We all went for runs/walks in the morning. Then breakfast at the same café – excellent eggs, omelets, bacon, pastries, Greek Coffee.
We noted that we were running short on rum, which is not a good thing for a sailing vessel. We went back to the tiny store we had visited the day before. The cute shopkeeper lady greeted us with big smiles, laughs, hugs, and kisses on both cheeks. She had two bottles of rum on her shelf, and there was a hand written price on the bottles of 17 Euros. We picked them up and when she saw our interest, she took the bottles away from us. While rapidly explaining something in Greek, she grabbed a magic marker, crossed out the 17 Euros and wrote 19 instead.
We joked about the hyper-inflation on Kithnos, but being aware of our relative isolation and lack of choices, we opted to continue the transaction. We took the bottles back from her. Then she took the bottles back from us again, while explaining in a stream of Greek the reason for her actions. She finally went to a phone on a nearby desk and made a call. We could hear her spelling BACARDI in Greek to someone on the other end of the phone. Then she motioned me over and gave me the phone. There was a man on the other end, obviously long distance, speaking broken English, who explained to me the bottle of rum was now 20 Euros. We bought one bottle instead of two. Daniel, who is a master bargainer, has since (constructively) critiqued our bargaining skills, and the criticisms are duly noted. Admittedly, we were beaten in the negotiations, but I thought we got 3 Euros of entertainment value.
On Siros, we’ll head for the town/harbor of Finikas, which is on the southwest corner of the island, and Paros, we’ll target the main harbor of Parikia.
With The Sheven at the helm again, we had an effortless & stress free departure.
As we headed almost due east to Siros, serious wind and waves on beam. Weather kept building and soon we were triple reefed with a mostly furled jib, making at least 8 knots. Winds went above 30 knots for the 3rd day in a row. I go to my special place, also known as the Sphincter Zone, wondering why every time we hoist the sails the wind goes at least 10 kts faster than it was previously.
Perhaps related, at this point we start realizing that the weather forecasts are probably for the towns/harbors which are usually quite protected. In hindsight, we reckon this is probably why we ended up having winds at least 10-15 knots stronger than forecast on almost every day.
When I’m grinding a line on the winch, my life vest inflation handle gets stuck in the line, yanks, and with a big HISSSSS! my vest inflates. It’s so tight around my neck it’s hard to laugh/talk without sounding like Donald Duck. The second accidental inflation of the trip. Since our vests auto-inflate, I should have had the manual handle snapped inside the vest so it would be less prone to accidental snagging.
In Finikas, we tied up alongside the dock and had fairly good protection from the wind and waves.
We met Dale and his daughter Victoria on a Beneteau Oceanis 42, Itylle 6. They had left Kithnos about an hour after us and were almost fully knocked down by the wind/waves with no jib and a fully reefed main. When they docked, we grabbed their lines and Victoria looked quite shell shocked. I’m guessing she is around 14 years old. She was just standing on the deck with big wide eyes, and I’m pretty sure if she could have pushed some magic button and been beamed any place else in the world, she would have.
Went to a yummy taverna/restaurant – all 8 of us.
We were the only party there for a while, then another group came in of charter sailors and their hired captain. We think the captain was American, but he kept going into and out of various accents. He reminded me of a cross between Jabba the Hutt (Star Wars) and Dos Equis’ Most Interesting Man in the World. (“Stay Thirsty, My Friend”)
When he found out we were on the Cat in the harbor, we had an interesting conversation. Snippet:
Jabba the Hutt (in suave accent mode): You know, they are ruining the Mediterranean.
Me: Who is ruining the Mediterranean?
Jabba: They pull into a port, and the people never get off the boat. They never eat at local restaurants, go get laundry done, or help support the local economy. They are ruining the Mediterranean.
This seemed like a strange thing to tell a group of 8 people who are off a catamaran and you meet them eating at a restaurant.
Jabba: And they are too large and take up too much room.
This also seemed strange coming from a morbidly obese guy who barely fit on a normal chair. Yes, I was thinking, our boat is fairly big, but we have eight people on it, so volume per person was probably about the same as Jabba’s sloop.
He also told us that going to Paros was a foolish idea because of the weather and that they wouldn’t allow our boat (a horrible catamaran) in the marina. I was bone tired and buzzed from the wine and decided to not engage in any verbal light sword action. This was the first time I’d ever put a big Cat thru its paces, too, so I was still forming my opinion.
In hindsight, I’d be willing to bet that Jabba had never sailed on a Catamaran, and he probably had some penis envy brewing because our boat was bigger, more comfortable, faster, and we could sit at our table in the boat with a 360 degree panoramic view. There has also been speculation by our crew that he was pounding his chest to look better in front of his paid charter customers.
We enjoyed the cute town of Finikas, although we didn’t get to spend a lot of time there because we wanted to get to Paros before the weather came down on Thursday.
I have to say that I’m impressed with our boat. While I’ve sailed monohulls of all sizes/types my whole life, I’ve only been on a Cat one other time for 3 days. Sunday has handled the big weather amazingly well, and I think we were much more comfortable that we would be with the heeling of a monohull. It has done very well on the big waves, too. Some were in the 12-15 foot range and breaking. I wouldn’t choose to go out in those, but there we were, and the boat did really well. During the rough weather, most of the crew were below sleeping or in the saloon, relatively comfortable. On a monohull, we would have been heeled over at least 30 degrees and rolling more, so they would have needed to be strapped in their berths to sleep.
The whole monohull versus catamaran debate gets into a religious war, but I can say for sure that it was more pleasant for crew who were not outside sailing than if we had been in a monohull.
At one point yesterday, we were pounding through 30+ knots of wind and waves. I was up by the helm and looked down into the saloon. Someone had poured a beer into a pint glass, and it was sitting on the counter, full and not spilling. I’m used (on monohulls) to anything that is unsecured flying all over the boat in those kinds of conditions and found it quite amazing.
I find myself liking our boat. I respect other people’s preferences for monohulls, but the intolerance makes me mad. Yet another example of how bigotry comes in all different flavors – even about the number of hulls that a sailboat has!
Stuff I’m glad we brought: Our handheld marine VHF radios. You can’t hear the ship’s VHF if you are at the helm, so I have my handheld strapped around my neck. Also, my new Icom IC-M34 seems to pick up signals that the VHF in the boat never receives. I don’t know if it’s because my radio is better, or if the antenna on the boat just isn’t hooked up properly. It’s also nice to have the handhelds when we communicate with our crew on shore or in the dingy. Mine is also waterproof and floats. I love my radio. Is that wrong?
Note from the future: We found out the ship’s radio wasn’t working. Nikos did some radio checks when we got back to Athens and got no reply, so we couldn’t really have called anyone for help, other than the Spot Connect at we brought.
See ALL PHOTOS from Day 4. Most were taken by The Sheven.