Catamaran cruising

Who: Carolyn & Chris Gebbie
24 September 2016 | Gulf di Rodinara
24 September 2016 | Baie di San Ciprianu
24 September 2016 | Porto Veccio
24 September 2016 | Santa Teresa di Gallura
16 September 2016 | Santa Teresa di Gallura
16 September 2016 | Bonafacio, Corsica
16 September 2016 | Bonafacio, Corsica
16 September 2016 | Bonafacio, Corsica
16 September 2016 | Porto Pozzo
16 September 2016 | Porto Palma
16 September 2016 | Cala di Volpe
16 September 2016 | Isola di Porri
04 September 2016 | Olbia
04 September 2016 | Olbia
04 September 2016 | Porto della Taverna
04 September 2016 | Isola Tavalara
31 August 2016 | Cala Coda cavallo
31 August 2016 | Arbatax
26 August 2016 | Villasimius Bay

Aigina Harbour and then a Summer Break

21 July 2019 | Aigina
The decisions about where to moor this year have been even more affected by strong winds than normal on a boat. With yet more northerlies coming we wanted shelter for a few days so headed to Aigina harbour early. Even so it was busy and we got one of the few spots available, moored back to the small southern quay.
Whilst this means you are protected from the waves it still leaves the wind gusting across the harbour as a problem but there was no space on the preferable northern side. We tied up Splice carefully and helped in other monohulls that came after us. The Italian boat to our port was a solo sailor, he backed in OK but didn't tighten up his anchor despite two suggestions from Chris (who could see what was coming).

Of course 'Italian Job' goes off on the town for the evening, the wind gets up and his boat is now leaning on Splice whose anchor has the weight of both boats and our starboard stern is being pushed back onto the quay. Her skipper comes back at midnight 'walking rather tentitively' shall we say. Chris asked him to tighten his anchor which he did but it just kept reeling in, the anchor hadn't bitten! Chris stopped him when there was only 25m of chain out as the weight of that was better than nothing. Sending an inebriated skipper out to re-anchor then was likely to cause more trouble, so we had to settle for his boat resting on us all night. He should have tested the anchor on mooring as it would have been easy to reset then if it failed.

He got a friend to help him the next day and they got the anchor slightly hooked so he was only half resting on us for the next 24 hours! Points for seamanship 'Nil'. We think however that he was chartering himself out as two women appeared the next day with holiday luggage and the relationship seemed more skipper/client than friends. There are a lot of boats chartering illegally in Greece, the authorities are trying to stop this but we see regular evidence the it's still happening.

Italian Job and his clients left on the Thursday morning, Carolyn had gone shopping but Chris had stayed aboard to watch his exit. As soon as he had gone Chris set about moving Splice to starboard slightly and resetting the lines to leave more space as boats had moved since we arrived. He was just sorting out the lines when another large skippered charter cat dropped his anchor and came back until he was resting on Splices port side. This puts extra pressure on our boat and makes adjusting the lines even more difficult. Chris explained he was resetting the lines (which the guy must have been able to see) and asked him to go out again until this was complete, he of course refused and rested there complaining about our lines blocking him whilst Chris tried to secure Splice. It is normal considerate behavior not to moor on/rest on a boat that is still tying up, you wait and then come alongside when she is secure.

After 'Italian Job' and this behavior Chris was a 'little irritated' and explained to the charter skipper about his lack of consideration and concluded that he was an idiot (loudly). Amusingly the charter-skipper really lost it in front of his clients and, amongst other charming ideas, threatend to call the port police and fight Chris on the quayside! Very unprofessional and demonstrated the mentality. One of the clients did quietly apologise to Chris and later, when helping another boat in, another charter skipper asked for the story (which must have been doing the rounds) and commented that the other professionals all thought the guy was an 'A...hole'

Aigina harbour from the north. Splice is in the press of 'cats' centre and the half emptied water tanker is to the right of that quay. He went up about as much again when empty.

Aside from the mooring fun we enjoyed our time in Aigina. Another British yacht, 'Rockhopper' was moored at our starboard side and we chatted to Eileen and Mick over the guardrails and over drinks, sharing tips on locations and services amongst other stuff. The Naval Club behind the quay provided a good meal and a few beers as well as regular people watching opportunity. The port fees were very reasonable at around 11 Euros a night including power and the port staff were helpful and polite and the town itself was interesting and had all the amenities we needed.

