very hot = 35°C hot 30°C warm 25°C
04.15 we took a taxi to Manchester Airport for flight to Athens, easyJet, X86 airport bus to Pireus €5 each and takes about 1 hour. Very hot and into the maelstrom of the area to look for the yacht chandler who hopefully will have charts for us; we found the shop easily, opposite the Hotel Delphini. Unfortunately he didn’t have the charts, and although he had all sorts of gorgeous stainless bits of boat equipment, nothing for us. Next door had the pulleys for our tackle and round the corner the charts.
We had promised ourselves a nice lunch, but all we could find was a stale bap and a wrap plus luckily cool beer, sitting in the ferry shelter.
High speed ferry to Aigina, quick walk along to the boat. She was covered in a thick layer of dark grey sand - the cleaning would have to wait until the morning.
We had a delicious supper at the fish restaurant which is next door to the fish market, so only a slight smell of fish. The restauranteur placed out basket of bread on a chair, immediately a cat jumped into it but when we asked for some more bread, he was not at all pleased!!
Next door is a rather common motor yacht, on board Birkenhead bling, but we think it may be the crew’s family holiday.
Discovered that 4 of our fenders had been taken, interestingly only one of those with a plastic easy tie fixing. No chance of claiming on insurance as we have an excess to pay!!
The new ones are shiny white with black tops, now, of course, they require cleaning; the old blue ones had been so scratched coming through the locks that cleaning was not really possible.
Cleaned boat from top to bottom, shopped, bought some more pistachios and very very sweet honey.
The harbour is heaving with boats; about 17.00 we were accosted to see if we would allow their boat to come bows-to between us and the adjacent boat. We were quite happy but next door reluctant. Anyway they turned out to be an extended, voluble and delightful family from Tel Aviv - new to sailing. We were invited on board for whisky and were just about able to avoid deep political discussions, though I think they would have liked to find out our opinions. They are quite upset with the Turks at present. Mother was a true matriarch, sang in a choir, where they are allowed to download their parts from the internet; we didn’t find out what happens about royalties.
During all this, a French boat muscled in, without a by your leave, which meant we would have had 18 people walking across our boat.
On our starboard side were a couple who had sailed around the world and had never used their anchor, nor needed to do a stern mooring - they were learning fast; in the meantime before their boarding board arrived, they too climbed over our boat.
Swam outside the harbour
Didn’t do a lot, just enjoyed watching the world go by. Swam.
Gillie slipped whilst in the shower, luckily only a very large bruise on her coccyx and one on her arm as she tried to save herself. The good outcome, it seems to have cured her limp
The old boy who lives above the cafe opposite, with terracotta walls and green shutters, opens them briefly in the evening, but quickly closes his door. We only catch brief glimpses of him and always miss his opening and shutting of the awning over the terrace. We do hope he is not a hermit. He lives in such a lovely place; although it is very hot and noisy in the summer, we hope he has friends.
Gillie went for quite a long walk and found some pistachio orchards for which the Island is famous; the trees are quite large and the nuts nearly ready for picking.
A Greek Architect accosted us. He had studied at Liverpool University School of Architecture in the early 70’s. A delightful man and his wife, unfortunately they couldn’t stay long as were off to one of the 3 open air cinemas in the town. Last year he had hosted an alumni w/e in Athens.
Re-fuelled, but of course the man’s card machine was broken so we had to get cash. Of course- 250 port 150 stbd- just enough to get us there.
Slipped circa 09.30 but had trouble with our anchor chain; think someone may have lifted it and swivelled the anchor round, so the chain is twisted many times.
Mike had arranged with the photographer to take some photos of us at sea, so did a little turn for him -we await the result. Actually it was not at all bad. Well worth it.
In the distance saw what was probably porpoises playing, we haven’t seen any since coming down the Cesme coast in 2008.
Nearly across, we stopped to sort out the anchor chain by letting it out to unswivel itself, partially successful.
Arrived at KORFOS circa 12.30. Good mooring at the 2nd Taverna - not Georges. Cheerful set up. G had a sleep.
