Thursday, July 21, 2011

Back to our favorite Greek anchorage

On Friday, 15 July, we finally tired of Finikas on the island of Syros.  The meltimi had almost blown itself out -- lasted 9 days this time rather than the normal 3 or 4 days.  Winds were predicted to be only 18 knots from the north, so it would be no problem for us to sail west back to our favorite anchorage thus far in Greece -- Ormos Kolona (Kolona Bay) on the the island of Kythnos.  We opted to sail to the southern tip of Kythnos rather than over the top, with full knowledge that once we  passed the southern tip of the island and turned north towards the anchorage on the northwestern side we would be motoring directly into the wind.  But, that was only about 6 miles so that shouldn't be a big deal.

The predicted 18 knots from the north turned in solid 25 knots from the northwest, gusting to 34 knots.  So we were tight-hauled and heeled nicely until we rounded the tip, furled the sails and turned on the motor.  This was a fast sail averaging over 9 knots.  The kids enjoyed it immensely.  Motoring northward up the western side of Kythnos must have been into current as well as the wind, because at our normal engine RPMs the boat was only getting speed-over-ground of 3.5 knots -- it should have been at least 6 knots.  So we upped the revs to move a more acceptable 5 knots.  That last 6 miles seemed to take forever.  Lots of splashes over the deck to get salt all over the boat.   The couple from Corpus Christi had left Finikas an hour before us, headed to the same destination.  They are on a 37-ft boat.  We arrived before 14:00 and they did not arrive until after 16:00.  Took them almost 4 hours longer than us.  They anchored in the small side-bay in Ormos Kolona.  One day the man came over to visit.

Note the tiny wake; slow speed
Once anchored at our favorite spot the kids immediately hit the beach for a couple of hours in the late afternoon sun.   It is nice that they are old enough now and know how to swim well enough that we can let them go to the beach alone.  Bill takes them ashore in the dinghy and then returns to the boat.  One or both of us sit in the cockpit and watch the kids playing on the shore and in the surf until we think they have had enough sun.  Then Bill goes back to collect them.  This provides them with time away from the adults and provides the adults time away from kids.  A year ago they would have been too young to let them out of our sight.   Elisabeth still does not swim all that well, so she wears my Aqua-jogger.  It provides enough additional buoyancy that she feels comfortable in the water.

Can she go any slower???
Next the kids insisted on trying out the new float-thingy that we had bought in Finikas.  This is a triangular-shaped multiple-layered blow-up float that one tethers with a long line and pulls behind a dinghy.   It has 2 thick hand grips to hold onto as one is dragged through the water.   We have named it Rider.  

Elisabeth went for the first ride.  She was fine and enjoyed it very much as long as Bill drove slowly.  When he sped up she burst into tears.  She still did not quite understand that the life vest she was wearing would support her in the water and that if she did not want to go fast then all she had to do was let go.  
Grinning from ear-to-ear

Bill couldn't understand why she was crying.  Just being a girl.

Boys like it rough; getting started
Next was Zach's turn.  Being a boy and having much stronger upper body muscles, he was able to climb up on Rider easier than Elisabeth.  

Faster! Faster!

Bill started slowly but Zach kept yelling to go faster, so soon the outboard engine was running flat out.  What a difference between these 2 kids!  Zach loved going as fast as possible.

Bill made Elisabeth take another turn and agreed not to go too fast this time.  Now she was back to enjoying it.  And she finally understood that letting go of the handles was the easiest way to get off -- even while Rider was going fast she would just calmly float away when she released her tight hand grip.
Love the speed!

For the next 4 days the kids enjoyed fast rides on Rider and playing on the beach each day.  I even got into the water and swam with them off the boat a few times.  I honestly cannot remember the last time I went swimming -- maybe in the Marquesas in June 2008.  The water here is exceptionally clear.  It is also cold.   I could never dive into this water except when the sun is shining strongly.  Then it gets very hot and the cold water is refreshing. 

And she finally gained speed & enjoyed it

We once again planned to climb the mountainside early the next morning before the sun got too hot to check out the very ancient ruins up there.  And, once again, we did not do it.  Bill checked the weather forecast and saw that westerly winds of 24 knots were expected overnight.  As we were in an anchorage fully exposed to the west, that did not sound comfortable or prudent to remain on what would soon become a lee shore.  So, instead of climbing the mountainside we weighed anchor and motored back to Finikas on the island of Syros.

And what a hot day that was!!!  There was not a breath of wind during the 5 hours motoring to Finikas.  The winds would start later that night.  We were all miserably hot on this windless sunny day.  We backed into the town quay around 14:00 and immediately closed all the hatches and cranked up the air-conditioning.  The kids were delighted to plugged back into shore power with internet 24/7 again.  It was delightful sleeping with air-conditioning.  

Today we have turned off the air-conditioning because we don't want to allow ourselves to become too adjusted to being comfortable.  That only makes it more uncomfortable when at anchor with only fans to cool the boat.  We will stay here for 3 nights, then sail to Mykonos on Saturday.  Elisabeth's parents and baby brother should arrive via ferry at Mykonos on Sunday afternoon.  They will remain with us for about 3 weeks.  Gosh, I hope it cools off while they are here, although that is not likely.


  1. I love this blog! I just discovered you from a link you put in a facebook comment. We are about your ages (I thnk) and we live aboard a Roberts 53 with stern turned out to make it 56. It is steel. We just purchased it last July, in Astoria, OR. We are now living in Craig, AK where I am a home health RN, and my husband works on the interior of the boat, which, while usable, was not finished. He recently installed a whole new battery system with inverter and 4 8D batteries (and all the associated gauges and wiring and stuff). Reading your blog makes me want to get out of here and GO!

    We are more inclined to explore the high latitudes. We used to commercial fish here in Alaska, and we have always felt one could spend a lifetime exploring Alaska via boat and never run out of places to go. We have even pondered the NW Passage, especially now, since they say there is more open water than there used to be.

    Anyway, I have added you to my favorites, and I will keep reading.

    We are Don and Sue, by the way. Nice to meet you :-)

    We have a blog, but I haven't posted for a while. Since we have been settled in one place for a few months, there doesn't seem to be as much to say, but it is here: The last two posts don't have pictures, but the others do.

  2. Don & Sue,

    Pleased to meet advice is do not wait too late to release the dock lines. Please let us help you with any questions you may us at crew"at" (substitute @ for at)

    Judy & Bill

  3. Thanks for the advice.

    If you scroll all the way to the beginning of our blog, you will see what prompted us to take the plunge (so to speak). We pondered and pondered, but then life events reminded us how tenuous life really is.


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