Looking back at my log book, I can always tell quickly if we had the Meltimi blowing: minimal engine hours. The sails go up right after the anchor is lifted and go down right before the anchor goes down. Whatever electricity or water we need is made by our trusted 11KW generator/watermaker. And yes, the Meltimi was blowing. With the Admiral now back on board, we try to limit the boat's heeling and large waves to the extent we can but it's difficult in these conditions. Our first hop was over to to Ag. Ioannis, a bay on the island of Paros, which is just a few miles but already it was very windy. On our first anchorage, it was constantly blowing 20s with much higher gusts. To clean off the mud from the anchor normally takes putting the engine in reverse and dragging the anchor behind the boat for a few seconds at the surface. Here, Rainer worked for 10 minutes using deck brush and the boat hook as a cleaning tool! Next stop was Parikia on Paros, a major town. Nothing very spectacular but good shopping and a nice hike around the bay made for a successful day.

On our next leg to the island of Siphnos the Meltimi worked up to its full power. Gusts to 33 knots and 2-3 m, rolling waves made for an uncomfortable ride although reefed down and with the staysail instead of the genoa, Kincsem is still relatively comfortable compared to other boats I've owned. For one, we're dry in the cockpit with the cockpit cover closed to windward, notwithstanding the waves on our beam and one or the other crest gushing over the bow. Well, the Admiral was "tapfer" and Sifnos is a great island definitely worth a visit. We anchored in Faros, a picturesque bay on the East side, and rented a car for a day to explore the island. Appolonia, the chora in the middle of the island, was definitely a highlight, so was Kastro, the old capital of the island. I am sorry that I'm behind organizing the many pictures I have taken into albums and posting them on Smugmug - so many great pictures makes it difficult to select the best. This blog for some reason only permits one picture per blog entry - I have to find a better one for next season.

Since I started cruising in 1970, we've seen a lot of change and one key change is the weather information that is available nowadays. So now, we can have a general idea what the weather will be like in a week from now which enables us to make decisions on where to go. The Greek weather forecasters only give us one day of forecast and beyond that, whether there will be a gale (34 knots or more) or not in the following 12 hours. Not too helpful. But I can download the raw weather data in the form of grib files which I do every 12 hours and that information looks forward to about 10 days. The plan after Sifnos was to go to Ios, Sikinos and Folegandros, and then pick up Corinna and Nicki's niece Gabriella on Milos and from there to sail up the Western chain of the Cyclades to somewhere close to Athens where Corinna and Gabriella would leave us a week later. But it became clear that to stick to that plan would require upwind sailing in near gale force conditions (or more likely, just sitting there and hope for the anchor to hold) starting in a few days with the Meltimi forecast to strengthen even more for several days. So we decided to make our way quickly to Milos and then hop over to the Peloponnese where we could rent a car and meet Corinna and Gabriella in Athens for some sightseeing.

The sail to Milos was great with moderate breezes on the beam or quarter and relatively smooth seas. We stopped overnight in Ormos Livadaki on the island of Polyagos. Polyagos is uninhabited except for a herd of goats. It is a spectacular island with high, ragged mountains falling steeply into the sea and Ormos Livadaki with its turquoise waters made a great overnight stop. The South Coast of Milos - see picture above - was a great lunch stop and we had time to explore the various caves there by dinghy in benign conditions. But it was a bit like in Disneyland: many charter boats, tripper boats and large motor yachts ..... We sailed to Adamas, the capital of Milos for our overnight anchorage. Talking to a complete stranger on the street, Nicki got a tip for a great restaurant where we enjoyed the best Greek food in a while. Seeing the large bay of Adamas again confirmed to me that this was not a place to weather 40 to 50 knots from the North West so we departed early the next morning for Spetsai, an island on the East side of the Peloponnes.


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