From the hard to Poros

April 14

We arrived in Kilada on a sunny but chilly day, after an all night flight from Cape Town to Istanbul  on 11th of March and then to Athens.  We were met by an ever efficient and smiling Pops Car representative and we were on our way on the pleasantly empty roads.

The timing of our arrival in early evening was just sufficient to remove the rear portion of the winter cover, have a cup of tea, and turn the diesel heater on for a while.  Sue made up the bunks and then to bed for us as the temperature dropped below 10C.

The ensuing days were perfect, bright during day time and cold evenings, so work could commenced.  While the yard was contracted to do the anti-fouling and hull polishing (I claimed a dodgy back for that one), we cleaned the top side and treated the teak decks to a brightener so that it came up looking like new.

During this time we came to love the little fishing village of Kilada, set in its magnificent surroundings.  The locals couldn’t have been friendlier, and this was epitomised by Sue’s hairdresser Panayiota who just was thrilled to see us again.  As well as a free hair treatment for Sue, we dined and took coffee together and re-affirmed the friendship.  And not to forget the Hungarian lady on the hard who Sue also enjoyed talking to.  They had arrived in 1996 and haven’t left!

We launched into the water on 24th March and initially remained tied to the marina quay while we performed engine and generator maintenance.  My bug bear of last year the Fischer Panda generator initially wouldn’t start but after aggressive bleeding she eventually chugged into life and hasn’t missed a beat since.  Diesel leaks and intermittent overheating alarms all fixed.   Bless her!!  I think Sue must have light candles in the Greek Church .

Talking of power and giving the abbreviated story, I contracted a local engineering company to weld stainless steel 25mm extensions to the pushpit to replace the section of guard rail.  Onto these I mounted the 100w solar panels supplied by Meltronix from Lefkada.  The installation was eventually finished in Poros where I sent back a mounting pole for a second panel.  Don’t even ask about the details, sufficient to say that I’m a very happy bunny with almost excess of amps!!  Happy days!!

We moved after two days to the town quay at Kilada to finish various tasks and immensely enjoyed the flavour of the village.  We could now just roll of our bunks to our local coffee taverna.  What a difference when there is no soaring heat to detract from a place.  In fact we met a French and Scottish couple who were putting their boat on the hard after a winter of sailing.  They owned a hotel in the South of France so worked dictated that was their sailing time – but never the less they found it a rewarding experience.  Food for thought!!

On Monday 31st we untied and motored around to Porto Heli and spent a blissfully quiet night at anchor in one of the indented bays.  The quietness was so palpable that it was almost eerie.

And thence to Ermioni, where we intended to stay a night but remained for three, we got into the atmosphere of the town.  I was still finding things to do on the boat and Sue explored and caught up with her beauty sleep (cheeky bugger, I’m typing this for himJ). We did however go on some lovely walks together around the town and to the end of one of the peninsula’s.  Much activity could be seen in many of the tavernas as the owners prepared for their summer season – life in Greece has such timelessness to it, which is its undying charm.  We just love it.  Speaking of preparation, much evident this time of year is sail training.  Many instructors obviously take advantage of the low charter rates, un-crowded harbours and benign weather to organise their courses.

Ermioni to Poros was a motor sail with very blustery conditions once we had gone through the gap with a broad reach in 20 knots + of wind.  Fortuitously it died as we approached the town of Poros and then moored alongside the floating pontoon.  So much space, a real joy to go along side.

During the weekend however the port police asked us to go stern to as there was a racing regatta coming in from Piraeus.  About 30 boats arrived which added a festive atmosphere, but reminded we cruisers of our more sedate sailing as one watched the participants pack away their Kevlar sails and spinnakers.  By 10.30am on the Sunday they were all off back to the big city of Athens.  Poor souls!  They were a very nice bunch of guys that we spoke to, and a sprinkling of pretty girls to add to it all.

Poros seemed quiet and bit soulless in comparison with Kilada and Ermioni.  Our favourite tavern Asteria Cafe was closed for renovations, but walking up into the old part of the town, we found the Platanos taverna which became our local.  Hidden underneath a plane tree, from which it derives its name, and reportedly the oldest tree on the island at 200 years old.  Well recommended and a delightful atmosphere in the small town square.