Nearly a disaster - our black/grey tank discharge pump has given up the ghost and the black tank is very full. Mike spent the afternoon putting in a new pump (from the spares box) and rearranging the pipe work - a good thing to be doing on a sweltering afternoon!
Delicious supper of mussels, shrimps, salad, fish egg salad which we think is cod’s roe mashed up with potato; also cheese in batter - very rich. Unfortunately we were the only customers; all the other boats which had come in preferred George’s pontoon; the owner said sometimes “when one type of boat moors up, they all follow suit” , so we were the only motor boat and left severely alone by the “sailors”.
Slipped 10.00 and set off for Nea Epidhavros, but decided to anchor in the bay, have a swim, clean the boat sides and lunch. No room here for us in the harbour. Went on to PALEA EPIDHAVROS which is delightful with plenty of room. We are opposite a little park with welcome shady trees.
Very large Compass jelly fish in the harbour, Chryassaona Lysosulla 30cm across
Took a taxi to the arena at Epidhavros - one of the most complete arenas in Greece - lovely, some sympathetic restoration has been done, just enough to allow concerts, plays etc to be performed there.
Slept like a log for the first time for ages.
Quite a long day especially as there was no room in Hydra, not surprising really as it is the place in which all Athenians must be seen. Feel more room could be made if there were slightly fewer water taxis and other small boats who may or may not serve a useful purpose. Did think about anchoring in a suitable bay, couldn’t find one, but are in a very pleasant port HERMIONI . Unfortunately our anchor mechanism went wrong and ran away, then initially we couldn’t get close enough to the quay, luckily no wind and all is well now.
Mike finished off working on the windlass relay which had gone wrong when coming in yesterday.
Shopped, some very good fruit shops and an icecream shop with cakes to die for; didn’t buy any!
Slipped around 13,00 for a good run to Kiparissi across the bottom of the xxxx gulf. Hardly any other boats around and certainly out of range of ferries now.
Arrived at KIPARISSI/Paralia circa 17.15 and came in stern to end of jetty. An initial view through binoculars there appeared to be no means of mooring, but after I jumped ashore I discovered two enormous bollards countersunk into the jetty. Two other boats already in alongside. The wide bay, with several different mooring areas, one at a jetty beside a tiny chapel, is surrounded by towering mountains. The village has quite large white painted houses, with one or two stone ones; particularly the most southern, right above the sea with its own mooring, and built into the hill behind; swimming almost out of the front door. If you imagine a large version of Sally’s cottage with sea at your wall all the time -it has a timeless feel. Heaven.
I had wondered whether the village was a kind of St. Ives, with lots of arty types, but most of the houses appear to be occupied by locals. 3 Tavernas and one hotel. Unfortunately the one just above the jetty seems to be owned/run by a not very pleasant chap, who doesn’t say hello, plays his music too loudly and switches off the internet!
Met George the gnome from Basle who is sailing alone as wife not that keen. We had a long chat, he has been all over the place and to Tunisia. We sold him one of our charts for which he was very grateful.
Very good night’s sleep.
Bought eggs at little shop and one peach, she hadn’t very much stock, but did understand me when I clucked like a hen, as the eggs weren’t on show!!
Rather sad to leave such a lovely spot but explorers have to keep moving.
Slipped 09.20. Very, very calm, visibility medium, back onto a shipping lane from the north, ie Athens. We rounded Ak Maleas and Ak Zovolo in a good calm sea - this can sometimes be quite treacherous in the wrong conditions. The depth varies from 675 m to 50m so severe overfalls - a bit like Corryvreckan in Scotland.
Star Clipper a 4 masted passenger vessel passed some way in front of us - a magnificent sight. She was going to a port to disembark passengers.
Saw for the first time tiny sea birds skimming just above the surface then diving for a some distance. I think they were either Leach’s or Storm Petrels.
Quite a lop due to the passing shipping. Came into NISOS ELAFONISOS -O. Sarakiniki- circa 15.30. Went swimming, which was lucky, as Mike inspected the anchor to find it hadn’t dug in properly; brought the chain in a bit, went astern, he swam out again and this time well dug in.