Each night a large, low in the water vessel came in and moored behind us, pipes were connected and and over the course of the next 12 hours the ship rose out of the water as her cargo was delivered. She brings the supply of water for the whole island, presumably internal sources cannot cope and this process keeps them going. It was surprising, having seen how low in the water she was on entry, to see the towering sides the next morning! Water must be heavy!

A Summer Break
From Aigina we motored the three hours to Zea Marina on the outskirts of Athens where we had booked a berth for our summer trip home. We arrived a couple of days early hoping to get the rip in our mainsail repaired, we have a broken strut in our bimini and need the damaged passerelle part and bracket straightened.

We've managed to find people who have taken our damaged bits away, lets hope they can do a good job of fixing them!

Good job we caught the mainsail tear early

We fly back to the UK until the end of August so the blog will take a break until September. A major reason for our return is to celebrate Chris's Mum's 90th birthday so we are hoping for good weather in the UK for that, mind you, its 40+ degrees here in the marina today so maybe not quite that hot!

Main photo: Aigina harbour looking north from our berth as a large yacht is mooring (he made a very precise and professional job of it)

Korfus and Profitis Illias Bay

21 July 2019 | Aigina
We only spent a night anchored in Korfus. We had visited earlier in the season and came here mostly to catch up on sleep after the previous night. The time was uneventful except for another demonstration of the poor behaviour of some charter boat skippers.

We were anchored off the two main tavernas, both of which have a quay for client boats. At around 17.30 a large cat 'Twin Pride' came charging into the bay. The professional (in the loosest terms) skipper immediately backed on the quay of one taverna despite lots of waving arms telling him to go away. We could interpret this from our distance but he didn't seem to get the message and moored his boat back. This brought on more shouting and arm waving but he insisted on staying.
Thirty minutes later the reason for his rejection became clear, into the bay came not one, but two flotillas of around twenty boats in all, one of whom must have reserved the quay. Cue more shouting and arms in the air.

We then saw the charter skipper rush down his gangplank and strongly push one of the staff. That was a mistake, within seconds he had three local large taverna guys facing him and very clear indication of where he should go! He left the quay and headed out of the bay at high speed. Good riddance, but we do feel sorry for the poor clients caught up in such incidents, must dent the relaxation! They eventually managed to get all the flotilla yachts secured or anchored but the last crew didn't leave the boat for their dinner until around 21.00.

After a good nights sleep we headed back towards the other island in the centre of the gulf - Aigina. There was a night of southerly and easterly winds forecast and we had identified a bay tucked in a corner of the western shore that would shelter us from both directions. Profitis Illias bay has another small beach club and the anchorage area is small but, with our shallow draught, we managed to squeeze into the front of the small group of yachts already there. It was a comfortable night in an attractive bay but we didn't venture ashore.

Main photo: sunset at Profitis Illias bay

Ormos Apolimano, Angistri

21 July 2019
Chris Gebbie
North of Poros are two islands, Aigina and Angistri. Aigina is the larger of the two and Angistri sits to the south west of it. The bay of Apolimano is a narrow inlet on the south west coast of Angistri. It faces north west and has a beach club at its head (which would often put us off as the noise/music is tedious).

Having looked at the other bays in the area we settled for this as it looked pretty and there was no 'musik'. Last season we often tied back to the rocks but we haven't had cause to do so this year as the bays have generally been larger and we have swung at anchor. Here there was no space for that so tie back we did. Not as skillfully as before, we were clearly out of practice, but we secured ourselves after having to move the lines a couple of times. We liked the look of place but so did the sea urchins, they were everywhere on the rocks. Even being careful Chris got two spines in his hand and one straight through the sole of the water shoes he was wearing. Cue tweezers and lots of vinegar all afternoon but luckily the spines mostly came out and ceased to worry him after 48 hours.

The bay clearly had three sections, the beach club with swimmers at its head, the middle section was full of small motorboats with families and youngsters playing in the water and outside that, there was room for around three yachts to tie back. It was a pleasant day with lots of coming and goings. Around 17.00 hrs as the families left a small boat with three older teenage lads arrived, they had clearly come for a party and were drinking and dancing away to themselves on the rocking boat . It was an amusing scene and they managed to have fun without disturbing anyone else. We gave them a wave as they left later.

