35 Knots?  Are You Kidding Me?

We are back in the beautiful anchorage at Kythnos Island. A place that we first visited with Joe & Michelle Hawkins last year. With them conditions were perfect, today/last night not so much!

We left Sounio yesterday under sunny skies and 2 knots of breeze. My forecast called for light winds all day and then nothing more than 15 knots for the next few days.  (Lesson #1 – never rely upon a single forecast!). 

The bay that we are in is U-shaped and fairly narrow, so most boats are lined up on an east/west axis. 

As we got ready to go to sleep last night the winds were in the high teens out of the East. That end of the bay is enclosed only by a low sandbar. So, no issues with sea state but no protection from the building winds. 

Still, no real concerns. We knew the holding was good and we do have our new last year super anchor so we set two independent anchor alarms and went to sleep. 

The winds overnight definitely exceeded the expected 15 knots and quickly climbed into the twenties. Ugh.

One of us would get up every couple of hours to check on things and all seemed well. 

Until 5am, when I climbed out of bed and the winds crossed the 30 knot line. Damn, we are still putting things back together. This was definitely not part of the plan. 

I stuck my head up and looked around and what did I see but a 48ft ketch dragging anchor and heading right towards us. Shit!!  What to do?  It’s blowing thirty plus and they are already over our anchor. No way to lift ours and move. I could cut our anchor line or maybe just let it run, but then I’d be motoring around in the dark with our spare anchors and rodes below. I grabbed a couple of fenders, and woke Deb up asking her to inflate a few more, but realistically the boat would be on us by the time more fenders were ready, and it’s really hard to protect the pointy end of your boat with fenders anyway!!

So, I grabbed our horn and started yelling!!  I yelled a lot!  Of course I was yelling upwind into thirty knots of wind so who knows if I did any good but with about two boat lengths before impact, I heard yelling back for the lady onboard the other boat and saw lights running around deck. Hurray!!  They got their engine started, raised anchor, motored upwind and re-anchored RIGHT IN FRONT OF US AGAIN!!!  More yelling into thirty knots of wind. They dragged again. Repeated the same steps two more times and then finally shifted north a bit and all seemed good!

So, since I was up anyway, I decided to check out some of the other sources of weather that we had used last year. Humm. Not good. It looks like our Southeastern winds will clock around to the North over the next 24 hours and then blow hard for two or three more days. 

Did I mention that our anchorage is open to the west??

So now I am stuck with the should I stay or should I go question. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t. 

Why go?

We are on the western edge of “Meltami Alley”. Forty miles to the west is the island of Poros. One of our favorites and totally out of Meltami range. But to get there we need to sail much of those 40 miles in 25+ knots of wind. 

Why stay?

Yes, this harbor is open to the West. But it is super protected from the North. We know the holding is good. We know our anchor and rode are good. So, take our lumps for a few hours while the wind shifts through the west and then we are good for a day or two of strong northerly winds.  Plus – we all know that “if any things going to happen, it’s going to happen out there!”

So, can you guess which way I’m leaning??  What would you do??

– Jim

PS – Did I forget to mention that those winds last night blew one of our $1,000 solar panels right out of its zippers and off to sea somewhere??  

This sure is fun!!

My time onboard while Deb was in Turkey!

brets photos 047We arrived back in the main harbor of Paros on October 6th at about 4pm from the island of Sifnos, where we spent the previous night.  We quickly learned that no ferry leaving the next day would get Deb to where she neededto be.

So, in less than an hour she packed her bags, purchased a ticket for the 6:15pm ferry and we said goodbye.

She arrived in Pareaus at 1130pm and Uber’ed to Athens where she stayed in the same hotel that Suzanne Richman had stayed in last month.

While Deb was in Turkey (Paros) (5)I decided that I’d work my way North towards Mykonos and then West back to Kythnos and ultimately meet her 5 days later at the island of Kea which is just off the mainland and only 13 miles from where we planned to leave the boat for the winter.

MYKONOS

If I had any remaining doubts regarding the fact that the Summer holiday season was over, they were put to rest when I arrived back in Mykonos to find that I was one of only three boats in the same harbor that probably had 50 boats when we visiting in September.  To make matters worse, the other two boats were massive super yachts, and Morpheus represented only approximately 10% of the total boat lengths in the bay that night.

While Deb was in Turkey 024While Deb was in Turkey 064

I did suffer from some feelings of inadequacy that evening…

The next day, I decided to take a long walk along the coast from my anchorage around to a couple of the other beaches figuring perhaps there was more going on than in my harbor.  I took some nice pictures, but everything was either shut down or getting ready to shut down.  Summer’s party season was officially over.

KYTHNOS

Finally, I enjoyed a great sail the next day from Mykonos around the North end of Syros Island, and back to our favorite little harbor in Kythnos.  This harbor is actually three harbors in one with two of them separated by a narrow sand bar.  You sort of get your choice of anchorage based on what you expect in terms of protection.  The weather forecast was for strong Southerly winds and I absolutely made the right choice.  This was good because as I sat in almost total calm for two days, I watched boats just on the other side of the sandbar riding out 2 foot swells.  Not comfortable for them!!

Of course, I got my time on the anxiety bench as well when the winds shifted around into the West and blew right into my harbor for a night along with a sampling of the horrendous swells that others had been dealing with.  That last night was not very fun.  Up every hour to check the gps position and convince myself that I was not dragging back into the rocks that I knew were behind me but could not see.  Ultimately, our new anchor passed yet another test and I have to say that it was money very very well spent!!

Random Photos from the Cyclade Islands

Deb has run off to Turkey for a few days, leaving Ita and I to backtrack our way up North towards the Marina that will be Morpheus’ home for the winter. Not much to report. The winds have been light so far so the traveling has been easy. I miss discovering new spots, but there is an advantage to returning to known harbors when single handing.

Given the lack of exciting new stuff to report, I’ll just post a few photos from the past month.  I’ve started using Google Photos to back up my pictures and the service does some interesting things to some of the pictures that I upload. I like what it’s done to these.

Mykonos - Suzanne (27)-EFFECTS928-PANO899-EFFECTSparos kitesurfing 033-PANO914-PANOSuzanne 3 018-EFFECTSKythnos - Joe & Michelle (16)-EFFECTS

Travels with Joe and Michelle

We met Joe and Michelle five days ago on Poros, Greece.  They landed in Athens and after a couple of short bus and ferry rides we greeted them at the dock in Poros.  This island was sort of a random call on our part for a meeting place but it turned out to be great.  The strong Northerly winds were on, and the harbor at Poros is very protected, and the town has lots to see and do.

Over the next few days we saw several boats leave and return as they encountered more wind than they wanted to deal with.  We stayed two days in Poros, snuck around the corner towards Hydra for one night (dragged at anchor in lots of wind, 2am firedrill, very entertaining for guests!), and then decided to return to Poros for another evening.

Pictures from Poros, Greece

Finally on day 4, we had a good forecast for a trip East to the next island Kythnos.  Unfortunately, the forecast was not connected to reality and we are all stubborn.  Well, Joe and I are stubborn.  So, we bashed our way 40 miles east in a 20 – 27 knots of wind and big seas.  Michelle will not remember that trip as her favorite time.

But!  Once in Kythnos, the anchorages were secluded, protected, and very very nice.  (pictures below).

After two nights in Kythnos we motorsailed today in 5 knots of wind to Syros, and tomorrow we push on to Mykonos!!

More to follow!!!