Sailing in company
19 October 2016 | Mykanos and Ios
We had planned to meet up with Gaille and Ian, friends from Princess Orsini and had been keeping a look out as we reached the island of Syros. However we did not see them and so once tied to the dock in Ermopolous we discussed further places we could meet up. Shortly before sunset on our second night a familiar yacht came into view in the harbour, Princess Orsini!!! I went to meet them dockside and helped them tie up, it was so nice meeting up with such good friends. They had guests on board and we decided we would all go out for a catch up meal, also celebrating belatedly Pete’s birthday.
The following day we moved on to Nisos Rina and anchored in the bay of Ormos Miso. A good anchorage where as agreed we met up with all on board Princess Orsini. A lovely BBQ on board Gaille and Ian’s boat led to a relaxed evening with new friends Marion and Al.
We moved on to Mikonos, a bit of a lumpy sail with sometimes scary seas as the wind was picking up, however we did sail at up to 7 knots on jib alone! Again we anchored, this time in Ornos bay. The weather was due to bring another bout of wind and we were comfortable and protected in the bay, safe on our well dug in anchor. The next few days saw us basically stuck in the bay. We took a bus into Mikanos and wandered the narrow whitewashed stone streets, taking many pictures. Looking out to sea there were flecks of white everywhere and we were grateful of our protected bay.
Ornos itself is on the not quite so funky young hip side of Mikanos, the bars and tavernas were still well attended but were a little more luxurious. The sun beds on the beach were more like large deep mattressed beds, they were really inviting with big comfy pillows that just begged to be laid in. However when I asked how much to have one for a day I as told €22 but that included 2 x 250 ml bottles of water, a snip!!!!As I am sure you will have guessed we went to the other end of the beach with our towels and sat on the sand.
Other days we wandered to the windy side of the small spit and watched the kite surfers scooting along and flying high into the air, amazing and such skill to land without belly flopping into the water. We made friends with a local bar owner who kindly took Pete in his car to pick up petrol for the outboard as the petrol station was quite some walk away.
Evenings were often spent with Gaille, Ian, Marion, Al and the new guests Peter, Lennie and Andre, enjoying a BBQ on the beach or a glass of wine and a shared meal. So lovely to have company and time to talk of our adventures with others.
Our final night in Mikanos was a noisy one. There was a wedding party at one of the beach tavernas and the Greek music and dancing went on well into the night stopping about 5 am! Whilst at first the music was different in a good way, serenading us with our dinner, by the early hours the continual wailing of the singer was more than annoying and even earplugs didn't work.
As planned the day before, bleary eyed we set sail in the company of a now depleted crew of Princess Orsini, just Gaille and Ian as all the others had left for home. We took a gentle motor sail to Naousa on Paros and anchored in the bay. It was the most quiet calm night we have had in a while and we slept soundly.
A day swimming, sunbathing, snorkelling and eating followed and another night at anchor saw us refreshed. Once again there was strong wind forecast so we motored the short distance across the bay and into the port of Naousa. We stern too moored alongside Princess Orsini and settled down for a lazy afternoon. As the sun dropped in the sky so the boats began to come in, the port is managed by the local council and the harbour master (well should be mistress as was female) would blow her whistle and shout at the captains ushering them into spaces along the quay. The quay is in places shallow and there were several times she shouted for the ‘capataain’ to stop, move or go out. It certainly made great entertainment.
We spent 3 days here and decided we would pool resources and hire a car. We spent a great day touring the island both inland and ports. We visited a beautiful church said to have one hundred doors in Parokia and wandered through tiny pathways to sit at a taverna Levaki whose homemade meze was delicious. We used the opportunity to stock up with food from the supermarket and picked up 25 litres of fuel in a Jerry can whilst we had the car.
The next day we again set off in company with Princess Orsini, the decision was to go to Andiparos to escape more wind that was expected. We set off first and were soon joined by Gaille and Ian, we were due to go through the straits between Paros and Andiparos but I had a bit of a wobble with the thought of a mere 2 metres of water that was charted in the gap, we draw 1.6 metres and I was scared we may touch so we decided to go the long way, round the top of Andiparos and through the gap between Andiparos and Despotiko. Again there was reduced water depth but no where near as low as the other channel. The wind was mostly directly ahead of us and it was only after the final turn around the island we were able to get out the jib and sail for a few miles. We arrived in the bay of Port Georgio expecting to see Princess Orsini already at anchor but they were no where to be seen, we dropped anchor and dug in as usual and then prepared to swim and check the anchor, as we did so, the sails of Princess Orsini came into view. They dropped anchor near by and we later shared a meal with them. As we sat on board Argonauta the wind picked up, they had rowed across and as they went to leave we decided they would struggle rowing back so we got out our working outboard and put it on their dinghy. I stood on the deck watching them make thier way back in a very dark night, a quick call on the VHF confirming their safety and we went down to bed.
