Thursday, 27 June 2013

All at Sea...

Kalamos by street light.

Allen & Jean (still smiling)
 On arriving with Jean and Allen back to Lefkas we had a couple of days in the Marina and around Lefkas town before setting off to the wide blue Yonder.
Just to prove Jean does do sea water.
Sanny in drink!

 Firstly we went to Kalamos town on Kalamos Island to see George, who they fondly remember from our time here on flotilla in the dim and distant past.  As usual when we get together we just pick up where we left off the last time we saw each other, which is nearly a year ago now, although we do regularly talk on Skype.  And so being in a place like this with a myriad old shared memories together was bound to start the reminiscence juices flowing and stories of past times came flooding back.

We set off a couple of days later to have another sail around and got a call from Tony to say that there was windy weather approaching so instead of going to port Atheni as planned (an open bay and moored at anchor) we decided to go and pick up a fixed mooring at Spilia Bay, so we were safely tucked into the brothers Grimm for a couple of nights.

Although the wind had not passed at this time we wanted to move on a little and moved onto Atheni and moored at anchor but with a line ashore tied to a tree, the wind should not have been down this side of the bay but it was so we just bolstered everything up and sat it out.  At least now the temperatures are back to a more seasonal normal of around 28-30.  We have been having high thirties and even touching forty at times which has made it difficult to sleep at night but it's altogether fresher now.

We did have to reset our anchor yesterday evening as the constant tugging had moved us slowly over the day.  This time we forced it in until the boat engine couldn't move us and settled down for the night.

My new "Roger the cabin boy"
Today has been much more benign and the wind is now from the opposite direction although out in the open it may have only shifted a few degrees.  Such are the vagaries  of the Ionian weather patterns.

We will be on the move again tomorrow, all being well but as yet we don't know where, that's the great thing about it you can just wake up and then decide.

Jean has even been swimming in sea water which she doesn't normally do as she has a thing about fish, Hmmmmm, I think we may make a seafarer of her yet.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Jean and Allen arrive...

St. Andrews Church, Patras.
 Just a short blog this week and late again I know. We have spent much of the week converting our compact little boat into somewhere big enough to accommodate our guests for the next fortnight and as anyone who knows Sandra will have guessed cleaning Lesanda to within an inch of her life.  It wouldn't do to let someone find a fingerprint somewhere vital!

On Wednesday we went to Patras to stay overnight ready for picking up Allen and Jean from their flight from Pathos Cyprus to Araxos airport which is about twenty miles the other side of Patras.

The Airports location is certainly not somewhere you would stumble across unless you knew where to look, it is in the most agricultural region of Greece I have yet come across with miles of flat fertile land.  We saw hundreds of migrant workers harvesting water melons, potatoes and pumpkins by the articulated wagon load.  Most of the workers seem to be of Asian decent which doesn't surprise me at all it looked very hard work in forty degrees of heat and high humidity, not for the feint hearted and certainly not for the average Greek male!!
Main square Patras.
On route to Patras we called in at Messalonghi to have a look at the marina facilities there just in case we happen to want to stay whilst we are passing on our travels next year.  We got prices etc. for our boat and had a good look around, I think it would be somewhere we would consider as it's not too far out of the local town as we had been led to believe.

I can recommend the hotel we stayed at, Airotel Patras Smart.  Very modern comfortable and right on the sea front, with breakfast the room cost was €55, we were more than happy with it.

We thought while we were in Patras that we ought to have a look at Patras Marina which is located in the heart of the city so we set off walking down the quay side.  Two and a half miles later we got there, bearing in mind this is in forty degrees of heat, nevertheless we walked all the way back again although Sanny was looking all in by the time we got back.  Another walk out into the city centre for a meal in evening of around two miles round trip really made her day...NOT.  Especially when the Chinese restaurant we had been recommended was on half day closing as was the rest of the shopping centre which for once we actually needed as Sandra had broken her shoe.  So if you are thinking of visiting Patras don't do it on a Wednesday.

Anyway we picked up the other Yorkshire reprobates at the airport on Thursday afternoon and returned to sunny Lefkada where it was a positivity chilly thirty six degrees cool.

Hopefully more about our guests next week when we will be out and about on the high seas.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Birthdays, Weddings, you name it!..

Kite surfers on Milos beach.

The Birthday girl doing what she does best (eating)!!!
 Sorry for this weeks offering being a day later than usual but we've had an hectic week one way and another.  Before I go onto that I would just like to mention a little about the picture on the left. We came back from from lunch out the other day and we notice loads of kites flying on Milos beach as we approached so we decided to go and investigate.  It was kite surfers taking advantage of the strong winds we have been having and it looked like great fun, although I'm sure my glass back and energy levels wouldn't permit me to try it.  There must have been about fifty of them on a half mile stretch of coastline zooming and leaping across the water, it's a miracle no collisions occurred.
... and on her new jalopy!

