Guest blog – Sicily to Kefalonia

p9231743When I saw that email asking whether anyone would like to join the sail over from Sicily to Kefalonia I jumped at the chance, booking my flight down to Sicily almost before getting the go ahead!
So the adventure began….we actually spent a couple of days stocking up and sightseeing, it was great to see my old friends Sarah and Kim again and hope that Ian didn’t get too fed up with our giggles…..if he did he masked it admirably. After a day’s visit to Ragusa, a pretty town split between the upper modern part and the lower ancient part, a maze of little streets, churches, doors and steps, we were ready to go. Next day we got ready to leave the harbour, to my amazement I was at the helm steering us out of the Marina before I knew what was what! But we got out without damage. We had our safety lesson by Il Capitano and a demonstration of useful knots by Skipper Sarah, a subject destined for many a laugh later on when the knots were actually needed….my half-hitch was for a few days somewhat half-hitched but I did eventually become a bit of an expert at attaching fenders!!! We were told that this was the longest ever stretch of sailing so far only when we had left land and couldn’t change our minds!
Italy disappeared over the horizon and soon we were sailing into the blue. No chance of lightening the load as food was part of the out at sea experience. We had some beautiful meals arriving from the hold……often two breakfasts, magnificent lunches and evening meals, snacks and appetizers! But who the hell was it who ate all the chocolate????
Ian and Sarah managed the boat and we muddled around in between, it took me some days to get which way the ropes (I know Ian, that they aren’t called ropes) went around the winches….a phrase was coined “to do a Sheena” that is, to wind it round the wrong way!
p9161551Amazing that we managed not to get on top of each other too much in such a small space, for 72 hours at a stretch, even being joined by little Taylor Swift who flew in on her way down to Africa, perched on a bag in one of the toilets, fluffed up her feathers, tucked her head under one wing and slept for the whole night. She continued to follow us for most of the day after, hopefully finding her way eventually to where she was going.
img_1674After a lovely gentle sail across the ocean we arrived, tired but exhilarated, almost exactly 3 days later at Argostoli, Kefalonia where John (or was it Giorgo…..) with the long grey ponytail met us at shore. Long grey ponytails seemed to be the fashion in Kefalonia, we were spotting Johns wherever we went. That night, while safely moored, there was a big thunderstorm, I was relieved not to be rolling about on the sea as I staggered about trying to close my hatch.
Next day, late evening, Erin arrived for a visit. Unfortunately being last on board she was relegated to sleep in the cupboard while I luxuriated in the spare room, sorry Erin!
Then we were off again, this time 6 of us on board, but going round the coast of Kefalonia. We tried going into a small harbour but it was too shallow and we had to change plans and sail off to Zante, the opposite island, the winds were good and we raced across. Our port of call was Agios Nicolaus, a small unassuming little village whose claim to fame was some nearby caves and the ferry coming in. We were met as we arrived by Nicolaus, a little man selling oil, honey, olives, sage, currants, bread and cheese, the spice of life! He let us taste his wares and needless to say we bought a bit of everything and he went off with a huge smile on his face!
Next day we sailed back to Kefalonia stopping off for a swim in the middle of the sea, I was waiting for the dolphins to arrive but they didn’t grace us with their presence this time. We arrived at our next stop Effimia (I think) to stock up on wine and ouzo, a busy little place where we had to squeeze into a very tight spot, niftily managed by captain and crew! Getting on to land was a bit dodgy though as we looked longingly at the other boats’ long gangplanks in comparison to ours which needed a bit of a jump at the end to get ashore. Luckily we drank our wine safely onboard!
Next day we had a short way to go to our destination Fiskardo so we anchored in img_1725a lovely bay with transparent blue waters where Sarah passed on her fishing skills to her daughter and we had freshly caught sea bream for lunch. Erin for some reason was not using her right hand to wield the killing weapon and I had to look the other way, but the fish was delicious!
Over the bay another boy bonding boat had anchored too and the boys were skinny dipping and showing off their bods, not all worthy of being shown off if I may say so.
At the lovely Fiskardo we anchored on the other side of the bay and sent the young ones off in the dinghy to attach the long mooring lines. There was a strong current and some strong language as we all annoyed Oliver and Erin by shouting instructions like ROW ROW GO GO as they struggled in the current and Oliver’s bowline came astray (oh boy, was I relieved not to have such knot pressure). We eventually managed, only to see a boat full of Swedish girls come sailing in, one of them swimming in with the lines and doing the whole thing quite slickly. However, the wind HAD dropped considerably by then. We had a delicious meal at the famous Nicolas restaurant and the next day we swam with the fish that Sarah was going to catch later on and then we sadly left the boat and caught a bus back down to Argostoli, the airport and real life again.
Thanks guys for the BEST sailing holiday ever, so many laughs, and don’t worry (or perhaps do worry) because I will be back again!!!!

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