Friday, July 23, 2010

Then He Smiled

God laughed at us again and then he smiled. The morning we left Marmaris Bay, Turkey, July 14th, to head to our jumping off point for Greece, we sailed beautifully close-hauled sometimes on a beam reach in 15-18 knots of wind. Then we were ready to round the corner---the wind was pumping, gusting to 35, the seas were rough and confused and we asked ourselves, why? We didn't need to go around the corner, and really, we had just wanted to see our friends who were anchorages behind us and, we, well I, really didn't want to have to beat into it and stay at a potentially screamingly windy anchorage for two nights before the wind lay down again.

Gar took one look at me and knew I'd rather run. So we headed back in search of our friends Anne, Uwe, and Cara on the sailboat Magnum, hoping to share a lovely anchorage, swim and a beer. We met them right in front of the anchorage to turn in after a fantastic downwind sail. Anchoring in Turkey we have learned is an adventure as I mentioned before. This day was no different.

Once we were properly hooked and our stern was tied off to two rocks Gar went to help Magnum. I watched as the wind continued to pipe up, side-gusting the tight anchorage at times to 33 knots or more. Sometimes one of our stern lines would go slack and it seemed we were moving perilously close to the underwater boulder downwind of our keel. I mentioned it to Gar but I often have a poor sense of depth and distance. Finally, two hours later after numerous gusts, while he was climbing back onboard after trying to help Magnum anchor, he saw it too.

He scrambled up the ladder, yelling to me to start the engine and release the lines. "Get a knife, get a f-ing knife," he urgently yelled. We were within two inches of our keel hitting the boulder when he got on board. Time was running out. Ahh, this is one of those times we should have had our knife in the cockpit. I dug through drawers and came up empty handed for the reliable knifes we use especially for times like this. Instead I brought up our sharpest and best kitchen cleaver to do the job. Our twelve strand mega-braid line blew apart on the end from the pressure and the cut. We were free, DK pulled away from the rocks unscathed and we were a bit shaken. We thought our anchor was bomber, but the ferocious side gusts must have slowly dislodged us.

So, there were two laughs in one day. We were too worried about the gusts to think it was wise to stay unnecessarily in the anchorage and wanted a peaceful night so we sailed back into Marmaris Bay from where we had departed early the same morning. We had a full day adventure out from sunset to sunrise, wind-whipped, sun-baked, and exhausted from it all.

We spent two nights deeply dug into mud and sea grass while jet skis did donuts around us and we got boat projects done.

July 16th and he smiled. We were at last in Greece, Simi harbor. Check in was easy. There were tourists and mega yachts and fishing boats and sailboats and motor yachts from all over Europe anchored in the tiny harbor. We were reminded again of how much we love Greece. The little towns with quaint buildings tumbling down to the sea, the narrow cobblestone alleys, leading us to other gems, the old ladies selling herbs of chamomile, thyme, rosemary, and oregano on door stoops, and the views from the choras. We could see through the tourists and the commercialism of the height of summer and embrace our return to Greece.

Our two days in Simi we wandered around on foot and motor bike, sampling drinks at sunset, and mezzes for lunch, fish and calamari for dinner. Winding our way along the island roads we were often hit with sweltering hot gusts of air and scorched by the sun on our backs. We searched for swimming spots and found many stunning ones tucked along the undulating rocky coast. We talked to goats and soaked in the Aegean Sea.

For some reason, this sea reminds us of a lake. It is clear, deep blue and cold, less salty than the oceans we're used to and so refreshingly inviting. Without it the Mediterranean would be miserable in the summer. With it within reach almost at all times it feels like a delicious summer.

We are now at the island of Kos, anchored in Kamari Bay and awaiting the arrival of our friend, Hardy, from Sydney, Australia. He'll be with us on DK for a week. We're hoping for favorable winds, lots of buffoonery, good talks, laughs and random adventures.

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