Since my last post we encountered a storm in the Aegean Sea. Having left Kusadasi, I knew the forecast was not going to make things easy and we secured the “Amsterdam” to ‘Red’, the maximum one can go to for ‘heavy weather’.
Sure enough, early morning of the 9th brought the first hint of the storm which was about to hit us; an increase in the wind from the north and swells building. By lunchtime we were in it, full-bore, winds up to 60 mph and swells + wind-waves up to 4 meters and occasionally 5. Ships were running for the cover of land, hiding on the south side of the Greek islands, in the lee and shelter.
Not us, we were trying to make Piraeus and the alternative to ‘hiding’ was to take courses which suited the most comfortable ‘ride’, this is where the ‘Amsterdam’ excels, she has wonderful sea-keeping qualities and, although very rough, we managed nicely despite the highest recorded wind of 77 knots, (85 mph, 135 kph), storm-force 10. 😯
By the evening, we heard that, on account of the winds, Piraeus was closed to shipping. However I learned a long time ago that worrying about something one had no control over was pointless and all I could do was wait and see what the morning brought.
Sure enough, as we approached the port, it was open for business and at 4:30 a.m. we approached the pilot station. I chose this uncivilised hour for 2 reasons; it was before the ferries started their working day and weather-wise, there was a good chance that the wind would ease just before sunrise. The plan worked exactly like that, once into the port itself, little or no wind and, no ferries. Having docked, 2 hours later the wind was whistling through again and we were comfortably tied up.
All snug after a very long previous day, would you believe it, a Port State Control inspection, just what we wanted. Greek Inspectors go through a multi-faceted examination of all our Safety equipment, qualifications, certifications and heaven-knows what else; a 7-hour inspection which, unsurprisingly, we passed.
Unable to go ashore, I left it to Karen to take the camera and she toured with Stein and Linda, (they left the following day).
Karen toured by minibus around Athens.
I had a special treat, Samantha, Anthony, Olly and Emily joined us for a week, Gramps is a happy man! They are with us for a week and leave in Cartagena, Spain.
As I write, from Katakolon, Greece, they have been ‘adopted’ by every grandparent on the ship and the crew can’t keep away either 😀
Finally, our departure and a lovely sailaway from the beautiful port of Piraeus.
We have (another) audit this week and, as much as I would like to post the Katakolon photos, I have no time left to write about that, in fact, he’s just knocked on my door…..