Having decided on the perfect weather window to get us across to Sicily, a further problem with the alternator meant that we missed the chance to leave when we wanted to. We then had to wait for a few more days to be sure of a three day window. Regrettably, this meant that we were not going to be back in MdR in time to see Gaye and Chris. Bloody boat and weather!
On the plus side though, it did mean that we could ask if Kim wanted to help with the crossing. She said, ‘Yes’, and within 36 hours was travelling to Athens and on to Pilos. We also met Carol and Paul on Swallow and Claire and Pete on Blue Vigil and had good times with them.
We were surrounded by ‘dead’ yachts that had been abandoned in Pilos. What a waste!
Ian was taken off by the port police because they thought he had been trying to remove some of the equipment on board one of the abandoned boats – as if!
On Monday 29th October, we explored a little more of the town with Kim and had our last ever gyros.
We provisioned up for the trip across to Sicily and then spent the afternoon cooking and getting ready to go.
We did not fancy these though!
The next morning we were up at 0530hrs and preparing to drop the lines. Ian started the engine as he had every morning since we had the alternator fixed. It wasn’t working properly AGAIN!
We rang Kostas who came out for a third time, to have another look and try to fix the problem once and for all.
He took the offending alternator away to repair it in Kalamata. Kindly, he offered Ian a lift to Messini as we decided to purchase a generator in case the alternator should pack up during our return to Sicily. This was our back up plan.
Kostas soon had the alternator repaired and was happy with everything. He is going to Sicily on holiday next week so we have arranged to meet up.
Having waved off Alice and Ian we awaited a suitable slightly less windy day to shoot across to the mainland. Meanwhile, I revisited the very interesting Milos Mining Museum to find out more about the rocks and geology of the island.
The mainland is a fair distance from Milos at 80nm; but the winds were favourable and we just hoped that the sea wouldn’t be too lumpy after the last ten days of strong winds.
We set off in the dark on Sunday morning (14th October 2018) and discovered that the boat next to us had laid his anchor chain over ours. We managed to resolve the problem quickly and, luckily, they were awake so we could tell them.
Off we set and had a fantastic sail across making such consistently good speeds that we arrived at our anchorage in the last remnants of day light. Not before being suprised by 40knot gusts off the forbidding Ak Maleas!
Next morning, we set off round to Limeni bay where we anchored and had a peaceful night.
The next hop was to be round to Methoni on the western most ‘finger’ of the Peleponnese but in the morning when we started the engine we noticed that the alternator didn’t seem to be charging the batteries.
Luckily, we were fairly close to Kalamata where most boat repairs can be undertaken so we started sailing north. We had a fantastic sail for about an hour and then the wind died down and since it was a beautiful sunny day we enjoyed pottering along.
Deciding it was time to crack on we tried to start the engine.
After I had come round from a COMPLETE melt down, we lowered the dinghy and attached it to the starboard side of the boat, put the engine on and pushed ourselves along at a 3 knots using the outboard motor.
Only 12nm to go… we made it… just as dusk approached.
It was relatively straightforward to steer into the marina, although we decided to go in bow first. On the way there, we had phoned repair people and tee-ed up appointments for first thing in the morning.
Vincent next door supplied a much needed glass of wine and we were beginning to relax. The next day, we celebrated Ian’s birthday with some new friends.
Soon, repairs were underway. Ioannis replaced the dead engine battery. Kostos took away the alternator and fettled it with new diodes. Ian had climbed the mast three more times to fix on a new tri-colour and anchor light and by Monday evening (22nd October 2018) we were all set.
We bade farewell to new friends on Fai da Te, Owl and the Pussy Cat, Lyra and Vincent, and sailed round in the cloud, mist and rain to Pylos and the brighter weather further west.
On arriving, we were dismayed to see that the alternator was still not performing as it should. A quick call to Kostos and he agreed to come the following day to see what the problem was. He soon had it sussed and we are now prepped and ready to make the big jump across to Sicily.
On Friday 26th at 0154h there was an earthquake measuring 6.4 – magnitude, 30 miles south of Zakinthos. I actually felt the tremors on the boat at 0158h four minutes later! It was a weird feeling being bounced up and down without the force of waves. Luckily no one was hurt and only minor damage occured.
Kim will arrive on Sunday 28th Oct to give us a hand and put her newly acquired Day Skipper Skills into good practice. Yeah!
We are really looking forward to getting back to our winter berth even though we will only have a couple of weeks to put the boat to bed before we set off to the UK.
