VI - The Cyclades, Anàfi, Thira, and Folègandros.
To view our previous log entries please use the following link:
V - The Dodecanese, Tilos & Astipálaia.
To view our next log entries please use the following link:
VII - The Peloponnese.
Log Entry Monday 13th July - A possible sign to the end of the blasted winds!
Our on board weather system is telling us that the winds are due to drop, a small fishing boat is out also, a further good sign. We again had little sleep last night, mainly due to the strength of the gusts, we could not measure them but I describe what we did experience to give you some idea of the strength they held.
Around mid-day the wind peaked as did the gusts, we were down below watching a movie, the anchor drag alarm sounded! We climbed on deck to find we had indeed dragged our anchor, it had appeared to have reset itself, probably in weed. Still, no problem we battled the gusts, Ann retrieved our anchor, covered in weed so our thoughts were confirmed - another 150m and we would have been on the rocks. We moved to the centre of the bay and reset our anchor, again in sand but increased the amount of chain we put out by 50%. That was no issue either as there was only one other yacht at anchor and we were well clear. I made a cupper, and as we sat in the gusts evaluating our new setting I saw the gust coming over the water blowing the water off the tops of the waves in it's path. Our dinghy was along side Sailaway, as it hit our beam, the dinghy, outboard engine and all was levitated by it's strength. The dinghy was raised and held it's horizontal position to about 1.5m above the water line, higher that our hull and guard rails. The stern of the dinghy then bounced off our rear framework holding our panels etc and fell back into the water - wow!
We re secured the dinghy as so the same happing could not be repeated, I checked the manufactures catalogues for weights, the dinghy (37kg) and the outboard engine 12kg. A total of 49kg plus 6m of stainless security chain, padlocks too, had easily been levitated (1.5m) by the gust.
Well the "happening" impressed me if no one else!
Log Entry Saturday 11th July - I am glad we quite like Karavostási?
We have unfortunately a "Wind" Data Card for our mobile, we should be able to use it for internet - No! It is absolutely worthless, it has only worked properly on two of the six islands we have tried, then only periodically. It was bought on Simi, as the Vodafone shop had closed down, so it was our only option, it worked great until we left the capital (3G Capabilities). There have been no shops to replace it on any of the islands so, for weather etc we have to use local Wifi, cafes etc. After updating today we find we will probably be sat here for a couple more days, the winds have blown strong plus for two days and nights, nonstop. We have become quite friendly with one of the families that run one of the beach bars we frequent for internet. The strength of the signal, nor any others is too weak to pick up from Sailaway so we have to come ashore, we do have on board weather data but only periodic due to terrain?
The wind and it's effects was clearly anticipated by the locals, all the small craft in the harbour are tightly rafted together. Our next step is 100 mile trip to land on the Peloponnese, we are done with the islands, we had thought about Milos, but changed our minds.
Log Entry Friday 10th July - We quite like Karavostási!
Here we sit in a lovely bay, typically Greek as we would say, the water beneath us is a beautiful, clean blue, it's bottom sand, broken with weed, our anchor sits clearly visible in sand.
The town is very small, only one shop but several Tervernas, the people are helpful and friendly, I feel I have began to say that about every town on the Greek Islands we have visited, Folègandros, being our sixth!
The harbour area, around which the town is build is relatively busy, two to three of the larger ferries visit daily.
Unfortunately as in lots of places, the developers have moved in and built a complex of Studio Apartments available for rent - they blend in well with the Greek "Blue and White?"
Log Entry Thursday 9th July - We explore the Volcanic Island of Thira, then make for Nisos Folègandros to the Northwest.
The island of Thira, or Santorini as some know it by, is the remains of an old, giant volcano. Thira is in the shape of a half moon, the centre being flooded with water. To the northwest Nisos Thirasia is another set or remains from this large crater approximately six miles in diameter. The landscape is very varied and fertile, it is said to support stories of vampires and ghostly figures that haunt the island at night. The crater is not yacht friendly due to depths and cliff faces, available berths are said to be guarded by the trip boats. Our plan is to take Sailaway around the circumference of the crater, if we are unable to find a berth then we will move on to our next stop on Folègandros.
We wake and sort ourselves out to leave, we had been joined by four other vessels during some stage of the night, we have our first sighting of a British flagged Turkish gullet.
We follow the coastline, which is scattered with resorts, often separated with derelict, what appear as industrial, aggregate plants, some have been converted into resort buildings, or Tavernas. There must have been a large industry here at one time based on the minerals available. A lot of the building are made with local materials of coarse, but they lack the bright finishing you would expect - the whites and blues typical to what we have seen elsewhere, giving them a dull and miserable appearance?
The colours of the minerals vary and can be made out in layers, built up over the centuries. Consequently, it almost appears that different colour beaches are available?
It is easy to pick out the black volcanic rock and ash.
We round the point, Ak. Akotiri, making a large circle to allow a large fast ferry to do so before us, as we round we see Nisos Thirasia and to the north, in the mist, the town of Finikia on Thira. It is easy to imagine that you are indeed in the crater of a volcano.