At about 0100 the anchor alarm started sounding and waking suddenly from sleep we both lurched out of bed, the wind was howling and great gusts were making the boat rock. Slightly disorientated we thought the anchor was dragging, we pulled on clothes and went on deck, switching on the engine, instruments and some lighting on deck. We looked back towards where Princess Orsini was anchored to see their deck lights on and a flurry of activity on deck.
After a few short anxiety stricken moments we established we were not dragging our anchor and had just turned 180 degrees from our original position. We spent a while making sure we were safe then called Princess Orsini who told us they had dragged but were now safe. A somewhat disturbed night followed and when we joined Gaille and Ian for a stroll ashore the next day all were quite tired and a little quiet. Evening saw us share a meal again and an early night followed.
Next morning we set off in company towards Folygandros, we had hoped we could photograph each other sailing but as usual there was no wind so we motored all the way. We tied up stern too on the harbour wall and Princess Orsini dropped anchor in the bay to allow a quick departure the following day. We met to say our goodbyes over dinner, not the best, the restaurant was closing for winter and had chicken fillet or pork souvlaki, we all chose the pork but the portion was on the stingy side for the annount we paid. However we had a lovely evening and said goodbye to Gaille and Ian who were moving off to Crete the next morning, as a family issue means Gaille has to travel abroad as soon as possible.
We spent a further day exploring the area, catching a bus to Chora the main town on the Island. Chora is a quaint, beautifully kept whitewashed village, small stone paved streets and amazing views of the island and surrounding waters. Another excellent photo opportunity which we took full advantage of. We spent the afternoon swimming from the beach and lazing in the sun. The evening saw us eating on board to another beautiful sunset.
Having had our fill of a lovely but small Island we set off for Ios. The wind was not kind to us and the majority of the trip saw us motoring into the wind, we did however have a short sail, close hauled which was lovely, just the sound of the wind and water, bliss.
We reached IOS just as the high speed ferry arrived, typical. We increased our throttle to allow us good steerage through the troubled waters kicked up by the jets from the sea cat. Our depth sounder suddenly showed 1 metre and after an initial panic we realised it was due to the turbulent water and not really shallows after all.
We made our way into the harbour and picked up the lazy lines whilst tying our lines stern too. The harbour is pretty choppy and even more so when the high speed ferries come in, bouncing the boat up and down by a couple of metres, not ideal and definitely not great when you have a passerelle attached to the back, clanging onto the quay and then springing into the air. Not fully safe to manoeuvre on and off the boat either but we managed it.
A trip on the bus to another town named Chora got us walking up to the churches at the top of the town. I didn't count the steps but there were definitely many of them. The views were spectacular, so much so Pete waked back up just before sunset to take more pictures whilst I stayed in the harbour trying to get to grips with the manual use of my camera at night.
Another bouncy night with the lines snatching saw us looking to move on although by morning the swell had calmed somewhat but we had already decided to move. We had spent 2 nights in Ios town quay, had electricity for free (left over from someone else) and no mooring charge, not bad!!
As we left the harbour we bounced into the oncoming swell, crept out around the entrance checking for ferries and were relieved when none appeared so we hastily moved across the entrance and on track towards Manganari bay. Typical, although forecast to be some wind and from our stern the rolling of the sea along with the light wind made it impossible to sail. Sometimes I think we should just have a motor boat as the white flappy things seem to get little use.
There is nothing at Manganari bay other than a beach which was deserted, so anchoring in a safe spot we swam, sunbathed and took it very easy, checking the pilot book we planned our next stop, Santorini. The evening was a little rolly and we watched the sun setting by the reflection of light on the rocks and then in the soft glow of the houses on Santorini just 12 miles away. Early dinner and bed as we plan to leave by 0700 to make Santorini in time to find a berth prior to another blow due on Saturday.