The Champagne Backpacker: Michael's Round the World Trip 2005-2007-- The Adventure of a Lifetime travel blog

Sunset Near Cape Sounion

Poseidon Temple at Cape Sounion

Saturday, July 30. After doing some shopping in the Plaka district, Jeff, Karen, and I caught a taxied to Alimos pier in the marina where we met Jose, and a little later Ben, Aspa, Myrto, and, our Greek skipper, George ("Jorgo"). Jose was on the same boat as Aspa and Ben for this past February's 2005 Manhattan Sailing Club's De Caribbean Regatta in the British Virgin Islands. Jose works as an attorney for a large NY law firm. Aspa recently started a new architecture position and Ben works in IT for Bloomberg, the financial services company started by Mike Bloomberg, current mayor of New York City.

We boarded our boat, Jo Wind, a 47 foot Bavarian sailboat with four cabins and two heads (toilet and shower). We bought some provisions and began our sail. The winds were very strong (too strong for safe comfortable sailing) so we motored to our first anchorage 70 km south of Athens, Cape Sounion. Jorgo was a young captain (31) recommended by Aspa and Myrto's sailing teacher. Jeff and I thought our initial anchorage was a little too close to other boats. We thought perhaps this was how the Greeks sailed. One of the other boat's captain did suggest to Jorgo that he re-anchor our boat to provide for more space between the boats, but he decided that it was not necessary.

Overlooking Cape Sounion is the glorious Temple of Poseidon. This Doric columned temple was build in 444 BC at the same time as the Parthenon. With the Greek god Poseidon looking over us, we dined on fish at one of the two restaurants ashore. During dinner, Jeff text messaged us and request that Jorgo return to the boat immediately to move the boat. Apparently, our boat almost hit another boat. Jorgo returned to the boat and hauled up a couple of meters of anchor line. It was the beginning of a long and eventful night.

Later that evening as we all slept, I was awakened at 3 a.m. by the slipping and dragging of our anchor. Suddenly, Jorgo runs into Jeff and my cabin and awakens us, asking for our help. As a result of our anchor slipping, our boat had drifted perilously close to two other boats at our aft quarters. Jorgo turned on the boat's engine and we proceeded to raise our anchor. As our anchor cleared the water, we saw that it had caught the secondary anchor line of one of the boats in our starboard aft quarter. We tried for several minutes to unhook the line, but were not successful. As our boat was no longer anchored, we continued to drift, held only in place by our anchor tangled in another boat's anchor line. The captains at the other two boats were screaming at Jorgo (in Greek, of course). To keep us from drifting, Jorgo grabbed our boat's spare anchor and dinghy'ed it out ahead of our boat. After dropping the spare anchor and attaching it to our boat, we stopped drifting. However, we were entangled between two boats, one on our port forward quarter and one on our aft starboard quarter. In addition, one of the boats' lines got tangled in our boat's propeller. The only thing preventing us from hitting were our constant repositioning of our respective boats' fenders (rubberized balloons used to prevent direct contact between boats). Jorgo dove under our boat and removed the entangled line. Eventually, the other boat's captain cut his secondary anchor line which in turn freed our anchor. We then proceeded to re-anchor our boat. Our first night on our sailboat in Greece—one we all will not soon forget.

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