Took dinghy and outboard to shore, too late in the season for the taverna, so back to boat. An Englishman accosted us as interested in our electric motor. Funny thing he saw us the next day in Yithion.
Another Cruising Ass. boat in, can’t quite see her name to check on owner!
Ended up being quite a lumpy evening, the wash from all the merchant shipping passing several miles offshore, closer to Kythiria, eventually makes its way into the bay. The boat swung around the anchor several times during the night.
Slipped circa 10.00, overslept! The two other boats in the bay had already left.
The day was much longer than anticipated due to there being no room at either Plitra or at
Elaia. All space at harbour walls taken by small local boats with a plethora of string attached to each, so almost impossible for us to slip in without fear of catching a line in our propellors.
Wind got up a bit, we eventually found a space in YITHION, what has been a rather elegant town of some importance. Main anchor did not hold so laid new kedge on its warp by dinghy
The town claims to have been founded by Heracles and Apollo. Homer knew of it too and where Paris and Helen eloped to.
Out for explore, beer, ice cream and shop. €1.70 for two large veal chops.
Suddenly a squall which sent all the little boats flying on their mooring ropes, can’t think how none capsized; the one on our port side particularly.
Now came the spectacular lightning, some thunder, and heavy rain, good for washing the decks. Very hot and sticky. Supper inside for the first time in several years.
3 wedding parties, driving very noisily around the town, horns blaring.
Rain stopped and a calm night.
What was going to be a lazy day, has turned out a bit busy. Clearing a blockage in the shower discharge pipe, something we have never done before, but now needs to go on the annual ‘to do’ list.
After the heavy rain last night, one or two minor leaks from tiny cracks required filling, but hopefully we will soon go out for Sunday lunch.
The owner of next door boat came to check on us, we had to move a rope which he thought in his way. He a bit surly initially, but after seeing where we come from, he softened.
Liverpool on our stern is a great introduction, all the world seemingly knows of it; even Mike is learning more about the football team, especially about how Kenny Dalglish is reviving the family team spirit at the Club!!
Went northwards along the sea front and found a very Greek restaurant for lunch, two parrots, all sorts of pieces of memorabilia or junk. I had warm smoked pork, delicious but very filling. The owner became very helpful and phoned an English friend who might have ideas as to where we can leave our boat; we have somewhere for this year but his suggestion for 2012 might be useful.
We are opposite the Hotel Pantheon which appears quite a smart one judging by the clientele. On the harbour side of the road they have set out tables, chairs and umbrellas within 0.5 metre of the water’s edge without a barrier of any sort. In fact it is like this all along the harbour, obviously no-one is stupid enough to fall in!!
Lazy afternoon, and in the evening we actually played Scrabble, courtesy of Mum whose set it is. Mike won 356/283. See photo of splendid triple word trio on RH side of board.
Meant to have an earlyish start, first the ATM was the other end of town, Mike had to go the very opposite end to visit the slightly difficult Port Police, various other mishaps before the shopping was done. Incidentally the pilot is pessimistic about mooring- you can go anywhere.
All set to go, lifted our anchor, no wonder we hadn’t got a hold, it was nose first in an old lobster pot. Started to haul up the kedge and that was caught under a line.
However, the best bit was my excellent rope throwing when we went alongside the quay to fill up with water. Even this was a bit fraught as all our hoses combined didn’t quite reach to fill the port tank - never mind, we will have to be prudent.
Dropped anchor around 16.15 in PORTO KAYIO. a largish bay near the southern tip of the Mani peninsula. Small village with two tavernas, I think, haven’t ventured to land yet. Wind still about force 4.
Mike spent a happy hour or two in the dinghy with his mastic gun, filling cracks in the hull; he has the best jobs!
Had another look at two weather forecasts and decided there was nothing to disturb us today or tomorrow, so spending the day here.
