Living the quiet life

10 May

Our stay in Ormos Panormos has given us a chance to slow down the pace. We play cards & Scrabble, read books, listen to the landscape with only the occasional intrusion from traffic noise from the road that passes by the anchorage – this is what we have been doing.

The wind is fickle here. One minute it rushes angrily down the steep hillsides towards us, raising whitecaps and slapping the water hard against the hull. As our anxiety levels begin to creep up a notch, it drops to nothing, whispering through the pines, assuring us that, yes, we have picked the right spot. In the lulls, birdsong echoes across the anchorage and goats wander through the densely wooded slopes, undetectable but for the clink of bells and the plaintiff cry of kid to nanny.
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All has not been completely tranquil in our little world though. Yesterday, the wind made us work for our living, at least for an hour or two. We were battened down, sitting in the saloon keeping out of the wind and rain, with investigations on deck every now and then to make sure that all was well with our mooring arrangements. During one such check, PT decided that maybe the anchor was dragging, not a lot, but enough to put us a little bit too close to the shore for comfort.

At this stage it may be helpful to describe exactly how we are moored. The set up is known as “anchored with a line ashore” and is usually used where there is not much room to swing freely at anchor because space is restricted by the small size of the anchorage or the number of boats present. It involves dropping the anchor then reversing towards the shore. Once you’re where you want to be, the boat is secured in position by taking a long rope, or line, ashore (either in the dinghy or swimming) from the stern of the boat and fixing it to a suitably robust strong point, such as a tree or large rock. There is much debate as to whether one or two lines should be used, we use two – one from each corner, or quarter, of the stern.

Setting up this arrangement can become pretty fraught, particularly if there is a crosswind blowing. Keeping the engine running in reverse, or astern, can help to stop the boat being blown sideways into obstacles such as other boats, or in this case, a mooring with ropes lurking under the surface. The downside to keeping the engine in gear is that you risk getting your own ropes or those attached to moorings, snarled in your propeller. If that happens you’re snookered! I think you can see where this is going….. 😳

Once it became clear that the anchor had indeed lost its grip, we decided to lift the anchor and relay it. But to save time and effort we would leave the stern lines attached to the trees ashore and release them at the boat end with fenders attached, with a view to retrieving and re-attaching them once the anchor was firmly dug in. It could have worked….. but it didn’t!

It was all going swimmingly. With one line successfully attached to the boat, we nearly had it cracked. Somewhere along the way though, a sudden gust blew the boat over the line and…thunk…it was wrapped around the prop! Now with no means of propulsion, the boat was potentially at the mercy of the wind. However, at least at this stage the anchor was set so we were prevented from being blown onto the rocks only 50m away. I donned a mask and had a quick look under the boat. The rope appeared only to be quite loosely wrapped, but I chickened out of going under the boat repeatedly with only my own breath to sustain me. PT, who isn’t the keenest swimmer in the world, stepped up to the plate. With the scuba gear that we carry on board for just such an eventuality and a nice sharp knife, within half an hour we were rope-free and securely moored. My hero! 😀

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