June 7, 2011
with the weather still bad we left for astypalea because we were meeting my friend arava and eran from israel there. we had planned to sail with them around greece and decided to meet in this next island on a particular date. we had 36 hours to cover only 30 miles in order to meet them. we though we could be there in 12 hours but it turns out we took the entire 36 hours and the boat took one of the worse beatings so far. we were introduced to one of the local strong winds of this part of the world: the maltemi. it was blowing so much that we; actually only me; felt like crying just of pure frustration. we had already stopped at simi seeking protection and did not have the time to make another stop if we wanted to meet our friends on time and as agreed. so we dressed up in jackets and all our foul weather gear and just sailed at 2 knots towards our destination. to add to the frustration we had to run the engine also while we sailed. If we only sailed the tacks would significantly add miles to the trip possibly adding an extra day, which we did not have. so we had to spend the diesel; at 9 USD per gallon in this part of the world; and still tack trying to fight the maltemi coming from our nose… a terrible idea but unfortunately we did not have too many options. after this trip we learned a hard lesson: there are really no short distances when the weather is not favorable or even OK. 30 miles in rough conditions are worse than several hundred of them in any other setting. but we finally made it. we arrived to astypalea completely wet, cold and with the boat all covered in salt.
upon arriving the french folks from the boat next to us were surprised to hear we sailed in such a rough weather and gave us the first bitter taste of the med mooring experience which we had read about. in europe, because of the lack of space, boats have to anchor and back-up to a wall to tie to with ropes. this sounds simple except that our long keel boat makes it almost impossible to back up on a straight line, so this is definitely hard if not embarrassing in tight spaces. in addition, our manual prehistoric windlass to pick up the anchor chain is worthless and possibly the only piece of equipment we really hate of our boat. every time there is any maneuver with the anchor chain we are reminded that we really need to change that piece… but because we have not done so, we have to still maneuver with it, adding more challenge to a maneuver that we already hate and consider difficult. finally and to top it off, there is always the sailor that is already there and acts as if he owns the wall and space he only tied to the night before, but because he was in first he considers he can watch and not help and warn the newcomer boat of where his anchor is, in order for us not to anchor on top of his, and of course not to touch his boat with ours… definitely not helpful or friendly specially after our long and violent last 30 miles. but we managed to get in somehow in one piece, not touching anyone one of our neighbors and just in time to clean the boat from the messy and rolly night, greet arava and eran and enjoy the warm sun and this new island.
astypalea was the first greek island with white houses and blue windows. it was quiet and charming. we had arava and eran on board and we were safely docked. what else could we ask for?! we quickly went around skala, the main town, and enjoyed yet another good restaurant with excellent greek food and finally introduced our friends to the life on board.