Took dinghy to shore for explore, a Mythos or two, salad and octopus, in one of the tavernas. Also bought a kilo loaf of bread from the taverna, as the one I bought yesterday from the smart bakery in Yithion was so stale it will have to be made into rusks as per the Greeks.
The beach here is about 2 metres wide, the main road (hard sand) runs between sea and buildings. A happy crowd of holiday makers together with the local fishermen.
The architecture is quite different here being Maniote, the building material is a light grey/sand coloured stone which merges in with the surrounding hills. The windows small and deep set, most flat roofed, the impression is of castle like buildings and an air of nothing quite finished. However, on closer inspection they are mostly complete and charming.
A little bit eerie, someone was shooting, probably rabbits, there were signs of some life in the buildings high above us and only in the evening when some street lights appeared, was it possible to make out a road.
Short swim. An Austrian owned boat came in and tried to anchor, but obviously too close for his neighbours’ comfort, who immediately put out all his fenders - now that is a hint!! The Austrian moved to another part of the bay.
18.00 wind getting up for the evening blow. A very uncomfortable night; for some reason I couldn’t go to sleep and a heavy lop appeared, Mike was snoring for England, I slept in saloon.
Quick breakfast and off into quite a choppy sea until we turned the corner to travel west.
Rounded Ak Tainaro, the most southerly point in mainland Europe, bar the tip of Gibralter. Very attractive stone lighthouse with living accommodation; so many lights are on a metal frame.
Wind gradually increased to high 4. Had a look at Mezapo, I found it rather dark and forbidding, nowhere very handy for mooring, so onwards. Eventually came into LIMONI, a very wide bay with three villages, all a bit dilapidated. We eventually came stern to on the end of a tiny jetty which appears ok.
A motor boat adjacent to jetty named Lena III, Eos, of course was named the same when we bought her; this is the 2nd or 3rd boat so named which we have seen on our travels - Lena must be significant, it’s passed me by!
The French boat which had been with us in Porto Kayio ( Stranger in the Night) is anchored in the bay, also another boat off the pretty village on the east side of the bay.
We had a walk through the nearest part of the village. A most delightful church which had had a glazed extension overlooking the sea and graveyard - a nice place to be buried. An architect had obviously been involved. The interior, like so many of these tiny churches, had the most beautiful and elaborate brass corona, also a chandelier of crystal. Outside two bell towers with a total of 7 bells to summon a total population of around 200!
Two very pleasant B & B’s, outside one of which we spoke to a couple of Greek/Australians over on their biennial visit.
Slipped around 11.00.
Uneventful day to KORONI where we found a space on the harbour wall with a taverna within 5 metres - what more could you want? Late lunch of small fishes (whitebait) and very small calamari. Found electric and water in fishmarket
A bit of an explore, bought meat from the butcher, but more importantly bacon - Mike has been without for a week now. Unfortunately we didn’t go up to the massive castle remains.
Up earlyish to wash my hair, about time too some might say!
The largest fishing boat came in and really wanted our place, though he was very polite, just put his bows in our face. We had wondered about the weighing scales and fish selling tables set up on the quay - obviously this is where he does his business, though the taverna owner had said we were quite alright. Anyway we took the hint and went to a vista of Paddington stares; we could have anchored in the bay, got into the dinghy, rowed ashore and walked up to the castle - thought we would leave that for another occasion.
Calm sea. Called in at Ayos Andreos a newish harbour meant for yachts, but due to continual silting, used mainly by the locals - much too shallow for us ( <1.3 metres) so reversed out. Then called at Petalidhion, again too shallow for us- deepest very close to landward quay. We could see a market on land, so anchored and took dinghy to shore; bought fruit and veg, and off again. A little sea plane was doing a roaring trade in sixpenny sicks over the bay; we had to avoid his landing run on our trip back from shopping, that’s why the other boat was anchored so far out.
Decided not to anchor in the bay, but to continue to our winter destination KALAMATA, rather sad to arrive early, but several of the little harbours we had intended staying at, were not suitable for us so now ahead of our schedule.