Some of Sandra's "Oh Natural" creations.
 Wednesday day was a very special day for our dear friend Liz.  She is now officially geriatric at Sixty years of age.  I know you shouldn't mention a girls age but she is so proud of herself she won't mind it slipping out.  We had a great afternoon with them at Panagia.  Three boats had made the trip and moored in the bay, unfortunately we couldn't join them as "Sandra had a wedding"!!!  but we had a great time nevertheless.  There was mountains of food and drink at the taverna and they even loaned Tony the kitchen so he could cook Liz's birthday cake.  A delightful strawberry and cream sponge confection but at one point it did look like it might be a case of too many cooks....  Well done Tony, it's not many men that would actually cook their better half's cake.
...and her table swag.

Wedding this way, party that!!
 The other big event of the week was the wedding of Alison's daughter up at Vafkeri.  Sandra has been using this wedding as an excuse not to do some things for weeks now, as she had the flowers to do for a wedding.  I'm sure she was more nervous about it than the Bride and Groom.  So on Tuesday the work proper started and she spent all day making arrangements, bouquets, swags etc. with a very little help from me (she's artistic, I'm autistic).  Anyway the final touches were added on Thursday morning prior to the wedding and everyone seemed to be happy with the results so that's all that really mattered, you can relax now Sanny!  The wedding itself was fantastic event with a fusion of English and Greek in the ceremony.  The bridal procession was led by three Greek musicians playing traditional music and the ceremony had both the English and Greeks vows read.  Held in a truly idyllic location under the monastery at the edge of the village and I have to say Victoria and Luke seem like a very special couple, we wish them all the best for their future life together.
Being marched to the guillotine  Altar with Greek musicians.

The reception was held at Alison and Peters restaurant, "The Katoghi" and the feast as you would expect was excellent fare, I'm sure Alison would want me to thanks all those who helped prepare and wait on in the evening, you all know who you are so thanks.

White Beach provided the evenings entertainment and I must report that they are now much improved from when I last mentioned them earlier in the year.  They have added a lead guitarist which adds another dimension to the music, well done guys.
Bride and Groom with the bridesmaids

We left at midnight because I have an habit of turning back into a pumpkin, and also we were worn out but the party was still in full swing.  We met some very nice people during the day and wish them all well but especially Victoria & Luke and their families.

Next week we shall be going to Patras and our bested buddies arrive to spend some time with us, see you all then.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Meganisi and back...

Moored up with the fishing boat after a wet crossing.

Spartochorie nestling above the yachts.
 Saturday this week we attended the coming of age party of Tim he was sixty coming on eighty five, and Anna held a surprise party for him at Vlicho yacht club.  It was of course the worst kept secret of the new millennium but Tim acted with due discretion as though the whole thing was an entire shock.  Happy birthday Tim, things can only go downhill from here onwards.

Sunday Morning and Sanny and I had planned to go to Spillia bay on Meganisi island for a few days R&R.  When we got up it was raining cats and dogs with thunder rattling around the hills so rather than risk upsetting her with a rough passage we decided to stay put in the marina.  All things which normally get stowed when we move were put back into there normal living positions and we settled back for a day of watching telly while the rain came down.  Then it stopped.  Sanny says, it's stopped, shall we go!  The sun came out and breaks in the clouds begin to appear, so we quickly disconnect the mains supply and cast off.   Just clear of the Lefkas canal, about 30 minutes or so out from the marina and the heavens opened again.  It throw it down for about an hour or so until we got to Scorpios island, we were cold and wet to the skin but then the sun broke clear again we carried on for the next hour or so to Meganisi.
The view down from Spartochorie

Deb, Jez, Sanny & I having a meal at the brothers Grimm!
Spillia bay is a peaceful and idyllic location with the beautiful village of  Spartochorie towering above the bay.  We last visited the place in a yacht seventeen years ago on floatilla with Allen and Jean and we moored very nearly in the same place.  It has altered in that time but is still very much a haven of peace and tranquillity.  We spent three days there and met some wonderful people, what an eclectic mix life throws at you when abroad on the waters.  We had a meal out in the village on Monday night and met a couple there on holiday and he tested condoms for a living, well not just condoms but all sorts of other things as well.  Some people get all the good jobs!  Tuesday Deb and Jez came by, so we went out to the brothers Grimm for a meal that night.  The Brother have the taverna nearest to the mooring at the end of the bay, they are sometimes referred to as "Tom & Jerry" and they have not spoken to each other since biblical times but they still successfully run the business together, only in Greece.

We had a walk across the island to Vathi and back while we were there, this is a very easy five miles as it follows the coast around and thus only undulations and not mountains to climb.

Home now for a rest for a few day before Sanny gets her knickers in a twist whilst preparing for the wedding of the year which she has been using as an excuse for the last decade or so.  more on that next week (maybe Friday as the wedding is Thursday) methinks.