I’ve never really followed politics. When I was a teenager, I’d get so annoyed with the politicians’ politically correct yet purposefully non-committal arguments that I switched off to it all on a daily basis. After millions of people worldwide demonstrated on the streets to not invade Iraq, yet politicians globally blatantly ignored our wishes, my disinterest turned to disgusted disdain. I’ve met many Brits and Aussies who are similar, only learning what was needed to in order to vote.
Many of the European and Turkish people we’ve met along our journey however, have been very interested in local and global politics. Nikos, our new Greek friend is not only well educated in politics, but many other topics and Baz and I had a great conversation with him when we met up with him in Porto Rafti. Nikos is a long time follower of ours and offered to take us for a beer when we visited his home port. Not only that, he also showed us around Porto Rafti and the local countryside, including taking us to an ancient temple dedicated to Artemis Varuronia.
After our tour, we enjoyed a couple of beers with a beautiful view of the sea from the taverna, Nisos, which perched on a cliff on the coast road. ‘Nisos’ is Greek for ‘island’, and there is a small island in the crystal clear water in the bay in front of the taverna. Thank you Nikos for a wonderful experience. (Actually we enjoyed our time together so much we caught up the next day on board A B Sea to share some craft beer we got at a great deli that he took us to. And have seen him again since returning to Porto Rafti. But I’m getting ahead of myself). Anyhow – thank you Nikos for being so generous.
It had taken us six hours to arrive at Porto Rafti on the west coast of the mainland, after leaving Varkiza. The day of our passage was sunny and warm but sadly windless, so we motored all the way. It was so calm I actually lay on the foredeck in the sun enjoying the gentle breeze, warmth of the sun on my face and the occasional sound of seagulls. At the bow the engine’s drone was a mere hum and I was even aware of the gentle swooshing waves as A B Sea pushed through the water.
Two near misses
A while later, I was filming the amazingly clear water around us, when Baz made a sudden U-turn. We were still on the south side of the mainland passing between the coast and the small island Arsida, and I was focusing on what I was filming when my body swayed with the sharp turn of the boat. I asked Baz what it was and he told me that the depth on the chart plotter was wrong. What should have been 13 metres / 42.6 feet of water had fast dropped to 3.9 metres / 12.8 feet and not wanting to go aground, he’d reacted quickly and got us out of potential trouble. We went around the island instead. But that was a good lesson in staying alert and ensuring you have the instruments on high resolution and close-up when navigating in shallow waters.
Shortly after that we made our way past Sounion bay. Suddenly Barry shouted at me to turn the camera in the direction he was pointing. What I saw filled me with suspenseful dread: a yacht was rapidly heading directly towards the cliff! We were too far away to shout and grab his attention and all we could do was look on with baited breath, hoping the captain would become aware of his situation in time to avoid what would be catastrophic for his boat. There was a small RIB speeding towards him and perhaps that caught the skipper’s attention, but at the last minute, we saw the boat do a 90 degree turn to starboard and narrowly miss crashing into the cliff. Ironically he was directly beneath Poseidon’s temple. I wonder if the ancient god assisted in protecting this particular sailor.
We were quite shaken by that incident. We’d been absolutely powerless to do anything but watch. We do have an air horn that we could have used, but it was stowed and needed to be taken out of its package and put together, which would possibly have taken too long to be effective in time. I’m not even sure if it would have been loud enough to carry across such a distance. Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve only been able to look on in horror?
Deck to deck chat
The highlight of that passage though was meeting up with yacht owners Jim and Alison Golt in the Evia channel. We know them from one of the Facebook sailing channels and have been trying to catch up with them for a while. But despite being in close proximity several times, we’ve never actually met as wind gods and sailing plans have taken us just out of each other’s path. They were motoring south, saw us on AIS and suggested we have a quick chat, deck to deck. What a great idea! There was no traffic where we met and the sea was flat calm. Baz kept A B Sea in position using the bow thruster and they circled their yacht Moondance close enough to us to say hi and have a conversation! We did film our meeting but unfortunately the settings were off, so we ended up taking time lapse photos. I’ve actually included some of the footage in tomorrow’s video and rather like how it’s turned out!
When we met, we were flying our new Australian flag that we bought in the chandlers in Athens on the same day that we purchased a Mantus chain hook, which secures the snubber to the chain when we’re at anchor and is much sturdier than the snap hook that we were using previously. Thanks to a couple of followers who commented on our YouTube video suggesting we get a purpose made hook. We were glad we bought it too because while we were anchored in Varkiza bay, we experienced three days of high winds (high 20s gusting to nearly 40 knots). But we stayed put with the anchor dug into sand (which it loves) and the chain hook keeping the boat’s weight off the windlass.
You can see all of this in the video that accompanies this blog. Just click here