What a week!
We were in Amorgos, and just as last year when we arrived it was black clouds covering the bay. We decided that October probably wasn’t the best time to visit this island though because it is always bleak and cloudy when we come in October. The choice is either black clouds and no Meltemi winds in autumn or nice weather in the summer with huge winds blowing and rough seas outside the bay.
We had spent the previous night (before our arrival in Amorgos) on the south east coast of Koufonisia, a beautiful sand bay with water so crystal clear that Lilly could watch fish off the bow and see them swimming 20 or 30 metres away! There was no wind and it was quite a magical night. We then made the mistake of heading off to Amorgos where we would spend a week whilst I worked and Paul topped up our provisions and gas in the town of Katapola.
We spent most of the week at anchor and then decided we would take our chances on the quay for a night whilst we topped up with water and we would be able to plug into electric to give our batteries a boost.
We are happy to stay at anchor all summer but at this time of year the batteries love a good charge from mains electric occasionally. I think of it as giving the boat a treat for good behaviour!
Whenever we go in for water we try to do some washing (something I avoid as long as possible on the basis I don’t want to waste our precious water. So on “top up” day, there are no more excuses and I have to get on with it. I wish I had remembered though that the ferries come very close in Amorgos and your nice clean washing is likely to be covered in exhaust fumes.
Anyway … washing washed and hung up to dry, I see the ferries doing extra circles for fun covering my washing in black fumes as the two catamarans complete their last seasonal stop in Amorgos as they toot toot around the bay letting everyone know they won’t be back until the Spring. (Quite fun if you haven’t got washing out).
We retire to the saloon for the evening when all of sudden I see a boat shooting down our port side at speed. Now bear in mind we have about a 6 foot space on our port and a 200m space on our starboard side, we certainly weren’t expecting anyone to come in close.
By the time I had stood up to go and see what was happening the boat had an almighty bang and the lights went out. A 40foot monohull had slammed into the concrete quay and into our mooring lines and electric cables. The impact swivelled our boat around so we too hit the concrete quay with an almighty bang. We both went flying out of the bridgedeck to find the monohull rebounding along our side!
One member of the crew had been trying to sort out the anchor at the bows of the boat. How she managed to stay on board with the impact I just don’t know, but now they tried to back the boat out with their anchor hanging down over our lines and scraping along our boat. I fetched an extra fender to protect our boat but you can imagine the crew were so shocked at the hard rebound of the impact that everything was proving difficult for them. I kept their bow away from our boat as best I could whilst Paul politely advised they moored up a little further away!
By now we had quite an audience studying the damage to our boat and also the bow of their boat which had taken one hell of a bang. We made sure we weren’t taking on water.
With Amorgos being at least 50 miles from anywhere we could be lifted out of the water, we didn’t dare think what would happen if we were taking in water. At the moment we were safe! We met the owners of the monohull later and exchanged insurance details. We reflected how lucky we were that they had made it down the side of our boat and not straight between our two hulls which would have sank us in minutes.
We knew we would have to get to the island of Leros to fully inspect the damage and have it mended. We checked we had everything we needed before leaving and set off early in the morning a couple of days later. Although the wind had dropped the waves were behind us and rolling straight on to the sugar scoops where our boat was damaged.
And this was when I made the mistake of a lifetime. When setting off in the dark Paul asked me to switch off something on the navigation panel. I also switched off what I thought was the deck wash. I shouted through to Paul, “why is the deck wash on? don’t worry I have switched it off.” Paul replied, “the deck wash can’t be on,” “It was” I replied, “I don’t know why but it isn’t now!”
So it wasn’t until an hour later Paul called through for me to check the bilges. I did as asked and panicked when I realised our port bilge was full of water. I got Paul to come and investigate. Firstly he realised that his stupid wife had turned the port bilge pump off not the deck wash at all. So he got that on and pumping. He then set me up with the hand pump in the cockpit which is a thankless job because you can’t see what is happening and if the pumping is working. When we swapped, I also grabbed a bucket and cup to start emptying the bilges as well. So with 2 pumps and a bucket we eventually got rid of all of the water and the port bilge pump was able to keep up with the flow coming in.
But Paul was rightly worried. We had 10 hours of motor sailing to go, would the bilge pump hold out that long? What happened if it burnt out. Paul came up with a plan of action. He decided he could do a temporary repair job as soon as it was light enough to see, bear in mind we had all of this going on in the dark. If we could reduce the water intake by half, the pump would have half the work to do.
Paul spent the next hour collecting up everything he might need for the job(that’s anything that still stick when wet, sikaflex, tape, cloths for padding and cleaning, etc. At about 7am we stopped the boat and Paul used everything we had that might help plug the leaks and stop the water flow. He got soaked whilst doing this job from the waves so we got some idea of why we taking on so much water. Luckily sikaflex works wet as well as dry. We hoped it would stem the worst of the leak!
We arrived safely in Leros with no further incident. We were in contact with our insurance company who said we could go ahead and do what we needed to do.
We arranged lift out, a house to stay in, a car to get us to and from the boat and we were all set to complete the repairs. Now we just have to sit it out whilst the work is completed!
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