We ended up staying a few days in Skiathos – first of all to make sure the storm was well and truly gone …. we always hang around a day after everyone leaves the harbour as even after the wind has died down, the sea takes a little while to catch up! In this particular case, I think it was more us that needed to recover than the sea!
We ended up re-anchoring a few times – even though we had gone where we were directed, we weren’t happy being so close to the flight path so we moved a little bit closer in – then when our neighbours left we could move still closer in. We spent a couple of days doing all the washing and cleaning the boat – and also doing a lot of research on anchors and trying to work out why we have such a problem with our new Rocna – Ed has never spent so much time on Facebook! The concensus of opinion on the sailing forums seems to be a combination of the Rocna not being good in weed seabed and the fact that our boat is light and yaws backwards and forwards while on anchor – in combination with the fact that we can only have 8mm chain due to the size of our anchor locker.
Ed has now ordered another anchor – we are in the process of ordering a Mantus which is a similar style, but modified version of the Rocna – the Mantus is supposed to be almost as good as the Rocna in mud and sand, but the modifications should also make it good in weed. This is going to be an expensive thing to do – especially as we may also need to modify the bow roller again, but we just can’t be in a situation of not being able to trust the anchor or we’ll never get any sleep! We’ve also been recommended to use what is called a “riding sail” which is a small triangular sail hoisted at the stern of the boat between the backstays – this is supposed to keep the boat more stable and stop it swinging backwards and forwards at speed in a storm (yawing). We’re not quite sure yet when the new stuff will arrive – but hopefully we can get it sorted in Thessoloniki next week as we are heading there because we need to fly back to Holland for a few days.
Skiathos Harbour is SO noisy it’s unreal! We are anchored right in front of the nightclubs – it’s very quiet during the day and evening, but at 23h00 every night the bars and clubs open and they blast music very loudly until 07h00 …. I’ve got used to sleeping through it but Ed hasn’t slept very well at all.
During the daytime, there’s always something interesting to watch – with boats in and out all the time. We had an interesting cabaret from a Greek guy in a small speedboat – the boat was obviously brand new and this was his first trip out in it. He came flying into the harbour and was aiming to tie up at the restaurant in front of us – as he approached, he realised that he did not have the rope tied on his anchor and nearly threw it in without being attached. The rope was still in it’s packaging – so he was frantically faffing around trying to connect it and wasn’t looking where he was going. He nearly drove straight into us – and only Ed yelling made him look up and take command of his boat again.
He then sent the girlfriend to the back to the swim platform and told her to throw the anchor over-board with the intention of letting out the rope and then tying the bow up to the restaurant dockside. Unfortunately, he ran out of rope! The girl managed to not let go of it, at least … and they had to start again. He then instructed her to throw it out again – but she managed to get it tied up in the prop, so the boat stopped dead – some way from the dock. He jumped into the water fully clothed – didn’t realise he was only in half a meter of water, and stood on glass on the bottom – clearly this is the place all the club-goers throw their empty bottles! He clambered back on board, still with the rope around his prop and proceeded to pick the glass out of his feet on the swim platform …. Eventually both he AND the girlfriend jumped back in fully clothed, leaving the rope around the prop, and dragged the boat to the quayside by hand – then then proceeded to sit down calmly, dripping wet and eat lunch – we made a little video of his escapades!
The proximity of the anchorage in Skiathos to the airport is really quite frightening at first – the runway starts literally on the beach and the planes descend at what seems like just a few metres over the top of the masts and just above a road which runs along the beach. It was unbelievable how people would stand behind the planes on the road, when they took off, taking photographs – and boats insisted on laying anchor in the forbidden zone, despite being told several times by the port police that they needed to move.
By today, Thursday, we were ready to move – but we first needed fuel and supplies as laying still for so long and doing all the washing, we had been running the generator for a lot of hours. In the early afternoon, we launched the dinghy and Ed did a trip to the shore to do a “reccy” – coming back just 10 minutes later having sorted out a mini-tanker for the fuel – it was possible to jump on the ferry pontoon in between ferry arrivals but we had to be quick! I grabbed the washing off the rails, and we pulled up the anchor and headed into the harbour – making an almost perfect alongside mooring, despite doing it in a hurry. The boat was refuelled and we had to make a quick getaway before the next ferry came in – reanchoring again in the same place, I hung the washing out again and we relaxed for a while to check the anchor was reset.
Around 16h00, we were as happy as we could be that the anchor was set again and we both jumped in the dinghy and headed to shore for provisions – we had worked out where the nearest supermarket was in town, about 300m up the hill. After a pretty awful gyros pita at the snack bar (as we’d skipped lunch again!), we walked up the hill to the Asteras Supermarket – great place! It isn’t a massive supermarket – but they had everything we needed and great service too. They have a beaten up old pickup truck which they loaded all our shopping into and delivered it just 20m away from our dinghy … could not have been easier! We loaded everything in the dinghy and headed back, as we really want to get out of the harbour anchorage tonight! As you can see from the photos that we had some pretty impressive neighbours …. and Liberation looks pretty tiny beside the beautiful Swan … but still we’ve had enough here 🙂
We left all the provisions on the floor and just pulled up the anchor and left the harbour – we headed towards the sand beach just a little to the south of the town, where we thought we could at least get a quiet peaceful night. Unfortunately, when we got there we discovered there were night-time cruises from the day-trip boats – seems like there were more than a hundred people getting ready for a party on the beach! Plans scuppered – so we just headed back into the infamous anchorage which we knew very well from the storm night …. we’ll be fine tonight as there is no wind, and we’ll try to find a patch of sand to drop the anchor on.
Finally getting out of Skiathos town – tomorrow we’ll start exploring the rest of the Sporades.