Sugar 'n' Spice - Weblog
38º 22 N
22º 23 E
We are in the
September. A prompt start for what turned out to be a frustrating day. First
the log which we knew had been under reading since our summer break decided not
to show speed at all. The wind was
fickle so it was a mix
of motor & poling out the genny to sail. Then when we got to
So, at our furthest point
east, we decided to return to Simi. At least we had some good views of Rhodes
harbour, but predictably the wind was now on the nose & had picked up,
indeed the sea was quite rough off the NE corner of
This is a landlocked bay, used by some ferries, but also has a very large spectacular monastery on the shore, so there are trip boats & tourists coming & going. The next day we strolled around & found the bakers & village store occupying parts of the monastery, & also that large parts of it were hotel accommodation for pilgrims. We also walked up the hill to a windmill which overlooked the narrow entrance to the bay & found the sea looking much calmer than when we arrived.
September. After cleaning the log impeller – a large barnacle had found a home
– we made a prompt departure from Panormitis, sailing close hauled with full
sails. We were most surprised to see to
the north a huge powerboat, that to our eyes looks
like a submarine. We saw it several
times last year in the Balearics & Italy, but hadn’t seen it this year so
far, but it is so large & distinctive it can only be the same one. Very soon we had a visit from two dolphins who swam alongside. They seemed to be very large compared to
most of the ones we see. Later we reefed
as the wind increased, then lunchtime we arrived at the little
It seemed a nice town with a beach & promenade to the south, & we are told the island is good for walking. We didn’t try any as the forecast was for strong northerlies to set in, So
Thursday 10th September found us with another prompt start motoring straight into a northerly 4/5 & lumpy sea in an effort to beat the regular afternoon increase in wind strength.
Mid morning as we approached
We had our usual recce of the
small town, & swam off a black sand beach to the east. Doug noticed an Ipswich registered boat,
Combava, on the quay & the owner’s, Tish & Barry, (actually from
The following day (11th September) another early start, but this time to beat the tourists & the heat, we hired scooters & head up the hairpin roads to the volcano rim & then down to the edge of the crater.
From there it was on foot, first up to look at a very old crater, then down to one that still spits steam & sulphur, & has bubbling springs hot enough to boil an egg.
The tour buses were starting to arrive as we departed, onwards to the white villages of Nikia & Emborious, perched on the crater rim & with fantastic views down into the crater. Coming back downhill there were a few spits of rain & we returned to the boat instead of our original plan of more sightseeing. Jammy move as the heavens opened & stayed open. We did manage a dash to join Tish & Barry on Combava, & all of us dodged the rain again to cross the road to a taverna for supper.
It rained most of the night & there was some most spectacular sheet lightning spreading across the whole sky.
The Saturday (12th
September) the scooter man said ‘you lost most of yesterday – keep them for
today’ – very nice. When it did dry up
mid morning we went along the coast to Mandraki, the main town on the island.
It is reminiscent of
Scooters returned, the wind was still blowing so we were having a quiet evening on board. It was dark when Doug realised a large yacht (50ft) was coming in upwind of us, & we went up to help. It looked as if they had come in very nicely until we realised they had not put their anchor down! With nothing holding their bow & the wind blowing on their side they were leaning (rather heavily) on us & threatening to drag our anchor too. Mayhem ensued as we tried to fend ourselves, the boat downwind of us, & get them to use their bow thruster to push their bow back through the wind. They seemed reluctant to do this & as a result did drag our anchor & push our bow downwind & stern into the quay. Dashing to try & fend the stern we found numerous other yachtsmen & locals leaning on our stern to keep it off the concrete quay. Then another local boatman arrived with a small rib & pushed the bow of the other boat round, so they could get off the quay. He certainly saved the day, but all the willing help was amazing. I’m thankful to say the other boat did not try to return to that gap, but went in a much larger one further down the quay. We pulled in 5 metres of chain & the anchor seemed to hold, we did not want to have to relay it in the dark on a windy night, but it did not make for a restful night, & yes it did hold for the rest of our stay.
