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This report is a little bit late, because we had a problem with our website. Now it is OK. What were our experiences during the last days?

After the night journey from Milos, we landed in Monemvasia, the port we already know so well. It is located in the south of the Argolic Gulf, on the edge of Arcadia, the much-praised ideal landscape. Here we recovered from all the wind in the Cyclades, hiked around the rock and enjoyed the calm late summer weather.

After two days we set off for Gerakas, a little to the north, and lay alongside as we had done once before in April. An idyll, even more so now in the off-season. We bought fish from the boat and local wine from the barrel. 

We continued to Kiparissi, an almost unreal village in a mountain landscape reminiscent of the Allgäu. The small pier was fully occupied with our boat and two others. We went swimming in the evening and walked around the bay during the day. And the bar at the harbour was still open, to celebrate we ordered a bottle of Monemvasia wine. 

We skipped the harbour of Leonidi, where we didn't sleep a wink two years ago because of heavy swells and staying awake all night. So we continued to Astros, where we stayed for four days. Again to the beautiful ruins of the Frankish fortress, with a view as far as the castle of Nafplion at the northern end of the gulf. 

And one day we took the bus to Leonidi, an hour and a half drive through this beautiful landscape. Leonidi is a mountaineering village, with red dolomite-like rocks with vertical walls, where we saw quite a few climbers on the rope. An impressive rocky landscape, there is still a climbing festival here at the beginning of November. 

Across the Argoli Gulf to the east, we motored again to Kilada, our winter mooring. On the 1st of November Aglaya was lifted on the land. We needed a few days to prepare her for the winter. Now we are back at home in Heidelberg for winter break.

Pictures of Monemvasia

Pictures of Gerakas

Pictures of Kiparissi

Pictures of Leonidi

Pictures of Astros

Pictures of Kilada

Walter likes to cook, I like to eat - especially when the food is finely prepared. That goes well together! Here in Greece we often moor in the small town harbours. There are always fishermen there. And we watch when they go out and when they come back. Fish bought directly from the boat: it doesn't get any fresher than that. The fish are not as big as those from the fish farms, but they are more aromatic. Dorado and other bream species, red mullets, merlane, small bonito, mackerel and various fish that we didn't even know what they were called - they have all ended up in our galley. 

Once Walter filleted a small bonito. A bloody affair. Ready for preparation, they stood on a plate in the galley. Suddenly we heard a grunt. A cat had actually ventured on board unnoticed by us. It had to jump up one and a half metres onto our pasarelle. We must have underestimated the jumping power of cats. Yes, we ate the delicious bonito without the cat.

Of course, there is not always fish. Delicious fava (mashed split peas) with capers and spring onions or lemon potatoes with chicken or potato-zucchini casserole and everything you can make with tomatoes and peppers are also on the menu. All very tasty! And Walter, of course, also likes to eat what he has prepared.   

If you know jazz, you know that "Midnight Voyage" is a jazz song by Michael Brecker. We keep finding references between sailing and the music we make. "Midnight Voyage" has Walter's band "Jazz Pastry" (link) in their repertoire in their own version of their singer as " Nachts unterwegs”. This fits in with our journey from the island of Milos back to the Peloponnese.

On Milos we wanted to take our time to explore this interesting island. We stayed a little longer than planned because the Meltemi held us for days. It was not very comfortable in the harbour of Adamas at the floating jetty. Although we were safely moored in the strong north wind of up to 40 knots (you have to leave immediately if there is a south wind), our boat was rocking very strongly, the wind was directly in our cockpit and we had difficulties getting off and on board via our passarelle, depending on the gust. But we are experienced climbers. The ferries were not running. And we could observe how some boats moved to a supposedly better place. One of them lay down with the bow to the pier with a distance of 7 metres, stern anchor and six lines to the pier. It looked like a spider's web. It took up three berths for that.  

Yes, and then there was a small window of time without strong winds. From Wednesday afternoon to Thursday noon. We took advantage of that, made a big strike, almost 70 nautical miles to the west, to the Peleponnes, to Monemvasia. We left in the late afternoon. Yassas Milos, you beautiful, interesting and windswept island! 

