Wind in Kagio and onto Gytheion
12 September 2016
Our anchorage in the tiny bay of Kagio turned out to be a safe haven. The first night we were joined by a small motor boat with a young family on board. Dad and son of about 8 went snorkelling and I was impressed at the distance the young boy swam. Once back on board dad was jumped on by the daughter, about three and the giggles were a joy to hear. Following morning it was still a bit rolly but not like those swinging like pendulums in the opposite side of the anchorage, wind however was set to stay another couple of days and the small motor boat decided it better to brave the bay and seek shelter on the opposite coastline. We were once again alone. We spent a lovely day swimming, snorkelling and diving for sea urchin shells, so pretty in greens and pinks. We spent the whole night undisturbed. The next day was pretty much the same although there were a few more waves breaking on the rocks a short way away from us. Later that evening a catamaran came into the cove, moored up just near us but far enough away not to be a problem. Great, all calm and ready for the night, no, about 2030 hrs an Italian sailing boat came speeding into the anchorage, past us and towards the shoreline, Pete shouted where our anchor was and also that we had dropped a stern anchor. Si Si was the reply as he dumped his anchor and chain then proceeded to reverse closer and closer to us. There would not have been depth or room for him to swing with the wind, I was below, heard the noise of an engine and went on deck, very unimpressed I said “what ever is he doing, he is too close” , yeah it was in a rather loud voice and the next moment he upped his anchor, motored past and shouted out “sorry”, I felt a but guilty at my rudeness but it did have the desired effect.
That wasn't the end of the night’s excitement. About 0230 Pete became aware of voices, poked his head out the forward hatch and realised we were precariously close to the catamaran. They had, after the Italian boat incident, had to move and re anchor as he had pulled up their chain and anchor. The wind had changed direction and instead of keeping us away from them our stern anchor was allowing us to gradually move closer.
Pete got in the dinghy, this time with help from one of the catamaran crew and tried to attach a rope to the rocks, even our two longest lines joined together didn't reach, plan two, we hauled up the stern anchor, which of course had set so well and dingheyed it out to re set thus allowing us to pull away from the catamaran. It all seemed good but within 20 mins Pete and I were repeating the exercise as we were still too close. We eventually I went back to bed about 0345 but it was a bit of a disturbed anxious night for Pete who's leapt in the cockpit.
After a total of five nights in Kagio we woke to very little wind and much calmer sea. We could have returned to the other end of the bay but with a total of three tavernas and no shop we were beginning to run short of supplies. So time to move on, we motor sailed for a while then had about 55 minutes of fantastic close hauled exciting sailing down to the lighthouse off the port of Gytheion. The pilot book noted they were due to extend the harbour wall to the east but it was unclear if this was from land or from the harbour wall itself. We furled the sails and motored slowly towards the harbour wall. Eventually we worked out where to go as luckily a small fishing boat entered the port and we followed. They were extending the harbour wall itself and there were huge cranes and concrete blocks masking the entrance. As we entered we passed a rather rusty fishing vessel, this had written on the side and back “rescued” , we can only presume it is a refugee boat that had been rescued and then towed into the harbour.
Gytheion is not a particularly pretty looking harbour but there were other boats moored and small fishing vessels dotted around the harbour walls. The Main Street runs opposite to the sea wall and there are a few typical tourist shops here, however level with and continuing along the coast are many tavernas, all serving seafood, fish and in particular octopus, whose tentacles hang on hooks outside the restaurants to dry.
Moored onto the harbour wall we were visited by the harbour police. We had been warned by other yachties that they are somewhat officious. They were not wrong! First he said our Dekpa was wrong as it needed to be stamped yearly, he did not want to accept we were in Italy 2 years so that was a bit difficult!!! Then he said our SSR (small ships register, a document proving we are registered in the UK) was only a copy. We explained that the small A5 sheet that was laminated was how the UK issued it, he was adamant it must be a copy as there was no official stamp, there was but of course he was looking for the kind that would be hand stamped. After much grumbling he told us to visit the town hall on Monday to pay harbour fees and get a new Dekpa. Monday morning came and we duly went, they were happy with all our paperwork and we were charged the princely sum of €5.35 a night, for which we had both electricity and water, bargain.
