If the headsail gets stuck when you’re unfurling it, someone has to go to the bow and give it a little help. Fortunately when this happened on one of our recent passages, the weather was friendly and the sea was calm. That meant I didn’t have to put on my PFD (personal floatation device) and clip in to avoid falling overboard. And the headsail wasn’t too stuck either. I just had to give it a little twist and Baz was able to furl it out completely. Noticing the slightly worried expression on my friend Shelley’s face (Shelley and Ian were sailing with us for a few days), I grinned as I stepped back into the cockpit, saying: “A little bit of action there, that was cool wasn’t it?” Shelley grinned back.
“Just check those shackles”
No Baz wasn’t giving me a saucy opening for some foreplay – or even foredeck play! When we brought up the anchor before leaving Porto Rafti after a couple of night’s stay, he reminded me to check the seizing wire on the shackles that keep the anchor firmly attached to the anchor chain. He’d had to replace one of them a few weeks previously and, as his little inner voice prompted, the second one now needed replacing. As soon as we’d upped anchor, Baz handed the helm over to me and while I navigated out of Porto Rafti’s large southern bay past the islands, he replaced the seizing wire on shackle number two. It only took a few minutes of his time, but it potentially saved the anchor from disconnecting from the chain.
From Porto Rafti we headed to Sounion where we intended to spend one night under Poseidon’s temple that’s situated on the cliff overlooking the sea. There wasn’t any wind to speak of so we had to motor the 18 nautical miles to our destination.
Blasted by a big tanker
As we approached Siri bay which is home to a large industrial port, we saw a few tankers anchored just offshore. As we began to pass the bow of one which the chart plotter showed Baz was under way (stationary) on our starboard side, it blasted its horn. Baz checked the chart plotter and saw that the vessel was now making way (moving) and its speed was increasing. It blasted its loud horn again. Woops! Baz made a very quick right angle turn to starboard and as we motored past it, we watched as the big red tanker increased speed quite dramatically. A B Sea would definitely have been in two halves if Baz hadn’t changed direction!
Turning to port past the tanker’s stern, we looked in awe at its massive propeller and the beautiful aqua-blue/white wake that the large vessel churned up as it moved forward.
The rest of our journey to Sounion was uneventful in a pleasant way, the sun was warm and the breeze mild. Shelley and Ian were able to get a good look at the mainland’s west coast and the southern tip as we rounded the cliff on the approach to Sounion Bay. We’d anchored there before and Baz chose pretty much the same position on the western side because we’d noticed most boats like to get up close and personal to the restaurant and temple on the cliff on the eastern side. And A B Sea likes to be a fringe dweller. We anchored in 6 metres with 30 metres of chain out. The bay was a little more rolly this time, but nothing too uncomfortable.
Sunset tour of Poseidon’s Temple
Poseidon’s Temple is famous in the area and many people like to visit there to see the sunset from the cliff with the ancient ruins behind them. We all decided we’d like to go there – what a great introduction to ancient Greece for Shelley and Ian before they headed to Athens and climbed the Acropolis.
We piled into the dinghy and were a bit confused as to where to park it. The main beach under the cliff was cordoned off by the hotel with a long row of swimming buoys which looked impassable. After scooting around the rest of the bay, we discovered a tiny stone jetty that looked as if it had been there since the year dot. There was a couple sitting on the jetty with their small children so we approached very cautiously. Eventually they realised we were mooring when I tied the line onto a rusting thick pipe, and they picked their kids up and let us pass as we walked to shore. It was a bit of a dance because the jetty