It’s a nice morning and the forecast is for the wind to turn easterly and slow down around noon.
We leave Santorini with June at the helm. She motors us out of the shallow marina into the sea, and we hoist the sails. For the first time on the trip, we do some close hauled sailing.
Half way, as predicted, the wind shifts to the east and dies down to only a few knots. We furl the jib, and motor sail.
The Port engine temperature alarm sounds, so we stop the engine and continue along on the starboard engine. There seems to be only about a .7 knot speed difference running on only one of the engines.
We head toward the tiny harbor on the southeast corner of the island and into our most bizarre docking/mooring experience.
As we motor toward the tiny harbor dodging the rocks, we see many hundreds of people gathered along the dock, and bulging on every boat. Everyone seems to be focused and quiet, and we wonder what is going on. Since we have read that there are several hundred residents of the village, it looks like they are all present.
I’m pretty sure it’s a funeral. There are two small boats rafted together, seemingly official, that other people from the shore and other boats seem to be looking at. I tell June to stop and we turn around slowly, our intention is to loiter slightly out of the harbor area until they are all done with whatever they are doing.
Fairly suddenly, all the boats in the harbor gun to full speed and start roaring towards us. We do a quick crew consultation: should we flee? Attack? We hadn’t perfected our sewage cannon skills yet, but it could be used as a defensive tactic.
We opt to stay where we are, and all the boats roar past us, complete with fireworks/explosives, smoke bombs, etc.
We sit in silence after they roar past, wondering what is going on. We decide to use their absence as an opportunity for Med Mooring.
We sneak into harbor, spin to Med Moor. There is a strong cross wind, which makes it tricky since there is so much surface area on our boat, we blow to the side. We use the electric winch to grind us upwind and toward the dock. As we are tying up, the hundreds of people come roaring back and onto the pier we are mooring to, including teens with explosives (aka fireworks). Everyone is very friendly, but it feels like a “live fire” exercise with all the commotion, punctuated with the huge “booms” of the teens explosives. Everyone flinches when one of the bangs/booms goes off. As Daniel points out, some of them actually hurt and leave a ringing in our ears.
Someone starts talking to some tourists (from Canada), who tell us this is the big “end of easter” celebration and it included the priest doing a blessing of the ships.
We are finally fairly secure, but I still don’t like our setting. There is a swell that moves the stern up and down and pushes us into the pier. We are only about 1 FT from the wall, and if the anchor drags, we could damage the boat.
A monohull of French people arrives, and they start to Med Moor and it’s soon obvious they are a little out of control. They drop the anchor and motor around in circles until they have caught and knocked our anchor loose. After they are moored, we need to set our anchor again. I still don’t really like our setting – it’s too dependent on the anchor.
Tom has great idea to find out if we can tie up alongside the ferry dock. He talks to the harbormaster who says its fine, but to wait until 5pm when a “small boat” drops people. The small boat ended up be a big ferry, with a good amount of wash, but when it was gone, we moved over and tied alongside.
An excellent spot and I’m glad Tom checked it out. We can now go to shore knowing that our boat will be okay.
The French boat doesn’t seem to be bothered by the precarious mooring. They have all gone to shore and left their boat alone, bumping up against the wall in the swell. It’s clearly a rental boat and I wonder if they would leave it like that if they owned the boat.
We start hiking up the road to the Chora/village.
It’s not far, about 3km, but uphill. Tom sticks out his thumb, and a nice older gentlemen in a Mercedes stops to pick us (Susan, Sheven, Tom, and me) up. We roar by the rest of our group who are hoofing it up the hill and honk and wave.
The Chora is beautiful, nice, just opening up after the siesta time. Mostly residents and Greek tourists. We stock up on groceries, produce and rum.
We find an excellent restaurant with a big table and dine on pasta, mixed Grill (goat, pork, rabbit), potatoes, Big Beans, fava beans, eggplant pate, Ouzo, Wine, bread. Awesome.
Our recon crew has determined there is a bus back to the harbor at 8:30pm and we jump the bus for a dark ride back to the boat.
At the dock, swarms of people are waiting for a ferry. A huge ferry arrives – big enough for tractor trailers.
It is a festive party atmosphere as people and vehicles pour off and onto the ferry. The ferry departs, and within minutes it is deserted and quiet again.
Cats start to appear. They are friendly and obviously looking for handouts. Some are very aggressive, and others seem sickly, weak and passive. We decide to try to feed the sickly looking ones first, which is challenging since the healthy ones are quite aggressive. It becomes a bit of a game as we distribute the remains of our mixed grill.
Fairly late in the evening another French monohull comes out of the dark. It spins around and does a very stylish med mooring. Maybe the best we’ve seen on the trip and far better than our performance. We grab their lines for them and make observations that might help us later to improve our “style”.
Wind picked up overnight from northeast. Lots of swell. Because we are tied up on the port side, the residents of our port hull (Locklairs and Constantines) report lots of jerking, squeaking and not a high level of sleep comfort. Starboard hull wasn’t so bad.
At some point in the middle of the night, I heard a huge, distant thundering/roaring. It went on for over a minute and I sat up to listen to it building, then it faded. I remember thing thinking: Crap! The volcano on Thira (Santorini) is erupting! I wake up Susan, who sleeps with ear plugs but she never heard anything. None of the rest of our crew heard it, so maybe I was dreaming.