Alonnisos to Kyra Panagia

Ormos Tzortzi ended up not being as bad as I thought it would be – fortunately the swell rolling in was from passing boats so it did die down in the evening and we ended with a calm night.  When we woke in the morning it was very pleasant – it was almost a shame to leave but we need to make tracks to get to Thessaloniki on time – although the weather forecast looked completely clear for the next week when we looked yesterday, there are now some windier conditions coming in the day after tomorrow so we don’t want to end up getting stuck or having to sail in bad weather!

Still, we took it easy in the morning, went for a swim and relaxed on deck, catching up with some work.  Before leaving, we decided we were going to do a proper test on the anchor with the GoPro to film what actually happens when it is put under pressure – we had already swum out and had a look, the water was crystal clear and even though the anchor was laying 8.5 metres down, we could see it perfectly.  Ed swam out with the camera and his diving mask and when he was over the anchor, I gently reversed the boat to take up the slack chain, then powered the boat backwards at gradually increasing revs.  When we reached full power, the anchor started to drag – we did a “power surge” by allowing the boat to bounce forwards then taking a run in reverse at 2 knots to simulate a wind gust – the anchor dragged big time then.

We let it settle again, then simulated a wind turn by bringing the boat around 180 degrees and pulling it with the engine in the other direction – the anchor broke out completely and did a backflip then failed to reset, and just dragged across the sand on the seabed.  Only when I eased off the power and slowed the boat down to less than 1 knot, did the anchor reset – but on it’s side, so we don’t think it would hold in any sort of strong wind.

This was a fun exercise – but with me behind the wheel, Ed was getting a bit frustrated with me as I’m not too good manoeuvering the boat in close quarters with engine bursts in reverse … so we did a few exercises once he was back on board.  We really have to persevere with this and I need to practice docking the boat, as one of these days I may need to …. I’d cope if I have to and can certainly bring it alongside without a problem, but as things stand I would look like one of the charter boat captains who make a mess of Med mooring every time 🙂 Unfortunately, a day trip boat came in the bay before we could complete the exercise so I still didn’t get to practice properly.

We had already worked out where we were going today – to the tiny island of Kyra Panagia to the north east of Alonnisos.  Apparently, it is occupied by nothing but a few goats – there’s a very protected inlet on the north coast which has 10m depths and a lot of space – it is part of the national park protected area, so there are only two bays where you are allowed to anchor overnight.  We left Alonnisos at around 14h30 and motored along the coast – again no wind and a completely flat sea.  It was really beautiful – lots of small sandy coves and rock outcrops and not very many people as we headed further into the wilderness.  Quite a few sailboats though – I guess they are all heading in the same direction as there are a limited number of places you can go!

We pulled into the inlet on Kyra Panagia around 17h30 and it is indeed quite spectacular as you approach.  The narrow channel to enter the bay is lined with small beaches but once inside the water is a bit of a disappointment and there isn’t very much to see.  The seabed is mud and clay – so makes the water look very cloudy and you can’t see the bottom – good for anchoring, but not so inviting for a swim.  There was also some debris on the water which I guess isn’t surprising as it gets trapped inside.  Ideal anchorage for the night though!  We dropped the anchor in the right hand side bay – there are two bays and for some reason everyone was in the left one.  The anchor set without a problem but it didn’t take long before more boats joined us.  Just before it got dark, we were unfortunately joined by two big charter yachts occupied by several British families with loads of little kids …. all of whom were screaming and shouting at the tops of their voices …. grrrrr …… humbug!  The yachts both had professional skippers but still they anchored very close to us and proceeded to raft up to each other – if there had been any wind, we would have had to move.

What do you do when you don’t have any internet for the evening?  Well, we sat down together with our GoPro footage and put together the video of our anchor test to post on YouTube once we get internet back!  When we had done that one, we also finally got around to working on the footage of the bay in Sikies which we took using the drone weeks ago … we’ll be bombarding YouTube in the morning.

Ed was obviously feeling relaxed as he asked for a glass of wine ….. (!!!!) for anyone who knows him, you know that he almost never drinks any alcohol at all and one glass of wine sends him away with the fairies!  He keeled over asleep in the cockpit around 10pm – historically, when he drinks a glass we end up with an unexpected storm – hope that’s not the case tonight!

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