With our new crew here to do all the work in the form of rope pulling and winching we were soon sailing along. It took us three hours to cover the 12 miles between Tinos and Syros. We sailed into Ermoupolis Harbour, Syros passing by the recently re-opened and working Nerion boatyard, at about 1700h and were pleased to see that Thannassis, the most stylish harbourmaster in the Med, was there to welcome us back!
We had a quick stride around this beautiful town and went out for dinner with the gang from Fly the Coop. Later, we were treated to a free Jazz Concert
in the pretty theatre which is modeled on La Scala.
We were up early the next morning because we had people to see. The previous afternoon, Ian had scooted across the bay to the boat yard to collect a fender that we had lent to a dutch sailor whilst we were in Tinos. By chance, Ian saw that our friend, Robert Brons, on Saquilla was once again back in Syros, too. Robert was not around at the time but later we contacted him by phone and agreed to meet up.
We also wanted to go and see Georgios and Stamatis who fixed the boat last year.
It was so nice to see Robert and catch up on all his news, if only briefly.
We bid fond farewells to Bryn and Jill and their gang the following morning and set off on a long sail south to Serifos. We anchored in the bay at Livadhi in winds of about 3kts. It was calm enough to have a wonderful BBQ.
Next morning, the wind had picked back up to the usual 20 odd knots and, as we attempted to leave the bay, the main halyard managed to get itself wrapped around the deck light that is attached to the mast. We freed it finally by using what I had thought were long-forgotten ribbon flicking techniques from my rhythmic gymnastics days.
So, we were off. We had a very lumpy sail directly downwind to Milos. It was very tiring trying to keep the sails filled and to cope with the wallowing. Alice and Ian kept us amused with comical quips and references;
The Genoa….’Do you know her?’
The Vang… Release Van Gogh.
Same ting, same ting…
We arrived and parked up on the town quay with a number of other boats waiting for a weather window to cross to the Peleponnese.
On Thursday, we explored the island by car. It has some of the best beaches we have seen in the Aegean. Once out of the wind it was lovely and warm. We visited the spectacular lunar landscape of Sarakiniko where layers of volcanic ash have been moulded and sculpted by wind and waves. There have also been galleries, carved in the rock, from when the ash was mined for its kaolin content.
Back on board we had energy for rustling up a Thai red curry and competing for the coveted title of Articulate Champions!
The wind seems to want us to stay put here in Milos but Alice and Ian had to make their way back to Mykonos. They caught the ferry to Santorini from where they can get back to Mykonos in time ready for their flight on Saturday.
We discovered that Alice and Ian Daggett would be arriving in Mykonos on the same flight as Bryn and Jill’s friends and family, so, thinking that it would be good if they could share a taxi and travel by ferry from Mykonos to Tinos to meet us all, we decided to connect them together.
However, the idea soon evolved into a ‘Challenge Anneka’ kind of event!
We sent Alice and Ian pictures of John and Cheryl.
We then told Alice that she would have to find them at the airport in Manchester or on the flight, by whatever means necessary. She would then have to introduce herself to them and gain their trust.
Since they would not know ANYTHING about the challenge they might, understandably, be a little suspicious.
We gave her snippets of information about John and Cheryl to help her convince them.
John and Cheryl could then explain to Alice and Ian how they could find us, since they knew where Bryn and Jill were.
On arriving at the airport, Alice and Ian happened to go into the same restaurant as John and Cheryl and immediately sighted their targets! Alice approached them as they tucked into their full English. After initially astonishing them both with her seemingly psychic knowledge, they soon established the common link. They then discovered that they were seated in consecutive rows on the plane!
They arrived on the ferry in Tinos at about 1600h, having had a very bouncy ride across in the strong winds.
We were delighted to see our most frequent visitors again. For once, the boat wasn’t broken, and sailing could well be the order of the day!
After a quick explore around the town of Tinos in the morning, where we saw devotees on all fours proceeding along the ‘Crawl-Way’ which is a carpeted track along the road. It takes them (albeit slowly) up to the icon of the Virgin Mary in the church. (Knee pads are available/essential!)
The icon is said to have healing qualities, for believers, obvs.
Along the street, there are many stalls selling masses of long candles and all kinds of other religious artifacts. Things like, plastic bottles to collect holy water; crucifixes; rosary beads; pictures; embossed metal plaques, etc.
We couldn’t quite believe how many people were there are on Sunday morning.
BUT, if you have crawled up the street to get there, luckily you get to crawl up between everyone’s legs to the front of the queue!!!
We departed with Ian and Alice at about 1300h as the winds had died down to a mere 28kts and SAILED all the way to Syros. The Capital of the Cyclades.