Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Aegean Mission Part III

Nisos Kos to Nisos Plati, 12 miles.

I have chosen to gloss over the first day at sea.

It is traditional for a few minor items to go awry and it would be ungallant of me to dwell to much on the minor items. Suffice to say First Mate and I had some opportunity to practice turning in a seaway and collecting items.
With the boat hook.

It is worth mentioning the first night however - for tired as we were, I was particularly pleased with the results.

I have commented previously that some of our Med-based cousins effect their anchoring with much in the way of shouting, hullooing and use of mobile telephones - both First Mate and I - and quite rightly - reflect upon their behaviour and wrinkled our collective noses at such nonsense.

We are British, sons of the waves and as such better than these johnnies - for it is by our standards that one judges 'a high notion of seamanship'.

With this burden of responsibility weighing upon us, we hove into view of our first proper anchorage.

'Nisos Plati, Good holding weed and sand, anchor in 5-10 metres' says Dear Roderick.

There was in residence already a large Gin Palace, in the middle distance a large 50' in Italian colours, some other yachts including a Frenchman plus a bum-boat at the small church quay in the bay. A few goats for company ashore.

As any yachtsman will tell you anchoring or mooring is stressful not necessarily because they are difficult to achieve, but because everyone is watching and judging you.

We had better get it right first time for an audience was there - gins in hand, binoculars trained ready to suck teeth and shake heads at the slightest slip.

One boon - as is typical for the waters in this part - they are spirit clear and we could easily survey the bottom and pick a suitable patch of sand to lay our ground tackle.

We idled the boat in at half a knot with First Mate peering over the pullpit for just the right patch. She chose well, for on her call I knocked us gently astern while she lay down the cable - putting a third of it down.

The cable laid out and astern we chugged until we jerked nose down satisfactorily and swung gently either side of the cable.

We both held our breath. Slowly, the boat took the tension on the chain and we eased up to wind. Unconsciously we both selected different transits ashore and watched for dragging.

We had not only bitten cleanly, but bitten first time. A third of our 60 metre chain and a clean bite in 7 meters.

Text book.
The First mate had clearly been hiding her skills under a bushel. Clean anchoring and using transits no less.

A swim down afterwards revealed an image straight out of the RYA Dayskipper book - anchor cleanly in the sand, with a clean catenary of chain.

Not only were we able to feel smug about our skills - but it augured well for the week - for ahead lay the sternest test yet - Patmos!

Patmos - a complex entrance, narrow moorings in front of jeering crowds, contrary winds and a part of the Aegean where the Meltemi blows it's hardest. To top it all, the glass was dropping slowly - it was going to come on to blow.

But tonight we could rest easy, for soon we had gins in our hands and the entertainment of an American catamaran attempting that which we had achieved - but oh so gratifyingly -with somewhat less success....... and a free light show from the perseids to boot.

Next Installment: Episode IV - A lesson in The Weather Gauge and our second brush with the Kriegsmarine.

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