Kurukulla at Englishman's Bay, Tobago

Monday, 18 June 2012

Gusting force 10 for 8 days!

Kormou Ammos
Kurukulla stern to in Tinos
The weather predictions were right, the winds abated and went round to the south for two days. On day one we sailed gently across to Rania again, anchoring for the night in the same bay as before, Kormou Ammos. Another evening in paradise. Next day we set off in a light southerly wind for Tinos, some 7 miles north, and ghosted our way up to the harbour entrance. For anyone entering Tinos beware, the description and chartlet in the latest Heikell pilot are completely inaccurate. There is now a half finished, and seemingly abandoned, project creating a breakwater which closes off most of what was once a very wide entrance to the port. The starboard hand light on the original southern mole has been extinguished and replaced by a rust coloured drum shaped buoy displaying a green (Fl, 3secs) light by night; positioned just outside the southern end of the “new” structure. The unfinished state of the breakwater means that for a considerable part of its length it is barely visible, being within centimetres of the sea level. A significant hazard if attempting a night entry!
The abandoned breakwater project from S end, Buoy in distance
Ornos Plaka, Andros
Berthing here was easy and assistance was on-hand to take our lines as we made our Med moor. Shortly after we decided to indulge in an ice cream which was accompanied by an offer of help from a local, at the same ice cream parlour, to show us where to find gas, supermarkets etc. I was invited onto the back of a motorbike and off we set. The locals really are incredibly friendly and nothing is too much trouble. The only shame was that their livelihood is derived from tourism and the place was rattlingly empty! More evidence of Greece's problems. Within minutes we were back with a full gas bottle and with me knowing where to find supermarkets etc. Water and electricity were available from the town quay; we declined both but noted that water was free, somewhat different to the 1€ per 10 litres we had paid the day before in Mykonos! That evening we dined onboard and then set off on a walking tour of the waterfront.
Next morning, having visited the local bakery for fresh bread, we set off in a flat calm for Ornos Plaka in Andros. A remote but very picturesque bay on the SW coast of Andros. The pilot described it as being adjacent to the ancient, and only recently excavated, town of Zagora but we saw little evidence of it. Notwithstanding it was a delightful place to spend the night, if a little open to the SW and any swell.
Stenon Dhisvaton, separating Andros (L) from Tinos (R)
Downwind at 8 kts
Kurukulla tucked away on far wall of Mykonos Marina.
Panormos entrance in a force 9!
Next day, Friday, was supposed to be the day the strong northerly winds arrived. To our surprise we awoke to a flat calm! This being the case we ghosted off the anchor early and set sail, very slowly, south. For the first two hours we fitfully sailed and motored until we passed between the islands of Andros and Tinos and onto the east coast of Tinos. From here everything changed. Within a few minutes we went from full sail and 2-3 knots of boat speed to double reefed main and heavily rolled genoa and 7.5 knots boat-speed; now on the wind, in 30 knots of breeze. This wind lasted for two hours and then just as suddenly dropped leaving a very large and confused sea; it was like sitting inside a washing machine! Another two hours, motoring at best speed, and we cleared the south end of Tinos where the wind again gathered its previous strength; this time though we were down wind and making 8-9 knots under double reefed main and full genoa. We arrived back in Mykonos marina, our chosen place of shelter for the forthcoming gales, at 1900. On entry we chose the most sheltered berth available, despite the protestations of the local boatman, and went alongside on the inner wall of the second basin (Identified as the best stop in earlier visits). Despite the high winds, by now 40 kts, all went well until there was a loud shout from Melvin who had taken the head rope ashore whilst I dealt with the stern rope; he had omitted to secure it to the boat properly and was standing on the jetty, with the whole rope in hand, struggling unsuccessfully to hold Kurukulla alongside. I tied my rope off hastily and made a leap for the boat to try to retrieve the situation. It was not to be. Eventually, after a lot of heaving and effort we finally got her back under control, with the assistance of several of the others in the vicinity, but with the opposite side to the jetty, something we would pay a price for later. That night the winds strengthened even more and by morning we had a force 7 – 8 gusting up to storm force 10! It has been that way for the last three days and is forecast to remain so until next Monday at the earliest, 10 days continuous. The consequence of Kurukulla being port side to is that the wind is from the stern. It is picking up the dust and sand from the marina hard standing, effectively sand blasting and covering the boat; sadly, this way round, the main hatch faces into wind and so the interior is is given a dose also whenever we exit! There are many worse places to be stormbound but the marina leaves an awful lot to be desired, totally unfinished and no working facilities.
Mykonos new port and marina, from above
The last three days have been spent tending the boat and touring the island in a hire car. Not quite how we intended to see the island but better than going “stir crazy” imprisoned onboard. In view of the forecast Melvin has changed his return flight to fly back from Mykonos and Mike Owens will fly into here to join on Thursday, in lieu of Syros.
More when we get away but it won't be soon!

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