Thursday, 22 October 2009

Greece 2009 - Sifnos to Milos in a Force 7

In the morning it was clear that we should have taken notice of the weather forecast of doom because overnight the weather had changed just as predicted by all of those who knew better than us. From the balcony all that could be seen were dark and threatening clouds scudding in from the north and obscuring the sun, which was struggling for some sort of recognition of its presence in the sky. The weather forecast has got worse and the breakfast television weather map showed Greece with rain predictions for the mainland and the north and force seven winds in the Cyclades.

Fortunately for us the islands stay mostly dry but when I fetched the breakfast pie the lady in the bakery said that on the island they were hoping for rain because they hadn’t had any for several months since the winter and I could tell from the scorched fields and parched earth that definitely wasn’t exaggerating. I agreed with her about awful that must be but didn’t let on that personally I hoped the rain stays away for a couple more weeks at least, just long enough for us to finish our holiday.

It was windy and much colder so while we packed we choose suitable clothing for a rough sea voyage and after we had settled up at the hotel and said goodbye we slung our packs on our backs and wandered off down to the port. Kim went off to do some last minute shopping and purchase the pottery she had selected, which was going to be a bit of a nuisance because we were going to have to lug it about with us for ten days after that. I waited for her at the Captain’s Bar and ordered a mythos that came with peanuts so I guessed it was going to be expensive! The sun was fighting back by now and was beginning to get the upper hand, the cloud was breaking up and thinning out but there was no sign of the wind dropping and I wondered if the ferry would be on time.

I was fairly sure that it would be late so when Kim turned up I ordered more beer and sat down and prepared to wait. I shouldn’t have been so pessimistic because less than halfway down the bottle the ferry announced its arrival with a blast of its horn and we had to finish in a hurry and make our way to the port and back on board the Agios Georgios for the journey to Milos. The sea was choppy but not on a sea sick scale and we settled down again on the open top deck. If this was a force seven gale I wasn’t worried because the boat seemed more than capable of dealing with it . Wind speed is measured on the Beaufort Scale that was developed in 1805 by Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort who divided weather conditions into twelve for the purposes of reporting consistency. Force seven is a near gale, force eight is a gale and so on all the way to force twelve, which is a hurricane.

I settled down with a mythos to enjoy the journey and then there was an amusing little accident when the two back legs on my plastic deck chair snapped off and one minute I was sitting comfortably like an English gentleman abroad and the next I was in an undignified heap on the deck. Still, it made everyone laugh and luckily I didn’t spill any of my beer.

As we made progress towards Milos the sea got a bit rougher and the clouds thickened again and the day didn’t look promising at all. The strong wind made the Greek flag dance wildly at the back of the ferry as we passed the gnarled coastline of Kimolos and made steady progress towards our destination. Closer to Milos we passed the cliffs scarred by old abandoned mine workings, the iconic white beaches of the island and the gaily coloured fishermen’s villages and just after lunchtime we docked on time in Adamas.

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