It is still dark when I wake up. “Where are we again?” is the first thing that springs to mind. There is a stiff breeze. The mooringlines are pulling our Coco. I’m not comfortable with it. After lying awake for an hour, listening and lurking through the portholes, I get up with the first dash of daylight. It’s not a moment too early. It is chaos in the harbor of Monemvasia.
Together with Captain Jack I step outside for our morning round. When I look around, I cannot believe my eyes. Half of the stern to moored sailing yachts are simultaneously leaving the port at the crack of dawn. They are apparently pushed onto the jetty by the strong north wind because their anchors aren’t holding. Most of them anchor again just outside the harbor and roll sideways back and forth on the high waves. The anchor bay clearly offers even less shelter than the harbor. We are lucky to have found a place alongside the breakwater this time. The whole morning we witness all kinds of mooring and anchor problems without having to fear for our own anchor. TV from the cockpit.
After four days of wonderful sailing from Astros to Tyros, Sabatiki and Kiparisi we have arrived in Monemvasia on the edge of the area where the Meltemi reigns in the summer months. And we will know it. As predicted, it starts to blow hard the day after our arrival and only stops briefly in between.
The port itself also has some obstacles. Both at the inner and the outer pontoon there are large stones and other junk under water, in which chains become entangled or as a result of which anchors cannot secure themselves properly. Several yachts only get away with the greatest possible effort. Someone from the crew has to go into the water to dive to the anchor. If that doesn’t work either, there’s nothing else left to do than call a local diver. He will rush over and dissolve everything neatly. Don’t forget to pay the bill please. And he does really good business here.
Like that morning that the first sailing yacht departs from the outer jetty. When they pull up their anchor, they get so entangled in their neighbors’ anchors and anchor chains that they are eventually blown back to the same jetty again by the strong wind. They carry one extra anchor and no less than three extra chains on their own anchor.
As a result, three neighbouring boats are no longer well positioned behind their anchors. With fenders, the crews try to keep their yachts off the jetty and prevent damage. A little later the Port Police also arrives, visiting all the boats involved. Ultimately, a diver and a fisherman spend a few hours disentangling the chains and placing the anchors of all ships in their proper places. A beautiful spectacle to be watched from our cockpit.
All ships depart from the jetty later in the afternoon. Sailing yacht Tolo leaves first. To great applause from their neighbouring boats, this time they only pull up their own anchor. A few hours later new ships are moored stern to the same jetty again with unsuspecting crews on it. Curious what the morning will bring for them. And for our cockpit TV of course.
But despite all our observations from the cockpit, we miss the most important broadcast. Okay, we have seen a luxurious motor yacht moored with a luxury dinghy and a few hours later leave again without any problems. We only miss that it is our own Dutch king with his wife and children. We hear about that later. How is it possible that we missed this? Are they really very ordinary people, who do not stand out among the crowd at all? Or is it because of Willem’s new hipster look? He appears to have a beard lately and you don’t expect that of course. They indeed appear to be on holiday in their modest holiday residence in the Argolic Gulf and are paying the ancient city of Monemvasia a quick visit.
In the meantime, the wind is still blowing. Harder than before. And it keeps blowing. So we wait. We wait for the wind to die down and the waves to disappear. Let’s switch our cockpit TV to the weather forecast again.