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The name sounds romantic and oddly soothing: Meltemi. But the reality is that this dry wind blowing from the north can sweep across Greek waters, swamping small craft, challenging ferries, and shutting down hydrofoils. It also can churn the waters, making them dangerous for swimmers, and blow sand at sunbathers on north-facing beaches.

These winds come from out of the Balkans and last for days. They usually cool down temperatures and can be a welcome relief in the hot days of July and August.

While the Meltemi is a regular afternoon phenomenon which most boaters adapt to, particularly strong Meltemis can wreak havoc. Measurements of five or six on the Beaufort scale of wind strength are common, but these winds can suddenly turn into eight-or nine point gales.

Since these winds blow north to south, beaches on the southern sides of islands usually will be less windy. In some areas, mountains or nearby islands may focus the wind in unexpected ways, so this is not always a guarantee of better beach conditions.

The old name of the Meltemia was the Etesian winds. Mythologically, they are under the control of Boreas, the god of the North Winds. This particular Meltemi is a 54' Jeanneau out of Channel Islands, US.

Below, Meltemi awaits being measured for the Panama Canal transit.


Below, Meltemi prepares for transit through the Panama Canal.
Old tires, wrapped in plastic, help protect her hull from the many dangers which await.

The sky is blue as the Panamanian flag is displayed.

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