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Aannsha’s Blog #94 – Dolphins swim with us!

It was time to leave Ios. A B Sea had begun rolling during the night and as I lay there waiting for the dawn, it felt as if the rolling was getting worse. When we rose and poked our heads out of the companionway, I thought we’d been transported to another bay! What had been a calm, pretty bay with clear blue water lapping gently on the shore was now an angry looking choppy sea state. We’d intended to drop our rubbish off in one of the bins on the shore, but after a difficult descent into the dinghy which was bucking off rhythm with the yacht, we headed to the beach only to realise that we couldn’t land as the waves were far too rough.

We returned to A B Sea and quickly got her ready to leave. Our intended destination was Sifnos island, north west of Ios. However when we headed out of the bay the sea state looked a bit daunting and the wind was increasing. As we turned north the wind was now blowing up to 25knots and the sea had developed a short, sharp chop with a 2m swell. Neither of us fancied fighting this for 6 hours to get to Sifnos, especially if the wind increased.

Our best option was to turn south and head toward Manganari Bay on the south of Ios island. We tucked into the north western side of this large bay which proved to be a decent anchorage with good holding even with the wind in the high 20s and gusting up to 30 knots. We slept reasonably well that night!

Ios to Folegandros

We’d looked at our options when we arrived at Manganari Bay and decided Sifnos would prove a tad difficult as it was situated in the direction of the meltemi which in those parts blows from the N/NW. Looking at Google Earth, Baz suggested an alternate route. We could head to Milos island over to the west and that would open up the western Cyclades that we could visit in hops up north towards Athens.

So after a good night’s sleep we headed slightly south and west, past Sikinos to Folegandros. We had a good wind and with both of our sails set to their safe reef points (after the headsail sheath separated – you can read about that in last week’s blog), we achieved a very nice 7 knots in 25 knots of wind. As we were sailing away from the sun, the dinghy and solar panels on the davits kept us in shade and it got a bit chilly so we both wore our wet weather jackets for a while. The wind dropped as we rounded the western side of Folegandros and we motored for the last part. At 2pm that afternoon we anchored in sand in the middle of Agkali Bay in 9m with 40m of chain out.

Agkali Bay has lots of lovely spots where you can anchor, or go stern-to with a line to shore and there are small coves and bays all around. If you were going to anchor close to shore though, just check there aren’t any rocks perched on the hill behind, as there were some we noticed that looked a bit precarious and it wouldn’t take a big earthquake tremble to have some of them come tumbling down! There’s a little village ashore but we didn’t visit it, although with the amount of yachts anchored, we’d expect that you could get provisions there.

As pretty as the bay was, that night it proved rolly. It doesn’t take much swell to make the boat roll either. Just slow, low undulations at right angles to the boat, and she’ll start a pendulum action that makes it impossible to get comfy and sleep.

Snags on the go

The rolling settled at dawn when the light breeze shifted direction and we pointed away in line to the swell. Poliagos island was only a three hour journey from there, so we had a lazy morning and didn’t leave until 9.45am. The wind was gusting at 3 knots haha, so we motored all the way. The sea was so calm, I went down below and cooked us snags (Australian term for sausages) in wraps.


At one point, I went to the bow to film some B-Roll and my timing couldn’t have been better! I spotted a pod of dolphins in the distance swimming towards A B Sea and making their way past us at some distance on our starboard side. One curious dolphin broke away from the pod and swam right up close to the port side of the bow. He turned and looked at me for a split second, and then headed off to join his mates. It was wonderful, this was our first dolphin encounter of the season – it’s always a joy to see them, especially when they go out of their way to make contact.

Polyagos – a dream anchorage

Polyagos is a small island situated North West of Milos island and in his research earlier, Baz had found a delightful anchorage on the western side, sheltered by the tiny island of Manolonisi. The bay is separated into two by a shallow sandy spit and we anchored on the north western side in 8m of clear aqua coloured water, in sand (there is some weed) and let out 32 metres of chain.

What an absolute delight this bay proved to be. It was quite popular with day tripper boats but not at all busy. We both went snorkelling and Baz dived the anchor and also checked the bow thruster and new snubber. The bow thruster was a bit overgrown with crustaceans so he scraped them off a little later. We’re now in the habit of checking the bow thruster regularly to keep it clean. I snorkelled over to the pebbly cove. The island has multi-coloured layers of sand and pumice – it must have been created by volcanic action and the pebbles were in all sorts of colours from reds, oranges, yellows to greens and black. Amazing. I even found a few small pieces of beach glass!

Sad to be leaving Polyagos early

Unfortunately, while we would have loved to spend more time at Polyagos, we had to leave as there was a big blow forecast. It was a NW wind and that would gather a lot of fetch bringing big waves into the bay, which would also mean we’d be on a lee shore. Not good. So at ten past eight on Sunday the 14th of July we upped anchor and motored (the wind was on the nose) to Milos island.

On the way, I took down our Australian courtesy flag that we’d bought in Turkey and had already re-hemmed as the stitching had come undone. It seemed they hadn’t used UV resistant thread and when I’d fixed it I hadn’t either – where do you even buy the stuff? So I restitched the hem. It had a few pulls in the material by now from all that flying in the wind, and I wasn’t sure how long the hem would last. (Not long as it turned out! A couple more 25 knot wind days and it was even more shredded! We’ve asked our son Luke to bring another one out from Australia when he visits us soon. Hopefully that one will hold up!).

Arriving at Adamas Bay, Milos Island

Wanting a bay that provided shelter from the NW wind and also shops to re-provision, we chose Adamas Bay. Milos’ main port is situated here and the ferries visit daily, but they are surprisingly gentle as they turn and we don’t experience too much rocking when they come and go. The worst ‘swell offenders’ are the several daily charter yachts that take tourists out to the surrounding bays. They leave gently enough but when they return towards sunset, there’s a mad dash to sweep back to their moorings in the harbour and there is a bit of rocking and rolling! But it’s short lived, so we can’t complain. We’re also situated fairly close to the harbour entrance in 4.5m (sandy bottom) but if you really didn’t want to be bothered, just anchor further out.

Large ferry at Milos

Milos turned out to be a great place for us to stay for a couple of weeks. This would allow us to edit several videos and get them uploaded, so when Luke comes to stay (and good friend Shelley and her partner visit a little later), hopefully we won’t have to spend too much time in the office!

While we were in Milos we also changed out the furling line for the headsail and of course, that led on to another boat job! But I’ll tell you all about that next week!

Changing out the furling line

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