Current Cruise - 11 Sinthonia Peninsula
05 February 2009
We sailed round the Akti Penisula with all the Monasteries right into a strong wind from the north. We where just able to beat into the wind and make our couse for Nisis Ammouliani however he had to negotiate the straits which had very shollow water. We slowed to a snails pace and watched the depth souder go down 20, 15, 10 ,5 ,2 then 1 and stay there for some time. Well, we came through with out touching bottem then tried to anchor off Nisis Ammouliani but after three attempts we could not get any holding in the thick weed. We sailed round to the Village just as two other boats were attempting to go astern too the wharf. We watched then and deceided to find another location.....charter vessels are a danger to wharf and yacht.
We sailed to a long beach and found a sand spot in the faiding light. It was a great spot opposite a small housing development. The next day we were off to Tripiti to see how Xerxes had dug a canal through the norrowest part of the penisula. Unfortunatly it is now all filled in but it did save him the sail south round the Akti penisula. From there we sailed to the Islands of Dhiaporos. On the inside next to the mainland the water is very shallow and you have to anchor out and take the RIB to shore but we found a deep inlet in the main island of Dhiaporos. Not much swing room but the holding is good. We watched as a thunder storm developed to the north of us. We let out some more chain and waited. Well the wind came first - a good sign. Then the rain. At the height of the storm the other boat in the anchorage was swing close to the shore and deceided to move, we quickly followed and dropped the anchor further up the inlet. The anchor went down first attempt and held. We then sat in the cockpit and watched the lightrning, thunder and rain. Everything got a good wash. Within an hour the sky had cleared and we had dinner.
We stayed a few days in the islands moving from anchorage to anchorage. It is so relaxing knowing that your next anchorage is only 6nm away. One day I set off on the bicycle to find a wifi internet hot spot. There was nothing in the local town and nothing at Ayios Nikolaos about 5kn away but I did stop off at a butcher to get some meat and some very tasty sausage which was very much like borewors. We had a braai on the stern of Malua that evening just as we had in the Southern Hemisphere.
We deceided to explore the Sinthonia Penisula on the eastern side. There are not many safe anchorages due to the prevailing wind comming from the SE. The wind during July and August is very mild so we were able to find places to stay. the most pleasant was Sarti where we again met Francesco and Paula - italians who live in New Zealand and have a boat in the Med and in North Island - What a live..endless summers sailing. The penisula is the holiday ground of the Greeks. They seem to stay in "rooms to let" or bring their own caravans which are located on any flat spot as close to the water as possible. Many have inflatables tied up on the beach in front. Only in the Med would you be able to do this.
The wind comes up to about 15 knots at 11;00 and the drops away in the afternoon. Some days it will blow from the NW but most days from the SE. The sailing is consequently wonderful. We had the big spinnaker up most of one morning as we sailed south to reach Poto Koufo. It helps to reach your destination in the early afternoon before the holiday charter boats come in. You can then settle back and watch their anticks as they either anchor on top of each other or go astern to the wharf.
We reached Nea Marmaris - that is the place there the Greeks from Marmaris in Turkey where transported in 1920 when the resettlement took place. No Turkish influence now just a small holiday town with an average public harbour. The locals with boats have established their place on the pontoon and guard their spots and those of their friend with every excuse. It doesnt wash with an Italian or an Ozzie. Fancesco and I both found a place on the pontoon. The following day I took a bus in to Thessaloniki to get some bearings for the windlass which had taken a beating with the new anchor and the difficulty in finding good holding. The SKF distributer had all the bearings and seals so the next day I was able to replace all the parts. I must say the designof the Muir windlass leaves much to be desired. I have had to put a wood support to the motor because it is only held by four 6 mm bolts to stop it from turning. Put a 12 ton boat at the end of that and the bolts break out of the cast aluminium housing. I believe the engineers have never sailed a boat in their lives - the mix of metals and the size of the bolts and housings is just inadequate. Well the windlass is now better than new and we can pull the new 30kg anchor up without fear.
We stayed a few days in Nea Marmaris restocking the boat then set sail for Porto Koufo but the wind was not helping so we changed destinations to a bay in the south of the Kassandra penisula. We flew the reacher all the way across the bay. That is the advantage of the Med there is always an anchorage down wind. Here are some pictures of Sinthonia Peninsula