So here we are, to para-phrase The Beatles, Back in the MddR!!!
We are loving the community feel and the gorgeous November weather.
On Saturday, Sheena, a great friend from uni, who lives in Rome, came for a quick weekend visit.
We had a wonderful time catching up with her and phoning Anne, Trish and Clare, our other Brudenell Avenue housemates from 2″1981-84!
Sheen had to leave on Monday and so we cracked on with some cleaning detail!
Laundry; in the new mini washing machine!
Polishing; all shackles, blocks and pulleys.
Oiling; anything that can move.
Taking down; all sails.
Removing lines and ropes; Running mousing lines instead of halyards and sheets.
Scrubbing; the bimini and sail bag.
De-barnacling: the dinghy.
Fixing; De-rusting and cleaning the bikes.
Bilges; cleaning and disinfecting.
Kim has been a model member of crew. She has cracked on with allocated jobs with gusto and been a great giggle to boot. In amongst, we have been to the beach, the market and to have a fabulous burger lunch at Burger Art!
On Wednesday 7th November Kostas and his friends came to pay a visit.
So far we have had happy hours, coffee mornings, rugby internationals, drinks next door, dinner with Di and John, trash Monday beach cleaning, a presentation about sailing in French Polynesia and much more. It’s a very active community here.
Now we have less than a week left to prep the boat for winter, socialise with all our MdR friends and get our heads ready for our winter season in the Sutski chalet.
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.
Porto Turistico Marina di Ragusa, Sicily, without a hitch and were pleased to see friends and neighbours from last year. Our arrival coincided with one of the twice weekly happy hours at the Stella Marina Bar so we met old and new friends that night.
Some days later, the Porto Turistico hosted the All-Italy Laser Championships. The first challenge was negotiating out from between the pontoons, heading for open sea.
Since arriving back, we have been full-on busy with boat jobs; fixing, replacing, renewing, cleaning, servicing, removing, repairing and storing.
We have had visits from Alice, Ian and Jon. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to sail anywhere (even if the weather had been suitable) because the sails had already gone off to be repaired.
However, we were able to explore more of Sicily. Touring around to Syracuse, Modica, Scicli, Palazzallo Acredie and Ragusa Ibla – beautiful cities with stunning baroque churches and buildings.
We also drove out to Agrigento to the Valley of Temples and were suitably impressed by the stunning Greek Temples there, which are some of the best preserved in the Med.
We joined a walking group and enjoyed a couple of noisy walks in the surrounding area with forty chattering Sicilians.
I also went olive picking again and have my own bottle of freshly pressed oil from my olives, ready to open in the spring.
Ian welcomed back his road bike with open arms (thanks once again to Nick and Paul) and has been out on it a few times. He reports that it doesn’t seem to be getting any easier each time.
We also enjoyed a few days in Rome, with my old friend Sheena and her family. We walked all round Rome and saw all the main sights and some little hidden gems with our super guide Sheena, who has lived in Rome for 30 years.
Then, it was back to the boat for a few last minute preparations before heading back to the UK for a couple of months where, for the first time in a while, all four of us Mouldings are to be in the same country at Christmas.
So, yes, we are going to be living back in Yorkshire. Staying in a cottage – 26 Linton Falls until the 12th February 2018.
We hope to catch up with as many friends and family as we can. Do pop in if you’re passing.
In the meantime, we wish you a merry Christmas and a very happy and healthy new year.
Engine Hours 319; Total nights at sea – 6 Nights anchored – 92; Nights on a town quay or in a marina – 72
Nights in the boat yard – 9
Number of guests – 21 – Bill, David, Ang, Lizzie, Alice, Ian, Sam, Rory, Bryn, Jill, Louis, (plus the rest of the family for dinner and drinks,) Jane, Alice, Ian, Erin, Josh, Keira, David, Michael, Alice, Ian
The boxes finally arrived after having had their own personal ‘Giro d’Italia’ – having being sent to a marina in Reggio Calabria on the mainland, by mistake. So, with them safely stowed, it was time to set sail. Ian handled the boat superbly as he maneuvered out of the marina with the marinero guiding us safely out. (There had been an incident recently where a boat went aground so everyone was being super cautious.)
Heading 300nm East.
En-route, the engine suddenly stopped spitting out water with the exhaust and the bilges filled with blue coolant. This was not good. Luckily Bill has a mechanical know how and between them, he and Ian had the problem sorted and the engine going again! It could have been a lot worse.
On the way we had two visitors, a gold finch who slept on the book shelf all night and a baby owl, no less than 60 miles from land, who had a brief rest on our dinghy.
We arrived in Argostoli at 0300hrs, parked up in the pitch dark and crashed out. In the morning, Bill left us and we picked up Lizzie and Ang. By noon we had set off for Zante to meet up with Bryn and Jill on Fly the Coop for dinner. After a slap up breakfast in the morning we bid them a fond farewell and we went our separate ways for the time being.
We began the next leg of our journey aiming to get the Heane family to Aigina. Our first excitement was to sail under the Rion-Antirion suspension bridge – the longest suspension bridge in the world with a span of 2.252km. We had to radio the bridge traffic personnel to ask permission to transit under the bridge. We were given clear instructions to transit under the central arch. ‘Keep two pillars to your starboard side and two pillars to your port side.’ We had air clearance of at least 20m where we sailed through. The vehicles on the bridge looked like little dinky toys as they passed overhead. It was quite spectacular running before the wind with the headsail only and achieving an impressive 8 knots of speed.
We had a pleasant stop in Galaxadhi, from where we were able to visit Delphi and then we only had one more overnight stop before going through the Corinth Canal. (See earlier posting of Ian’s time-lapse video.)
The strong winds from earlier in the week had died down and we enjoyed a gentle potter down the canal taking a slice through the history, geography and geology of the area. We paid €225 for the privilege. €70 per mile.
We were able to squeeze into a berth on the town quay in Aigina and had a fabulous meal from a restaurant near the fish market. Next day, it was time to bid farewell to the Heanes as we set off towards Skiathos to meet up without next visitors – The Daggetts!