Be careful what you wish for!
25 May 2018 | Naxos - 6,988 NM
Very Windy, but Warm
After a really peaceful night in our anchorage the Meltemi was still blowing in the morning. Mykonos was only 5 miles away and had a sheltered marina and so we bit the bullet and off we went. As soon as we left the bay we were being soaked by the waves as we crashed through them. It took 1.5 hours to do the 5 miles! When we arrived in the marina, dodging ferries and cruise ships as we went, the sea flattened but the wind was still around 30knts - this would be interesting. There was a berth we could get into relatively easily and the harbour master was waving at us from there and so we got ready and went for it but no, he didn't want us in that one and waved us to one tucked away in a corner. Freya really doesn't like reversing at the best of times and we knew that if we turned to have the wind beam-on we were lost and would never be able to get her stern back into the wind. There was a lot of waving and shouting and in the end we decided we'd have to go for a slightly easier birth further out and hope he'd get the message. Fortunately he did although he clearly didn't understand! Phew, welcome to Mykonos.
After recovering from our soaking, joggling and stressful mooring we got the water bus into Mykonos. It is beautiful if a bit too manicured - an old town with lots of white houses, blue doors and windows, winding narrow streets. It's easy to see why it became so popular, but popular it is, packed with the passengers of 4 cruise ships that day exploring its expensive boutiques lined up with the tourist tack. And all very expensive. After a gyros dinner we walked the mile or so back to the marina and got totally blasted by the wind and dust!
On an island between Rhinia and Mykonos is the ancient city of Delos. You can anchor there during the day to visit but given that it's very exposed, and so with the strong winds, we decided to take the tripper boat which left from Mykonos harbour. It was chaos there when we arrived with all today's cruise ship passengers being shuttled ashore and stopping in the middle of everything for photo stops - arghhh. Anyway, we got there and Delos was fascinating. It's 3-4 thousand years old starting with the Mycenae and becoming very cosmopolitan including an Italian quarter and an Arab quarter. We found it really interesting because although the temples, and there were lots, were not in great condition the streets, houses and shops were clear and it was easy to imagine people living here and imagine the splendour of the villas with their mosaic floors. It's also huge showing how important it was occupying the centre of the Med and controlling trade. We got back to Freya feeling totally battered by the wind again but a great day.
The wind feels relentless, every time you venture outside you get blasted and when inside it's howling through the rigging and joggling you around. The boat is filthy inside and out from the dust and salt blowing around. Wednesday was forecast to be a little less windy and so we decided to make a run for it and head south where it was a bit calmer. Paul fell out with the harbour master as our water, which we'd paid for didn't work and he said we'd used it. Paul became very Greek and in the end we got our water but it all took ages and the wind wasn't getting better but now we were definitely going! With the wind behind us at about 28knts we flew out of our berth once the lines were released and just made the turn before hitting the pontoon opposite or getting tangled in all the lazy lines. Phew! Once out of the bay we turned south, reefed the Genoa and had a wonderful downwind sail all the way to Paros. The further south we went the calmer the sea became and all was good again. On the way we had a very close call with a very big, very fast ferry bearing down on us and heading our way. We watched as he got closer, his huge engines getting louder and realised he hadn't seen us! Engine on very quickly and a quick jibe just got us out of the way in time! But he clearly hadn't seen us and would've gone straight through us without even noticing. We wished we had a photo as he passed so close and we were tossed around in his wake. Anyway back to our peaceful downwind sail.......
We anchored off Parokia, the capital of Paros, which is very sheltered but the wind dropped and so it didn't matter. Parokia was lovely - another old town with white houses, windy streets etc. They are all beautiful and we still love wandering around them but there really isn't anything thing else to say about them. They are very Greek and gorgeous.
Leaving the bay in the morning we saw a turtle raise it's head a few times, very special. We motored around the north of the island in zero wind spotting a dolphin on the way, also special, and to our destination Naxos. We anchored behind the breakwater and set to cleaning the dust and salt from the boat.
A few hours after we arrived, a charter boat crewed by Americans anchored in front of us. They felt a little close but we thought it was OK. Feeling very virtuous after our hard work, we had a relaxing evening while waiting for more wind in the morning. It didn't disappoint!
In the morning, in the heavy winds the Americans were now even closer, so we let some chain out to increase the distance between us. All OK we thought. However while we were eating our breakfast we noticed they were awfully close again, their anchor must have slipped and then reset itself. The American crew had gone ashore, so we pondered for a bit and felt uncomfortable enough not to leave Freya. After a bit more pondering we decided to move.
Raising the anchor would mean getting alongside and quite close to them, so out went the fenders and we went for it. We almost had the anchor up, but then the charter boat gently swang into us, the fenders did their job but our flagpole hit their stern and was slightly damaged. Anyway we got the anchor up and dropped it again further inside the breakwater, where there was now space after a few boats had left. A few minutes later the flagpole was repaired and our position further inside the breakwater was much calmer than the one we just left. Minor crisis (at least in Paul's head) over.
We decided to spend the rest of the morning onboard until the Americans returned just in case anything else went wrong...