Tag Archives: Cyclades

Milos to the Mainland.

Ian’s chocolaty birthday cake.

Having waved off Alice and Ian we awaited a suitable slightly less windy day to shoot across to the mainland.  Meanwhile, I revisited the very interesting Milos Mining Museum to find out more about the rocks and geology of the island.

The geology of Milos.

The mainland is a fair distance from Milos at 80nm; but the winds were favourable and we just hoped that the sea wouldn’t be too lumpy after the last ten days of strong winds.

We set off in the dark on Sunday morning (14th October 2018) and discovered that the boat next to us had laid his anchor chain over ours.  We managed to resolve the problem quickly and, luckily, they were awake so we could tell them.

Ak Maleas – looks benign enough!

Off we set and had a fantastic sail across making such consistently good speeds that we arrived at our anchorage in the last remnants of day light.   Not before being suprised by 40knot gusts off the forbidding Ak Maleas!

Half an hour later and very gusty!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next morning, we set off round to Limeni bay where we anchored and had a peaceful night.

Great sailing day.

The next hop was to be round to Methoni on the western most ‘finger’ of the Peleponnese but in the morning when we started the engine we noticed that the alternator didn’t seem to be charging the batteries.

Luckily, we were fairly close to Kalamata where most boat repairs can be undertaken so we started sailing north.  We had a fantastic sail for about an hour and then the wind died down and since it was a beautiful sunny day we enjoyed pottering along.

Deciding it was time to crack on we tried to start the engine.

No joy!

After I had come round from a COMPLETE melt down, we lowered the dinghy and attached it to the starboard side of the boat, put the engine on and pushed ourselves along at a 3 knots using the outboard motor.

Only 12nm to go… we made it… just as dusk approached.

It was relatively straightforward to steer into the marina, although we decided to go in bow first.  On the way there, we had phoned repair people and tee-ed up appointments for first thing in the morning.

Vincent, Ian, me, Find and Dianna

Vincent next door supplied a much needed glass of wine and we were beginning to relax.  The next day, we celebrated Ian’s birthday with some new friends.

 

Soon, repairs were underway.  Ioannis replaced the dead engine battery.  Kostos took away the alternator and fettled it with new diodes.  Ian had climbed the mast three more times to fix on a new tri-colour and anchor light and by Monday evening (22nd October 2018) we were all set.

 

We bade farewell to new friends on Fai da Te, Owl and the Pussy Cat, Lyra and Vincent, and sailed round in the cloud, mist and rain to Pylos and the brighter weather further west.

The lovely Kostos who we hope to meet in Sicily next week.

On arriving, we were dismayed to see that the alternator was still not performing as it should.  A quick call to Kostos and he agreed to come the following day to see what the problem was.  He soon had it sussed and we are now prepped and ready to make the big jump across to Sicily.

On Friday 26th at 0154h there was an earthquake measuring 6.4 – magnitude, 30 miles south of Zakinthos.  I actually felt the tremors on the boat at 0158h four minutes later!  It was a weird feeling being bounced up and down without the force of waves. Luckily no one was hurt and only minor damage occured.

Pylos marina from the castle
Pylos bay looking west towards the gap.

 

 

Kim will arrive on Sunday 28th Oct to give us a hand and put her newly acquired Day Skipper Skills into good practice.  Yeah!

 

 

 

We are really looking forward to getting back to our winter berth even though we will only have a couple of weeks to put the boat to bed before we set off to the UK.

 

 

 

 

Alice and Ian’s re-introduction to sailing!!

With our new crew here to do all the work in the form of rope pulling and winching we were soon sailing along.  It took us three hours to cover the 12 miles between Tinos and Syros. We sailed into Ermoupolis Harbour, Syros passing by the recently re-opened and working Nerion boatyard,  at about 1700h and were pleased to see that Thannassis, the most stylish harbourmaster in the Med, was there to welcome us back!

We had a quick stride around this beautiful town and went out for dinner with the gang from Fly the Coop.  Later, we were treated to a free Jazz Concert

The theatre modeled on La Scala, in Syros.

in the pretty theatre which is modeled on La Scala.

 

 

 

 

We were up early the next morning because we had people to see.  The previous afternoon, Ian had scooted across the bay to the boat yard to collect a fender that we had lent to a dutch sailor whilst we were in Tinos.    By chance, Ian saw that our friend, Robert Brons, on Saquilla was once again back in Syros, too.   Robert was not around at the time but later we contacted him by phone and agreed to meet up.

We also wanted to go and see Georgios and Stamatis who fixed the boat last year.

It was so nice to see Robert and catch up on all his news, if only briefly.

We bid fond farewells to Bryn and Jill and their gang the following morning and set off on a long sail south to Serifos.  We anchored in the bay at Livadhi in winds of about 3kts.  It was calm enough to have a wonderful BBQ.

