Saturday, 31 May 2014

The young and the old

Beers on the beach at Livadi, Astipalaia

There's a new reason for coming ashore now that Freddy's on board. He likes to run. Correction, he needs to run. Uphill, for preference. Potential for hill sprints is not something that Alex and I usually give much thought to in our chosen destinations,  but fortunately the south-eastern Aegean islands have obliged with roads of acceptably steep gradients.

Just enough depth for Enki at Palon harbour, Nisyros

Volcanic craters in the interior of Nisyros

The road above Livadhi anchorage is perfect for running

Above Katapola harbour, Amorgos

The south coast of Amorgos

Freddy also likes his food. I knew this in theory, and had stocked up the freezer in anticipation, but I admit I had forgotten how much bio-fuel young men need just to keep ticking over. Then you throw in the hill sprints...Freddy has been hungry sometimes, I think, but I'm getting into the groove (up early to make fresh bread and a batch of hummus before breakfast) and Freddy's learning to accommodate our oldster ways.

In Greece, the drinks are out in the open

After brekky snack - bread and honey

We've thrown him a few curly ones. Two fouled anchors in Symi harbour and a fishing net tangled in our anchor chain. Just to keep things interesting. Oh, and a very strong blow from the south-west which we weathered in an isolated anchorage at the top of Astipalea island. I suspect we probably do seem like a couple of stress balls when it comes to setting the anchor, but we learned a valuable lesson in that place, called Panormos.

Freddy finishes cutting net out of anchor chain

It was a spectacularly wild anchorage, populated only by goats and birds, and protected from every direction but the north and north-east. The bottom was sand and weed and the anchor pulled up strongly after skipping along for a few metres. The skipper was happy. We'd had three attempts to set the anchor in the previous anchorage, underneath the chora and Venetian castle of Astipalea.

Enki sits below the chora and castle at Astipalaia

Old windmills on Astipalaia

The season is nearly upon us - Astipalaia harbour

I have new goggles, and the water was fabulously blue, so at Panormos I did what we should always do, and jumped in to check how well the anchor had dug in. Actually, it hadn't dug in at all. It was caught on a rock.

Checking the anchor in Panormos

Freddy chooses not to use the outboard

We re-set the anchor, re-checked it, and when gusts of 40 plus knots came barrelling down the hills a few hours later, we were sitting much prettier than we would have been if we hadn't got in the water.

Settling in for the storm (and below)

So now, having done the wonderful thing of sailing 30 miles north-west across the Aegean (you have to pick your weather to do that), we're on the easternmost Cycladian island of Amorgos, best known for its spectacular monastery which clings to the cliffs like an icefall.

The monastery of Panayia of the Presentation

Track up to the monastery

Living quarters - 3 monks only live at the monastery now

The patriarchs of Amorgos

We came into Katapola harbour after a longish sail and found the inn was full. After the obligatory "tiki tour" of available options, we put down an anchor, just off the beach. The wind was blowing straight in. A lee shore - not ideal. "Oh well, at least if we drag, we'll go up on the beach," Alex said. He's not really a cavalier guy, so I figured he could live with the forecast wind strength.

This morning we came onto the town wall, and learned that a Moody yacht had been anchored off the beach in Katapola harbour on the night when the big gale blew through. Its anchor didn't hold, and yes, it ended up on the beach. Not nice.

No room on the wall at Katapola

Petrol tanker entering Katapola harbour

No-one eats lamb in the Greek islands, we were told on Amorgos

There's some luck involved in keeping your yacht from dragging at anchor, but there's also a large component of due diligence. I know Alex is a worry wart when it comes to anchoring, but I kind of like it that way.

Slowly does it....Symi tortoise


  1. Spectacular photos , brings back lovely memories, you are walking in our footsteps! Thanks Freddy for climbing the mast on 'Hydaway'

  2. No problem Cap'n Colin - says Fred.