Near gale force winds and red rain!

It was an eventful few days! Some great things, some not so great.

On Sunday we entertained aboard S/V Sunday for the first time in seven months – one of the good things that happened!

Lovely to get out Jonathan’s Christmas gift from our daughter and son-in-law (the decanter) and give it a work out!
It felt very strange entertaining after months of no shared meals.

Our guests were the crews from Polykandros (who we spent three months in lockdown with at Alimos Marina, Athens) and A B Sea who we met only recently at Kas marina.

Lucy was enjoying her cuddles but the nibbles looked more exciting!

By coincidence (but not entirely surprising as the live-aboard yachting community is a very small world) the Whittakers from Polykandros and Aannsha and Baz from A B Sea already knew each other so it was a very cosy and enjoyable night.

The delicious lemon drizzle cake made by Silke and decorated by Luca and Nina
It was a very cosy dinner

Just as everyone was leaving, the weather suddenly started to change for the worse. Fortunately everyone got back to their boats safely but as the night drew on it became quite nasty with winds blowing up hard. Definitely one of the not so great things that happened.

Soon after they arrived back the crew on Polykandros had to reanchor as they were stretched out on their anchor chain and were perilously near rocks. By this time the wind was really howling and the weather and darkness made reanchoring very challenging.

We stayed up on anchor watch until 1.30 am but went to bed with our iPad open at an anchor watch app and slept fitfully for a few hours.

At 4.30am we were woken up by the sound of roaring like an express train – the wind was now raging at 50 knots, gusting at 70 knots. The noise was really quite scary. Around 5.30 a big gust seemed to take us rather too close for comfort to another yacht on a fixed mooring so we hoisted our anchor and moved to a spot far away from other boats or any other hazards!

Checking the wind speed, anchor placement etc as dawn breaks

We were safely reanchored just as the dawn call to prayer boomed out on the crackly sound system belonging to the main mosque. I have never before been so glad to hear this call signalling that the sun was about to come up!

We stayed on board all of the next day and reanchored again in a better and more comfortable spot as more wild weather was predicted. Fortunately that night, although windy, it was not nearly so bad as the previous one – although we did wake up a couple of times when a “bullet” went through.

Storm? What storm?!

The following morning the sky looked extremely threatening – massive and angry looking clouds with a distinct reddish tinge were building above the hills surrounding Kas.

The sky turned a very threatening colour

Having just cleaned the decks from the last red dust rainfall we weren’t looking forward to seeing what was about to eventuate.

You could see those clouds contained something more than rain!

Then the skies opened spreading sticky red dust all over the boat. The red sand had been carried on the wind all the way from the Sahara Desert. This fall was much worse than the last one!

And down it came – dirty red rain

Not only did it stain everything it landed on, the red sand apparently also carried various poisonous substances we didn’t like the sound of including lead, zinc, chromium, vanadium, arsenic and nickel! Not exactly cool refreshing rain!

Nasty red sand stains everywhere
The red sand apparently also carried
various poisonous substances we didn’t like
the sound of

We had to cancel our dinner date aboard Polykandros that night as it was just too risky. The normally smooth calm waters were whipped into a frenzy every time the wind blew up and we didn’t want to get in the dinghy in that sort of weather.

The sand had been carried on the wind all the way from the Sahara Desert
Ugh what a mess

The following day we had a very pleasant morning tea on Polykandros – the Whittaker’s had moved to the marina for a few days to recover from their terrible night during the first storm.

Photograph of Polykandros courtesy of Tim Whittaker showing the wild weather – even in the marina!

Later that day we started the clean up from the “red rain”. Arghh what a mess!

Before and after phot!
Our cockpit table was filthy!
Cleaning up the dinghy after the red rain

We had a lovely time at the Friday markets with the Whittakers – it was great having helpers to pick out the eggs and choose the best looking strawberries.

Lovely to have helpers at the market – choosing eggs in this photo
So many wild herbs and greenery
Big wheels of butter on sale
Getting to know a friendly dog at the market
The range of nuts was exceptional
One stall even had nettles for sale

While at the market we met an interesting dive boat captain at one of the vegetable stalls. His name was Levant and he gave us the recipe for a delicious soup called Tamini with fresh garlic, celeriac, leeks and mange tout (snow peas). Or maybe his name was Tamini and he came from Levant or perhaps that was the soup? Anyway, I have now made it and it was really delicious (I added a good squirt of lemon juice, a stock cube and some noodles!)

Love these Turkish cotton dressing gowns!
The Levant-Tamini soup – delicious
Despite the wild weather there were moments of calm – Polykandros back on the water after a few days in the marina (taken from Sunday)

That afternoon Luca and Nina came over to Sunday to have their first drawing class with Jonathan since we left them in Athens. Luca did some amazing cartoons while Nina and Jonathan concentrated hard on drawing one of our “grand ducks” from our grandpet calendar made by our daughter-in-law Sarah in Brisbane, Australia.

Nina’s excellent sketch of our grand duck Affy

Once again the wind blew up suddenly around 6 pm just as Jonathan was about to drop Luca and Nina back to Polykandros (who was now at anchor once again). We were a bit concerned that they might be frightened but they seemed to relish the rocky ride home.

Never mind the weather, there was a lovely pasta sauce to enjoy with fresh vegetables from the market

Later that evening the sea calmed down and a beautiful full moon rose. A lovely end to a mixed bag of good and bad over the previous few days!

Sunday in the moonlight (courtesy of Tim Whittaker)

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Salty tales from Bali Hai

In 2015, after a break from cruising of almost 30 years, my husband and I sailed off into the sunset - this time to the wonderful Islands of Indonesia and beyond. Three years passed and we swapped sails for wheels driving through Scandinavia and Europe in a motor home. Now we are on the brink of another adventure - buying a Lagoon 420 Catamaran in Athens. This is our story.

3 thoughts on “Near gale force winds and red rain!”

  1. I very much enjoyed reading your blog Dot. The Friday markets are a fabulous place for so much fresh produce! Barry and I had a wonderful time aboard SV Sunday with you and our friends from Polykandros, thank you. It certainly was lovely to share a meal in the calm before the storm. Did it take long to reanchor after after the 70 knot gusts came through?

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  2. It’s fantastic! Of course, as always the wind is dictating when we move on, but we are visiting some lovely new, as well as familiar, anchorages. We’d also love for our paths to cross again. Hopefully sooner rather later. xx

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