It is as we have come to know the Aegean: either too much wind or too little. For our first night trip with Agalya: no wind! So we have to motor, too bad! But our Nanni purrs confidently. And at sunset, several dolphins visit us and make beautiful jumps, as if they wanted to bid us farewell from the Aegean. Several shooting stars during the night (so late in the year?), we can make a wish. And then we are faster than planned. As we are motoring, we arrive at Monemvasia at half past three in the morning, in the dark. We didn't really wanted that. So we anchored in front of the harbour. We know it, but they are still working on the extension with a dredger. And who knows what it looks like in there right now. We know that there are some rocks in it. We anchored in front of the harbour. There are already two boats moored there, they have taken the best places. There are lots of rocks on the bottom. During our first two anchor attempts, our anchor bumps over them and when we catch up, we hope that it is still on. On the third anchor manoeuvre we hit the right anchor ground. It holds and after a beer we can sleep at four thirty at night. In the morning we move to the harbour. The next Meltemi is supposed to come in the course of the day. 

We are back on the Peloponnese. It's like coming home. Beautiful! We are quite relaxed and resting.

This is how the German Weather Service's report on the weather situation in the Mediterranean has often begun in recent months. Sometimes there is also a trough as an encore, which reaches into the Aegean and sometimes strengthens or weakens. This includes a high over the Turkish mainland. Experienced Aegean sailors know what this means: wind from the north, sometimes stronger, sometimes weaker. Its name: Meltemi or Etesia.

Until now, we thought the Meltemi blows strongest in July and August, maybe even in September. Our experiences this year (the first in the Aegean) are different. Since June, we have almost always felt a north wind, often very strong with peaks of up to 40 knots. Fortunately, there are many small harbours and bays in the Aegean where we could weather the Meltemi. But the constant strong wind does sometimes get on our nerves. Can't there be a really nice, moderate sailing wind for a longer period of time? "In the Aegean, you either have too much wind or too little," a boat neighbour told us. He was right.

Now we are just weathering another Meltemi in the harbour of Adamas on Milos, with peaks up to 42 knots. Then the weather forecast announces one day with weak wind an after that again a strong wind from the north. We are waiting for a report from the German Weather Service to start differently and forecast, for example, northerly, easterly or southerly winds around four Bft. After all, we want to head west towards the Peloponnese. 

We had already read and seen a lot about the volcanic island of Milos at home. Besides Astipaleia, this was the second island in the Cyclades that we really wanted to visit. So - when the Meltemi had subsided - we set off from Ios. With winds from the north-northwest around 20 knots, we made good progress to the west. A little over 40 nautical miles to the port of Adamas on Milos. Before that, we anchored on Kimolos in Paragonisi Bay. A big bay, no swell, sunset and a few minutes later the full moon came over the mountains. So beautiful! On the way there we had admired the rugged, bizarre and colourful rocks on the south coast of the small island of Polyaigos. After a quiet night, we continued past bizarre rock formations to Milos and the large bay of Adamas. We moored at the floating jetty in the harbour and were amazed that so many boats were still out at this time in the year. Five other boats wanted to dock with us almost at the same time. Obviously, the charter season is not over yet and Milos is a popular destination.

We don't just like to be on the water, we also like to look at the land. It was clear that we would take our time for Milos. But what should we write about this spectacular island? Where to start? We hiked again and rented a car for a day, saw the north-east side and the south coast with its spectacular rock falls and beaches. The pictures at the end of this blog entry speak for themselves. Pure volcanism, geologically highly interesting. A small bay was only accessible via two ladders in a narrow crevice. Would we pensioners dare to climb down there - especially as the safety rope had been torn off? We did it! We are still fit and quite free of anxiety, after all, we have been hiking a lot in the Alps. And we swam in the sea, too. The sea is still quite warm, but there were additional warm springs flowing out of the rocks. And on the beach, a sign pointed out that the sand can be very hot. The thermometer in the sand showed 80 degrees. So: take a look at the pictures. Milos is unique!

Now we have two days of rain and the next Meltemi announces itself, north wind without end. We thought the wind would be a bit more merciful in October. Actually, we want to head north, over the islands of Serifos and Kythnos, and then sail over to the Peloponnese to Poros. No, we don't have to do that in 40 knots of wind! We can take our time, we also have a bit of work to do on the boat. We stay a few more days on this interesting island, weather the next Meltemi and then want to make a long trip west to Monemvasia. 