So finally we are all ready to depart Poros.  Wednesday 9th April.  As I write we are already half way to Kea with a windless day.  I mean windless!  On reflection we should have gone yesterday where the forecast of higher winds abated to F4-5, but madam wasn’t ready as she had her “whites” to take to the laundry.  So I can blame crew for diesel usage!!

But it never the less is a beautiful day at around 20C degrees, sea temperature of 15.7C, and we do around 5.5 knots at 1750 revs on the Yanmar with the main out optimistically to catch any wind.

The final hour we did catch some F3-4 wind from the south so we had a broad reach into the bay of Ormos Vourkari, tying up stern to at around 1600hrs. All unaided, so well done to the crew who nimbly jumped off with our lines.

The other thing that is truly amazing is that we received a good 3G signal all the way across, all credit to the Greek operator Cosmote.

(Sue again, I’ve had to tell the skipper that there is sadly no mention of how well looked after he is and the many scrumptious meals that have been prepared for him, sadly he won’t be eating tonight) To this I have to agree, a sad omissions. Many of the meals served onboard the good ship Super Trouper have been absolutely wonderful

Update from John & Colleen

Hi you two,

Sorry I haven’t kept up contact for ages; we are now back home in Lefkas and have had some big adventures in the last few months.

So to catch up, we were in Crete for about three months and in that time had all of John’s family to visit. It started with his oldest daughter and her boyfriend; they came to Gorgioupolis for 10 days. It does not have a harbour so we anchored off in a small bay for a few days but as soon as the wind picked up had to move to Rethminon, they came with us for the trip, oh boy! You think you get sea sick! It took less than an hour for both of them to hang over the side. It’s a good thing they were in a hotel and only stayed one night with us.

A few weeks of peace and a visit to the uninhabited island of  Dia off  Heraklion. This is where they found the original port for ancient Konosos and the snorkelling is really good, vis to around 35 ft and a lot of broken pottery on the sea bed. It is a really good place to relax.

On to the unfinished harbour at Malia. Malia its self is gross but the port is about 2km outside with one taverna and a few trip boats. This is where we found the bracket for the forestay was about to part, it could have brought the mast down if it had gone under sail, so we managed to get it welded as a replacement could not be found. Crete is very light on chandlers as there are not that many yachts about.

John’s son came for a week and we had a good time with him and also got a bit of sailing in with him. By this time it was the start of September so we crossed over to Santorini. Didn’t think too much of it to be honest and finding somewhere to go with a yacht is a problem. You can’t anchor as it’s too deep; only one harbour on the south and that is very full and not nice. You have to try to pick up a buoy most of them are taken by trip boats. We stayed 3 days just to say we have done it and then went north.

This is where it got a bit stressful, off the island of Sikinos the engine did not sound right and a bit later when anchoring it departed this earth in any useful form.

We managed to sail out of the bay the next day and got over to Ios, thank god the entrance to the harbour is large and we made it in without needing help. Then came the decision to re engine the boat. Luck was with us in the form of Kelvin who has I.B.A in Nidri an old friend. He ordered a new Yanmar 30 for us and had it sent over by ferry. The next 3 weeks were spent getting the old Volvo out re fabricating the runners and getting the new engine in, all the while tied to the harbour wall with the port police asking each day how we were getting on! Never asked for any money just wanted updates and were interested in what was going on. I don’t think they have ever seen anything quite like it. At one point we had the new engine inside the boat and the old one in the cockpit. The bow was pointing at the sun!

Never mind it got done and we finally left Ios on 15th October as we also had to wait for Garmin to replace the chip for the chart plotter that had given up and wiped it’s self just as we left Crete. Crossed to Paros for 2days and then set sail for Naxos. Set the course with the plotter having a great sail in about 18 to 20 knots on the Genoa and just about a mile out of Naxos harbour we found a badly marked reef and ran straight on to it.

Rising wind and sea, we had no choice but to call for help and got towed off by a boat from the port, lucky we are a strong boat and were not holed, just a bit batted about and with a few bits of gell-coat missing. This ended with a claim for salvage and 2 weeks of arguing with the men who came out. They make a lot of money out of these claims and there have been at least 5 incidents this summer. The insurance got us some help from a man in Piraeus who knows all the right people and he got it sorted out. They started at over €9000 and finished with €5000. The boat before us paid over €20,000! We could not get out of there fast enough.

