When planning to have guests on board there are a number of considerations we have to ponder. The first one being where will we be in a particular month so visitors can arrange flights and the second one is what will the weather be doing so that we can arrange sailing and safe anchorages.
When my brother David and wife Becca arranged to join us we hadn’t much experience of the Dodecanese area and the Meltemi winds in June. The books say it begins gently in June which we took to mean it wouldn’t be blowing particularly hard or for very long. But it seems all we have done for the last 3 weeks is dodge the weather.
The week before their arrival we were safely sheltered in the lovely bay in Symi which offered us all round protection during the winds. Unfortunately with no shops or water facility we knew we would need to restock before picking up our guests. But the weather was not being helpful. It was a 45 mile journey to reach Kos and find an anchorage near to the airport.
We didn’t want to go into Kos town as it is costly to moor up and a long way to carry groceries through the town. (Last time we were stuck there for 5 days because of the weather). As usual, every time I was working the weather was fine and every time I wasn’t the wind would be blowing from the direction which we wanted to travel.
Ideally we need the wind to be between 70 to 330 degrees so we are not traveling into waves and straight into the wind. We knew that traveling north and west was difficult from June onwards … but that is exactly what we needed to do.
Our only chance was to set off at 3am, call in at Palon harbour on Nisiros on route to the island of Kos and hoped we would be able to top up with water and do a shop in the little village. It was a risk because it was a Sunday. But this is what the weather said was possible so we had to go with it. In actual fact it worked a treat. The wind was right on the nose but not bouncy as the waves had calmed. It meant we had to motor all of the way but we arrived at eleven in the morning to a sleepy little village on the north coast of the island.
Luck was on our side and there was a tap on the quay that was unlocked and a shop in the village where we could restock our fruit and veg supplies. We took Lilly for a swim on the little beach and we had our lunch before setting off for the second leg of the journey across to Kos. We anchored in the most southerly anchorage, a little village called Kamares.
We sent my brother a photo of where we were and hoped he would be able to get a taxi to the anchorage. We realised that the other catamaran in the bay belonged to a lovely couple we had met last October. We were able to have a good catch up and a few drinks while we waited for our visitors to arrive. By the time they arrived it was dark and so there first trip on the boat meant a dinghy ride by moonlight. A beautiful way to begin your boating week!.
Once on board we settled down to a late supper. Luckily the weather remained calm and our anchorage was safe. We always have to consider this as it is not uncommon to have to get up in the middle of the night because the anchor is dragging or because a wind shift makes your mooring untenable. After a brief tour of the boat we have to run through a few safety points and the loo lesson! (I will build a new section of Instructions for boating). Anyone who has been on a boat will know what I mean by a loo lesson and for those not yet initiated, I will just say here that the loo on a boat is rather different and often requires self pumping rather than automatic flushes.
With everyone rested and breakfasted and Lilly walked and weather checked, we were able to make a plan. The first choice was either a deserted beach or village. Our guests chose deserted beach so we made our way around the island of Kos to Pserimos. It was quite a long sail and we didn’t arrive until late afternoon just in time for a swim and paddle board. Unfortunately there were other boats there, so it wasn’t really deserted, but the sea was clear and good for swimming.
The following morning the same procedure happens again. Lilly is walked, weather is checked over breakfast and plans are made for the day. With the westerly wind we chose to sail north to Pandeli on Leros. We knew this was a pretty village with a few shops and tavernas. With the castle on the top of the hill and being sheltered from the winds it promised to be a good spot.
We had a great sail on route and found that two men can actually get the sail up twice as fast as Paul on his own. We anchored on arrival near a beach we could swim to. It took us a couple of attempts to get the anchor to hold but eventually we were safe. We had a great afternoon swimming and sunbathing soaking up the ambiance. We realised we were quite a dinghy ride if we wanted to explore the village and eat ashore. I was keen to do this as we had stayed here in February in a little house on the hill whilst TopCat had been on the hard for her winter overhaul. In February, everything had been closed up on the beach then and so I wanted to see it now. So we decided to move closer to the village and take long lines back to the rocks to hold the boat still.
This time, I think it took us five attempts. The anchor wouldn’t hold in certain places which would mean your boat would drift back and hit the rocks. We then found a great spot on sand and the anchor held well. We got the ropes nicely tied before the hearest taverna came down and said we were too close to the beach and we had to move. So we had to move yet again. But perseverance paid off and we could at last relax and watch another three boats try the same thing with much the same result.
We went ashore in the dinghy and found the village just as pretty as I thought it would be. We had an excellent meal on the beach side as the sun went down. This is what being in Greece is all about.
By now you understand our regular morning routine of walking Lilly, planning over breakfast with the updated weather forecast. We had to head south again so that we would be prepared for more winds coming in later in the week. Just as we were nearing our anchorage we say a big make dolphin make a big leap in front of the boat but unfortunately he wasn’t up for playing so his visit was brief but beautiful.
Another anchorage with just one other boat, a lovely beach with boat wreck making a picturesque view. We awoke early in the morning to swim as the sun rose. Another memory moment. We then made our way into the village of Kalimnos as the wind began to rise. With gusts hitting 30 knots we needed to be safe and secure. We had chosen Kalimnos because the little ferry runs straight over to Kos and would take our guests back to the airport even in heavy seas.
We had had a lovely week and I think David and Becca had some very special moments that being on the sea allows. Boat life is quite different from being on land and it gives you a completely different perspective of Greece and of the weather and how it affects your every day living.
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