Barry's Blog #89 - No room at the inn

It was time to move on, but before we could leave the Greek island of Samos we needed to get A B Sea tied up at Pythagorion inner harbour quay for one night. The first thing she needed was a good wash as she had gathered a lot of dust during the month she was sitting at anchor. We also needed to refill our 600 litre capacity fresh water tanks.

Departing Samos quay after filling up fresh water tanks.

We had hoped to get in there on Friday the 7th of June but when I went to chat with the harbour master he explained that a regatta of 12 yachts were booked in and there was no space available. The regatta fleet were leaving on Sunday, we could come in then.

When we did go in we were lucky enough to get a spot right next to Edward who is a long time follower of our journey. He helped us with our stern lines and handed us a lazy line so we didn't need to deploy our anchor. Cheers Edward, your help is appreciated.

Washing the boat took a good few hours and because we had access to unlimited water we did a super clean inside too and both of us enjoyed a hot shower before we did a final fill of our fresh water tanks.

That evening as the harbour restaurants and bars came to life, we sat in the cockpit, enjoyed some Samos wine and watched the world go by. This was one of those moments that was quite surreal. Casting our minds back 36 years to 1983 when Aannsha and I travelled to the South of France to work, we remembered walking along the quayside at St Tropez harbour one evening and looking at the people sitting in the cockpits of various sized sailing yachts and power cruisers and at that time we both wondered out loud, what would it be like to be living on a yacht, sitting in the cockpit and sipping on cocktails. I think the Universe smiled.

No room at the inn

The following day we topped off our petrol and diesel at the marina fuel dock near Pythagorion and by 10.30 am on Monday morning we were pointing the nose of A B Sea west towards the island of Fourni.

We had 19 knots of wind from the north and with just the head sail unfurled we were sailing along at an average of 5 knots, at one point we got her up to 8 knots. Of course we knew this blessing from the wind gods couldn't last and as we passed the western side of Samos the wind dropped completely.

We motored the rest of the way and arrived at our plan A anchorage at the southern end of Fourni at 3.00 pm. Fourni is well known for experiencing strong winds and the day we arrived was no exception. It was blowing from the north at 25 to 30 knots. We had 2 attempts at anchoring in anchorage A, but our trusty Mantus could not find purchase and with the strong wind pushing us around each time we brought the anchor up I was concerned that we might end up bumping into one of the other 2 vessels that were already anchored in the small bay.

We moved on to plan B anchorage. This one also proved fruitless as there was simply no space for us to get in and anchor safely.

Plan C anchorage was further north and we had to push hard motoring against the strong northerly wind which was now at a steady 25 knots. Plan C anchorage had one mooring ball and it was already occupied. The only other option here would be to drop our anchor and go stern to taking a line ashore onto one of several concrete posts that a local restaurant owner had installed along the northern wall of the bay. But with 25 knots of wind blowing we were not confident that Aannsha could get the line ashore quickly enough, after dropping the anchor, before the wind blew us out of alignment.

A quick look at the chart plotter showed a big bay with 8 metres (26 feet) of water depth out on the western Island. We slogged over there and took one look at it to realise why it isn't marked as an anchorage. It was a very rocky bay.

Turning the nose of A B Sea south we took advantage of the strong north wind and sailed back to the south of Fourni island, there was one last bay there that offered us an opportunity. Unfortunately when we got there and tried to anchor it was the same story as planned anchorage A. It was now 5.50 pm and we were running out of options and daylight.