Port Atheni at last.

Port Atheni at last.

Port Atheni, Greece. The overall consensus on Kalamos wasn’t great. While it’s a favourite of mine, and Ruth was an instant fan of George’s Cafe, Ben didn’t like the heat or the lack of a beach. The nearest place to take a swim in Kalamos is the beach at the southern end of the village. It’s probably a 20 minute walk and the heat was intense. So, we decided to leave Kalamos this morning and head for the anchorage in Port Atheni. Actually as we left Kalamos, it was overcast and nowhere near as hot as yesterday, so we dould have tried the beach. The wind picked up as we headed down between Kalamos and Kastos so we unfurled the headsail and tried our luck at sailing. The wind was very squirrelly and hard to predict. Big gusts and squalls blew right past, changing the wind direction sometimes by as much as 180 degrees. Eventually it switched off and we had to motor.

As we had decided to circumnavigate Kalamos, and approach the island of Meganisi from the South, we pulled in to Port Leone, but didn’t go ashore or even anchor off. Port Leone is an abandoned village. An earthquake in 1953 destroyed the towns only fresh water supply so the inhabitants decided to emigrate rather than rebuild. Villagers from Kalamos visit on Sundays to clean the church, which is in immaculate condition from the outside. The first time I came here, the anchor slowly dragged for about 100 yards while we were all swimming. I could see the long trail made by the tip of the anchor as it failed to make any purchase. It was a very calm day, and the light breeze was gently blowing the boat away from the shore. Since then, I’ve avoided it as an anchorage, but often motor in and take a look around. Rebecca and Hannah travelled with me last year, and they went ashore. There isn’t much to see, by all accounts.

We found lots of fluky wind down at the southern tip of Kalamos. We did some more sailing, but it was on the nose and we were too lazy to hoist the main, not to mention the squalls were pretty strong. We were getting about 50 or 60 degrees to the wind, and beat around the lower part of the island until the lumpy seas and ever lightening airs persuaded us start to the engine again, after perhaps an hour of between 1.8 knots and 0.3 knots.

Port Atheni
Under anchor in Port Atheni, looking North

We arrived in Port Atheni at around 14:30, to find it quite busy. I thought about anchoring near the taverna but the inner bay was full. Anyway, the outer bay is nicer. There was some excitement getting the anchor down, seeing as there were boats all over the place, with anchors thither and yon. We found a spot, and reversed back toward the shore. The trick with taking a line ashore is that you often end up anchoring upwind, which is fun, to say the least. We reversed back into the wind, toward the shore. The prop walk decided to lead us close to another boat at anchor, so we had to drive forward and try again. Eventually we got the stern pretty close to the shore, and the choice was for Ruth to steer the boat slowly back on the anchor while I swam ashore with the long line, or vice versa. We decided on the latter, so off she went. We tied up around some sort of thorny olive tree, and hauled in some of the anchor chain. We are now snugly trapped between the forward anchor in about 10 metres of water, and a long line ashore to the tree.

Without the dinghy, we either have to eat on board or swim ashore and walk to the taverna. As we have scoffed most of the food already, and the bread is getting a little hard, I think we’ll be swimming to dinner. We have been discussing mechanisms for getting the technology to shore, and I’m not sure we have a waterproof bag on board, strangely enough. Ben has a rubber ring so we were thinking of floating him and a bag of stuff from the boat to the shore (and back). There’s also the bucket. I think the iPad will be staying on the boat. But my miserable Galaxy S5 is apparently waterproof. It wouldn’t be the end of the world if that thing sank to the bottom. For reasons I’ve never understood, the phone works OK in speakerphone mode but not when held to your ear. Everyone complains that it sounds like I’m talking through a bucket of water. Oddly, it’s the same microphone, whether you’re on speakerphone or talking normally. So, it’s a software bug in their noise cancelling algorithm. I’ve had the problem since I first got it, but thought it was bad coverage for the first few months, until I discovered the speakerphone hack. Then I knew it was software, and it was too late to bring it back. This is my second Samsung and both were hugely disappointing in terms of quality.

Right now, we’re being serenaded by a large collection of cicadas. They are a strange species. Apparently they hatch either every 7 or 11 years. Both are prime numbers. Their mathematical disposition is to avoid being a food source for any other species. If they only appear every 7 or 11 years, no other species will evolve to eat them. Every so often, both the 7 year and 11 year variants hatch at the same time. Aparently this year is one such year. They’re quite loud. But in a soothing, I feel like a nap kind of way. I have yet to see one, and must rely on Ruth’s description of what they look like.

Port Atheni
Other boats at anchor in Port Atheni

We may head to Vlicho tomorrow or wait until Tuesday. It all depends on when the dinghy is ready. We can tie alongside Rabbit’s barge, but that isn’t much fun. Plus, the only nice place to swim in Vlicho bay is on the eastern side of the bay, and you need a dinghy to get there. We could also take a trip to Sivota, which is a stern-to mooring with a lazy line. These are nice kinds of decisions. Spending thirty minutes considering the merits and demerits of one place over the other, is a lovely way to pass the time.

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About Dermot Tynan

Part-time sailor, full-time procrastinator. Software Engineer, Writer, Film-maker. Interested in all things cloud, sailing, autonomous systems and robotic sailboats.

Galway, Ireland http://intothemystic.eu