After breakfast and a bakery visit we let loose our stern lines, a 09.30 start today as we have 30 nm to cover and are expecting a good sail. The wind
reaches 16-25 knots but the sea chose to gradually build and give us a rather lumpy ride.
A cold wind has us wrapped up in thick coats, hoods covering our ears especially when on the helm. We steer most of the way as the auto pilot struggles with the swell when Kejstral bashes into the waves. It is such a fabulous feeling to sense the wind and feel the most comfortable sail position, despite the swelling sea. No tacking required at all over the distance, the wind slowly edged around from a more northerly direction to the east as we neared the island, which allowed us to steer straight into the marina on one tack. Even caught a bonito on the lumpiest windiest section of the route, he did have to be dropped unceremoniously into the lazarette (storage compartment) at that point........sorry fish!
Lorraine and Paul took a different line yet managed to leave Patmos and arrive in Ikaria at virtually the same time, 15.00 hrs (just early enough to stand and catch our lines!)
The marina is small, perfectly situated next to the bustling town but electricity is not available, water was, which came as a nice surprise. Toilets and showers have never been opened and there is no charge to moor.
Paul and Lorraine expertly cooked a risoto and following a few drinks we headed off for sleep.
We chose to stay in Ikaria for a further 24 hours until the winds could push us up to our next island therefore a day of exploring and stocking the fridge followed.
Internet access for us comes in the form of data SIM cards, we choose the temporary option as we have internet already set up in both UK and our Turkish home. €10 for 5gb, could work out a little expensive if used continuously but we try to use cafe restaurant internet where possible.
Lorraine suggests following the coastal path towards Itherma, the small spa village nearby, not a great distance but we do climb high above ground level for some spectacular scenery. Pretty churches balance on rocky outcrops, while spring foliage line our pathway, their leaves and shoots stretching out towards that warming sunshine. Looking down over the precarious rocky cliffs the sea froths around pebble beaches, huge rocky surfaces reflect the wash like shimmering glass. From our vantage point the breeze whips around our necks yet as we round the coast, sheltered little sun traps find us stripping down the layers of clothing. Itherma is closed for the winter, or so it seems, as we gently wind our way down through steps and narrow walkways we glimpse the few locals opening doors and windows in an attempt to let in spring. Those few residents who have escaped their hibernation have dusted and mopped, painted and polished we must seem too keen as we enter their sleepy village.
A cafe serves us refreshments as we chatter away, yet more sweeping and gardening going on around our words, a few people stare but most say "kalimera", while probably thinking, "you are mad to be here so early".
The thermal spa is yet to have it's seasonal titivation, we sneak into the hot sticky cave like building, I nearly disappear down a section of broken flooring but manage to (not quite elegantly enough) save myself, more bruises!
The town is so quiet with very little open which is a pity as the museum and spa look very interesting, we must venture back a little later in the year.
From here we head back up the steep incline towards those superb views and our boats. Supper on board Freya, BBQ fish, prawns and roasted vegetables, perfectly finishing the day.
5th April 2019, we set off for Chios Island.
Woke early for an 08.00hr sail, calm night with no wind. 49.3nm to get to our destination which should take... 8 06 mins hours.
Untied just as it turned 8 o'clock, from our alongside position. Freya just a few minutes behind.
Wind picked up to 10 knots as we skirt Ikaria and head north. Genoa out on a broad reach, expecting a southerly wind for the next few days aiding our passage, even though it will only be around 10 knots!
As we round the headland away from Ikaria we turn north with a beautiful following sea, quite rolly at times though. The wind stayed at 5-8 knots just not enough to hold the genoa in place but we persevered.
Freya has a spinnaker pole, allowing the sail to maintain a better position yet the top or head of the sail continued to wilt with the rolling sea.
Very few boats joined our journey, a cargo vessels sauntered alongside us for a while, clearly in no hurry to arrive at her destination.
Transit time we estimate to be 8 hours hence the early start, our engine is running at its best between 5 and 6 knots so a long day ahead! No chance to turn off engine at all. No fish or dolphin to entertain us and very little sail adjustment required, what a shame after our two previous journeys.
Arriving at Chios harbour the wind had its usual final blow just to make our entrance a little more complicated, fortunately it had the grace to settle again prior to our final manoeuvre!
What a beautiful afternoon brilliant blue sky, virtually no wind and the sun to warm us perfectly, it could be a great few days on Chios, if it wasn't for the weather forecast. Rain for the next 48 hours at least and winds picking up, not pleasant for sailing. For now we enjoy the warmth and a walk around our new destination.