|Yes! Let's row...it's only a mile across the bay!|
Sunday 6th September
Not another crap sleep?! Yep, the cabin is getting warmer and we both wake up feeling rather dehydrated. Not sure if that's the previous night's beer or just the heat, but anyway, the long and the short of it is that if you MUST have a cosy bed and a good sleep at night, you won't like the early days of cruising! For me however, lack of sleep just means an excuse to get up at 6.30, make coffee and sit at the bow watching this little part of planet earth wake up.
I'd wanted to go and see the fort at the other end of the bay, but Marco didn't fancy putting the outboard on the dinghy so he rowed instead. Mistake! He quickly got pissed off with the whole thing and started making faces - and who would get the blame? Yes the wife! So i kept helpfully suggesting that we went back for the outboard but he wouldn't have it (why ARE men so stubborn?) so we limped on until we got to Sailor's House where we got out. However, in only our flip flops (well prepared again), it was almost impossible to climb up and so we gave up and went back to Balina, where the outboard was fitted and away we went again. We then motored over to Ali Baba's place. We quickly wished we had gone there last night - there was a rickety jetty that all the yachts had tied up to, a dog with big ears and a lovely looking restaurant. Oh well, next time blah blah......
We still couldn't easily get to the fort, so abandoned the idea altogether (sniff) and came back to the boat. We slipped the lines and motored out to Serce, a large bay just around the corner. We dropped anchor and had a lovely breakfast with a swim. Once refreshed, we motored out and were immediately able to put the sails out in over 15kn of wind. The conditions were very similar to the previous day, so we were on a close reach until we were near to Symi and then it died again. We tacked and found enough wind to take us up the side of Symi, deciding that we would try to go through the Nisos passage. This is a short cut that enables the sailor to avoid having to go all the way around the island of Nimos, thus saving quite a bit of time. However, two things have to be stated. One is that it is technically out of bounds, being as it is, in Greek waters. In practise the Greeks tend to turn a blind eye to this little short cut. Secondly, the water shallows up considerably and suddenly.
|Light blue means shallow!|
We had read about the shallow traverse in Heikell's book so were prepared. As we approached the passage, Symi town could be clearly seen with all the picture postcard houses spilling down the hillsides. We would have loved to go there, but didn't want to take the chance without a Greek courtesy flag. As we entered the Nisos passage, the depth sounder came up sharply from 25-30metres to 2.5metres. As we went through the passage the water became crystal clear. We trusted Rod Heikell's book which stated that it was alarming to see this rise in depth, but that there was absolutely no danger, and soon, the depth sounder was showing 10-20 metres again. We were through unscathed.
Next problem on the horizon (almost literally), was wind direction. We were heading west....wind coming from......west. Damn! So we went on a close reach towards Datca, then tacked back up again to go round the peninsula. This was the intention anyway, but it all went a bit wrong, as something had happened to the genoa track. Won't bore you with the details, but eventually, after 'words' between skipper and crew, it was fixed. By this time of course, the wind had dropped to 6kn and we weren't moving. So we took everything in and switched on the motor. We wanted to make it round to Ova Buku - another great sounding bay and restaurant - for a quiet night and dinner at 'Oguns Place'. But as we set our course due west, the wind that had been so non-existent for an hour or more, decided to pick up again on the nose. We bounced around in 18 knot winds, motoring into confused seas with a sinking sun.Oh good! By this time we were both knackered, but knew that sanctuary was just around the bay. The waves kept coming and breaking over the bow. What a nightmare! We were so relieved to see the watchtowers of the bay and motored in, just gagging for a beer and a relaxed night. Bloody hell!!! Not a berth to be had anywhere. Just 6 boats had filled up the entire jetty. Nobody came to see if they could squeeze us in anywhere and lots of swimmers were bobbing about in the water....anchoring was not an option in any case.
There was nothing for it but to motor back out into the wind. Quickly we decided Palamut was our only hope, being just around the corner and so it was spray, waves, bobbing etc all the way, and to cap it all, just as the sun was setting and we could see a nice little gap for us ahead in the harbour, a 43ft yacht raced past us, got in and was tying up before we'd even got into the harbour walls. We were, instead directed to a corner of the harbour where it was all fun, fun, fun tying up with massive help from a local guy who had to pull us away from a huge pile of underwater ballasting on the starboard stern side, then I had to let out more and more anchor to get the stern round and near enough to the quay to be able to drop the passerelle. Finally we winched ourselves in and were safe for another night!
After another niggle about whether to bother showering or not (hello, I'm covered in salt), I went off to do just that, while Marco skulked about with a beer, then graciously decided he would have a 'quick wash down' too.
|The lovely Jardin de Sempra|
Palamut is a lovely little town and we were really very glad that we ended up here. We found a lovely restaurant called Jardin de Sempra, and treated ourselves to fillet steak, fish fillets, and a bottle of red wine before heading back for a Baileys nightcap and an exhausted sleep.