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Barry's Blog #94 - Rolly anchorages, amazingly clear water & work time

What's the worst thing for me about living on a sail boat? Rolly anchorages!

I've mentioned this phenomenon in previous blogs, but somehow as we made our way from the Greek island of Ios to Milos via Folegandros and Polyaigos we got unlucky enough to 'enjoy' two rolly anchorages which meant two nights of little to no sleep.

Jim on Acheron heading back east

It began at Ios where we'd said 'see you later' to our friend Jim. The night of the day he left, the wind shifted and we found ourselves being bounced around by the waves from midnight onwards, so as soon as we had enough light and had prepped A B Sea for passage we upped anchor and started heading north west towards Sifnos. However just 40 minutes into the trip with the strong wind whipping up big waves we realised that it was going to be a tough 6 hours of uphill motoring and hand steering so we turned around and headed to Manganari Bay on the southern end of Ios to wait for the wind to die down.

Arriving in the bay an hour later revealed a huge anchorage with several yachts already there hiding from the wind. The sandy bottom provided good holding and once A B Sea was settled we got out our pilot guide, had a look at our chart and Google Earth and decided that instead of heading to Sifnos we go to Folegandros because it didn't look like the north wind was going to die down anytime soon.

After an early night, a great night's sleep and a good breakfast we headed west and used the northern wind to our advantage for a great sail to the west side of Folegandros and the only proper anchorage on that coast. The holding was good and our anchor dug in well in the fine sandy bottom. The bay is quite large and open to the west which meant that the northern wind pointed A B Sea in such a way as to leave her side-on to the very slight swell entering the bay. We didn't have any other protected anchorages to move to and certainly not enough daylight to make it to the next island so we were stuck with what we had.

If you look at the YouTube video which accompanies this blog you'll see how slight the swell is, but I can assure you the smallest of side-on swell will guarantee a sleepless night as your boat rolls.

Thank god it's morning

The wind gods have a warped sense of humour because just as the sun came over the horizon the northern wind turned into an easterly wind and dropped to 5 knots, this meant that the swell was no longer able to make A B Sea roll. But it was too late as we were both up early and eager to get moving. Our destination this time was just 17 nautical miles away to the island of Polyaigos, which is just to the east of Milos. There was not enough wind to get the sails out and once again we were thankful that we'd only be motoring a short distance.

Along the way we spotted a small pod of dolphins heading towards us and although dolphins don't usually come to swim at the bow if they're going in the opposite direction, one of them decided to break the rule and came over for a brief encounter before swimming off in the direction of his friends.

Arriving at our 'plan A' Polyaigos anchorage we were stunned at how clear the water was as we dropped anchor into fine sand in 8 metres (26 feet) and let out 32 metres (105 feet) of chain. The water was so inviting that as soon as we'd put A B Sea to bed we got our snorkelling gear on and dived in.

After having some fun we took the opportunity to have a look at A B Sea's hull, keel, prop, rudder and bow thruster which were all showing signs of marine growth. The bow thruster tunnel was particularly bad so I grabbed our metal scraper and gave it a good clean. The bow thruster is still sounding a bit odd when it pushes to starboard so that's another job on the list for when we get hauled out for antifouling and maintenance work next spring.

Mother nature moves us on

We'd have loved to stay at that anchorage for a few more days because it was so beautiful for snorkelling but mother nature had other plans. When we'd arrived it was chock full with anchored boats but when we woke up the following day there was only us and a plucky power catamaran still in the bay.

The reason everyone had left was because a big blow was coming in and the anchorage was going to be fully exposed to the wind and waves. Reluctantly we upped anchor and because the wind was already beginning to build from the west we had to motor right into it for 3 hours before arriving in the huge bay at Milos island.

We had several anchorage choices in the bay, but figuring that we'd be staying for some time at Milos we decided to drop anchor in 4 metres (13 feet) just outside the main port of Adamantas. That way we'd have easy access to shops for provisioning and fresh fruit, vegies, meat and bread. Again the fine sandy bottom here provided excellent holding and for such a big bay it provided super protection from the winds.

Work time

With our son Luke flying from Australia to stay with us for 3 weeks at the end of August, we wanted to get some more blogs written and videos edited so that we wouldn't have to use valuable time doing those jobs while he was on board. We also needed to pay in advance the next 3 months of the Greek cruising tax and I'll tell you all about that mission in next week's blog.

To watch the video that accompanies this blog click here.

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