Next morning, the wind had picked back up to the usual 20 odd knots and, as we attempted to leave the bay, the main halyard managed to get itself wrapped around the deck light that is attached to the mast.  We freed it finally by using what I had thought were long-forgotten ribbon flicking techniques from my rhythmic gymnastics days.

So, we were off.  We had a very lumpy sail directly downwind to Milos.  It was very tiring trying to keep the sails filled and to cope with the wallowing.  Alice and Ian kept us amused with comical quips and references;

The Genoa….’Do you know her?’

The Vang… Release Van Gogh.

Same ting, same ting…

Winch ‘andull…

We arrived and parked up on the town quay with a number of other boats waiting for a weather window to cross to the Peleponnese.

An ancient theatre on the hillside near Plaka, Milos.
The view across from one peninsula to the other on Milos.
The moulded ‘tuff’ rock formed from layers of volcanic ash and mined for its kaolin content.
The Ians study an ancient marble column

On Thursday, we explored the island by car.  It has some of the best beaches we have seen in the Aegean.  Once out of the wind it was lovely and warm.  We visited the spectacular lunar landscape of Sarakiniko  where layers of volcanic ash have been moulded and sculpted by wind and waves.  There have also been galleries, carved in the rock, from when the ash was mined for its kaolin content.

The pretty village of Klima as close to the water as it could be.

 

Back on board we had energy for rustling up a Thai red curry and competing for the coveted title of Articulate Champions!

 

The wind seems to want us to stay put here in Milos but Alice and Ian had to make their way back to Mykonos.  They caught the ferry to Santorini from where they can get back to Mykonos in time ready for their flight on Saturday.

The Crucial Crew!

It’s been great fun once again!

Our 40th Island in Greece and 39 years since I was first here!

The cathedrals and churches of the Chora above and the pretty coloured houses of Klima on the shore of Nisos Milos.

We left Milos after an informative morning at the Mining Museum and headed to an anchorage about 15 miles east.  We anchored over incredible sand and enjoyed some snorkelling.  We saw a wide variety of fish and even an octopus.

The jagged pyroclasticfloe rocks of Nios Poliagos.

Next day, we headed to Ios in the southern Cyclades and arrived bang on our ETA.

We anchored in Milapotas Bay over white sand and clear waters.  We discovered that Keira and her group of hen party friends were staying very close to the bay so we met up for a beer in the evening.

It was so great to see them all.

The view through the arched door of Port Ios

The following day Ian and I took a bus to Ios port and I tried in vain to orientate myself with my 39 years old memories.  It all seemed to have changed quite a bit.  There are certainly lots more buildings in the bay to the north and the dirt road as was, is now a proper road.

Church of Port Ios headland.
One of about 7 seven old windmills at the top of the CHora

We walked up to the Chora (litter picking the plastic debris on route as it is Trash Tuesday again) and had a wander round.  It wasn’t quite as charming as I remembered although there were some pretty bougainvillea shrouded squares, bonny churches and old windmills.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me and Steph in Crete 2011

Of course, we had a pitta gyros and toasted my best friend, Stephanie Minto, with whom I shared a good few gyros during that summer of ’79.

 

 

Meanwhile, there was lots of communication back and forth between us and Erin as her plans for her plans for Grandma’s 80th birthday trip to Wimbledon came to a head.  Her source for tickets didn’t work out; then Grandma missed her train.

But it all worked out alright in the end and they are about to crack a bottle of wine on Henman Hill !

It was a massive amount of organisation for Erin to do whilst working many hours at the restaurant too.  She sorted travel, accommodation, transport to Wimbledon, parking, tickets, picnic and even strawberries and cream.

What a fantastic memory making day!

Sun shining through the pretty church tower.

 

 

A week with Keira in the Cyclades

The day after Josh and Erin left us the wind was finally at more acceptable levels so we sailed off back to Rhinia, our favourite of the islands round here.  We had a good sail round to the west side and anchored in a beautiful cove – Ormos Miso.

We had a lovely couple of days here exploring the island and dodging flying shot gun bullets, as the farmers were constantly out hunting birds.

We managed another impressive beach clean-up here: Collecting something like 200lts of plastic debris. The most unusual finds were, curtain hooks, tile spacers, an intact huge electric light bulb.

Most prolific finds;  plastic straws, glow bands, balloons, plastic bottle lids, fisherman’s twine and netting.

Good job done; we sailed across to Syros in yet more fruity winds and parked on the quay with the help of Thannasis, the lovely, stylish, colour-coordinated and helpful harbourmaster.

Further exploration inland revealed a beautiful town, marbled paved square and streets, Venetian style Neo-Classical buildings, bulging wrought iron balconies, tall shuttered windows and a charming elegance we have not seen elsewhere.  The bay is huge.  At its heart is the newly bankrupt shipyard and dry docks.  Once providing employment for 2500 people it has just stopped operating some 5 months ago.

In the south part of the bay is a newish mariner which is not properly managed or maintained since it seems no one can agree who should have the contract.  So, it is left un-cared for and defunct before it has even been completed.  Boat owners use it regardless…for free but it is a shambles.