I don’t think the Cyclades will miss us; we will not miss them and will not go back.

We finally got back here just before my birthday on the 22nd. It was the 19th Nov when we got to the Nielson pontoon in Nidri and my boys took our ropes; I have to say it’s good to be home and see them again.

John is now doing some jobs on the house but he has to have an operation in Jan as he has a torn tendon in his shoulder and it must be repaired. We are going to Bulgaria for Christmas for 4 days on a coach trip with some friends. The boat is in Akteo yard in Preveza and we will do the repairs in the spring, nothing to bad but all the keel bolts have to be checked and a little glass work.

I hope you are well and enjoying life, we really look forward to seeing you next year.

Have a great Christmas and New Year

 

Lots of Love

Colleen and John

Skiathos and Skopelos

From Switzerland we flew into Athens and then onwards to Skiathos, where Vanessa and her husband Wayne joined us. Then after a few days in Skiathos we all caught the ferry to Skopelos where we met up with Raymond and Julie (and crew) to amongst other things celebrate my beautiful wife’s big 40 birthday.

I’ll leave it to the pictures to tell the story

Time to catch up -Switzerland

Long time since updating my blog, so here are some images of the time we spent in Switzerland.

I have to say that  underlying all the beauty of the pictures were my endeavours to sort my back out with numerous visits to Osteopaths and Chiropractors all of whom only succeeded marginally….and weren’t shy in charging!!!

We never the less enjoyed the total contrast of the cool of the mountains from the heat of Greece. For Sue, her first visit to Switzerland, the beauty of the country and the uniqueness of the architecture was totally fascinating for her.

more to follow…….

Decision time..

With Nick and Emma having left and the passage to the Sporades delayed due the Meltemi it was time to take stock. We both felt that we needed a break from the boat after four months being on her. The pleasure was diminished and that wasn’t good. We had been through some pretty tempestuous times and the increasing heat and pretty constant winds were beginning to wear! Added to that was of course the increase number of charter boats and some times incompetent behavior of their Skips. My energy levels also seemed to be much reduced. Of course we had to be in the Sporades at the end of August to meet up with Vanessa and Wayne as well as Julie and Ray – so we needed a plan.

The key to it, after discussions with all concerned parties, was the very kind offer from our good friend Jo who offered her ski chalet in Switzerland for three weeks. The thought of the coolness and greenest of La Suisse was too much to resist. A complete contrast to Greece. We would then be land based in Skiathos and Skopelos and put ST on the hard in the yard at Kilada returning to her in mid September when we would decide our plans from there.

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Sue was working very diligently looking at places in Skiathos and Skopelos (don’t forget it’s her Big 4 celebrations on Sept 5) and I had every confidence that she would excel  in her choices…and so it came to pass 🙂

http://www.koulashouse.com/

http://www.ownersdirect.co.uk/greeceb/GR3376.htm

So off we went early on Tuesday 30th July heading around the corner to Kilada for our haul out.

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So once on the hard…. there was work to do. First thing that we noticed was some damage to the bottom of the rudder. This we concluded must have been during the storm in Mandraki when we got blown pretty close to the rocks we felt nothing at the time – not surprising….and there was no other recorded instance of grounding. But minor and easily sorted by the yard.

A major item was to dismount the bloody D400 Wind generator and its pole. To do this I acquired from the yard a movable scaffolding unit. I realized that it was a bit rickety so I was extra cautious but as I was completing the job and climbing off it – it basically fell apart and collapse on me. I thought as it was happening, that there was going to be a serious amount of hurt, and with Sue not there, my immediate thought was that I was going to be in deep shit!! However my guardian angel was obviously looking after me, and other than a glancing blow in the small of my back from a heavy plank and grazed knees I escaped without any injury.

We visited the small village of Kilada but we weren’t overtly impressed…not  one of Greece’s finest. Perhaps we have been spoil…but at least Sue found an excellent hairdresser so couldn’t be all bad.

Sue busied herself cleaning, washing items below deck and packing for our departure from the boat for some many weeks. Our final chore was to put on the substantial winter cover which I had couriered from Lefkada for the bargain price of Euro 55. It would protect the teak deck and fittings from the harsh summer sun. I had made a big deal about how difficult it was for me last time I did it on my own…but with the two of us it was a relatively easy job.

