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Sailors Nightwatch

Many who sail know this: there are wonderful nights on board. For example in a beautiful bay. The boat lies quietly at anchor. You lie in the cockpit, look into the rig and into the beautiful starry sky, another glass of wine and then sleep until the sun comes back. Or: On a long trip across the Atlantic. You are at the helm and on watch. All others are sleeping. The rising stars above the horizon. They shine green, red and blue. You observe how they gradually become as white as we know them when they climb higher.
But there are also other nights: The wind turns and the anchor chain starts to jerk. Will the anchor hold? You are are alarmed and can‘t sleep anymore. Or: You have chosen a "safe" small harbour because strong wind is announced for the next day. So we did on the east side of the Peloponnese on the way from Monemvasia to the north. In Plaka/Leonidi, a good 20 nautical miles further north, we moored alongside at the pier. A nice little place where we were given a bag of tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers as a welcome present. Here we wanted to stay for two days to explore the surroundings, beautiful villages and impressive rocks.

Then it turned out completely different: At midnight our many fenders scraped up and down the pier violently. No wind but an incredible swell in the harbor. The wind further east had built up this strong swell. It did not hit our boat directly, but it was reflected from the shore into the harbor. So we to make "fender watch", so that our boat was not not damaged. Our Austrian neighbors had the same situation. They know the small port for years and had never experienced such a heavy swell there. It stayed there the next morning as well. So no exploring the area in Leonidi. We fled a bit further north to the port of Astros. Here we now lie calmly in front of the bow anchor with a view of the fortress above the town. We also met our Austrian neighbors here again. And now: sleep and then explore the surroundings.

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