WIND DIRECTION IS ANYONE'S GUESS. Our first opportunity to escape from Patmos came on Monday 20th. We were heading 60 miles west to Paros and the wind was forecast to drop to 25 knots from the north east - sounds good! We set off at 6.30am in a good breeze but once away from the effects of the island the wind died completely. We still had about 57 miles to go and realizing that things would change we turned the engine on and continued. It didn't take long before the wind came back with a vengeance but not from the NE as predicted. It firstly came from the north and then the north west. We saw a maximum wind strength of 36 knots. The sea was lumpy with waves coming from many directions. We were pitching into some and rolling with others. Some waves hit the boat side on and ended up in the cockpit - we got drenched. Before the trip was over we had the storm jib up only, we were harnessed on and wearing our wet weather coats. To make matters worst we passed 50 race boats going the the other direction with the wind. They all looked pretty comfortable sitting along the side waving to us and probably thinking "look at those suckers". Our trip took 11 hours of balancing to stay upright, by nightfall my legs were like jelly.
PART OF THE ENTERTAINMENT We spent the next three days at anchor in a large bay on the north end of Paros. It was still windy with bullets coming through at up to 33 knots. Each day we would listen to Olympia Radio which is the Greek government coast radio system. They are there presumedly to help but some of the conversations are not what you would call 'customer focused'. The Olympia radio operator speaks quickly, shouts and is very abrupt. We heard a call from a woman on a French yacht requesting availability of a doctor when reaching port because the skipper's arm was out of his shoulder.
Olympia Radio comes on "WHO IS CALLING OLYMPIA RADIO, WHAT DO YOU WANT?" "WHAT IS YOUR SHIPS NAME" "WHAT IS YOUR POSITION" "WHAT IS YOU PROBLEM"
The French lady (who's English was pretty good) asked him to speak slowly because she couldn't understand him. Good call, nobody else can understand him either. There was silence for a while then Olympia Radio called the yacht and got the French speaking husband and berated him with: "HOW CAN I HELP YOU IF YOU CAN'T SPEAK ENGLISH?"
Eventually the French couple was put through to the Rescue Control Centre and had to go through the whole episode again. I don't know what would have been more painful, the injury or procuring help.
A FEW TALES TO TELL We have now come round to the western side of the island and into a large bay. There are many yachts here, good beaches and a lovely town with good facilities. As soon as we arrived an American couple came alongside in their dinghy and called out "Hi there, we were wondering when you were going to arrive" They (Bill and Bunny on Onset) had heard us on the radio recently and expected that eventually we would come around the western side of the island. We had drinks together last night on Eye Candy and tonight we will go to their boat and continue the conversation. They have been cruising for fifteen years and are here waiting for children and grand children to arrive for a holiday.
HOW TO USE ANCIENT COLUMNS. The town is fairly commercial along the waterfront. The back streets are more traditionally Greek with narrow white washed streets, old buildings with an interesting use of ancient columns, as photographed. Along these winding streets donkey power is still used to carry heavy loads. The town has a nice feel to it and I guess we will stay for a few days.
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