Fresh from G.C.S.E. exams, our nephew, Sam Hill and his friend Rory were due to come and stay. We hired a car and went on a shopping expedition to Lidl and filled the whole boot and back seat with supplies. The next day we were in the observation lounge at Thessaloniki airport in time to see their plane land.
We whisked them back to the boat and gave them the most important talk of the day…how to use the heads, or toilet!
Not quite as straightforward as it is on land.
Only pee and poo go down the loo! NEVER put paper down the loo or you will be the one to fish it out! Use the manual pump GENTLY but firmly to flush and rinse Think about your levers. There are levers for ‘tank’, ’empty’ and ‘out’ to be used in combination with levers for ‘rinse’, ‘flush’ and ‘lock’. Rinsing is done with sea water which you are pumping in to the toilet bowl. In the harbour, use the loo on tank mode. Out at sea, use the loo in out mode. Use appropriate combinations of these modes according to your output! Always ‘lock’ the loo after use or water with siphon in and flood the bathroom.
Enough information for one day!
Next day, after a thorough safety briefing, we set off south aiming for the bottom of the middle ‘finger’ – Sinthnia Peninsular. We practised some man overboard manoeuvres under motor to get the boys used to handling the boat. The first rescue was of a child’s beach ball (Frozen themed to the boys’ obvious delight! They never did play with it!) There was even time for a spot of keel hauling. Once the wind got up we were sailing along really nicely but, of course, the wind was coming from the direction we wanted to go but gave us a good opportunity for helming and tacking.
Soon, it was clear that we needed a plan B and so anchored in the gorgeous bay of Paliourion on the bottom of the west ‘finger’ – Kassandra Peninsular. We went through the anchoring procedure, and how to ‘put the boat to bed’. Then it was chill time.
The boys enjoyed jumping in, diving and going ashore in the tender.
From this anchorage, we made it round the middle finger to a bay called Kalamitsi. We anchored here for a couple of nights.
Every day at sea we worked through the ‘syllabus’; the golden rule of ‘A place for everything and everything in its place’; knot tying; winch handling; rope stowing; engine checks; pilot guides; charts and course plotting; plus learning all the names of parts of the boat. A lot to take in. So, might need to go over the golden rule again in more depth!
We were very impressed that Rory already knew his knots and could even tie. monkey’s fist; that is a very elegant knot!
Gradually, we headed north towards the island of Diaporos which has lots of lovely anchorages. En route to Diaporos we spotted these huge white ghostly clouds in the water. At first we thought they were sting rays but they were shape changing so much that we realised that they were algae blooms drifting along in the currents. The boys bravely jumped in and swam with them.
We arrived at Diaporos and negotiated the narrow entrance to our chosen anchorage. We stayed for a few days soaking up the sun and swimming. The boys got into playing draughts, backgammon, whist, 21 and Uno.
It was extremely hot for those few days and that curtailed sea and sun activity until later in the day so there was a fair amount of sitting about trying to keep cool. We did have an evening out at a nearby camp site and not only did they have a taverna they also had a washing machine. So whilst I sneaked into the laundry, the boys diverted the attention of the staff in the taverna. Looks like they had a great time!
We managed to get through most of the syllabus but the wind was not favourable, as seems to be the case here – either there is too much or non at all! So there was a limited amount of sailing, but when it was good – the genaker came out to play.
We cooked on board and ate out at some great tavernas and the boys tried octopus, fish, mussels, aubergine dip, taramosalata, tzatziki, fired zucchini balls, kebabs, cheese, whitebait, sardines and Greek salad with the biggest olives ever.
But, sadly, no humble pitta gyros!!!!