The 'Party Boys' in their small boat

Unfortunately the night didn't go as smoothly. The forecast had three hours of NW winds at midnight but only at 4 knots. We had assumed that after a day of southerlies this would not create a problem......wrong! The NW winds arrived earlier, around 22.00 hrs, stronger at 12-13 knots and kept at it all night. This of course started the swell piling into the bay and the yachts sheltering there were jumping and rolling significantly. If you are just at anchor you can more easily escape such a problem. Though pulling up the anchor in swell is not always easy there is only one item to consider. Now we had three lines back to shore whose ends we couldn't release without swimming there as well as the anchor out forward. We prepared all the lines to just be dropped at the boat end (you can always come back for them later) with minimum lengths and the rest tied up to avoid tangling other boats and watched the situation for an hour or so. Luckily the weather didn't get any worse (if the winds had started reaching 20 knots we would probably have had to make an emergency exit) and we managed to get some sleep after about 02.00.

Unsurprisingly we left the bay at first light with Chris then able to see the rocks and urchins as he released the lines (no more spines) and headed for Korfus on the mainland where we knew the shelter would suit the conditions

Main photo: The bay at Apolimano during the afternoon

Poros and Ormos Vidhi

21 July 2019
Chris Gebbie
We lifted the anchor and motored towards Poros at around 11.00 hrs when we thought there would be space on the quay. It still looked very busy but luck was on our side and as we approached a cat left the quay outside the 'Sailors Taverna' on the south quay which was exactly where we wanted to be. We slid into the space whilst he was still playing with his anchor further out. With strong northerly winds forecast having our stern to the wind, with the shelter of the quayside buildings and the hill behind them, it was a good spot.

The waiters demonstrate Greek dancing outside the sailors Taverna

We stayed on the quay for two nights whilst the northerlies blew past. We were comfortable but when you walked around to the more westerly facing quay they had the wind on the beam of their boats and even the larger boats were struggling with significant pressure on their anchors and lines.

Poros quay from Splice's bow

Poros is a busy harbour and there were numerous ferries and fast hydrofoils ('Flying Dolphins' as they are called locally) constantly charging past and creating wash.

A 'Flying Dolphin' hydrofoil passes at around 20 knots as we leave Poros

We wandered around the small streets and alleys of the place, much of which is squeezed into the area of the waterfront as the hill rises steeply behind. Narrow alleys wriggle up between the properties as you climb towards the highest point on which a clock-tower has been built. It's a pleasant enough place but rather on the touristy side for us, the front is only cafes and tavernas but as you move back from the harbour there are some interesting shops. One caught Carolyn's eye and when we entered the interior was beautifully constructed with traditional wood shelving and panels and the plaster ceiling had a attractive painted design. The shop owner explained to us that she had inherited the place from her Grandfather. Having got her granddaughter to 'help us' (and practice her English) we bought a small bowl for snacks from Carolyns 'birthday money'. They were very friendly and it's great to see the traditional shop being carefully looked after.

We dropped our lines from the quay wanting to move somewhere we could swim as the heat was oppressive. A couple of miles across is Ormos Vidhi, a bay with suitable northerly protection, so we headed there. It was fine to anchor but the water was not that clear and through the day it became clogged with motorboats dropping anchors over each other and tying back to the rocks. We only stayed the one night and went looking for a more attractive mooring.

Main photo: the small ferry quay in Poros, note the clock-tower above the town

Heading West

11 July 2019 | Poros
Chris Gebbie
We needed to get ourselves more to the west to get out of the strong northerly wind systems through the Cyclades, so headed off back towards the island of Kythnos. We revisited the bays of Stefanou on the east coast and Sandbar Bay on the west coast over a couple of days as we positioned ourselves for the step across to the eastern Peloponnese around the Poros peninsula.

It's about 50 miles so we left early, anchor up at 06.30 and breakfast once the sails are set and we are underway on our course. The main complication of the trip is that you need to cross the end of the TSS (the big ship motorway) heading south from Athens. There's a lot of ships heading through these waters, we had up to three vessels bearing down on us from different directions at times. However, with the AIS system that shows heading and speed information it's much easier than it used to be just with Mk1 Eyeball. We had to alter course/slow down twice for cargo vessels that were determined not to shift their course by even a degree but comfortably kept the big stuff at a decent passing distance.
With a F2 forecast most of the voyage was under motor but we had the occasional period of 12-14 knots on the beam and the genoa came out to support the mainsail. Halfway across Chris noticed that we had a small split in the mainsail near to a batten car, luckily just below the first reefing point, so the main was reduced for the rest of the journey (and until we can get the tear sewn up).

