Well, we made it! In fact despite it gusting 20 knots all night Esper held her position well and the anchor didn’t drag a jot. I’m not sure the same can be said for the dodgy mooring we’re on right now.
We made a point of putting together a good passage plan that had us heading SE towards the Greek island of Simi. With no updated weather report we had to assume the data we’d received two days ago was correct so we plotted a course that took us to the south of Simi and then NE towards Marmaris, with the aim of getting to Bozuk Buku, another anchorage Rod Heikell claims is a sanctuary from the meltem. Yeah, righto Rod.
After picking up some winds about a mile from our last anchorage we poled out the jib and ran goosewing, with the wind up our bums. Since the wind was up our bum I thought I’d expose mine and stripped off. I’d heard a lot of good things about naked sailing and I was keen to give it a go. It was all fine for about 2 minutes until I realised that the tanker behind us was not the one that had passed us 10 minutes ago going the other way, but another one following us behind pretty fast! Paranoid that the skipper and crew were on the look out for naked sailors I quickly donned my pants and hid down below for ten minutes, leaving Liz to man the helm in the ever-building westerlies.
After convincing myself that naked sailors are not top of the look-out list aboard a huge tanker we reconsidered our position and decided to head through the islands of Simi and Neski, cutting our passage by a couple of miles. As we ran broad-reach through the two islands the wind really started to kick in and Esper was motoring along at 7 knots. When we readjusted our course for our destination the wind continued to pick up and eventually we had just the main and mizzen out with 30 knots of wind and sailing at 8 knots.
This was the first time I have seen Liz actually willing the wind on. Two years ago she’d have told me to furl the sails away and motor, but today she was going hell for leather and it was me who was concerned about our pace since our destination, an unknown but beautiful bay, was fast approaching.
It was all handled expertly though and we furled the last sail away as we approached Rod Heikell’s ‘safe anchorage’. What a load of crap! The wind was screaming off the mountains and the bay a complete chop! We opted to tie up to a mooring, which took three attempts, and even now, at 7.30 in the evening it’s as windy now as it was this afternoon. Rod Heikell gets it wrong again. However it’s a stunningly beautiful anchorage, something like a cross between the wild west and Tolkein’s middle earth. The mountains are vast but bare, whilst the ancient fortress at the entrance to the bay gives it a bit of mystique.
If we haven’t found ourselves in the middle of the night floating out to sea or smashed up on a rock due to this dodgy mooring then we may stay for a day and explore the surrounding land on foot. After two days of pretty strong winds and all points of sail we’re quite tired and keen to take it easy for a bit. Besides, my muscles ache and my face is burned. My bum wasn’t out long enough for it to get a tan though.