Saturday, 27 August 2011

Last week of the family

We were stuck in Patmos by strong North winds, but everyone was happy to sit by the hotel pool and swim now and then, while Kai found he could use the computers in the hotel and play on their Wii.  We ate out one night, where Charlie enjoyed his dinner:

The wind had dropped enough to leave for Arki on Sunday morning, though it was still a brisk 25 knots most of the way, close reaching.

We found a good spot on the quay in Arki and Kai immediately made some new friends, particularly Elian, a Belgian boy of his own age and temperament.
We had dinner at our friend Nicolas's taverna to find that his Polish girlfriend was back in Poland expecting their baby. Charlie, as usual, stuffed himself with bread and his favourite kolokithokeftedes (courgette croquettes).
On Monday Charlie and the grownups went round the corner to the beach,

while Kai went fishing in the dinghy with Elian and four Italian friends.

 We had planned to go to Lispi for the big festival on the Monday so that Kai could do some Greek dancing, but we decided that we would all rather stay in the peace and quiet of Arki, where Kai was happy to play with his friends. Jade and Amie found some kittens

On Monday afternoon Kai and Elian went off rowing in the dinghy to find a good spot for fishing,
but they learned that it is much easier to row downwind than to row back, so they had to tie the dinghy to the rocks at the bottom of the bay and clamber back over the rocks.
Later in the morning a fisherman came in with a 45 kilo tuna,

which Kai and his friends watched Nicolas gutting, and Lin and Becky had fresh tuna for dinner.
We left Arki for Lakki on Tuesday morning making good speed with a moderate north wind and the cruising chute. Kai watched a video

and read his Diary of a Wimpy Kid
The girls slept while Charlie played with the iphone

Becky sunbathed
and Andrew tried to catch a tuna.

On Wednesday morning we sailed down to Pothia,
for the visitors to take the ferry over to Mastihari. In the afternoon we went to the town beach, which was pretty mucky and the sea was too warm to be refreshing, but even the girls swam.

Everyone was up and ready to catch the 8.30 ferry on Thursday morning.
and we said goodbye.

Our visitors spent the day in the Mastihari water park, where they had a great time, before going to the airport for the evening flight home. Lin and Simon decided to head straight back to Lakki, because Pothia was too hot and busy to spend a couple of days cleaning. We had no wind until we rounded the corner of Telendos, where we were suddenly hit by 20-25 knots of northerly wind, with full sail. We rolled up a bit of genoa, but did not bother to reef the main because we did not think it would last, but in fact it kept blowing all the way to Lakki, much of the sacrificial strip of the genoa becoming institched as we rolled it up, so the first thing to do in Lakki was to send it off to the sailmaker for repair.
On Friday morning we slept in until 8.30 and were disappointed not to wake to Charlie's chuckles. Although we can rest at last we are already missing everybody - especially Charlie's laugh and Kai's enthusiasm.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Full House

We ended up spending three nights in Lipsi with Kai. On Saturday we had a hot walk over the island to a rocky beach with beautiful swimming. Luckily we hopped on a bus back.

Kai made some new French Swiss friends and on Saturday night there was another festival - Kai dancing until 12.30, when we managed to drag him back to bed.

On Sunday we went back to Lakki so that we could clean up the boat ready for the arrival of Becky and co and for Kai to play with Dionysus and Kosta, the children of Vassili, the harbour master. Unfortunately Kai discovered that the marina cafe had a Play Station behind the bar, on which he spent all his pocket money and then got credit from the cafe to keep playing. He was such a good customer that they gave him some time free as well, so we had a heavy struggle to get him to do anything else.

The new outboard arrived on Tuesday, giving us just enough time to start running it in. It is a vast improvement - Lin can even start it now and Kai is happy driving it.
We left Lakki on Wednesday 10th to go down to Kos town to pick up Becky. The wind was getting up and by the time they arrived on Thursday evening it had reached a full gale, which was forecast to continue through Friday. Becky and Andrew arrived with Charlie, Jade and Amie late on Thursday evening and we all huddled in the saloon for a takeaway, after toasting Becky and Andrew's engagement,

while the wind howled outside, with a beautiful sunset.

Luckily we managed to stay an extra night in the marina, while loads of people were being turfed out to make way for the returning charter boats, some of whom had a bit of trouble getting in.

It looked better on Saturday morning so we set off for Lakki, motor sailing north-west into a north wind with a double-reefed main, with Charlie happy in his car seat.
  It seemed fine for the first hour or so, but then the wind got up to a solid force 6 and the seas built up so we rolled up the genoa and motor sailed under main alone, though everybody was increasingly miserable, with some of our visitors being sick and the rest feeling bad.

