Running Away (and a trip to Athens)

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August 7th 2009
Published: August 15th 2009
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Oreoi sunsetOreoi sunsetOreoi sunset

on the northern coast of Evia

Good Planning

After a week of gale force winds on Paros and a forecast of the same for another week, we decided to travel the 200 plus miles north to the Sporades where the Meltemi wind doesn’t blow as strong. We set out at 7am on 19th July knowing the wind was forecast to return on the afternoon of the 20th. There are 2 harbours on the island of Andros that would be safe and if we were lucky, we may make it across the Doro strait between Andros and Evia into the gulf which is much more protected. The weather was calm and the sea flat so we mostly motored, but managed an hour or two under sail. We would have been fine - if not for a bit of drama!

A Bit of a Drama

For a week or so we have had a bit of a rattle coming from under the boat. We investigated and discovered the “rope cutter” was loose. (This is a nasty sharp thing attached to the propeller shaft which prevents the propeller getting tangled in rope or net, it cuts through them.) Anyway, after 10 hours of travelling the rattle was joined by

A moment of quiet during the storm. Freedom is the second yacht from the right
a clunk - just enough to worry us so 10 miles from the Doro Straights we turned into the first safe bay and anchored. I - Andy - spent the next hour taking deep breaths, diving under the boat and slowly removing 2 long screws with an allen-key. Hopefully - no more rattles and clunks.

Never trust a Forecast

Everything was looking good - calm seas, no wind and the forecast was not due to change until mid-day tomorrow. We had plenty of time to wake in the morning and pootle across the difficult Dora Straights. Or so we thought until we were woken at 3am by the gusting winds and by 4 am it was 25 knots - a force 6. We sat this out until daylight and then decided to motor the 3 miles round a headland to the safer looking harbour of Batsi.

What else could go wrong?

As we motored southwest out of the bay we realise we had been very well protected even in the open bay, the northerly wind was blowing over 40 knots - force 9 - and the sea was pretty rough. As we turned the headland to go northwest
Straining on the lines in BatsiStraining on the lines in BatsiStraining on the lines in Batsi

The old saying is "it doesn't do any good in the locker" so we tied on our lines then tied on a load more for insurance
into Batsi we were battling short high waves with the engine pushed to almost maximum. With just 3 miles to go the engine alarm went off - great - it was over-heating. (Later I found this was just a low coolant level, but at the time just not what you want) Anyway after turning the engine off a couple of times and with painfully slow progress we got to Batsi.. The sea spray coming over the decks and into our faces was like whole buckets of water. After anchoring we were so ready for a coffee.

A Safe Harbour

After settling into a safe anchorage we then started to search out something a bit more comfortable. The wind was whipping up the sea and the boat was bouncing around and suffering sea spray. We had a good look around and saw the most protected spot was just on the outside of the concrete quay so we slid in and tied off. Time for breakfast!

Batsi on the island of Evia

We spent the next 4 days in the strongest winds we have ever known, regularly blowing steadily over 40 knots and gusting as high as 60 knots. We
Drying the laundry in a force 9Drying the laundry in a force 9Drying the laundry in a force 9

we cleverly threaded the washing line through all the clothes before pegging them on
were tied off with lines and extra lines - and even chains to ensure there was no chafe on the concrete quay. Being us and making sure that we looked after Freedom we both worried, but we were safe and the sun shone.


We crossed the Dora straights with no drama and travelled up the west coast of Evia to Kalkida, where we moored in a marina (European funding and unfinished of course) which was safe and secure. This gave us the opportunity to go to Athens for a couple of days and be tourists. We took the train and stayed for one night at the Parthenon hotel close to the Acropolis. Wewere right on top of the Plaka district (a bustle of shops) and most of the ancient sites. Out memorable moments were climbing onto the Acropolis and seeing the Parthenon, walking the old streets (since the Olympics cleaned up and pedestrianised) and sitting on Filopappos hill with a bottle of sparkly overlooking the Acropolis at sunset. And there was also the joy of air-conditioning in the hotel!

Additional photos below
Photos: 16, Displayed: 16


Clear waterClear water
Clear water

our lunch stop on Megalo Petali island between mainland Greece and the island of Evia. Could anyone resist a swim?
Ten Thousand MilesTen Thousand Miles
Ten Thousand Miles

On 16 May 2000 we sailed our first mile aboard Freedom, on 26 July 2009 we sailed our ten thousandth

Kate at the National Museum, great on the outside, disappointing on the inside

Sitting on top of Filopappos hill with this great view of the Parthanon, it's a good job we had the forethought to bring a bottle of sparkly and 2 glasses!

the Parthanon

Andy at the Parthanon

Kate at the Parthanon
The Parthanon under constructionThe Parthanon under construction
The Parthanon under construction

the view from the Acropolis museum. The Parthanon is being "restored" on an industrial scale. I'm sorry but I just see it as ridiculous. They are manufacturing and adding all the missing bits. They are renovating it like it's an old fireplace or an investment opportunity in an up and coming area!
The Acropolis "renovation"The Acropolis "renovation"
The Acropolis "renovation"

Sarah Beeny would be proud of them. Only in Greece does "restoration" mean adding millions of euros-worth of new marble (thanks to the EU) to renovate it back to shiny and complete - have they budgeted for the plumbing and electrics?
Alatas islandAlatas island
Alatas island

just find an ancient olive tree and tie off to it

15th August 2009

lucky ducks
Despite the dramas ~ which we know you secretly thrive on! ~ it looks like you are having a lovely time in the Greek Islands. Glad that you survived the gales and hope that the rest is 'plain sailing'. We are well and wish we could see you soon. Hugs and kisses from all Nesses xx
15th August 2009

Oh how lovely it all looks whilst running around in 36 degrees serving all our customers......however our new air-con is llluuuuuvvvvly! Did we tell you we want to do a competent crew course??!! Are those available in Dominica??!!
1st September 2009

hope you are both well. Looks like you are having a great time. Spoke to Nanna on her birthday her speech was very good and we han a good chat about all the family. Carmel is always trying to get me to go to greece your photos make it look fab. enjoy the rest of your travels keep safe love mark

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