It was time to leave the beautiful island of Poros as we had to get to our final destination of the sailing season at Limni on the north of Evia, where A B Sea would be hauled out so we could do work on her over winter.
Leaving Poros we had a pretty uneventful motor as there wasn’t a breath of wind. However 12 nautical miles away from our first destination of Sounion on the mainland of Greece, the engine suddenly lost 0.7 of a knot of speed and the engine sound changed. I didn’t have a clue what it could be, so I grabbed our Sony video camera and pointed it at Baz while he did some troubleshooting.
It might have been something caught around the prop, like an old fishing line so he put A B Sea into reverse which would hopefully untangle it, if that was the issue. Then he went into forward again and increased the revs as his other suspicion was that it was an issue with the exhaust elbow. A few high revs later and A B Sea was on her way again, at her normal speed. However this time, she had a cloud of black smoke – or rather, soot – puffing out behind her. Not good.
We had a further hour or so of motoring, so there was nothing else to do but sit back and ‘relax’ hoping there wouldn’t be any other issues with the engine.
We arrived with relief at Sounion on the southern tip of mainland Greece – where we’d had the pleasure previously of hiking up to see Poseidon’s temple with our friends Shelley and Ian when they stayed with us. And we were happy to see there was only one other yacht in the bay. The light wind was also coming from a different direction than last time. Instead of a night being rolled from side to side every time a ferry went past, this time we had a great night’s sleep, unaffected by passing ships.
We were up early the next morning and headed east out of the bay then north up towards our first stop off point before arriving at our overnight anchorage at Porto Rafti. Windy prediction site had said we wouldn’t get much wind to speak of so we’d anticipated a nice calm motor all the way. However we were greeted with 15 knots of wind on the nose and a bit of chop – which turned into 30 knots of wind by the time we reached Olympic marina where we would refuel.
Getting to the fuel dock at the marina was a bit stressful for Baz. Not from the wind which fortunately died down once we entered the marina. But there was a large yacht already moored at the fuel dock and there wasn’t any room to dock in front. The turning space was tight but he did a great job of turning A B Sea around and heading out of the marina to wait out turn. We headed back in about twenty minutes later and saw the large yacht pass us as we headed to the fuel dock.
The guy at the fuel dock was super efficient and we tied up without incident. I had been ready to step off with the bow line (as usual) so I could quickly hand that to him and then rush back and catch the stern line from Baz. But the fuel guy had a different routine which I think put Baz off a bit because he insisted I follow our pre-arranged plan. However the fuel guy was insistent too and as it was his territory I told Baz I’d go with the fuel guy’s request. That meant Baz had to give him the stern line first and then I threw him the bow line.
Not much of a big deal, but Baz was already a tad stressed so this was something else thrown in the mix. However, within minutes we were nicely tied side to and the fuel guy was pumping diesel into our tank.
One hundred and twenty three litres (32.5 gallons) later, A B Sea had a full belly so to speak and we were lighter by 188 Euros.
As we left the marina we noticed that the wind had calmed down to 20 knots but still on the nose. So we decided to tack. We hauled out both sails and tacked towards the north east, figuring we could still sail to Porto Rafti without using any of our precious fuel.
Losing wind, losing speed
Of course not long after we’d headed on our first tack than the wind gods dialed the wind down and pretty soon after that our speed had dropped to 2.5 knots. What to do? When we’re only doing that speed the yacht’s difficult to steer, so my frustrated captain eventually gave the order to furl in the sails and we’d motor directly to Porto Rafti. We anchored a little further from shore than we had previously due to the swimmers in the area, but found a nice patch of sand and happily put the boat to bed.
Later that afternoon we were happy to have Sten and Rita Matthews on board for nibbles and a few drinks. They were on their way to another boat yard a little further north of us on Evia and Porto Rafti was their stop off point too. It was great to catch up with them again over sundowners. The weather was still mild enough that we watched the sun setting from the cockpit. They left early the next morning and we waved goodbye as they headed out to the Evia channel in their catamaran.
We enjoyed another meeting with our good friend Nikos, who kindly took us to three different venues around the picturesque wide bay of Porto Rafti, where we drank coffee, sampled traditional Greek food for lunch and then a chatted over beer. Each venue gave us a different perspective of Porto Rafti, and Nikos was the perfect host.
Strongilo - goats and shells
The following morning we headed out into the Evia channel and turned north east towards Strongilo. What a lovely motor that was - in a very calm sea and virtually no wind at all. We were soon anchored in sand in a small bay at Strongilo. The water was clear aqua blue and we could see the anchor dug in close to the bow of the boat.
Not having an excuse to get wet as the anchor was plainly visible, I decided to snorkel to the shore and see if I could find any sea glass or shells. While there wasn’t any glass on the beach, I did see some goats behind a wall that enclosed a large garden from an old house. I noticed the wind picking up a bit and wanted to get back to A B Sea without too much of a slog, so I returned to the water. As I was swimming I noticed three pretty brown and white cockle shells, empty, sitting on the sand. They weren’t too deep so I dived down and returned to the boat with my booty! As I looked back at shore I saw the goats had been let out onto the beach, so I think my timing was pretty good!
I’ve since turned these three beauties into ‘Rock Pool’ necklaces using tiny shells, freshwater pearls and sterling silver wire. I use a dimensional finish to give the effect of them sitting in a rock pool, just waiting to be collected by a Mermaid. What do you think? Aren’t they cute?
The anchorage was fairly calm and we slept well that night. Now that we had exhaust issues, we wanted to get to our haul out destination as quickly as possible, so we again upped anchor and headed onwards and upwards, north to our next anchorage, Eretria.
How did we get on? I’ll let you know next week.
You can see all of this in the video that accompanies this blog. Just click here