Going Where the Wind Takes You
09 September 2019 | Marini, Lemnos - 8,123 NM
Lorraine Chapman | Hot and Windy
Sigri is very interesting as it's the site of a petrified forest created millions of years ago by a volcanic action. We visited the museum in the spring and discovered they ran boat trips to the island just offshore where there are lots of examples but it hadn't started running yet. We thought we would be able to go this time - but no, it's too windy! Never mind there is a park with more examples on the hill a short walk from town and so off we went - closed! But it does apparently open on Wednesday (this was Monday). Never mind it was a nice walk which we finished with a walk around the very pretty village, a drink in the bar overlooking the bay and a swim. We finished the day with one of those perfect evenings which is what our life style is all about - we sat in the cockpit with a nice dinner and a glass of wine as the sun set over the island and the stars all come out while listening to Pink Floyd. So peaceful, stunning.
Day 2 in Sigri was very hard - sat on sun beds on the beach which was more sheltered from the wind. We did manage to solve a mystery from the spring though. While sailing along this coast we heard a huge explosion making Freya shake and us run around looking for damage and wondering what had happened - apparently nothing! While sitting on the beach it happened again making all the happy sunbathers jump and sit up. It was a sonic boom as a Greek fighter jet broke the sound barrier and was amazingly loud. Mystery solved. The day finished perfectly again.
On our second attempt the Geopark with the petrified trees was open. There were a couple of amazing specimens - the root and base of a laurel with a 16 metre circumference, just imagine how tall that would've been and a 14 metre trunk on the beach going out to sea. There were lots of tree bases all looking very similar but it did give more of an impression of the original setting being a vast forest. Really interesting and worth the walk up hill and the 2 euro entry fee. A shopping trip followed which is very limited in Sigri. We found a very small fruit & veg shop which amazingly had most of what we wanted plus a mini-market - sorted for a few more days. After lunch in our usual bar, where they kindly let us fill our water carriers, we headed back to the boat for a relaxing afternoon of reading, painting and swimming. It's the first time I've looked at Freya's bottom this trip and have never seen her so dirty - not weed but a complete, hard covering of crust! Just as well she's coming out in a November. Finally, another of those perfect evenings.
Our final day in Sigri and we went for a walk north around the coast. They're doing a lot of building on the harbour and so it's very dusty but we followed the road around the bay stopping to watch windsurfers enjoying the breeze and then a little inland where we climbed the steps to a pretty little white church with stunning views over the islands, bay and Sigri. As it was our last night we thought dinner out was called for.
In the morning we were up early, lifting the anchor at 7.00 am. We motored out of the bay setting the sails as we left the narrow north channel. For the first half an hour we had a lovely sail at 5 knots in a flat sea but then the sea began to build and the wind went further forward until we were in a very rough sea and fighting to keep to course close-hauled. We realised that if we came off the wind a bit we would arrive on the island of Agios Efstratios and have a more comfortable sail. Good plan but unfortunately the wind moved further round again and so we ended up in the same situation. The journey was 51 miles which we did in 8.5 hours sailing all the way but we were exhausted when we arrived in the pretty little port and discovered all the sheltered berths full! We ended up mooring on the outside of the fishing harbour which was still inside the breakwater but there was a really uncomfortable swell making us roll and the lines snatch. We couldn't be bothered to cook and so had a wander around the very small, pretty village and enjoyed a delicious dinner before realising all the rolling and noisy lines were not enough to keep us awake!
Agios Efstratios is a tiny island, just 5 miles long and 3 miles wide at its widest point and has a population of just 300. It's very brown and barren with little to offer other than the port but we explored further in the morning finding an amazingly well stocked little shop and a small Democracy museum, as this was one of the islands where political prisoners were imprisoned until as late as 1964! Interesting. Later in the day we walked up the hill overlooking the harbour and village to explore the ruined castle - which turned out not to be a ruined castle at all but the remains of a very grand church with marble pillars and floors destroyed in the earthquake of 1968 and surrounded by the ruined village which had been largely rebuilt in the valley below.
We left the next morning and did a very bumpy motor sail into the wind for 24 miles. Very uncomfortable! But now we're moored on the quay in Mirinas, Lemnos.