However, we were met and shown to our mooring by the very friendly Tomas. At present opposite the Marina Office and cafes, though I gather we will be moved. The laid mooring ropes are disgusting, covered with mud and barnacles - in Kusadasi the boatmen spend time scraping and cleaning these lines.
The setting of the marina is stunning - you look through a sea of masts to the Taiyetos (2307m) mountain range beyond, which extends down to the Mani peninsular. Very barren with just a few scattered hamlets, one wonders what kind of life they have as I gather the winters are pretty fierce and communication by road tricky.
Kalamata is at the NE corner of the Messiniakos Kolpus (gulf). Beside the marina there is also a commercial harbour; I am rather sorry we weren’t here the previous day as according to our AIS, the mega yacht????? 170m long was in the harbour.
Kalamata was once the principal port of the Pelopponisos, largely built by the French in the 19C, badly hit by the earthquake of 1968 and now feeling a little run down. My first impression on looking for food shops was of Varna in Bulgaria which we liked in spite of its rundown feel. Eventually found a large new supermarket AB, unfortunately none of the staff were the slightest bit interested in selling anything. Joy of joys I actually found several makes of tonic, chose Britvic as small enough to carry home, but rather expensive - no Schweppes.
Washed the very salty and dirty boat, lines, dinghy, etc. This took all morning!!
Spent a lot of time deciding how to cut up the remaining 56 metres of 3 strand 16mm mooring line - a difficult decision after all this time since it was first purchased on an enormous 100 metre drum. Our needs have changed since the rivers and canals. We now have 2 x 16m lines and 2 x 13m together with our existing ones which have hardened and become difficult to throw in spite of frequent fresh water washes.
Just sitting down to supper when bride and groom appeared for a photo shoot - think the boat may be in some of the shots. She wearing tier upon tier of ruffles with a very revealing high split to the front - useful for riding a horse, he looking rather sheepish in his silver waistcoat; judging by the body language she was definitely the boss.
Not an early night, we have singers at the restaurant.
General tidying, sorting etc. Monday walked up town to explore, iced coffee at the Hotel Rex opened in 1899, a venue for retired men to meet, read newspapers, coffee and glasses of water.
Caught No. 1 bus back but didn’t get off at our stop and went all along the coast to end of line. Lovely swimming beaches all along plus tavernas. It must be good for swimming as the bus full of the aged going or coming back from a dip.
So much for our Greek as we have bought an enormous number of lamb chops - excellent on the BBQ for first meal, 2nd night the Sunseeker yacht has returned and don’t think it appropriate to smoke her out, never mind the thought of a stray spark!!
Wrote most of my family quick log. We tried to befriend a lonely German widower (?) but he doesn’t stay still for long enough to have a conversation with and says he doesn’t drink.
The smell of cleaning agents as the boats either side of us are washed, bleached, polished etc to within an inch of their lives - so much for the environment and unnecessary use of water!!
Caught No. 1 bus to terminal to buy our coach tickets to Athens at 04.45 on Sunday morning.
I am sure a kingfisher fleetingly perched on our guard rail when we first arrived, if it was, it is only the second seen since leaving England. Bird life generally is pretty sparse, have they all been shot? I don’t know whether the Greeks are as gun happy as Italians and French.
A castle awaits an explore and one or two places out of town. Had drinks with Lois and Peter Mitchell on Boxer, he ex Birkenhead School, Merchant Navy, she of Prenton Tennis Club where she knew Mr. & Mrs. Turner and Jean and David.
Kalamata definitely has a French influence, the way the cafes and their furniture are arranged, the number of pharmacies and patisseries
The trip home was good, at the bus terminal at 04.45 delicious fresh coffee, freshly made sandwiches etc., and the most ENORMOUS cone shaped doughnuts filled with cream - needless to say we didn’t buy one. Good coach to Athens, 3 hours, X93 to airport. Long wait as we weren’t sure of the bus timings. easyJet half an late, arr Manchester to sun and not too cold. Awful train from Manchester to Liverpool, 3rd world passengers!