Poros is a very busy port with hundreds of yachts and ferrys charging around the harbour. We chose to stop initially just outside the main area in a small bay on the Peleponese mainland called Aliki. It's a pretty place when you arrive from the sea, much greener than the islands of the Cyclades and with space for a number of yachts with reasonable shelter. We will use this to rest tonight and then take a look around the Poros area to see what the berthing options are and also find a good bay to hide in when more strong winds come through again on Thursday.

The view as you enter Poros harbour from the east

It's been a year of hiding from the winds here in the Aegean. We knew there was more wind but hadn't factored in the number of days when you really can't leave the harbour, around 40% of the time it's not been sensible to go sailing so far this season.

Main Picture: our anchorage at Aliki, Splice second left of the boats

Finikas, Nisos Siros

11 July 2019 | Finikas
We moored to the quay in Finikas around 15.45hrs and neighboring boats helped us get the lines on. Very quickly the port police were at the stern 'requesting' the skipper to visit their office with the ships papers. The Harbour Master turned up shortly afterwards and was helpful enough to organise a diesel delivery for us the next morning. The 'PP' were quite happy with our documents, well, we have got our Dekpa and paid the TEPAI tax so we are 'good sailors'. It cost about E16 per night on the quay so we paid for two nights thinking we would probably extend that later.

That night we found a taverna along the harbour front called Calmo Mare. As we entered and looked around for a table an American couple spoke to us and we ended up joining Rick and Barbara from 'Far Out' for a chat. The food was good, a tasty plate of tapas and a quarter litre of wine was E3.50 and all we needed after that was to share a grilled mackerel, although a bit salty, we enjoyed the meal and the company. As we all walked back towards the harbour there was a very professional band playing 'Rembetico' music (a romantic Greek style) so we stayed and watched for a while.

'Far Out' were anchored in the bay, as is their normal habit and the next day when the swell started to affect the quayside we decided they were right and after our two nights on the quay, went out to anchor off. Finikas is a nice place with a great bakery, a fruit and veg shop and a butcher a short walk away. We managed to stock up a little though the supermarkets were basic.

We spent two evenings chatting on board each others boats with 'Far Out' and made a joint expedition by local bus to the main town of Ermoupoli and its medieval 'Chora', the old settlement high on the hills away from the threat of seaborn raiders, which we visited using the free shuttle bus. It's a very pretty place and we wandered around, often lost, in the narrow alleyways but managed to find the cathedral of St George and a pleasant coffee stop before eventually finding the exit!

A dwelling in the ancient town

Once back in Ermoupoli Rick and Barbara suggested eating at Loutra Taverna which is located a street back from the bus station. Another excellent lunch - we ordered four tasty different dishes squid, chicken, beef and mushrooms which we shared and even had some leftover all for a very reasonable E34.

The harbour at Ermoupoli has a repulation for swell and we saw it was well deserved, as we watched the large ferries come charging into the same harbour as the yachts, pushing huge stern waves as they swung around to berth. We were glad we hadnt made the mistake of berthing there.

'Maltese Falcon moored in Ermoupoli

If you are big enough, however it is less of an issue and one of the biggest and most complicated sailing yachts in the world was berthed there. 'Maltese Falcon' is 88m long (8 times the length of Splice) Chris remembers reading all the news about her as she has three self supported masts and 15 electrically controlled furling sails. She didn't seem troubled by the swell but we couldnt help noticing that not all the sails were furled as neatly as they could have been! Trying to keep 15 automatic furling mechanisms working well must be tough job.

One of the better furled sails on Maltese Falcon

We enjoyed our visit to Finikas and would recommend it as a stop for a few days, probably at anchor unless you need diesel or water supplies.

Main picture, Ermoupoli from the harbour. The 'Chora' we visited is on the hill to the left.

Vessel Name: Splice
Vessel Make/Model: Broadblue 435 Catamaran
Crew: Carolyn & Chris Gebbie
We have been married for over 25 years and have two grown up sons. Carolyn has dual English/French nationality and speaks French well. [...]
Extra: Contact us at splice435(the at sign)gmail.com
Splice's Photos - Main
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Created 15 May 2015
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Created 15 May 2015
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Who: Carolyn & Chris Gebbie