Monday, May 2, 2011

Misfortune at Thira (Santorini)

The dramatic scenery at Santorini. In the foreground is the volcanic crater.

Misfortune at Thira (Santorini) April 27, 2011
We ran aground. We were in the middle of the harbor entrance to the marina at Santorini, the only marina on this island that has a good harbor. Chart indicates a depth of 3 meters; our boat draws a bit more than 2 meters. But as we turned into the harbor, there was this dreadful sound of the bottom touching ground, and we came to a dead stop.
Let us explain how it all began ……

After 3 days sitting out at Maltezana, we were anxious to roam around. Our original plan was to go into Vlikadha, SE of Thira, a marina highly recommended in the pilot guidebook, and properly checked into Greece by taking a bus to port Fira. Thira, the island, more famously known as Santorini, is a popular tourist stop due to its spectacular volcano formation. But the port had neglected to clear the silt built up at the entrance, and the depth was a meter less than the chart. We ran aground, in the middle of the channel inside the harbor! Fortunately it’s only mud on the bottom, and we wiggled free on reverse. The harbor attendant waved us to try again closer to the starboard side of the entrance, where the chart indicates submerged rocks. But we tried anyway…and got stuck again. Thoroughly discouraged now, we got out of the harbor and went to look for other potential anchorages. But this side of the island is basically a huge crater, with lava rock and sheer cliffs all around. The afternoon wind was also beginning to pick up, funneling through the cliffs. Since it’s already 4:30pm, we went to check out Skala Thira, which based on the pilot guidebook is not a desirable port to dock. It was so true, especially when gust’s blowing at 30 knots, pushing swells into the harbour. In the entire harbour, there’s one 70’ power yacht and one lone sailboat, desperately tried to tie a long line to the drum/buoy. 3 Rivers said adios to Skala Thira. Docking in a deep crater was just not a good idea. So long Santorini ….. we will come back.

Departing Santorini. Rough seas. Ferry passing us.

Our slip at Ios

A freighter needs our competition here.

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