Everyone was very relieved to get to Lakki and to have a day to chill out.

Kai was not on his best form when told that he could not go on the Playstation, and in his fury tore up his last five euro note and threw it into the sea. Becky recovered half of it, but Kai could not persuade the cafe to take it, so he decided to burn it.

We planned to stock up at the shops on Monday morning and go up to the anchorage at Arkhangeli, forgetting that Monday was Paraskeli and all the shops were closed. Fortunately Simon met the old mad who runs the grocers passing in the street and asked him if his shop was closed. He said it was, but he opened it just for us so we could whip enough off the shelves to keep us going and we got to Arkhangeli for Monday night, finding our favourite anchoring spot free and having a gentle afternoon swimming and running-in the new outboard. Jade and Amie summoned up the courage to jump in to the sea from the boat.

Charlie had a bit of a fever and we had run out of Calpol, so we decided to go straight to Lipsi to get to the pharmacy, getting a nice quiet spot on the end of the quay.. We got some Greek Calpol, but Charlie still had a fever so Becky and Andrew took him to the doctor, who checked him over. Kai met some old friends and made some new ones and stayed out dancing past midnight each night, while the girls searched in vain for some decent night life.

On Thursday morning, with stronger winds forecast for Friday, we sailed over to Patmos in the (vain) hope of finding more excitement for the girls. We had a fast reach with some chuckling all the way,
some keeping watch,

some sunbathing,

some keeping guard

and some still sleeping.
In Patmos the girls found no exciting night life, but we did find a hotel swimming pool which Charlie loved, and along the quay was Alinda V, an Alfred Mylne ketch built in Glasgow in 1934 and recently completely refitted ( that is what I call a real super-yacht.
On Friday morning Becky, Andrew and Kai took the bus up to the monastery and walked back down, though they could not find St John's cave. 

Friday, 5 August 2011

Strong winds

On Monday morning we sent the outboard up to the yard for repair, but they reported that it needed major work doing and advised us to get a new one, so we ordered a new Suzuki 6hp four-stroke at a ridiculous Greek price. It was specially annoying because we had intended to get a new two-stroke inTurkey, where they are still sold and we could get the tax back, but that is life. When the outboard arrived on Wednesday it turned out to be a long shaft so they had to send it back.
Kai played with Dionysus and Kostas on Monday and they discovered that at the back of the cafe was a PS3, so Kai invested this week's pocket money in playing on the PS3 with his Greek friends. When his money ran out they let them go on playing free, and of course Kai decided that he wanted to stay in Lakki for a couple of days, supposedly to play with Dionysus and Kostas, but most of the time playing with them on the PS3. Lin and I could stand no more of is, so we decided to leave on Wednesday morning, though the forecast was for northerly winds force 6-7, so our options were limited.
We sailed round to the other side of Leros, to Vromolithos, which we naively expected to be sheltered. We anchored in the most sheltered spot, only to be told that we had to move because this was the swimming area. We anchored at the other end of the bay, with a kedge out from the stern to keep us off a moored fishing boat, and Kai went up the mast to reattach our flag halyard, which had come down when the string on the old Greek flag had broken.

The wind got up in the afternoon and the fisherman came by to check his boat. He was pleased to see that we had a kedge out to keep us off his boat, but insisted on relaying it for us and warned us that the holding was bad there as the sand was very soft, but both anchors were buried deep in the sand so we thought we would be OK, but we decided to eat on board rather than going to Dimitri's taverna.
We set the depth alarm and went to bed. Lin woke up to the howling wind to find that we had swung very close to the fishing boat and the depth was down to 2.5 metres - the alarm buzzer had not worked. When we pulled on the kedge we found that it came straight up - the fisherman had dropped it on a thick bed of weed - so we decided that we had to reanchor, eventually finding a comfortable spot after one failure, though we also found that we had a loose connection in the nav lights - more things to fix.
Next morning the wind was still blowing at 25 knots in the anchorage, so we decided to go up to Lipsi, motor sailing upwind in a steady force 6 with a double-reefed main and no genoa in big seas, arriving at Lipsi and getting on the quay at lunchtime. Kai soon made some new friends on the quay and disappeared until dinner time. After dinner he shot off to play football with his German friends. When we wanted to go to bed Simon set off to find him, but another festival was under way, with music and dancing. Simon dragged Kai away and as we got back Becky phoned to say that Andrew had asked her to marry him and she had accepted, so there was much rejoicing and Kai was determined to celebrate by going back to the festival and dancing until midnight, when we eventually collapsed into bed.