Thursday, 8 September 2011

Back to Lakki

Katapola harbour seems to be notorious for mishaps! After our hike on Sunday we decided to have an early night. It didn't quite work out. First the water man, who had promised to come at 7, then kept promising he would be with us in ten minutes, eventually arrived at 9.15, so by the time we had filled up it was almost ten before we got to the taverna for dinner. As we were finishing dinner another charter boat, who thought it was a good idea to arrive at night, came in, looked around and managed to run hard aground. They obviously had no idea what to do, so a heroic Frenchman swam out to help them, then a dinghy and a fishing boat arrived to help them lay out a kedge, while the Port Police stood on the shore, just watching. Eventually, with a lot of tugging and rocking, they got free and the Port Policeman was picked up by the fisherman, no doubt so that he could go and write up his report. Finally the fisherman brought the shivering Frenchman back to his wife and we could all go to bed.
We left next morning about 10, but not before two other boats had struggled to get their anchors up - the ferry had laid its anchors over them and they had no chance. We heard later that it took them three hours and a diver to get free, while when the ferry left next morning it pulled up the anchor of a Danish yacht and was about to steam off with them in tow.
We motored up the coast of Amorgos, in horrible seas but not much wind, to an anchorage behind an island at Kalotiri. Until a French yacht arrived in the evening we were the only yacht there.
In the afternoon we walked up to the very well-maintained church at the end of the bay.
And in the evening we were left to ourselves once the tripper boat had taken all the visitors home from the beach.

We left early next morning for Levitha. Along the north coast of Amorgos the seas were large and confused and there was only a little wind, gusting from all directions, which made it very uncomfortable. To make matters worse the shackle fell off the mainsheet block at the deck and the boom was thrashing all over the place. Simon managed to secure it with a stopper knot, which then smashed the jamming cleat, and got another line on the boom to hold it while he sorted out the mainsheet. Then he just had to untie the stopper knot - easier said than done.
Eventually we got under way and had a great sail, broad reaching away from Amorgos with a knot of current under us, so the GPS recorded a top speed of 9.1 knots over the ground.
There were only two boats in the bay at Levitha when we arrived, but it soon filled up during the afternoon, with every mooring taken. We walked up to the taverna for a dinner of that day's catch of grey mullet, beautifully cooked.
Next morning all the other yachts were soon on their way, leaving just us and Dennis and Gwen on a Moody 336 left in the bay.
We walked up the hill to what Dennis and Gwen had told us was said to be pirate castle, but when we got there the stonework looked too sophisticated for pirates.

The family in the farm didn't know what it was, and we haven't found out any more about it on the internet, apart from a comment that it is at least Hellenistic.
We left Levitha at 7.30 on Thursday morning and got to Lakki by 11, where we went back to our familiar spot in the marina.
Now we have a week of leisurely washing, cleaning and repairing before we go to the yard to lift out at the end of next week.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

On our own again.

We spent three days in Lakki cleaning and tidying and relaxing. The sailmaker took our genoa on Friday evening and had it back by midday on Saturday, with the sacrifical strip resewn and a couple of other repairs.
We left Lakki on Sunday 28th, intending to sail to Agathonisi, but once again as soon as we got out we found the wind blowing at 25 knots from the north, so we just sailed (and motored) up to Arkhangeli, which was beautifully sheltered as always, and anchored alongside Flyer,

which was originally Flyer 2, record-breaking winner of the 1981 Whitbread Round the World Race, now converted to a fast crusing yacht ( We met her again in Amorgos a few days later, sailed on their own by a Dutch couple of a certain age - I guess it is not so difficult when everything is push-button, but docking 75 feet of boat on your own in a wind can't be easy.
We left Arkhangeli for Agathonissi on Monday with a moderate north wind and comfortable sailing. In Agathonissi we tied up to the town quay (too shallow for us to go right onto the quay) and saw our old friends (all of whom asked where Kai and Charlie had got to).
After a couple of days in Agathonissi we motored across to Arki as there was absolutely no wind (we had to drift for a bit because the fan belts needed adjusting as they were slipping - and the raw water pump is leaking so we have to pump out the bilges regularly).
In Arki we met up with John and Louise Helliwell on their Moody Grenadier. They have what looks like a beautiful villa in Turkey, which they rent when they are sailing in the summer ( We also got some photos of the flightless bird (that Jade calls a penguin) that waddles around and is the pet of one of the fishermen.
We left Arki at 7.30 on Friday morning, being undecided where we going to go. We first headed for Amorgos, but then the wind got up and we decided to head for Levitha, but then the wind dropped again so we went to Amorgos, where we tied up in Katapola at 5 in the afternoon.  We had settled in, had a nice meal ashore and were getting ready for bed at 10pm when Lin called down to Simon, come up quick. Simon put some clothes on and came up to find a Serbian-registered boat trying to come in on our starboard side, going all over the place. Their anchor dragged, so they relaid it, and it dragged again. The irate Frenchman downwind of him, on whom his boat was lying, persuaded him to reanchor again, which he finally succeeded in doing, now lying on our port side. Everything now seemed fine. But then their Russian-crewed sister boat arrived (it turned out that both boats were owned and chartered by the same skipper, who himself was barely competent) and came in on our starboard side. They too dragged, relaid and dragged again, at last holding. Meanwhile the first boat was also dragging again so they came out to relay. They managed to hook their anchor on our chain, then wrap our anchor chain around their keel and rudder, spin round so that they were bows on to the quay. Simon dropped all our chain to free them, while Lin got the engine started and the by now large crowd on the shore helped to fend us off. They eventually got free, went out and dropped their anchor and dragged it all the way in. They would not believe Simon when he told them their anchor was not dug in, until they had ground away on the windlass and brought the anchor right up. They tried to reanchor again (with the skipper having transferred from the other boat) and again failed to dig it in, but we just hoped that the weight of the (thin) chain and the weedy kedge that they laid would hold them and we all got to bed at 1.30 am (next morning they moved off and managed to get their anchor in the second time further up the quay). The two boats eventually left in the afternoon in a Force 6 northerly for Santorini, the last place in the world you would try to moor in the dark with an incompetent crew.

On Saturday morning we walked up to the ancient site of Minoa, partially excavated and reputedly the summer palace and burial place of King Minos. There is an imposing entrance gate

and cyclopean walls

and it was well worth the hot stiff climb for the views. As we came round to the seaward side we looked down to see a German charter crew bumping into our boat on their way in, so we took a picture in case we needed it for the insurance.

When we got down we discreetly examined the boat and no damage was done!
On Sunday we took the bus across the island to the monastry of Panagia Hozoviotissa, which was built into the cliffs on the south side of Amorgos in 1088. It was a hot steep climb up the steps from the bus stop,

but the monastry was very impressive from the outside

and very cramped inside

We had planned to spend some time on the beach in the little cove, Agia Anna, below the monastry.

We walked down there along the road, but the katabatic wind was blowing about 35 knots, so decided instead to take the bus back to the Hora

and have some lunch
before getting the bus back to Katapola.