Over 30 nautical miles from Amorgos without wind, so we had to motor. We wanted to get to Ios Port to safely weather the next Meltemi and maybe take the ferry to Santorini for a day trip. We didn't want to deal with the hectic pace of Santorini with all the excursion boats, ferries and cruise ships on our own boat, especially when the Meltemi was forecast.

At first, there was only a rough spot for us in Ios Port on the south pier, which was also so low that we had to climb up our passarelle on all fours. The wind was not the problem here, the anchor held well. But the swell from the ferries gave us two restless nights with a day's boat watch in between.

Then we were able to move further inside the harbour. No sooner were we nicely moored than we had to leave again to make way for a tanker, which apparently supplies the whole island with fuel. So we had the second anchor manoeuvre - with some stress, as we had caught the anchor chain of the catamaran lying next to us and had to free ourselves from it first. In the process, we lost a mooring line that we had used to free ourselves in the harbour basin. Fortunately, the catamaran crew fished it out. We found it again on the pier. By then we had found the best spot in the harbour - on the east pier, on the very inside. There was little wind, but we still had the swell from the ferries, but in a weakened form. Anchor was well set, fenders well placed, we observed this for a day, and then we could leave our boat alone and explore the island.

Ios was the island of the hippies in the 70s. In the meantime, it has become the island of party-going youngsters. The Chora is beautiful, but there is a nightclub or disco in every third house. Some of them only open at one o'clock in the morning. Not for us. But we made the climb to the chapel on the peak above the Chora to have a great view over the surrounding islands at sunset, also to Santorini.

Yes, Santorini - we couldn't make the visit by ferry. It's the off-season, there aren't so many ferries and not during Meltemi anyway. We would have had to stay overnight in Santorini at a horrendous price. And with our own boat? Since a north wind was forecast for the next two weeks, we didn't want to go any further south. So no Santorini, ok for us, because there are so many interesting islands here. But while the Meltemi was blowing down, we explored Ios on foot and by rented car. There are not only discos and nightclubs. Of course, we visited Homer's grave in the very wild north of the island. We were fascinated by the now completely empty picture-book sandy beaches, the wild rocky mountain landscape, the many terraces, most of which are no longer cultivated, and the variety of rocks: marble, gneiss, slate, granite, pumice, lava. Barren to look at from the sea and then so many colours when you take a closer look!

Yes, that's always an issue for us: did we put enough chain when we dropped the anchor? I'm the one of the two of us who drops the anchor and makes sure it is fix and holds.

It's easiest when anchoring freely in a bay. Pay attention to the type of ground, sand or silt are good, on sea grass the anchor often digs in badly, rock - that doesn't work at all. The depth of the water, the distance to the shore or to individual rocks and other boats, wind strength, all this has to be taken into account before the chain runs out. 

As a general rule, it's better to put in more chain than too little. We have 100 metres. So far we have used up to 60 metres. But it's a good feeling when there are still 40 metres in the box.

Sometimes it's difficult when we lay with the stern to the pier in the harbour in front of bow anchors. That's the case in almost every Greek city harbour, so almost always. What is the ground like in the harbour? What is there on the ground? Maybe a thick ground chain across the whole harbour, like in Ios Port? 30 metres away from the pier. Where are the anchors of the other boats? How many metres of chain can I put in at most? Fortunately Walter, who is at the helm during the harbour manoeuvre, drives around slowly and calmly so that we can look at everything in peace. Hectic is not helpful, but experience and patience are. In the meantime, we've gained in patience. Nevertheless, there is sometimes tension. Once - on Euboea - the anchor winch wouldn't work when I wanted to let the chain out. The contacts in the push-button were completely corroded. Luckily we were able to moor alongside and fix it.

It can also be exciting when retrieving the chain, if another boat's chain is lying above ours and we bring it up with our anchor. We have already been lucky and got rid of the foreign chain by manoeuvring back and forth. But sometimes there is real work to do: pull up the other boat's chain until you can pull a line under it, then fix the line, lower your own anchor again and as soon as it is free, pull the line out from under the other boat's anchor chain. Sounds simple and has always worked, but afterwards I was always nearly knocked out.

In Ios Port, we watched a boat that had deployed its bow anchor later drift alongside onto the pier in strong winds because the anchor had broken loose. Could have, would have ... more anchor chain? Who knows? Our anchor had also slipped sometime, so that we came closer to the pier with the stern. Then it's good to have a few more metres of chain to pull in.