Great welcome home, Emma, Sophie, Henry and Tabitha Lovely to be back.
Kate and Tim’s wedding in Anglesey, lovely. Monday Emma sadly back to New Zealand, busy day on Tuesday sending out Mike’s birthday invitations.
04.30 taxi to Manchester airport for flight to Athens; for the first time ever my alarm clock did not go off, woke up at 04.00 so a bit of a rush to be ready! Flight good and on time. We arrived a few minutes before Kevin and Ann Kinsella’s flight from Heathrow, met at luggage carousel and off to hire a car as another public transport strike; a white Mercedes which took us very comfortably to Kalamata, Kevin driving as he will take the car back to Athens, too expensive to have two drivers, also leaving it at Kalamata not an option. The motorway has a series of tolls on very short distances. Stopped for coffee break en route.
Arr at boat circa 17.30, a quick shop for enough provisions for breakfast, then a very pleasant supper at the nearby Taverna, I think the owner recognised us from our previous visit.
Anchored in the bay was The Lucky Lady, a rather elegant gentleman’s yacht, probably circa 1930, her launch had come in to pick up guests and a mountain of luggage, including baby. When I went up to cafe with binocs to have a better view, she had gone.
First thing out to sea to empty our black tank. A lovely calm day, it would have been good to stay at sea, but work starting in earnest on re-bedding the stanchions beginning with the starboard side.
Whilst we had the car Kevin and I did a good shop at Carrefour, though a bit disappointed with the fruit,veg and meat, but good to get the alcohol. No shorts for Mike to replace those we bought in Liege, 3 pairs for €12 in 2008!
Now we are certain there are no more strikes, Kevin, very nobly, took the car back to Athens, back by coach, arr back around 20.30.
Ann and I off to shops, to buy better fruit and veg, and also good steaks from the local butcher which we barbecued - mind you we had intended buying veal and though we showed him the word in our dictionary, we had to have steak, perhaps he didn’t have veal!
Stanchion work proceeding quite well.
Lois Mitchell came for a long chat, Peter has pneumonia, has been to hospital, is improving, but I think she likes to have a change of scene.
By all accounts there is going to be a race today, so far no sign of activity. No because it is tomorrow, Sunday.
Kevin doing sterling work with the electric saw making plates to hold stanchions in place - very important.
More stanchion work, all going well. Ann and I caught no.1 bus to end of beach, stopped for iced coffee and a toe dip into the sea and a good walk back.
Lois back to find out on the internet what the side effects are of the medication Peter has been given - not very happy - he is quite disorientated.
Boys went out for late drink, woke me up - no sleep!!
Kevin and Mike progressed the stanchion work, I rubbed down the stern plywood ready for varnishing, I am not usually allowed to touch such a high profile part of the boat!
Yacht race of 5 finally got underway at 12.45. Small amount of rain, bit of a squall. We went out for lunch along the marina road to an Italian place. Mike chose sea urchins and all he got was a huge V shaped glass with approx 2 teaspoons of meat, guess he was a little disappointed, though the taste was good. The rest of the meal was excellent.
The afternoon was largely cancelled due to lack of interest and certainly no-one wanted to work.
Later very heavy rain. Eventually I managed to get an internet signal.
The “hand” on the Ferretti alongside, spends his spare time in wetsuit with harpoon and has managed to catch at least 2 octopuses; one day he came back with two fishes inside his suit!
Live Greek dancing and music at the restaurant diagonally from us, which didn’t have any diners when we called for a beer last week,
Don’t know who won the yacht race, but the local training boat came in way ahead of anyone else.
Back to work on stanchions and me to the varnishing; Ann to the launderette; Kevin to shop.
Lois and Peter finally got off today, I should think she will be very relieved to have him home with English speaking doctors.
The kingfisher busy fishing, he likes to sit on the lines of the catamaran in the corner, there must be a good supply of fish in that corner.
We do hope Peter and Lois arrived safely back in England, Peter not at all well.
Ann and I off on No. 1 bus to the market - not the full one, but enough stalls for purchasing what we required. Butcher has liver on Friday, bought nice pork escalopes instead.
