|Fish and chips Faros style!|
Sunday 16 June dawned clear and bright with a moderate north-easterly wind blowing, almost ideal conditions for heading south to Milos and its surrounding islands. By 1000 two of the other boats in the anchorage had already departed and I prepared Kurukulla for getting under-way, under sail. By 1030 we were sailing gently out of the anchorage past the remaining yachts and past the scene of the celebrations some days earlier. In the interim I had discovered that what I mistakenly described as a church was in fact the monastery of Panagia of Chrissopigi (1650), the protector of Sifnos.
|The monastery of Panagia of Chrissopigi (1650)|
|Manolisi on arrival|
The passage south was uneventful but for the wind coming and going and backing round to the north west. My intention was to head for the anchorage at Manolonisi on the island of Poliagos some 7 miles east of Milos.
|Manolisi at sunset|
On entering the anchorage I was overwhelmed by its beauty, well protected, crystal clear azure water, sandy beach and only goats for company; well until that evening anyway! The winds were light and the sea warm so I swam ashore taking the camera and flip-flops and set about getting some good pictures of this little piece of paradise. That evening another single hander came in to anchor, obviously well travelled, in an aluminium hulled boat Belgian registered; he himself was Italian. He explained later that the reason for the Belgian flag was to avoid the Italian bureaucracy; having spent many years living in Italy I sympathized with him! We were later joined by another Italian registered yacht.
|The bay from inland|
Next morning strong northerly winds were forecast and did not disappoint, not a day for going anywhere! All three boats spent the day swinging round our anchors and frequently swimming out to check their security. With 40m of cable out in only 4m depth my anchor had buried itself so deeply into the golden sand that nothing was likely to move it.
|The offending fridge motor|
|The terrain of Poliagos|
Thus it was I stayed four days here, partly by choice and partly by necessity. On the evening of day two my refrigerator gave a grunt and stopped working, not ideal, and so on the morning of day three I set too to repair it, which would have been a simple-ish task had it been on a work bench. Tucked away on the top shelf of the corner cupboard under the sink was a different matter. There are some times when you really would like to meet the designer of some of the equipment used in the marine field, just to educate them on the environment in which their equipment is used. After a two hour long struggle to remove it I finally managed to wrestle the cooling water pump motor free of the heat exchanger coil inside which it had, for some reason unknown to mankind, been encased. It was not even to cool the motor as they had carefully wrapped it in rubber sheet before using it as a former around which to coil the heat exchanger pipe; madness! This stupidity overcome it took me another hour or so to dismantle the motor, rectify the problem, and reassemble it. An hour later saw it on its was back in, minus much of the rubber, making it a much easier fit. Two hours later I sat down to an ice cold beer, the fridge having recovered its temperature and running efficiently again.
|One of the inhabitants of Poliagos|
Day three was spent on a hike round part of the island. The terrain is amazing, like walking on a field of railway ballast. It must be the remains of the volcanic explosion that created the crater in the centre of Milos (Milos being rather like the more famous Santorini in form, an island with a flooded crater at its centre). There is very little wildlife to be seen, a few goats but otherwise almost nothing, not even the ever present lizards that are prevalent in most of the other islands. It was beautiful for its desolation, all the same. Four hours later I was back onboard enjoying another cold beer! That evening the Italian single hander left and I decided to head for Milos next day; in the morning if the wind had abated, evening if it had not. Suffice to say it is five in the afternoon of the next day and I am still here. Hopefully the wind will drop as evening approaches but it is not showing much sign of it at the moment! At least it is only 15 miles or so to Adhamas, the main port of Milos.
|The chora of Milos|
Ultimately I decided go for it and so at 1730 we sailed off the anchor with two reefs in the main and 10 rolls in the No 1 genoa (I did consider changing to the No 2 but the forecast in 24hrs time is for much less wind and hence it would be a change back; too much effort for such a short sail and it was likely to be nothing closer than a reach). As soon as we cleared the anchorage we were doing 7 kts plus so this was going to be a quick sail! The straights between Milos and Kimolos were negotiated without problem despite gusts up to over 40 kts (force 8) and from there it was beam reaching in open water and with lumpy seas until turning downwind through the gap between Nisos Akradhia and Milos and thence into the entrance of Ormos Milos. Once in Ormos Milos there were still three miles to go but things calmed down a little!
|Sea Cloud at Milos|
We finally anchored in 10m off Adhamas, the main port of Milos, at 2030; deploying 50m of cable in the poor holding and gusty conditions. Who should we find anchored here, Sea Cloud, the same square rigger we saw in Delos.
Tomorrow morning I will berth Kurukulla on the main town jetty but this passage had provided enough excitement for one evening!
More when I leave.