We spent two nights here, which allowed us to top up water, do washing and get supplies which were much needed. We dined on bread and taziki , a mixed fish platter, fries, watermelon and a half kilo of wine for under €20!
We also met a Danish couple Soren and Charlotte on Valhalla about a 36 foot sailing yacht. Having helped them tie up we spent a while having a drink and chat and found they too are heading to Crete for the winter.
From Gytheion we sailed to Plytra. Another small port with a bay that offers good shelter from the wind. We went ashore in the dinghy but again there was one tiny shop and only a few tavernas. There was however the best road we have seen in Greece, a beautifully laid road with parking bays that runs alongside the seafront. Nothing else there just a nice road!
We spent the first day and night at anchor with clear blue water and swam and snorkelled to cool down in the still very hot sun.
On our second day we were sitting in the cockpit and a familiar yacht appeared. We waited whist it approached the pointed a good sandy patch to anchor in. It was our new friends from yacht Valhalla. Their plan to go to Kithera thwarted due to the weather forecast suggesting high winds again. Having let them settle we motored the dinghy across and asked them to join us for a BBQ on the beach that evening. They were happy to do so and whilst on the way to see what goodies we could purchase, we stopped at the other yacht anchored in the bay and asked if they wanted to join us. Barb and Con from Big Sky were pleased to say yes and Barb offered to bring appetisers and a dessert, wow pudding for once!
During the afternoon the wind howled and we wondered if it would be safe to leave the boats at anchor, then at 1830 just in time for our 1900 rendezvous the wind died and all was clam.
Pete and I set off and lit the BBQ , we were joined by Barb,Con,Soren and Charlotte. Appetisers consisted of stuffed vine leaves or red pepper with feta, then followed sausages, sweet chilli chicken, (sausages and chicken cooked to perfection, no burnt bits and cooked through,we seem to be getting the hang of this BBQing), Greek salad and basil oil tossed potatoes. Two bottles of bubbly (from our store to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary and being alive and well) were opened and shared with new friends. Dinner was completed with the best brownies I have ever had, cooked by Barb. It is as well she isn't going to Crete or she would have to cook them very regularly! A lovely evening was had by all and when Pete and I got back to the boat we were somewhat sandy, the only answer a quick skinny dip, luckily there was no moon so no danger of being seen by anyone.
The following day Barb and Con moved on, we stayed where we were and went ashore to collect some shells(I have a plan to use them and not just fill the boat). The evening saw us going ashore for a drink before sunset and we again met Soren and Charlotte, spent a couple of hours putting the world to rights over a beer (wine for me) before returning to Argonauta to share a meal of spaghetti bolognese.
Due to the threat of more wind, along with running out of Internet time we decided to return to Githion. We had a fast motor sail close hauled and arrived in 16 knots of wind. It made backing onto the wall a bit trying but we did it first time. However when the wind turned later in the afternoon we were being blown onto the wall, we pulled in some chain only to be blown back again. Eventually we realised we had very little chain down so decided there was nothing for it but to re anchor. Fortunately Pete had helped another boat to Moore earlier and Jeff kindly prepared to take our lines. Pete hauled in the anchor to find we had nabbed a fishing net that was in a ball and full of mud. So every time we had pulled in some more chain we had dragged it through the mud only for that to dissipate and therefore not dig in properly. I motored round the harbour until Pete freed the mess and we started our approach. What a surprise, at that precise moment the wind picked up and no matter what I did I couldn't line Argonauta correctly, frustrated and embarrassed as Jeff was waiting to take the lines I swapped places with Pete who took the wheel and steered us into the space. I dropped the anchor when told and it all went well. Pete however did note that he had expected me to return to the cockpit to help with the lines, I thought it was a bit easy just dropping the anchor, oops. We thanked Jeff and I apologised for the wait, he was very gracious stating “that's what we do as sailors, help each other”. He went on to invite us on board for a drink and we sat drinking wine and beer for a couple of hours before returning to the restaurant we had previously eaten at for a late dinner.