We hired a car all ready for trip to Athens to await out flight to Geneva early the following week. Breakfast before we left….. and before I knew it something strange was in my mouth of cereal. My top right crown and bridge had fallen out…and my lower back had become pretty sore to boot!!! They say age waits for no man.

But we closed up the back of the cover and off we went for the two and a half hour drive to Athens, very pleased to get away from the Med heat intensified by being on the hard, and to the coolness of a hotel room. And we hoped to sort out my falling apart body while we were the few days in Athens.

Greece is no place to be during the month of August.

Emma and Nick’s visit

7-22 They arrived much to mum’s excitement in the evening of 20th July and we found our way to the Poseidon restaurant for a wonderful dinner.

IMG_9512We had tied up on the floating pontoon quite early in the morning when there was plenty of space…but of course come the early evening some large 55ft skippered chartered boats tried to get into spaces only suitable for much smaller boats. There was one particularly belligerent skipper who was yelling the odds to skippers already moored up to change all their lines. Idiot!! There was a second similar yacht that was circling and when we arrived back he had forced his way in on our port side – had loosened my lines and in the morning I discovered he had taken off my port nav light. To say I wasn’t impressed was an understatement and I voiced it…then to add insult to injury he started up his generator at about midnight so that his guest could have air-con running. Could you “Adam and Eve it”

So we were out of there early the next morning after provisioning…with unfortunately the port line snagging up on the mooring ring as we pulled out – which pulled me over and the outboard (in the wars again) got snagged on the charter boat’s stanchion and ripped off the stop switch button!!!! We went and anchored in Neurion Bay for a day of swimming and relax and I sorted out the outboard with a MacGyver fix. Nick got the hang of the dinghy and outboard and ferried the girls around the bay……….. The original plan had been to go to Mandraki first for a visit to Hydra…yes I know. Again!! But the weather forecast was for fairly strong NW so Mandraki would have been open and exposed and untenable – but winds were due to abate in 3/4 days. So the decision was made to seek some shelter and go to Port Kheli and explore from there.

On Monday 22nd we had a cracking sail from Poros to just passed Dokos where the wind moderated. Although the girls were not so sure about the boys have fun in the wind and unfortunately Emma had Mal de Mer due to the seas being mean before we past through the island gap!!! We then jybed onto a starboard tack with Nick as the driver and he did a grand job and I trimmed. We were rigged initially with only a two reefed main (in deference to the girls and sailed ST pretty flat) but never the less recorded 6-8 knots on a broad reach with F5 gusting F7 winds. ST showed her real pedigree and Nick reveled at being on the helm all day – it was a real pleasure having another competent sailor on-board. We dropped anchor in our favourite spot at around 1500 hrs and all enjoyed a delicious swim followed later by a trip ashore to re-acquaint ourselves with  the Old Cafe.

The following day was the obligatory trip to Spetse on the ferry for the girls to do their thing. I found a sort of sheltered taverna (wind was pumping) and buried my head in my computer with coffees and later beer to while away the time. Nick and Emma certainly seemed to enjoy the beauties of the town. Then we caught the early evening ferry back to Port Kheli…all being relieved to see the unattended ST still where we had left her. But with an anchoring depth of 3-4 meters – a Spade anchor and 25 meters of scope out she wasn’t likely to go anywhere.

Nick had enjoyed his sailing so much that we hatched plan for him to modify his return date and sail with us towards the Sporades on Emma’s departure. It all looked good with him going as far as Chalkis with us…I did a forward check of the weather on GRIB and it at that time all looked good with the Meltemi moderating.

On Thursday we up-anchored and headed off in the direction of Hydra – motoring all the way and tied up with long lines ashore in Mandraki and got settled at about midday. Nick had a few challenges getting the lines tied off but we can blame the skip for drifting out some 🙂  But Nick’s Ocean sailing experiences there was not much call for taking lines ashore!!!

We spent two days there – doing the usual things although the first day we met up with Rudi, his girlfriend and her son. Rudi was our old neighbour in St Johns Estate in Cape Town and he was spending some holiday time in Hydra. We met him for lunch at the lovely little Taverna in Mandraki and then later that evening in Hydra. We old folks left at about midnight to walk back to the boat…with me grumbling most of the way due to a nagging back ache and a sore tooth. This was an omen for the future!! The youngsters stayed and booked themselves into a lovely boutique hotel for the night…where the following day Sue and I revelled in two endless showers and the cool of their air-conditioned bedroom.

