…And Two Days
26th July 2016
Early in the morning, we left Leros Marina and motored around to a bay we had been recommended. The bay was on a separate, small islet called Archangelos, and was just on off the northern tip of the island of Leros. We had all enjoyed Leros, but the islands in the south part of the Dodecanese seemed a lot more interesting, warmer and less cosmopolitan. Here, we especially liked the war museum, and the marina was a welcome safe haven, the walk around to the town from the marina, though, was quite a distance!
As we motored out of Lakki bay, we immediately were struck by a bouncy sea, and the wind on the nose. This was no surprise, since the winds in the area are predominantly from the north/north west, and that is where we are going!
The rest of the journey to Archangelos wasn’t very far, and soon we were swinging on anchor, and drinking gin and tonics in the sun, ( well, mum and Geoff were, I was scrubbing decks etc…..) The bay was very calm, and had good shelter from the Meltemis, and the anchor had cut into the seabed nicely.
In the bay was one other boat which soon left….maybe it was the fact Asena and I were making to much of a racket, or the fact that the bunch of youths had now beached there RIB onto the sandy shores and had started singing and dancing to the latest tunes….. but what ever it was, they left the bay, which made it ours!
Next to the bay we were in, there is small restaurant perched on the rocks that looks over the area of water that separates this small and very tranquil island, to the much busier and louder island of Leros. Our Australian friends had declared it the best fish restaraunt in the area.
27th July 2016
That morning, we left the bay and set sail for the most northern island in the Dodecanese. It’s name is Agathonisi, and has only 130 inhabitants, most of which, are farmers and fishermen. The main ferry line in this area, the Dodecanese Seaways only comes here every two to three days, so when you visit the island by ferry, you’re marooned on it until it comes back to get you. As a sailor and his poses a problem as any time the high speed ferry comes in, or any of the other main ocean transporters – you have to get out their way; thus if you are moored to the harbour wall, you have to leg it sharpish or get crushed!
However, tourism is small and the main part of money for the island comes from sailors, who, like us, stop here for the night before carrying on towards the much bigger and touristically advanced island of Samos.
All supplies come from Samos, but what this island does get without them coming from Samos are refugees, who make their perilous journey on the bumpy sea in large, rubber dinghies that are overloaded, cramped and unstable.
We recognised this for ourselves when we anchored near to the main town in one of only a few ” sheltered” bays around the main town port where we had our own small cove, tucked away into a corner. When I took the dogs ashore to a small rocky beach I saw a large, grey rubber boat, which was deflated and busted up. Near to it, were some large, bulky life jackets flung across the beach. What surprised me the most though, was the fact that the beach was also littered with pumped up Inner tubes from car tyres, presumably these were used after life jackets ran out? Most poignantly there was a lime green buoyancy aid, designed for the smallest of children, the crutch strap ( which would hold the child into the device ) was less than an inch long….. I’m guessing there would have been a tiny baby in this one.
These must be another way of transportation for the migrants on this scary and dangerous passage, that thousands have made for the last 2 years.
That evening, since there was so much wind chill throughout the bay, and the fact mum was still traumatised by the large bumpy seas that day, we sat in the saloon area, watching “Mamma Mia”….flat waters, light winds on the TV……that’s what Greece should be like!
We had anchored like we do in Turkey, with a good hold on the anchor and two lines taken from stern to shore, the first time we had done this in Greece. As the night drew on the winds increased, mum went to shore two more times with lines from misships port side and even from the bow port side. This held the boat incredibly well against the prevailing westerly winds which were HAMMERING the boat and the bay as the evening grew dark.
With constant checks to wind guru, it was aparant that wind guru clearly knew of another Agothonisi which we didn’t, forecasting 11 s and twelves when we were in our little tunnel of wind hell steadily blowing 25 – 30, a Beaufort scale Force 7!
At 11/ midnight ( ish ) the wind dropped sufficiently enough that mum relaxed and turned in… She told me that it came back at 2, the noise waking her up so she went back to the vigil of rope watching!
The ropes and anchor held all night……. Well……..nearly………….