Back to boat for more varnishing. The boys getting on well with stanchions starboard side complete. By the end of the day the port aft stanchions off and stored on shore.
The kingfisher very busy, he is very beautiful with a lethal beak.
Next door ‘hand’ out fishing several times, catching large fish and another octopus.
A Portugese cruise ship in the commercial harbour with a very noisy exercise guru on board, we can hear him right down here exhorting the cruisers.
I have at long last found a good stainless steel cleaner which gets off the specks of rust v. quickly, though it is quite toxic and requires a good rinsing off.
Decided to make bread and butter pudding to use up surplus bread and milk, but not currants in local shops!!
Renewed our acquaintance with backgammon, haven’t played for a couple of years. Ann and I had found a pack of 10 dice at the “toysrus’ type shop.
Now have the stern stanchions and boards off, great care not to fall in.
I still can’t send emails and help doesn’t!
More stanchion work but getting towards the finish.
Finished. Now I have to clean off mastic from the bases and paint the deck, I hate mastic, it never wants to come off!!
Off up town for a celebratory lunch at Atheniosis (?), huge and delicious pies for €2.50, spinach the best, my bruschetta large and good with the best chips. Unfortunately the lunch was spoilt by the pigeons and the beggars.
The others bought their coach tickets for Tuesday, back to Athens and visited the castle, after several ransackings there is not too much left of it.
Mike had to have an ear syringed, all well and now he can hear again.
Yacht came in with mast on the deck, think they had hit a jetty bows first which damaged the forestay fitting; I wonder which of the two men were helming at the time, a few choice words, I imagine!!
Shopping at Carrefour, very slow as Saturday.
Stanchion and deck cleaning.
The heaviest rain I have ever seen, cold and windy so had to sit inside at Skippers bar.
Cooked the delicious beef liver, I must have a word with Graham when I get back to see if he can cut our liver thicker.
Joint wedding anniversary date for Kinsellas and us, what a coincidence.
Kevin tried very hard to find a cafe/taverna showing the Japanese Grand Prix, to no avail; luckily we could get the gist of it on computer, Button won the race, Vettel wins world championship.
Rain again, very hard at intervals. Delicious lunch at the nearest Taverna, we all ate far too much, I sampled the Moussaka, almost the same as mine, but with a base layer of potato; a very jovial time was had by all!
More VERY hard rain, a bit of a leak up forward.
Hired a car to visit Mistra (Byzantine) and Mycenae. First hire company was unable to deliver as a family member was in hospital and the car was required for the family; the second had to bring their English speaking daughter from her medical practice, to interpret for them!
Set off on the scenic route to Mystras, very twisty through gorges and tree covered hills, most of the trees being acers, in a week or two the colours should be brilliant. Several places on the road where quite sizeable stones had come down on to the road very recently. The few houses and villages we passed were mostly in a state of neglect, quite obviously there is little opportunity to make a decent living.
Mystras 1249, is in quite reasonable condition and more restoration work is being carried out at present, especially at the palace up to which we climbed a distance, only to find it out of bounds; very slippery steps on decent after rain. The Pantanassa is a series of terraced cottages built for the monks but now for nuns who have made a delightful little area with masses of fresh paint and pots of flowers and shrubs. The little church is almost completely covered in frescoes in quite good condition, a little gem. The stonework decoration is of a design I hadn’t come across before.
On to Mycenae, partly on the motorway to save time, then through groves and groves of oranges, olives and vines. Obviously set on a hill and SO windy, I was glad of my fleece hat. The stone building blocks are enormous, positively cyclopean. The excavations cover a wide area with several circular burial areas, living quarters, water ways etc This is the earliest in Europe. Kevin had dreamt of coming here ever since he missed out on a school trip many years ago and also because he is a well read historian. Lovely museum, shop rather too upmarket. In the town below are several quite large showrooms with full size statues of every conceivable being, all ready to take home as mementos - someone somewhere has money.
Home and packing for Ann and Kevin.
