We’ve spent the last week on the lovely island of Paros as northerly winds were forecast for the following ten days and we wanted to be here so friends could join us from the U.K. As you will have read in our last post, we could only stay in the harbour until Friday morning and then try to get back in on Sunday due to a charter fleet being based there. We used being on the quay wisely as it meant we had electricity and water so could get through the maintenance jobs, do laundry, pay the Greek Cruising tax and wash the boat as she was encrusted in salt. We also took the opportunity to hire a car and tour the island for a day. We went to the medieval capital of Lefkes with its narrow streets and lovely shops, to Naoussa in the north that had a feel of Mykonos about it and a variety of beaches with beach bars and amazing rock formations (Liz’s idea!). It really is a lovely island so there are worse places to be storm bound.
On Friday we knew we had to leave and decided to go north to an anchorage near Naoussa where there was turquoise water, a beach with requisite beach bar and shelter from the northerly wind. The two hours up there was a bit of a slog but at least we knew we would be able to get back the next day. The anchorage was gorgeous and not that busy as most charter boats would need to make their way back to their home ports for changeover that night. We arrived around 2.30pm and the last charter boat left around 4pm. We rowed over to the beach but decided that the cocktails weren’t that inspiring and the beer was colder and better back on the boat. We sat in the cockpit watching the sunset totally sheltered from the wind and the swell.
After a lazy morning and late breakfast we set off back to Paroikia. The sea was definitely lumpy out of the anchorage but once we got round the corner, the wind was behind us so we could sail most of the way back. Once back in the bay, we anchored in a spot that would give us a good view of the harbour and of boats leaving the next day! Liz went off on the paddle board to suss out the lay of the land (or harbour, in this instance) in preparation. The high winds of the day eased as the sun set and it was like a mill pond overnight.
The next morning, Sunday, the breeze got up around 9am and no boats had left. We had gusts of 30 knots (34 mph) as we were waiting to nab a prized spot inside the harbour. There were spaces on the outside but they would have meant that the waves and wind would be pushing us onto the concrete quay and that’s without the wash from the huge number of ferries that come in and out of Paros every day. Finally, two boats left the inner part so we knew there was space. Despite the windy conditions we decided to go for it as the forecast was for the winds to increase and stay high for the next 5 days so it was now or never. As we approached, the wind dropped to 18 knots and Nimmie behaved beautifully so we slipped into one of the free berths with no drama at all. The last free berth was taken ten minutes later and that was it for the rest of the day. No one was moving anywhere! The wind seems to be slightly less in the inner harbour and certainly no swell or ferry wash so we were very pleased with ourselves. The wind increased throughout the afternoon and various boats came in to find sanctuary but they had to go onto the outer wall. It was carnage as some boats didn’t put enough chain out for the high winds so either got blown sideways onto other yachts or hit the concrete quay as the wind pushed them backwards. Now that we are in place for our guests, we can continue to finish our chores, relax knowing that, if we are storm bound, we can get off the boat easily and even tour around the island.