So we found ourselves back in Symi. Luckily, Erin and Josh were able to catch a couple of ferries to take them back to Kos. Soon they were winging their way to Corsica to jobs at a Marc Warner resort for the summer.
Whilst we organised our escape from Symi we were looking forward to a cheer-up visit from Alice and Ian. Once more, Alice and Ian’s visit coincided with engine problems and there was no possibility of them sailing anywhere with us. It was so lovely to see them. We were delighted that they had made the effort. They came at the height of summer temperatures. It was a stifling 40 degrees in the harbour in Symi. The water temperature in the bay was only marginally less hot. The breeze was barely registering on the Beaufort scale.
Desperate to cool off, we had the ingenious idea of buying a bag of ice every night to scatter at our feet in the cockpit. Cold ice bottles pressed to our bodies helped as we sweltered on the boat.
Delicious rhubarb gin and plenty of wine helped to anaesthetise us to the dreadful, loud and repetitive music emanating from the bar opposite the stern of the boat and disturbing the peace and quiet of the night until 0500h EVERY morning!!
We did get out on the water in the dinghy and to find a suitable spot for a swim and barbecue one evening.
We had a good time catching up with our mates and we are so grateful to them for coming to give us moral support and to cheer us up.
After their departure, Alice managed to track down the Ice Factory in Symi and organised the Ice Man to Cometh! He delivered a very welcome bag of ice each day to the boat at her behest! Thank you very much Alice and Ian.
As the days dragged by, we established a routine.
Up and at ‘em in the morning.
Check the boat is safe against the swell and surge that comes in with the arrival of any of the numerous ferries and cruise ships. The boat is rocked violently and pushed back and forth on her anchor and lines. Mast and spreaders can clatter against the boat next door if not properly aligned. The gang plank must be raised high otherwise it smashes on the quay and wrecks the sprocket to which it is attached on the boat.
Ian would start the day with a visit to Mr Ilias the Harbour Master at the port Police.
On his return he would often have to deploy ThunderBird Two to help charter boats undo their anchor knitting.
I would do a quick clean up inside the boat.
Then, taking a bottle of ice tucked under my arm, my hat on my head, my fan in hand, I would hop ashore to sit in the shade at the Axinos Café and concentrate on trying not to sweat so much.
Here I would sit, nursing an ice cold coffee frappe, and chat to Ioannis (John) who helped out at the café.
Ioannis is in his mid-80’s and has lived in Australia for 50 years. He has a house in Symi and comes back during the summer to see friends and family. He was a charmer and a joy to meet and to talk to. I enjoyed listening to his history and hearing commentary on life in Symi.
Despite being stuck here for nearly three weeks, we were lucky compared to our neighbouring boat that had been impounded for four years. It had been stolen and used to transport 70 refugees to Greece and was in a sorry state. I hope that the refugees had faired better.
Ian would return from the police and we would invariably sit and watch the passengers from the ferries troupe past on the ‘Parade’ until well after 1330h. Occasionally I saw this man on his donkey trotting on by.
Then we would head to the café on the corner and indulge in a Pita Gyros.
The heat saps the energy and so an afternoon nap would be required, followed by a few more jobs and then the early evening entertainment of ‘Charter Boat Cha Cha’. We would sit in the shade with a cold beer and watch them as they tangled anchors and collided with each other.
Some evenings, we took off in the dinghy to a little beach area around the headland for a swim and a cool off. We explored the village, attended a music and dance festival a couple of evenings and, ever hopeful, prepared for departure.
As pretty as Symi is and as kind and friendly the locals are, I don’t think we will return here any time soon, if we can help it!
We finally left Symi thinking that we would be back in the water within a week. How wrong we were!