Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Winding down

We motor-sailed down from Palionisos to Kos on Tuesday 13 September to pick Sam up. He got in that evening so we left on Wednesday morning to get back to Palionisos before the forecast stronger winds set in.

Sam was climbing in a couple of days, so he took a picture of the rockface.

With the wind forecast to go on increasing we decided to leave next day for Emborios, on the northwest corner of Kalymnos. Since the wind was a solid Force 5 on the nose, we motored up the East coast of Kalymnos, but once we turned the corner we unrolled the genoa and had a good sail down to Emborios. Sam insisted on getting every once of speed.

We got to Emborios a bit before 11 in the morning and picked up a buoy. 

Since the wind was gusting round the headland we put two lines on the buoy to be more secure.

We went ashore for lunch at Costas's taverna, since it was his buoy.

Next morning we went for a walk, to try to reach the old church (or warehouse? Emborios was once a trading centre) on the hill to the East of the town, but we could not get through the walls and hedges that blocked our way.

When we got back we moved to a vacated buoy closer in to the shore, because it looked less exposed so we (or at least Sam in the forepeak) would have a more comfortable night.

After lunch at Artistico, to whose buoy we had moved, we spent the afternoon swimming and exploring in the dinghy. That night was still bumpy, but there was a splendid full moon.
On Saturday 17th September we went in the dinghy to the next bay to the East. We had lunch at Costas's and Sam then got a taxi to join his friends for a week's climbing. We motored up to Lakki to say goodbye to our friends and to get ready to lift out. Soon after we arrived we saw plumes of smoke and then flames shooting into the sky from Lepida, where the hotspot is, on the other side of the bay.

Water planes soon appeared to try to put out the fire.

Two planes made one pass over the fire and went away, but that seemed to be enough and the local fire brigade was then able to deal with it. Nobody was injured and no houses burned. The fire started by the new water treatment plant and at first made a thick black cloud, which looked as though it was oil burning. The locals claim that the fire was created by refugees from the hotspot having a barbecue that got out of control. The refugees claimed that it was started by local provocateurs.

Bob and Lydia arrived to stay in Pandeli on the Saturday. They came over to have dinner with us at Ostria on Sunday. As it was quite windy and we had a lot to do to get ready for launching we put off taking them for a sail until we took them with us to Arkhangelos on Wednesday 21st, where we were to stop overnight before lifting out on Thursday morning. We had a wonderful last lunch at Stigma.

Tassos took Bob and Lydia to Partheni, where they got a taxi back to Pandeli, while we went back for a last dinner at Stigma.

We were up early on Thursday morning to get on the buoy by 8 am ready to lift out. There were already four boats waiting on buoys when we arrived, but we were called first, much to the indignation of a French yacht, who had already cast off their buoy when they saw the crane approaching.

We had a car while we were in the yard, so that we could do our shopping and go to Lakki to say goodbye to all our friends. We had dinner at Ostria with Keith and Louise on Friday. On Saturday we had lunch with Bob and Lydia at Zorba's in Pandeli and dinner with Al and Kitty at the Alinda Hotel.

We were flying to Athens early on the morning of Monday 26th September, so on the Sunday we went to Lakki and said goodbye to everyone in Pikpa and said very emotional goodbyes to everyone in the villa, who were themselves soon to leave. Manal and Majd and their family were going to Chios to stay with friends they had met when they arrived there from Turkey, and Zeinab and her family were soon to go to Athens.

Manal, Lin, Dana and Luna



Manal and Dana
We then went round to the house, for more goodbyes.
Nagm, Lin, Mayson, Simon, Mohammed, Aya, Mones and Tamr

Aya, Mayson, Anas, Mones

Simon, Nagm and Lin

We went for lunch at Dimitri's To Steki in Alinda, where Lin did her final bit of sun-worshipping before going back to the yard to get ready to leave for Athens next morning.

We arrived at Lena's in Palaio Faliro at midday on Monday and were flying home on Tuesday evening, but we had not seen the last of our Syrian friends. We had sent messages to our friends in Athens, but had received no replies. When we woke on Tuesday morning there was an audio message from Ahmad to say that he was in Athens and they would like to meet us. Ahmad had said that they were near Omonia, but we did not know precisely where they were. We had arranged to see Nikos at midday on Tuesday so we set off early by taxi. Lin was all for touring the streets between Omonia and Victoria in the hope of seeing them when we managed to get through to Ahmad and arranged to meet them outside Hondos on the corner of Omonia Square. When we arrived at Hondos they were nowhere to be seen, so Lin set off round the square to look for them while Simon called Ahmad. 'We are here', said Ahmad and Simon turned round to see the whole family. We went to a nearby cafe for drinks and hugs
Samir, Lin, Ahmad,  Haven and Sanaria

Samir, Lena, Sanaria, Lin and Haven

Then they took us back to their apartment. Their dad in Germany was trying to arrange papers and was managing to send them enough money to live, but they were desperately hoping to get to Germany soon.

We said our tearful goodbyes and went on to Nikos, who was much better than when we had last seen him. Just as we were leaving to go to the airport, Lena dropped in so we could see her before we went home.

Another year over, more new friends and tearful partings, more to look forward to next year!