing into the 1000' sheer rock cliffs that formed most of the harbour and it was not possible to moor safely, also anchoring was not possible as the sea was 98 metres deep just off the harbour.  By this time it was completely dark, and we were circling the channel outside the harbour trying to raise the coastguard to ask for assistance in finding a mooring..... five hours later, and the Greek authorities not answering the Ch16 messages we were sending, Stu & Beccs managed to get hold of the Port Police who relayed the co-ordinates of two huge cruise ship mooring buoys that had become free - we decided that we had no choice  but to try and manoevre close enough to put a line on so that we could at least stop circling up and down... With a combination of Bob's incredible manoevring and M's courage and dexterity in securing a line, we were attached !!   Engine off, bar open for a very much needed G&T, and the alarm put on every two hours to check the security of the lines as we were only about 50' from the sheer rock face and waves crashing into it !