Sunday (13th September) it was still blowing. We were still feeling somewhat battered by events, so it was a leisurely day, a lot of people came to ask if we & boat were OK, & we tried to thank the people who had helped, especially the man with the rib, & opted for an early night.
September a very prompt start from Paloi, the church bells were ringing. We
motored until we cleared the island then were able to sail close hauled for
most of the trip to Astipalaia, the most westerly
There were a few abandoned buildings at the end of the inlet, the usual sheep & musical goats, & when dusk fell lights from vehicles on a track on the hill high above us.
The morning (Tuesday 15th
September) brought a, previously unforecast, wind from the SE, so our plans to
visit Skala, the main town & port, had to change as it is not a good
harbour for that wind direction. We decided to make the most of the easterly
& carry on. We got a good view of the old hill town, Hora, as we came down
the coast, then it was a mix of slightly cracked sheet sailing & some
motoring in light winds. As we closed Amorgos, one of the most easterly
Wednesday 16th September. The wind had gone back to the ‘regular’ northerly direction & was forecast to increase from the east first, so with it blowing a five in the anchorage we put our little jib on the inner forestay & 2 reefs in the main & departed. Ironically mid morning it dropped right off before picking up to moderate again. Around midday we dropped anchor at Mirsini, on Skhinousa island, one of the group called the Minor Cyclades. 14.3 nm.
Having a very small area to
anchor in we (the ‘dog’ swam it, but I didn’t hold the rope in my teeth!) took
a line to some rocks ashore to stop the boat swinging. The first time we have
tried this so more learning curves. I had put on shoes to save my feet from
black sea urchins (lots on the rocky shores in
The little hamlet yielded supper, & in the morning we walked up the hill to the slightly bigger main town, which did produce fruit & veg.
So it was a mid morning
departure on Thursday 17th September. With the wind now on the nose &
a need to charge the batteries we motored northwards. In the straits between Naxos
Jobs done we went for our usual wander. The fishing harbour has as its outer wall a Venetian castle which is apparently sinking with the coastline.
The town has lots of narrow streets & tiny shops to tempt the tourists, & walking further afield we even found a relatively well stocked chandlers. Later we found a pleasant taverna for supper. Just as we were finishing the heavens opened, & everyone had to retreat under cover. At the first opportunity we dashed for the boat as we had left hatches open. There were no too disastrous puddles, but the rain soon came back so we’d saved ourselves a soaking as well.
The weather forecast was for strong winds to the east, developing westwards towards us. We decided to press on west & not linger on Paros, & felt sorry for the people on a catamaran moored astern of us who were very concerned as they were intending to head east.
So Friday 18th September was a prompt start for a day of lightish variable winds, so a mix of sail, motor & motorsailing, with the occasional yacht or ship in the distance.
At 6 in the evening we dropped anchor at Fikiadha on Kithnos after 50.3nm.
This was an intriguing bay as
it was separated from another by a sand bar, rather like that between St Agnes
& Gugh in the Scillies, but of course with no
tide to cover it. Although latish we still swam, but although there were lots
of little fish it was disappointing to see lots of rubbish on the bottom – the proximity
Saturday 19th September,
another prompt start with a reef in the main, & rolls in the genny. Later, still close hauled, the wind eased slightly
& we were able to go to full sail. We
had to tack for a tanker who showed no sign of giving way, & early
afternoon were able to crack sheets. As we approached our destination of Poros there was a heavy rain shower, & we furled the
sails to motor through the narrow straits between
Next day (20th September) we went ashore to look around the Town, acquired a few provisions, walked up narrow stairways to the prominent clocktower & its viewpoint.
Then it was lunch & a stroll across the causeway to the main part of the island, before returning to the boat. There were lots of spaces on the quay as the ‘weekenders’ returned to base.
Monday 21st September.
After 2 nights at anchor we needed to charge the batteries & the wind had
picked up again from the north, dead on the nose, so we motored the 2hr trip to
the next island,