We now have also the rush of trip and charter vessels with their cargo, all ploughing into the crater, mostly making for the centre section housing Nèa Kamméni and Nèa Palaia Kamméni, most of it too shallow for us.
The towns are visible on the crater tops, high above the waterline, inside, apart from the fast ferries are cruise liners, three of them.
The Port of Thira, once used for the shipping of minerals has now become a large busy transfer station. Small craft transfer people to and from the liners to the harbour. At one time the only available transport up the mountainous side to the town was donkeys. They are still there but complemented with a car-lift system. The number of people making the trip is enormous, but this is clearly no place for pleasure vessels.
We find large, old rusty buoys in use, far too large for our liking, we see a yacht moored to one with every fender down, we do not like that idea? It is not possible to anchor due to depth and debris under the surface, our information warns us against that too - definitely not yacht friendly.
We carry on north around the circumference, we pass a super- yacht we saw last year in Rhodos, it has neither an anchor down or tied to a buoy - I am confused as to how it remains stationary as it passengers are taken ashore?
We pass the small port of Finikia, and it is very small, a single large, rusty red buoy, two "plastic fantastics" tied to it and back to the quay, again not for us. There are a number of small buoys, with owners leaving their dinghies on as they wander off to sea. The actual town sits again high up on the top serviced by a narrow zigzagging path. Our berth was not to be, we did find one free but was chased off as it was awaiting one of the expected trip boats.
At 1300 hours we gave up and decided to leave for Folègandros, another twenty mile to the northwest!
Five hours later, we arrive in Karavostási, 0n Nisos Folégandros, we drop our anchor in the bay away from the quay and fishing craft, the water is so clear.
Log Entry Wednesday 8th July - After a day of rest yesterday, we leave Anàfi for the island of Thira.
The winds are said to be manageable for a few days then return as strong, plus, on Saturday - it changes every day, we question the reasoning behind even checking the forecast? Our plan was to use the light winds to take us west, across to Thira, we leave about 0830, raising our anchor and leave the harbour area. Within 30 minutes the engine if off, we put a reef in our mainsail as the wind strength is already a lot higher than forecast, we make good way, putting Anàfi behind us, Thira 20 miles ahead.
We soon have Thira appearing out of the morning mist, all we have to do now is keep the mind occupied!
In a few hours we cover the twenty miles and arrive on the south coast of the island. We had been told that the island was not "yacht friendly" by a number of people we had spoken too, but this section of coast does benefit from reasonably shallow depths for several hundred meters off it's coastline. The nearby Port of Vlikadah is silted up, our documentation states three meters, we need two plus, but we had met on guy who had his 1.4m keel touching the sand inside?
So, consequently we chose this stretch for anchoring, once negotiated around the broken moles a good place was found, the only issue being the rolling from the passing vessels. Once our anchor is down we relax and watch a flotilla of 18 charter/trip catamarans enter the harbour, they have no cause for concern over the shortage of depth.
As the sun began to set and the dampness fell, the water became alive again with catamarans and even paragliders - romantic moonlight view perhaps?
Log Entry Monday 6th July - Anàfi, our first sandy beaches for some time!
We rise after a reasonable nights sleep, although the winds blew strong all night providing regular disturbance during the hours of sleep. We have recently communicated to friends that the return to this lifestyle is some what of a challenge. After four years of basically being "marina rats" as I appeared to have tagged ourselves, the physical efforts and lack of sound sleep is taking it's toll, we will soon get back into the swing of it. The south side of this island is scattered with lovely, almost deserted sandy beaches, not the typical pebbles or grit.
Log Entry Tuesday 7th July - A trip ashore, Skàla Anàfi and Hora.
We are woken by a large ferry arriving about 0530, bring cars, trucks and people, the deposit and pickup of the cargo took less than twenty minutes, we were awake now, kettle on!
There is very little to Skàla Anàfi, the port, a small, lightly stocked shop, two tavernas and a number of dwelling. The usual car hire and fuel is advertised, but with telephones listed, no offices, no need I would imagine. We secure our dinghy and visit the shop, the guy is extremely helpful explaining about buses etc up to Hora, the main town high above us. There is a superb pathway all the way to the top, but not for us?
The first bus is not until 1100 hours, 1. 5 hours to kill, we sit in the larger taverna, get on the internet and catch up with "stuff!"
High above us sits Hora, peeping over the cliff top.
Across on the quay, a fisherman thrashes the ink out of a freshly catch squid, we later see the same guy in his restaurant up in Hora.
The bus arrives as scheduled, we step out of the restaurant straight onto it, the short journey up the winding lanes takes no more than 15 minutes.
We are dropped of in a small square under a derelict windmill, the square holds the towns fire tender, we see the fisherman and his squid in the restaurant in the square, he owns it. We make our way into the town, the winding roads are quite an achievement, such a height climbed, in such a short distance.
The town is bright and well maintained, it has no real roads, just narrow cobbled lanes.
At this height the views are great, Sailaway sits far down below us.
It appears as if every third property is a taverna, we select one for a long lunch, we have 2.5 hours before we return. We find the bread shop, a small store, Ann is able to purchase good fruit from a truck selling in one of the openings to the outer road.