Monday, May 19, 2014

Finished Cyclades and entered Saronic Gulf

  As always, click on any image for larger view.

We finally left the dock in Naxos Town after thoroughly enjoying our 9-day stay there.  This is our favorite marina or town dock in Greece.  Just love this little place and really like the manager, Nickolas.  Love the little town and all the convenience of everything being so close together.  We will miss Naxos.  When shop clerks and waiters recognize us on the street, it is time to move on.

Paros -- NW anchorage.  Another blue dome!

Next up was an anchorage on the northern tip of Paros island, just west of Naxos island.  This was only a short 10 NM, sailing tightly on the wind for just over an hour and motoring the last 3 miles directly into the building westerly wind.  We were looking for a place to hide out from rising westerly winds for a couple of days.  This anchorage at 37.08.622N  025.13.698E was the perfect place.  A beautiful secluded anchorage with scenic views all around.  

A half-sunken boat at Paros

And only 2 boats there, including us!  Only distraction were the thousands of flies!  We put up the screens and pretty much stayed inside the boat.  It was too cool in the cockpit in the wind anyway.  Gave us plenty of time to catch up on our reading.  

Blue domed church and 1 of 4 pocket beaches at Paros

Surprised me one sunny day to see people arriving at the several small pocket beaches that line this large bay tucked up in the northwest tip of another VERY large bay.  These folks were actually getting into the water!  Bill and I were wearing long pants and long sleeve shirts while staying inside our boat out of the cold wind and those people were swimming in that cold water! As the day warmed with the sun I sat in the cockpit shielded from the wind by the dodger and enjoyed reading a trashette...a book that requires no thought, where the author writes in a formula manner that guarantees good sales to people who do not want to think.  A trashette is the perfect book to while away a beautiful afternoon watching the scenery while at anchor.  Couples were hiking round the hills surrounding the bay.  Most would soon find their spots in the rocks near the water and shed their clothing to lie on towels and soak up the warm rays of sun.  If one were out of the wind then the temperature was lovely.  In the wind, it was still cold; at least in our opinions.   Lying nude on a large hot rock appears to be a favorite past-time here.

Kithnos anchorage north side of beach
After a couple of days the westerly winds died away.  Forecast for 17 May was for SW winds ranging 13 to 16 kts.  Perfect to sail up to Kithnos and visit our favorite anchorage.  Or, so we thought.  Sailing was perfect for a couple of hours.  Then wind died down to 1.5 knots and our only option was to motor for the next 6 hours to complete this 55 NM passage.  Just lovely.  But, on the bright side, having no wind allowed us to motor due west and then go north up the western side of Kithnos rather than the usual route of going over the north tip and back down to our anchorage.  

Isthmus beach at Kithnos anchorage

We dropped anchor at 37.24.895N   024.22.605E at 15:00 and spent the next 4 hours admiring the beach and surroundings.  Very idyllic place.  This was our fifth time to visit this isthmus beach anchorage.  And this time it was not crowded with motor boats out of Athens area.  This is a very popular weekend destination but the season has not yet started.  Nice!

South side of isthmus beach at Kithnos anchorage
Overnight a westerly swell worked its way into the long bay and the motion became a bit uncomfortable.  Not badly so, but enough that we saw no reason to stay there and roll side-to-side when we could just as easily move on.  We still had 13 days before needing to arrive at Zea Marina at Pireaus in order to meet our grandchildren at the Athens airport.  Might as well move on closer while the weather was good.  Besides, winds were predicted to rise to 23-27 kts from the north in 2 days and remain high for 4-5 days.  So we raised anchor and headed out into the swell and motored up to Sounion.

Temple of Poseidon at Sounion
Built 444 B.C.
Looks like they are building a
walkway up to the temple
It seemed to take forever to cover that 23 miles!  Swell was 1.5 meter with 1 meter steep waves on top.  Motoring into it was slow and annoying.  With the engine at 2,000 rpm the boat was only making ~4 kts. SOG!!  We normally would be going 7 kts at that rpm.  We finally arrived at Sounion and dropped the anchor.  And 5 minutes later pulled it right back up again.  Too rolly here also!   Again caused by that westerly swell.
Chapel Cove anchorage in  large Anavissou bay

Tiny chapel on the hill.  Hence the
name Chapel Cove

Town behind us at Chapel Cove anchorage.  Do not know
name of this community.  Lots of permanent moorings here.
We continued northward up the peninsula to another anchorage we remembered from our last visit to this area in 2011.  At 14:00 we again dropped the anchor; this time at 37.43.006N  023.55.691E almost right on top of the track on our electronic chart indicating where we had previously anchored in Chapel Cove in large Ormos Anavissou.  Ahhh!  Much nicer!  No swell and no rolling!  Pretty scenery.  There are permanent moorings for small boats filling most of this little anchorage.  We anchored well out from the moorings yet still behind the rocks that protect from any westerly swell.  Only negative is that there are no stores or markets nearby for when our supply of bread and produce are consumed.   

Our paper planning chart.  Black line shows where we have sailed so far since departing Fethiye.
About 1/3 of the way to Dubrovnik now.  The line straight down was the ferry trip from Naxos to Santorini.

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