My prediction of a disturbed night was well founded. At about 0400 there was a wind shift to the east which brought the British registered sailing super-yacht into contact with a motor yacht which was well within his swinging circle. By judicious use of twin screws and powerful bow thrusters the managed to extricate himself from the restricted space he had chosen and proceeded to back up into the ferry turning area and anchor there. The net result of this was 5 short blasts (meaning “get out of my way!”) from the ferry that arrived an hour later. At this point common sense prevailed and they departed! I would not have wanted to be the “professional skipper” who brought about this debacle; his days in command may be numbered! In the meantime a French yacht had also departed the anchorage freeing up a much more appropriate space for the Spanish super yacht and they had wisely and silently moved into it, placing me well outside their swinging area. Deep sleep at last, with the exception that Mike was arriving at 0630 and needed to be plucked off the jetty using the dinghy; ah well, there is always tomorrow night...
|Banana II, but not as I remember it.|
The following day we met up with three Italian speakers on the beach, and not being one to miss an opportunity to practise my Italian we invited them to join us for a circumnavigation of Skiathos the next day. Two of the guys, Luca and Marco were from Venice and the third, Filippo, was part Italian, part Greek which was to prove very useful later. Next morning we set off at 1100, using a northerly breeze, for a very enjoyable sail round the island. By 1630 we were anchored back at Banana II having covered 27 miles in total. Not everyone was pleased to see us! A lady (I call her that out of politeness only) soon swam out to complain that at 75m we were anchored too close to the beach. If we didn't “go away” she would call the Port Police (AKA Coastguard). No amount of Filippo's persuasion, in Greek, would succeed in making her be more reasonable. The Coastguard duly arrived and told us we were “breaking the law” by being so close to the beach. I questioned the origin of the law. One of the Coastguard officers replied “It is Greek law”, I was able to explain to him that it was not Greek Law but was in fact European Law adopted by Greece and because the law was so badly drafted it was unclear whether it applied at all in this case. It was intended to prevent power driven vessels operating near bathing beaches where they represent a severe risk to swimmers. Having undermined his confidence in his position he then became much more reasonable and, having inspected all my documents (in order to save face), we then agreed that, to keep the old woman quiet, we would move a further 50m off the beach. They departed, we moved and the old woman swam round the boat in circles for the next hour mouthing comments; it was not clear whether these referred to the ineffectiveness of the Coastguard (in her eyes) or our continued presence! Eventually she tired of it and departed.
|Sunset at the anchorage at Nisos Pithou|
|Anchored in bay on west coast of Nisos Palaio Trikeri|
|Panormou, south bay, Skopelos|
So taken were the team with Skopelos town that we decided to stay the night there and make an early passage back to Skiathos next day. As a consequence we enjoyed an excellent lunch on the waterfront and a somewhat less successful dinner in the restaurant high above the town behind the church on the quay.
Next morning it was away early to motor to the northern tip of Skopelos, a beam reach from there to the SE of Skiathos and then a close reach along the south coast to Koukounaries beach where we finally
said goodbye to our
guests; they were flying back to Venice next day! Mike and I settled
down for an early night and an even earlier departure next morning;
westwards towards the Stenon Trikeri, Orei Channel and then into the
northern part of the Gulf of Evia. Our intention had been to anchor
for the night near the Nisos Likhades, at the very northern end of
the gulf, but as we had made such good time and the anchorage was not
that great we continued on down to Kopolos Atlantis, 15 miles further
south. Unexpectedly the island Nisos Atlantis did not offer a
suitable sheltered anchorage and so with dusk approaching we motored
at full speed the 4 miles east to Ormos Ay Ioannis Theologos,
was much more sheltered even if less secluded.
|Skopelos town quay|
|The crew at Skopelos|
From here it was an easy 20 mile sail to Khalkis and a phone call to the Port Police at Khalkis informed us that the bridge would open at 2320 that night. As a consequence we spent a quiet afternoon at anchor just north of Khalkis and moved into the town quay waiting berths at 1700. By 1800 I had completed the formalities, paid my €42, and received my briefing from the Port Police. All we had to do now was wait. To pass some of the time we walked along to the Khalkis Yacht Club where we were very well received. An hour and two beers later we had been allocated a
and made several new friends amongst the membership. Supper at the
Xalkos Meze Bar (excellent and highly recommended, halfway from the Yacht Club to the bridge and lying back from the waterfront) and it was back to
the boat to await our call on VHF Ch 12.
Sure enough at 2300 we were
called by name and requested to get under-way and pass through the
By midnight we were moored at the yacht club, assisted by
members who had stayed late to await our arrival. We had decided to
take a days pause at Khalkis to get victuals, find a laundry,
replenish gas and try to get all the essentials sorted before heading
With the assistance of the club secretary all of this was
achieved in half the time it might otherwise have taken. The club
really is the most hospitable Yacht Club I have ever visited! In
return all they asked was a complimentary comment in their visitors
book ! Such generosity.....
|Downwind towards Evia|
|In the waiting berths, north of the bridge at Khalkis|
|Khalkis Bridge, no tides in the Med!|
|Khalkos meze bar|
|Khalkis Yacht Club, we couldn't get closer to the clubhouse!|
|Approaching the new Khalkis road bridge|
Having plucked Simon and Nikos off the ferry jetty in Nea Marmara we motored out to the Petaloi Islands and anchored in the bay on the NW side of Nisos Xero for the rest of the day. There was no wind even if we wanted to have a sail! This bay is a beautiful bay and was not too crowded despite it being a weekend.
The following day we again had no wind but
decided on a change of scenery and thus we headed southwards through
the channel separating Nisos Megalo Petali from Nisos Zero; slightly
nervously as it is charted at 3m depth and the last 3m channel I
tried, in Turkey, had silted to less than 2m with the result that we
spent an hour plus trying to re-float Kurukulla! The channel
successfully navigated we headed for Ornos Likourimas, a bay on Evia
Island proper, at the southern end of the Stenon Xero channel
separating Nisos Xero from Evia. A pleasant anchorage and much less
frequented than the islands.
After a few hours here we decided to
shorten the distance between us and Porto Rafti in the hope of some
wind later in the day to sail the rest. Our prayers were answered.
After motoring to Vasiliko on the south shore of Nisos Megalo Petali
and an hour there swimming we were justly rewarded with a brisk wind
for a beam reach all the way to Porto Rafti. 7 knots plus almost all
the way. The only downside was that there was no berth available at
Porto Rafti and so we put Simon and Nikos ashore by a touch and go on
a fishing boat moored alongside and then Mike and I went out into the
anchorage to anchor for the night and prepare the dinghy for taking
him ashore at 0530 for his flight back to UK.
Not a great time or way
to start the day but all was successfully completed and I settled
down to await the arrival of another group of friends joining later
|Sunset at Nisos Stira|
The next leg takes us out into the Cyclades, wrestling with the Meltemi, so more when we are there.......