Day 10: Ios to Santorini

In the morning, the weather looks great (as usual), although it’s a little cloudy/overcast.

We motor a short distance out of the harbor, hoist sails and start our excellent run to Santorini/Thira.

Sunny skies and perfect wind.  Blasting downwind, that's Santorini (aka Thira) in the distance. The gap in the middle is the opening in the crater we sailed into.
Sunny skies and perfect wind. Blasting downwind, that’s Santorini (aka Thira) in the distance. The gap in the middle is the opening in the crater we sailed into.

Greek islands have multiple names, given to them by the different people who conquered them. Usually there are at least Greek, Italian, Turkish, and English names. For some reason, the island of Thira (Greek name) is most often called Santorini (Italian name). It’s the same island, though, from what I can tell.

The island of Thira is a volcanic crater that was formed by a massive eruption around 1400 BC – one of the largest eruptions in recorded history. Some experts now think that Thira was the origin of the Legend of Atlantis.

As soon as we leave Ios, we can see Thira in the distance directly downwind.

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Daniel is at the helm, and we go ‘wing on wing’, which is a beautiful point of sail with the main on one side and the jib sail on the other. It’s a tricky point of sail in that you need to watch the wind closely to keep from jibing or back-winding the jib. Daniel does an excellent job and we make very good progress.

Houses perched up on the crater edges on Santorini
Houses perched up on the crater edges on Santorini

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When we get into the crater, the wind subsides a little, the sun comes out and it is incredible.

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Tom with Santorini crater behind him.
Tom with Santorini crater behind him.

We sail through the crater looking up at the buildings perched high above. The crew sheds all their layers of foul weather gear and spreads out on the front deck in the sun. This is our first sunny basking & sailing day of the trip.

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Barb and Santorini
Barb and Santorini. She is still reluctant to take her warm vest off.

On the inside base of the crater, you can ascend to the top edge of the crater via either a)tramway, b)donkey, or c) walking. A shore detail forms which is interested in either method a or b.

The wall at Santorini.  Note tramway up or optional zig-zagging road.
The wall at Santorini. Note tramway up or optional zig-zagging road.

We sail near the inside shore of the crater to deploy the shore party via dingy. The shore party consists of Daniel, June, Michelle and June, and Tom will be their dingy driver. We plan to drop them, then we will take the boat to seek space in the marina on the south side of the island. We all have radios in case of changes.

From reading, it’s difficult to find space in the marina (crowded) and the entrance silts in and we might not have enough water depth to gain entrance.

After trying to start the dingy outboard a few times, we realize the kill switch for the dingy outboard is missing. Current thinking is that it was stolen while we were tied up in Ios the night before. Tom finds some zip-ties and uses them to wedge into the kill switch space. He manages to start the motor, deliver the shore party and return to Sunday. Once aboard, he disappears for about 15 minutes and returns with a new kill switch, which he has whittled out of a wooden clothespin. This one is better than the original, too, because it would float if you dropped it into the water.

Deploying shore crew to explore Santorini
Deploying shore crew to explore Santorini

Since Day 1, we have noticed that Tom is perfect cross between a nautical Energizer Bunny and MacGyver. He’s constantly moving, cleaning, tweaking, organizing and he can fix anything.

We motor around to the south side of the island where the marina is located. The port engine high temperature alarm starts sounding. We check for saltwater cooling discharge and it is discharging as it should be. We stop the engine for now and continue on only the starboard engine.

Tom is at the helm. When we reach the marina entry, there is an erratic monohull near the entrance. As we start to enter, the monohull darts in front of us, then starts dropping their anchor. Tom smoothly navigates around the boat, then we see a guy standing on the concrete wall motioning us to stay to the right – he pantomimes that is too shallow on the left. He then guides us to an area in the marina and motions to pull alongside the dock in a specific space. Tom docks us, then I go talk to the harbormaster.

He says that the entrance is very shallow (1.8 meters) and it gets worse when the wind blows from the north. Our Cat only draws 1.3 meters so we are fine, but the monohull that anchored in the entry couldn’t get in and another one that was in the marina had been “stuck” there for 6 days without enough water to get out.

I start looking around the marina and there are 9 big Cats (including us) and only 1 or 2 big monohulls. Ha! A place that discriminates in favor of Cats!

The harbor on the south side of Santorini was a haven for catamarans.  Reason: it was too shallow for monohulls to get into.
The harbor on the south side of Santorini was a haven for catamarans. Reason: it was too shallow for monohulls to get into.
Cocktails and Sun at Santorini
Cocktails and Sun at Santorini

We bask on the foredeck for a while and for the first time on the trip, we feel the new sensation of being hot.

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Okay, this is what we had expected of a Greek sailing vacation!
Okay, this is what we had expected of a Greek sailing vacation!

The crew we dropped on the other side of the island appears via taxi. They report that they took the tram up the cliff and that the town is too swarming with tourists. Tom, Susan and I thumb a ride into town to re-provision the rum. We get into the main part of town and it is obviously swarming with tourists and t-shirt shops. The same thing happens with many pretty towns in Alaska and Hawaii – it’s not unique to Santorini. I’m quite hungry, so Susan and I go in search of food, while Tom continues the search for rum and returns to the boat.

Santorini is a place you often see in Greek tourism advertisements. It was also swarming with tourists, but they were nice enough to clear out for this photo of Susan and Tom.
Santorini is a place you often see in Greek tourism advertisements. It was also swarming with tourists, but they were nice enough to clear out for this photo of Susan and Tom.

Susan and I find an awesome little café, perched on the edge of the cliff dropping into the crater. Far below I can see the area where we had dropped the shore crew earlier in the day. We feast on seafood pasta and Greek Salad, with a killer view of the crater – It was a world-class magic Mediterranean moment.

 

Church on crater edge, Santorini
Church on crater edge, Santorini
Suz at our little cafe on Santorini
Suz at our little cafe on Santorini

 

Santorini Selfie. Suz n Mark at little cafe.
Santorini Selfie. Suz n Mark at little cafe.

Then we grab a taxi back to the boat/marina.

As we are winding down for the night, Susan says something about the toilets flushing strangely. I check it out and much to my surprise, I find that when we flush the toilet in a starboard head, a spray of sewage erupts from about 5 feet above our waterline and sprays about 6 feet horizontal. A couple of thoughts occur to me: 1) it shouldn’t be like this, and 2) we can use this ‘sewage cannon’ to our advantage during Med Mooring situations, for example, to clear people or boats away from our starboard hull.

Viewer discretion advised: Sewage Cannon

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We also start to wonder how many of our mooring neighbors have experienced our sewage cannon without our knowledge.

While we’re at this marina, I also discover that Daniel knows quite a bit about diesel engines. He does a bunch of diagnostics on why the port engine might be overheating. He doesn’t find a culprit and suspects that the thermostat might be bad or too sensitive. As part of his troubleshooting, he does some snorkeling to be sure the salt water intake is not partially obstructed. He’s the first of our crew to actually get in the water, and it’s cold enough that he does not linger.

Daniel making his own Greek Salad
Daniel making his own Greek Salad

See ALL PHOTOS for Day 10

Day 10 map. Ios to Santorini
Day 10 map. Ios to Santorini

 

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