Sea water in the sail drive makes the oil go a milky colour…not good!

Ian carried out his daily engine check and discovered that seawater was getting into the saildrive: Another potentially costly repair.

We organised for an engineer, Stamatis and his son Georgios, to check it and he confirmed what we suspected.  We would have to be hauled out for the repairs to the saildrive.  We agreed to come back in on Friday morning after having dropped Keira in Mykonos.

We had a lovely few days in Ermoupolis, and had the added bonus of meeting up with a Clipper chum of Ian’s called Mike Stephenson who was out on a charter yacht with his wife Amanda and friends.  We had a pleasant evening with them and waved them off in the morning.

The biggest shell we have ever found.

We headed back to our favourite place on Rhinia, shocked to see a HUGE rock across the entrance to the cove that we had not spotted on our first stay.  We took a bearing on the GPS so that we could add it to our chart.

We enjoyed sunbathing, swimming, back gammoning,  eating and watching a couple of films.  (A fish called Wanda – helping to complete Keira’s film education) and then, all too soon, it was time to head back to Mykonos to say goodbye to Keira as she heads back to the UK after her year abroad.

Leaving Naxos after one month (Testing the engine)

Octopus drying on the quay in Naxos

We finally waved goodbye to harbourmaster father and son team Nikos and Makos in Naxos.  They wryly commented that we should have asked for the monthly mooring fee.  We returned to Paros.  We anchored in the south west part of the bay of Naoussa and enjoyed a fine afternoon swimming and snorkeling.  Erin spotted a beautiful starfish for us all to admire.

After a super calm night, we headed north in great winds to Finikas.  Arriving with a flurry of charter yachts, we were hoodwinked into thinking that the quay would be a good place to be overnight, despite forecasts of strong southerly winds in the night.  Foolish error!

We were awoken from fitful sleep by the grating noise of the spreaders and stays clashing with those of the neighbouring boat.  We managed to pull forward so that the rocking would be safer and went back to bed.  Ten minutes later, Erin shouted out, ‘Boat!’ in a tone of great alarm.  She had popped her head out of the forward hatch and to her amazement saw a charter yacht pinned across our bow at 0400h in the morning, in the dark!

We all dashed on deck to fend off this yacht.  Another departing yacht had tripped its anchor and so they were forced to leave in some haste.  On motoring out, they wrapped a rope round the propeller so they had no power.  Left to the devices of the strengthening wind, they were blown along the bows of the boats on the quay, stopping at us because they fouled their keel on our anchor chain.


After hours of fending, our anchor finally gave up and their keel was free. They continued to bounce along every single bow along the quay finally stopping about 2 metres from some rocks.  Ian helped them to get their anchor down and then they waited for the coastguard to arrive to tow them to safety.

Our massive stern fender was burst and numerous other damages were incurred in the night when the charter yacht hit us.

In the meantime, we were all busy on Linea.  First, we pulled the anchor as tight as it would go.  Then, we kept the engine on in case we need to motor forwards at all.  We tried to limit the damage as much as possible whilst this boat was pressing us back against the quay. Tthe swell was lifting us higher than the quay and it is a miracle that the rudder didn’t get damaged.  Josh was doing sterling fending off with the popped fender.

Ian eventually came back to the boat and we decided that since it was almost dawn and we were not happy with our anchor we would leave.  The boat on our starboard side had to leave first since their anchor chain was lying right over ours.  We motored to the anchorage on the other side of the bay.

After a few hours nap we were beginning to see the humorous side of the story.  We still couldn’t quite believe all that had happened during the night.  We were mightily relieved not to have incurred more damage.  The boat next to us had not been nearly so lucky; having its stern constantly smashed into the quay.

Josh and Erin chilling on the deck

We moved on to the practically deserted island west of Mykonos and had a wonderful night in a perfect cove with Delos in the distance.  A beautiful place to calm the nerves.

On Wednesday we set off to Mykonos, as Josh and Erin had bought fantastically cheap flights back to Manchester from there.  (£38 each)  We anchored in the bay south of town and sat out the evening’s strong winds.

There was time for some last minute hair braiding and back gammon championships.

Next day, we caught a bus to explore the lanes, whitewashed churches and bijoux shops in town.  We walked round to meet up with Stephen and Gilly for a swift beer and to catch up on their island-hopping adventures.

It was a pleasant wander round Little Venice, past the windmills and up and down the steps on the hill.  The town was thronged with doddering cruise ship passengers.

During the very wet journey back to the boat to collect bags,  we saw yet another inflatable toy somersaulting across the bay.  We managed to catch it and the girls were very happy with their swan (Susan).  All too soon, it was time to bid a fond farewell to Erin and Josh.  They headed to the airport and we went back for another windy night in Ormos Ornos.

During the last few days, we have switched the engine on and off a total of eight times and all seems to be well.  We are gradually gaining more confidence that the fuel is clean and the pipes are clear.  Phew!