|Storm damage from Mykonos!|
Mike Owens arrived as planned and I collected him from the airport in the hired 4WD. A short stop at the best supermarket we could find ensured that we were ready to depart next day and after putting all of our acquisitions, plus Mike's kit onboard, we set off for a final road tour of the island! Next day we were sailing gales or no gales!
After being pinned down in Mykonos by the force 6-8 winds, gusting up to storm force 10, for almost two weeks it was a pleasure to escape the sand blasting of the marina and head round to the southern beaches to shelter there. Time to clean the boat up, a two day task in itself! Kurukulla looked as though she had been in the Sahara Desert but no permanent damage except to the flags, all three looked much the worse for wear after their experience!
The nearest Kurukulla came to serious damage whilst in the marina was when an arriving charter yacht did a “hand-brake turn” into the basin where we were berthed and then, on trying to go astern, realised he had absolutely no astern power whatsoever; a diver recovered his propeller from the bottom of the basin two days later, the retaining nut was never found! Fortunately he had a reactive crew who fended off well and prevented him “T boning” me on Kurukulla's starboard side; we came out unscathed.
Having escaped the marina Mike got his first soaking of the trip on the way southwards! After an hour we anchored off, and tied back to the rocks with long lines, in the now familiar spot on Elia Beach. We had become a regular feature there and almost become part of the scenery; even featuring in the water colours of a visiting French artist Roland Gilles. The day before our departure a charter yacht came in to anchor for the night, anchoring about 50m from us. The crew swam ashore and I introduced myself to one of them who completely left me dumbfounded when he introduced himself and called me by name, he had been reading the blog!
|Approaching Sifnos in a flat calm|
On Monday 25th of June we left Mykonos for the last time this season and headed downwind, in a force 8, for Dhespotico; it is a very small island off the west coast of Paros with a well sheltered and secluded bay on the south side. An hour away from Mykonos and the wind started to subside, an hour later and there was no wind! This is Mediterranean sailing at its worst, no wind and a horrid, lumpy sea. Two hours later we motored into the bay, anchored and immediately dived in for a swim to wash off the salt spray.
|The lunchtime anchorage|
|In amongst the fishermen|
Next morning dawned with bright sunshine but very little wind, our choice was an early start and a drift to one of the local islands or another day of motoring. We decided to head for Faros on Sifnos, a small town on the eastern end of the island with three anchorages nearby and a small town quay. We sailed off the anchor but an hour later we were becalmed and motoring along at six knots. Two miles short of Sifnos we were joined by a school of three dolphins who played under the bow for a few minutes before heading off in the other direction, It is always such a pleasure to see them and on this occasion one took position under the bow and just stayed there, a metre ahead of the boat, matching our speed, almost station keeping. After anchoring and a late lunch in the small bay just inside Ak Stavros (one of the headlands defining the bay) we moved into the town quay, berthing Kurukulla, stern to, in amongst the fishing boats. Not too popular with one of the local fishermen but as I pointed out the jetty had been paid for by the EU, i.e. me, and I had equal right to use it! There was plenty of space so Kurukulla was causing no obstruction to anyone; the fisherman who complained just did not like the idea of a yacht using what they had come to think of as their facility! In truth it was built with EU money to bring in tourists and therefore revenue to the local community, not for sole use of the fishermen. A short walk round the “town”, supper onboard and a late night drink in a local taverna finished the day.
|Mike (AKA Old Sea Dog) on the helm|
After securing some provisions from the only local shop we moved back to the bay of the previous afternoon for a leisurely lunch and then sailed off the anchor heading for Milos. This proved to be another brisk downwind sail, averaging nearly 7 knots under double reefed main and rolled genoa, and saw us forging through the channel between Kimolos and Poliagos before anchoring off a large sandy beach on the south side of Kimolos. A wide, open, anchorage but comfortable none the less if you could forget the 20 knot wind blowing; at least it was warm wind!
|Passing Sikinos to Stbd|
The debate next day was go into Milos town, 7 miles away, or head to Ios and start making our way east. The wind untimately decided for us by backing to the NW making an entry to Milos easy but the exit would have been decidedly uncomfortable. Thus it was that we set off on a spanking good reach, under the same sails as the day before, heading for Ios. 36 miles in 5 hours, anchorage to anchorage, in a lumpy sea but fast sailing. Due to the conditions lunch had to await our arrival in the anchorage at Milopotamou, in Ios, but we were there and anchored by 1500. Milopotamou offers reasonable shelter but we did have to reset the anchor once to stop it dragging. After anchoring the first time I went for a swim to check on the anchor and got run down by a passing windsurfer for my trouble, fortunately the only damage was a painfully bruised leg, mine! The anchor in the meantime was lying on its side, dragging along happily, and making no attempt to dig in! The second time we laid it it performed rather better and held perfectly throughout the night, despite very gusty conditions.
Today we moved into Ios harbour and managed to get the only available free berth in the whole harbour. Fortunately we backed in alongside a very friendly couple from California who agreed that as we were the larger boat we should take their holding off line, the only one available, and they would hang off us.
|Milopotamou anchorage, the most popular beach on Ios|
Some people might not have been so accommodating! Ios is a small harbour with limited facilities and subject to heavy swells when the large ferries are manoeuvring into their berth in such restricted space so a good holding off arrangement is essential.
Tomorrow we head for Ornos Nero, my favourite anchorage in Ios.