Up early to take K & A to bus terminal in the hire car. Sad to see them go as they have been a tower of strength especially with helping Mike with the stanchions.
Washing and sorting.
Stathis from a 60 ft. Sunseeker came to visit. Chatted about all manner of things, British, Greek and world wide. He is royalist and certainly in the minority. Interestingly a large amount of labouring either in towns or in the country, is undertaken by non-Greeks, I thought they needed the money. We were then invited on board, rather different from our Eos, however, they still do ‘rounds’, have trouble with this and that, just like us.
He and Dimitrios, his ‘right hand’ will look after Eos whilst we are away, though they say we should try and be moved to C jetty if we can. Apparently two years ago, the sea came right up to our boats and the stones were so thick that cars couldn’t drive around the buildings. Have decided to stay where we are, but have bought two large metal spring shock absorbers and Mike has done some more splendid splicing.
Spent the week doing useful but generally boring jobs; Mike had to cut out some rot on the stern which the “good” boat builder at Southsea had done but not put on any sealant; it is hopeless when you can’t trust anyone to do a proper job, especially when they are so confident that they know best!!
The very heavy rain has produced one or two leaks, we haven’t had rain like this for several years.
The Greeks are now in winter clothes, some already wearing their Uggs!
We also spent time rearranging flights as there is now an air traffic controllers’ strike on Wednesday 19 as well as taxi drivers. No word from easyJet as to what we should do, so have booked Aegean to Heathrow on Monday.
On reflection: We haven’t seen anything in a Greek town which would persuade us to live in one. The island villages are delightful, but the towns are such a mess, terrible architecture, rubbish, broken pavements, generally no one to care. However when we needed more brown mastic, we rang a firm in Athens who sent down the required tubes which were delivered to the boat the next morning!
Life at the bus stations doesn’t begin to compare with those in Turkey; I don’t think the Greeks are natural traders like the Turks, whose whole life is spent bartering and trading. The trading activities in say Aydin, Istanbul, Bodrum, are fantastic, extremely noisy and quite exciting.
Looking at the vast citrus fruit orchards and the enormous olive groves, who is to pick the fruit? Apparently there has been a huge exodus from the countryside, the picking is now taken up by Rumanians and others from further east. Looking at the villages, I cant blame the young for leaving, there doesn’t seem a lot for them and fancy being left with a few black dressed old women and toothless old men!
I find it rather depressing that in, what is obviously quite a wealthy fruit and wine producing area, there should be no lovely old farmhouses with their attendant outbuildings, such as you would find in France or Italy.
I am thoroughly enjoying Mani by Patrick Leigh Fermor, Mani is the peninsula to our east which has the peculiar Maniot architecture; I hope we will have time to explore next year.
09.30 bus to Athens, lunch of spinach or cheese pies, eaten out of the paper bag, a la locals, bottle of beer and a doughnut, eaten in one of the bus station eateries - how to enjoy oneself. Once at home I shall go to Slimmers World!
The Airport Express bus is exactly that, no customer care if you are infirm or elderly; as Mike says these buses are driven by out of work dodgem car drivers, 45 minutes.
Aegean Airline to Heathrow, train to Liverpool arr c 23.00
PORTS OF CALL MAY TO SEPTEMBER 2011
16.05 - 9.06 Pythagorian, Samos quay
10 -11.06 Marathakampos, Samos quay
12 -13.06 Arki quay
14.06 Patmos, Sala quay
15.06 Levithra Buoy
16 - 18 06 Amorgos quay
19.06 Ios quay
25 - 24. 06 Paros (Naoussa) quay
25 - 26.06 Poros quay
26.06 Methana quay/laid mooring
27.06-28.08 Aigina quay- concrete block
29.08 Korfos taverna jetty
30.08 Ermioni quay
01.09 Kiparissi end of jetty
02.09 Elafonisos at anchor
03 - 04.09 Yithion quay
05 - 06.09 Porto Kayio at anchor
07.09 Limeni quay
08.09 Koroni quay
09.09 Kalamata marina