Chilling…..and sailing with Harmony Bay

7-11 As we had a couple of weeks to fill before Emma and Nick arrived in Poros we decided that Porto Kheli was a great place to chill for some days. We contemplated changing the meeting point somewhere in the Cyclades but the Meltemi was beginning to assert itself and Emma being prone to sea sickness and not too keen on windy conditions we decided that that wasn’t an option. Also after the storms/broaches it seemed that we also had lost some sea going confidence ourselves. On another note earlier while in the company of Paul in Poros he came across and helped me test out the D400 wind generator. To cut a long story short the conclusion was that it was operating but unless one was in 20 knot wind plus then the amount of output doesn’t begin to touch sides on a recharging with ST’s power hungry fridge. A mutual decision was to look at solar panels for next season. But to me the obvious conclusion is to ensure the reliability of the FP genset with maybe also replacing the current engine alternator with a higher output Balmar unit. KISS

IMG_9482The boys with their to “beloved” D400’s

Bobby and Paul came through to Porto Kheli and then later we sailed through to Ermioni and Dokos. We had a couple of very enjoyable days exploring swimming spots in Ermioni as well as some bars!! Then we went and chilled in Dokos. After Dokos we parted company…Paul and Bobby going off to haul out at Kilada until September and ourselves off to Poros arriving on Sunday 14th July.

 

While awaiting for Emma and Nick to arrive we had to endure some irritating strong NW winds at anchor. The edge of the Meltemi getting at us. On one particular memorable day I was trying to fix a small but irritating diesel leak on the FP genset when I decided to give up after stripping the inlet connections several times – and to get hold of Takis a local diesel mechanic; that I had met with Martin when he was having his engine problems. I collected Takis with the dinghy in trying wind conditions got him back to ST where he diagnosed the need for new washers (which I hadn’t been able to source in Poros) and I returned him to land with a promise from him to return later with the washers.

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The wind strengthened and the chop became bigger and then a shrill whistle from a nearby Canadian  yacht alerted me to the fact that my dinghy had flipped in a strong gust with the outboard now suspended underneath !!!###***** After retrieving the outboard on-board it was obviously in a sorry operative state.

So genset non operative….and also impossible to row ashore to fetch the mechanic due to the wind strength. That is being up a creek without a paddle!!!

The day was saved however with a plea for help to our Canadian neighbour and surprisingly the lady of the boat (we dubbed her super woman) jumped in her dinghy and roared off in a cloud of spray to shore to collect Takis. He then not only fixed the genset (although I still do have a minuscule leak) but also calmly stripped the Honda outboard down while still mounted on the transom…. drained the petrol tank – cleaned the carburetor and drained and renewed the oil. All with a 20 knot gusting 30 knots wind whistling around him. I could have never have done it – for a start at least a few vital parts would have doubtless landed at the bottom of the bay.

Clea’s voyage

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The next day after Clea’s arrival we just anchored off in Naval Bay and chilled going by dinghy to our favourite taverna to introduce her to Thanasis and then later in the day to our favourite beach just off Naval Bay….typical Greek leisure day. Clea just lapped up the sunshine after the chills and rigors of Cape Town.

Saturday 29th June we set sail..or should be said with absence of wind motored to the tiny port of Vathi on the Methana peninsula and managed to squeeze ourselves in early in the afternoon.

Then next morning onto Epidavros …there was a fair gusting F5 as we left the harbour. Initially I unfurled the mainsail to two reefs and then with the wind beginning to abate went to a one reef configuration. All was well and we then unfurled the jib …next thing I knew was that we were laid right over on the port gunnels as an unseen vicious squall hit us from starboard and we broached. Unfortunately we had left the galley port hole window open so water gushed into the cupboards and stove. ST headed up into wind and a semblance of order was restored although the entire experience was very unnerving for Sue. She confided later that for her it was a worse experience than the other storms we had been through.

I have to admit that I just didn’t see it coming and it all happened very quickly with out any time to ease sheets…….but lesson well learnt when near land and I should have instructed the crew to keep a suitable watch for strong squalls.

