Mediterranean 2009 / 1 - Kos, Kalymnos, Patmos, Naxos and Serifos

I arrived in Kos in the old harbour under the castle walls. The summer season has not started because there were only a few other yachts and a large German gullet. The fellow had purchased it on the Internet for 15000 euro and then spent 20,000 fixing it up. What a great buy.

Richard and Marita arrived a dawn the following day after a very pleasant ferry ride from Athens. A double cabin, shower and dinner in the restaurant - the order of the day. It was great because they were not tired after their flight from Gatwick which as usual meant that they had to leave home at 4:00 am to get the cheap fares. We went to the local supermarket and stocked up with the essentials they needed and set sail for Kalymnos. ShoppingWe had an easy sail with Marita at the helm. Qualified competent crew in charge. I made a poor attempt to go stern too to the dock because half way in I changed hands on the anchor switch and started to pull it up rather than down. Well the second attempt we came in rather well and secured the lines in the usual spot. Off to the Australian butcher. Well I should say Greek but his father registered him as an Oz when he worked in Darwin so he had to show me his new Oz passport. Very proud to be an Australian. Just like the owner of the local hardware shop. He opened his wife's bag and out came his passport, drivers licence and other papers just to prove to me that he is a proud Australian. If the government ever forced its citizens to pass a English speaking test they would loose half of the population. The half that really want to be Australians.

The next day the the wind was from the south so we set sail north to Lakki on the island of Leros with its Italian art deco buildings.Laki town We chose to anchor out and threw out at least 40 m of chain which dug in rather well. The cat next to us dragged their anchor just as the sun set and almost landed up on the rocks. The wind continued to blow all night but the fetch was short so we had a good nights sleep. That evening we visited the local wood fired pizza place and had two great Italian pizzas in the right setting except it was Greece.

The wind was again in the right direction, over the stern but very light indeed so we motor sailed to Patmos the home of the Saracen pirates. Patmos with Malua St Christadoulos got permission in 1088 to build a monastery to St John the Divine who was banished here in the early BC era and wrote the book of Revelations in a cave just down the hill from the monastery. The rock in the cave is split into three being the holy trinity. It is a great story, the book exists but did he write it here, well we will never know but the tourists and believers come from far and wide. This cruiser has been to the monastery and cave twice. Richard and Marita enjoyed the site and the walk down to the harbour where we spent a few hours sitting on the waterfront with a Mythos in hand. What a way to spent and afternoon. We took a taxi back to the bay in the south of the island and enjoyed the local pork in orange sauce for the evenings meal.

Marita wanted to get some night sailing experience in while in the Med so at sun down the following day we set sail for Naxos in the Cyclades. R M night sailingThe trip would take the whole night and we would arrive just as the sun was rising. The wind gods were kind to us with the wind from the north just on the bean at 15 knots. It was a great nights sail with two light houses as our waypoints along the routes. After turning at the northern light of Naxos we sailed south along the coast as the wind increased to over 25 knots and the sea rose to a good Med chop. We had to put a reef in the main an furl the genoa as we approached the red light of the harbour wall of Naxos town. The dawn was just arriving so we entered in the light just as planned. A great sail with only a small incident on route.

We dropped the anchor and let out 40 metres of chain then retired to sleep for a few hours. Unfortunately the chain was over a rock so as the boat moved in the now rising wind there was the ghastly sound of metal on rock. Malua NaxosI could not pull in some scope or let it out but after a few hours the wind direction changed and the noise went away. That night the storm that had been brewing all day arrived with very heavy rain and increasing wind. While Malua was inside the harbour wall the quay was only 40 meters away so at about 3:00 am I decided that one anchor was just not enough.  If the anchor dragged I would not be able to start the engine before we hit the rocks.  As a precaution I started the engine and stood anchor watch until dawn when Richard helped me deploy a second anchor. We both returned to bed to catch up on a few hour sleep. That day was also spent down below although Richard and Marita took a walk around the town. The next day dawned fine and we set up anchors after a bit of back and forth with the second anchor, it would not have moved during the high winds.

Sailed most of the way to Anti Paros and the wide bay in the south that Malua had previously visited. VathiTwo other yachts and the restaurant not yet open for the season. The on to Vathi on Sifnos the location of a great meal with Richard and Charlie after their "rescue" . I just had to phone them to find out their location which was in the Ionian. Great to hear they are still well and enjoying the sailing but from the web it sound as if the ex charter yacht is needing some maintenance. We walked all round the bay and high up into the mountains above the few houses, returning just in time for a great meal in the local tavern. A visit to the kitchen to choose what we should eat.

On to Serifos to meet the ferry to Piraeus. Goodby from M RWe arrived and took the local bus to the top of the town and then a leisurely walk back to the boat just in time to watch a flotilla of British yachts arrive full of excited poms after a good days racing to the next island. An annual event which had some traditions of a good time had by all. Richard and Marita caught the evening ferry to Athens and a day on the Acropolis before flying back to the UK. I was alone again. I had greeted a rather smart and fast looking sopped boat that had come along side the previous evening. A couple who had taken an hour to travel the 65 NM from Athens to Serifos. Now that is fast travel. The following evening the came back to the dock but not with the same speed or style. Stratus boatOne of the blades from the second propeller had broken off and cut a hole right through the swim platform. It was unbalanced so the skipper could only use one engine. 5 knots not 50. He had arranged to have a new propeller shipped on the next ferry fro Athens and was going to change it in the water along side the dock. not a good idea and not an easy job. We collected the propeller from the ferry and moved his boat to the beach where we tied it to the lamp post and one of the local mooring buoys. Here we were able to stand on the sand and get some leverage to undo the large bolts that held the propeller to the shaft. They came off easily but pulling the prop off the shaft was another task. just as we were about to use the hammer we both grasped the prop, placed our feet against the stern, took a deep breath and pulled for all we where worth. It came off. Great. StratusThe new prop fitted with only just a few mm of clearance when we had done up the two nuts and placed the split pin back in a new hole. What I would expect for such a prestigious vessel. The props cost 15,000 euro each just in case you think this was some piece of bronze. They are balanced and each have about eight blades. thankfully the boat is still under warranty so the manufacturer will be picking up the cost. We retired to the waterside restaurant to celebrate the success because they sped off to Athens and work. great couple and an interesting day. I have an invitation to speed across the water at more than 60 knots when I am next in their area. I cant wait.

Here are some photos Early Greece
The next phase is: