Saturday, 13 July 2013

Sailing The Ionian Islands, Part Two- About The Voyage

Whenever we are on board we always keep a log book. Every hour we write up a brief summary of important information for good sailing; Time, Log (distance), Course, Wind,(direction and speed) EP (estimated position) and Comments. I also keep a journal of our adventures which I enjoy writing up early each morning before breakfast, so as I can include observations and details of our stay at each port of call before we set out for another day's sailing. 
Our voyage on Mintaka took two weeks to complete and we sailed 280 nautical miles. 
We started and finished in Sivota, the photo above is of the taverna where our yacht is moored up. We visited-
Sivota,  Spartahori,  Paleros, Kalomos, Kioni,  Frikes, Fiskardo, Ay Euphemia, Nidri, Little Vathi Vassiliki, 

Spartahori is one of our favourite stopovers, we moor up "bows to" with lazy lines, so as we can swim off  the bathing platform on the stern as soon as we arrive, it's wonderful!   

 At Frikes there is an ancient windmill and this year Skipper climbed up the steep hill to it and took a photo of the flotilla below.

In Fiskardo we were joined on a small pontoon by this massive motor cruiser, I thought it would never fit but the crew on board were amazing and bought her in really well, this size of vessel usually anchors out in the entrance to the bay.

Little Mintaka is in the middle in this photo- and we thought 36ft was huge, but next to these two it made us feel quite normal again!

The first week sailing was very light breezes and there was plenty of time to anchor up in small bays and coves, to lunch and swim while waiting for the afternoon winds to blow up. It was also a good time to learn the ropes on board and work out the safest and easiest way for just the two of us to sail her. I could manage light winds up to F4 as crew but when it got stronger it was best for me be on the helm and Skipper to do the hard work! 

We were "storm bound" in Nidri for two days, storms here tend to be hot sunshine and lots of wind. We went out for a couple of hours for a sail, sheltering around the headlands, reefed in well it was great fun! before returning to the same pontoon for the night.

Our penultimate day on the water was a day to remember, we were bound for Vassiliki. In the morning there was a steady breeze F4 and we had a super sail "down the tail of Meganisi" island- all sails up. By the afternoon the wind had blown up and we were reefed and had turned on the engine to make headway. We had spray over the bows, big waves rolling on our port side, it was heavy going. Usually when you enter a bay the headlands provide shelter but when we got into Vassiliki bay it was like a cauldron of wind and sea. As we got to the breakwater of the harbour it was too dangerous to try and moor up in the harbour and we had to lay anchor outside in a F8 Gale, a tricky task. 

After several attempts our anchor held firm and we bobbed in the turquoise waters along with three other yachts from our flotilla waiting for the winds to lessen -"what else can you do but have a brew", a well earned cup of tea with biscuits in a Gale
 Four hours later! as the sun went behind the mountain we were able to moor up in the harbour. Over 35 nautical miles and 10 hours at sea, we were truly salty sailors that day! straight to a taverna for a glass of wine or two to balance my sea legs.

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