So we motor sailed into Epidavros to calm nerves and found a good sheltered spot and went stern to onto the harbour wall alongside a British yacht that had been with us in Vathi. The following day we showed Clea the beautiful world renown Roman Epidavros theatre.

Then we returned to Poros dropped anchor in Neurion Bay but got chased out by a French Cat that had 80m of scope out (depth 8-9m) so went back to Naval Bay and later met up with Bobby and Paul on Harmony Bay who had just arrived from the Sporades. Thursday the 4th July we sallied forth for Mandraki bay to revisit our storm terrors 🙂 ….but in fact to show Clea the unique town of Hydra.

Evia and Clea’s visit

In preparation to leave ST and visit firstly the island of Evia, that Sue had for a long time wanted to visit, we arranged to moor her with Vangellis on lazy lines on the southern side of Poros in the channel exiting towards Hydra/Spetse. We also wanted to do a land based check out of the inner channel especially the narrow passage of Khalkis for our trip up to the Sporades in late August.

We were looking forward to some land based exploring and jumped into our hire car on Sunday 23rd June and headed towards Athens and then onward to the island of Evia. The weekend coincided with a Greek long holiday week end which initially we were unaware of until we tried for accommodation. To cut a long story short we were very disappointed with Evia; the southern part was pretty barren and hot and then on turning north the mountains were beautifully heavily wooded but absolutely nowhere to stay except for incredibly grotty villages with doubly grotty hotels. The lack of road signage was also a constant frustration especially after some 7 hours + of driving. My humour began to sink with the setting of the sun. Eventually we found a chalet type accommodation in Agia Anna. What a blessing a bed and aircon…to stretch out in. We stayed there for two nights and it was pleasant enough place.

Sue then found a boutique hotel for our last night in Loutra Epipso..a lovely stylish small hotel near the harbour; but it was so hot in town we luxuriated in the airconed room until about 1930 before we ventured out. Pitzas looking over the ferry harbour.  In the morning I chatted to a French boat moored alongside in the harbour about their experience getting through Khalkis and it was all pretty positive.

And then thus to Athens airport to collect Clea later in the day. On the way we stopped off at Limini and inspected the little harbour and again got chatting; this time to a British boat about their Evia inner channel experiences. Again good. As Clea’s flight came in late in the day we killed time at Athens Mall…..Just love it!!!!!!

Great excitement on Clea’s arrival and we then had a gentle motor back to Poros and welcomed her back on-board ST.

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Poros and Hydra

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I’m way behind on posting updates, maybe getting tooo much into cruising mode!! So this might be an abridged version

As anticipated we needed new domestic batteries and after some difficulty managed to source, via Ari the local fuel man, three from Athens. No recognised brand but manufactured in Korea and they seem to be performing well although we are some Euro 700 poorer :-). While on this subject I still haven’t managed to commission the wind generator and I am now running totally out of ideas. Everything checks out but no current delivered to the batteries. Thank goodness the Fischer Panda genset is behaving itself.

So we met up with our friends from Cape Town who have the boat Aubade, and enjoyed some nice time out at anchorage around Poros. On the 10th we all headed out to visit the lovely island of Hydra. The initial plan was to anchor in a nearby bay to Hydra town called Mandraki…but on taking a look see decided to go into Hydra port. We managed to find a good spot on the south quay and enjoyed re acquainting ourselves with the lovely historic town. In the mean time Aubade went into Mandraki and found a good spot to anchor and take long lines ashore.

The following day we decided to join Aubade in Mandraki, Martin assisted with getting our long lines ashore after anchoring and letting out all 60m  of chain in 15m depth. This turned out to be a real good move. We spent an idyllic day and evening there only marred by a Beneteau  55 charter by some Germans trying to come alongside us and not having a clue how to execute the maneuver. Eventually they buggered off to the other side of the bay and continued to embarrass themselves, eventually only holding themselves off with a kedge anchor.

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The 12th June!!! A day to remember

I still have PTS remembering the day so gentle readers (if there are any) I will be some what brief.

We walked to Hydra town in the morning and the girls enjoyed some pleasurable hours shopping while we boys enjoyed the coming and goings in the harbour and were pleased that we weren’t a part of it all.

But storm clouds were gathering over the main land so at midday we decided to beat a hasty return via a water taxi to our boats.

By this time we had been joined by a third Brit boat (Jeanneau SO 45) that made a big to do with bow thrusters coming in to anchor and eventually taking lines ashore. So the scene was set, three boats lines ashore in a small bay with an impending storm brewing.

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We were hoping that the storm would pass us by! A very un-seaman like decision.

Here is a sequence of events.

The storm hit..the SO 45 immediately lost its windward line and with it’s wind generated roaring bore down on us, caught our bow and then scrapped along our anchor chain. Much shouting and yelling…on hearing and seeing all this Martin dropped his lines anticipating that the pair of us would bear down on him. We held!! Aubade ended up entangled in a leeward fishing boat. The storm raged complete with lightening, high winds, hail and torrential rain. We held!! With only the bimini coming adrift on the windward side that was quickly lashed down. Sue acted stoically and was a great crew watching things that she knew I was not paying attention to….getting the washboard in so we remain dry below as an example.

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Some 30 mins passed and calm returned although there was a big swell running as a left over, making in difficult for Martin to untangle his boat from the fisherman. But there was local help at hand and after an hour or so normal services were resumed !!! The SO 45 had returned to the bay and free anchored, as did Martin a little later. We hardly got an apology from the SO 45 owner who turned out to be an ex Scotland Yard cop, he seemed totally consumed by the damage to his paintwork rather than any damaged that we may have suffered. Fortunately it was only two bent stanchions and some minor damage to a small section of the guard rail. Very quickly put to rights. The following day we recovered his long line plus chain, when we pulled up our anchor, it had obviously been far from secure and the chain just slipped off the rock that he had “secured” it to. We got a thank you but were again regaled about his damage and how he was going to make his insurers pay as he hadn’t claimed in 35 years of sailing!!

But the fun wasn’t over yet…later in the evening a charter yacht came in to anchor and take lines ashore and it went all tits up for them. So we politely suggested that perhaps they would like to put their engine on and clear out. “To be sure we have no engine” in the finest Belfast accent was the reply. What??? “All our electrics have failed” So we suggested that they get their foresail out and sail some distance away which they duly did. Anyway their electrics suddenly came to life a little later and sanity was restored. We later met them in the taverna and they turned out to be a delightful family.

Not so for our next encounter. No, despite night falling it hadn’t finished yet!!

Earlier on a Cat had come in close to the beach and dropped its anchor and what little chain they put out was in a pile. Then they buggered off to a nearby hotel for drinks. At this stage I have to declare their nationality. Yes, Germans again and as it later turned out very arrogant ones.  We had just got back to the boat after a lovely” storm supper” with Martin and Sue and I was having a quick chat with our new Irish friends..when I was advised “To be sure you have a Cat on your bow” I initially misheard but only a few seconds I saw the shape of this massive 55 ft Cat resting just off the bow and ensnared on my anchor chain. Did I yell and scream as did Sue in the direction of the hotel…Something to the effect that their f***** boat had dragged anchor and they better get their sorry arses back quicker than quick.

A RIB very quickly appeared and the Teutonic’s  scramble on board, fired up the engine and disappeared into the bay without even an apology, only a mutter about they would discuss things in the morning when I suggested in very clear terms what I thought of their anchoring and general seamanship. As it transpired they had no intent to discuss anything in the morning and were in the process of departing when we got their attention by suggesting they should come and say sorry..when that elicited no response Sue told them we would report them and they immediately returned trying to buy us off with a large crate of beers which we refused. Anyway enough of these rude arrogant sailors…

The one positive from the storm was that the boat and rigging got washed clean from all the remnants of the previous red Sahara rains and the teak deck had become pristine clean and bright.

So around midday on Thursday 13th we untied, up anchored and motored gently back towards Poros for some well earnt R&R. We went onto the floating pontoon so we could fill up with water. The dramas however were not entirely over as when Aubade was approaching the commercial part of Poros port the engine over heated and Martin was forced to drop anchor in a restricted area. The water taxi guys yelled and screamed and the Port Police were over him like a heat rash. Eventually he managed to get going again and got to the pontoon, where the Port Police again awaited him.

Anyway he eventually managed to get a mechanic to temporally sort the problem and advised the Police accordingly, so Martin could get his boat papers back that he had had to hand over early as they considered him a “danger to shipping” Poor Martin  really needed this after all the storm issues.

The joys of sailing……LOL