Monday, 10 July 2017

Life with Kai

We left Giali on Wednesday 8th to sail back to Kardamena to meet Kai on Thursday. The wind started off very light westerly, but soon swung round to the north and blew up so we motored the last few miles.

We were lucky to get the last place on the quay, exactly where we had been before.
On Thursday we pottered around until the evening, when Frank hired a people carrier for us all to go to the airport to meet Kai, Lin Priddy's granddaughter and her friend, who were all coming on the same flight from East Midlands. We drove back to Kardamena, dumped the car and the kids had a meal in the taverna Terazza by the boat.

We decided to leave Kardamena first thing on Friday morning because it promised to be very hot. We sailed down to Kamara in a good wind, the first time for ages we had had the mainsail up, and anchored off the beach.

Frank and Lin arrived soon afterwards. Kai was desperate for a chocolate pancake so we went on a long walk to find a cafe that had one, which turned out to be a very good one! On the way back Kai bought some suncream

 and some Ray Bans,

for 5 euros so unlikely to be genuine! Kai soon had his flippers out and was off.

Frank and Lin and the girls had a barbecue on their boat, while we cooked a big spag bol for dinner because there are no decent travernas in Kamara, and froze half of it.

We left early on Saturday morning, 1st July, sailing down to the southwest corner of Kos, then turning the corner and motoring north up the coast in a strengthening wind on the nose. The wind died as we rounded Kos and motored across to Vlikhardia, on the south coast of Kalymnos. When we arrived, with Frank following, there was one buoy free and an anchored boat had tied its stern to the second buoy. We asked him to cast the buoy off because we were swinging on to him, which he did, freeing the buoy for Frank.

Vlikhardia was stiflingly hot, with a hot wind blowing down over the mountains.

The sea was too warm to be refreshing and looked rather dirty and  Simon and Kai were stung by wasps, of which there were a lot. Altogether not the best impression of Vlikhardia, though we all had a reasonable meal in the Taverna Paradiso (apart from Frank, who complained that his stuffed chicken breast was the worst meal he had in the five years he had been going there), after Frank and Lin and the girls had come over for drinks.

On Sunday 2nd July we parted company with Frank and Lin, who were going to Emborios, and we motor-sailed up to Palionisos, having phoned Pothitos to reserve a buoy. Lucky we had, because there was only one reserved buoy free on his side. Ray and Carol were on a buoy just in front of us and joined us for lunch at Kalidonis.

By the evening there were 28 boats in Palionisos, on the 16 buoys and anchored.

Ilias had doubled boats up on three of his buoys, including two catamarans, with their huge windage, on one buoy. Kai said "Pothitos would never do that!" and when we reported this to Pothitos he agreed: "No, I would rather lose one customer than  two". Next morning the wind had swung round and dropped so the doubled up boats were all tangled up with each other.

We had planned to stay two nights in Palionisos, but our fridge was struggling in the heat and we thought we needed to get it fixed, and Simon was keen to get to Lakki to renew our DEKPA (cruising permit that has to be renewed by 31 August). We motored up to Lakki in an increasing headwind and got a place in the marina, after stopping for a swim at Merikhia. We had planned two days in Lakki, to shelter from the forecast strong winds, but this extended our stay to three days (although the wind was a bit less than forecast).

The temperature had dropped a bit and the fridge was working, it just couldn't get to the lowest temperature, so we decided not to bother with finding a fridge repairer, though perhaps we should get a new and more efficient compressor sometime. Kai went straight off to Costa's to get himself a pork souvlaki, though in the end got a giro. Simon went off to the Port Police to renew the DEKPA and was told that the man who does it was not there, so come back in an hour. After shopping he went back and found the man, who was talking to two other people who also wanted to renew. It turned out that they did not have any forms and had not had any for four weeks. I explained that we were going home until September, so we would miss the deadline, but he said not to worry - we will see in September, unless they have some forms next week.

While he was shopping Simon bumped in to Al at the cash machine, who recounted all the bureaucratic problems they were facing with their hotel registration and arranging social insurance for their cleaner. They were afraid that they were being led up the garden path by their accountant. As with our DEKPA, it is extremely difficult to comply with the law in Greece, which provides lots of opportunities for all kinds of shyster!

We all went for lunch at Poppy's, who was especially pleased to see Kai. For dinner Lin cooked her vegetable spaghetti, which is Kai's favourite.

Kai wanted to go and swim in the pool at Crithoni Paradise, but was not keen to cycle over the hill to get there, so he persuaded us to hire a car for a couple of days. On Tuesday morning Simon drove him over to Crithoni, where they swam in the pool, and Kai had a chocolate cake and Simon an ice cream at Paradisio in Agia Marina on the way back. After lunch we all went back to Crithoni, where Kai and Simon swam, then down to the beach at Pandeli for Lin to swim. For dinner we defrosted the rest of the spag bol.

On Wednesday we shopped and pottered around in the morning, while Kai slept. After lunch at Poppy's Kai went back to playing with his phone while Lin and Simon drove over to Xerokampos for a swim. While they were swimming Ray and Carol appeared in their dinghy, going back to their boat that was anchored there. Lin and Simon held on to the dinghy while we chatted, gradually getting blown out to sea until we decided it was time to swim back.

In the evening we drove over to Pandeli to meet Al and Kitty for dinner on the beach. It was really good to see them and we had a good dinner, until Kai started to panic that his phone battery was down to 10%, then 5%, then 3%. When his battery died we agreed to go back to Lakki, for us to sleep and Kai to stay awake half the night chatting to his friends.

On Thursday morning we set off early to motor up to Arki in the usual headwind. The wind was moderate to start with, but soon proved windier than on any of the previous days, peaking at 33 knots. The waves got bigger and bigger as we crashed into them, and in one instance drove straight through one, with water gushing over the deck. We could not run the engine about 2000 revs because we had the water-maker running and that is its maximum speed, so in some waves we stopped almost dead. Once the tanks were full we could switch off the water-maker and put on more power to get through the waves.

We had expected the Arki quay and anchorage to be full, given the strong winds of the last few days, because it is one of the most sheltered places to stop, but there were only four boats on the buoys in Marathi, three in the northern arm of the anchorage and the quay at Arki was half empty. As we motored in to Arki we turned around and saw another yacht only a hundred yards behind us. They seemed to have come from nowhere because we had seen nobody behind us all the way up - it turned out they were just coming across from Marathi.We got comfortably onto the quay, Kai woke up having slept the whole three and a half hour journey, and we immediately went over to see Nikolas, Carolina and the children - we had missed Carolina, who had just arrived, on our last visit.

We spent three days in Arki, which remained extremely quiet.

Kai spent a lot of time on his phone, though he did come out for meals, swam off the boat a couple of times and even came for a short walk. He was very agitated on Thursday because he was missing the Finham Prom and, more importantly, the after-Prom party with his friends. He spent half the night messaging, Whats Apping and talking to his partying friends.

It was extraordinary how few boats there were in Arki. A couple of boats left, a couple came over from Marathi, and one Norwegian boat arrived from further, but when we got ready to leave on Sunday morning, July 9, there was only us and one other left on the quay, and they were off to Patmos later.

The wind was still blowing strong so no tripper boats came, apart from Rena from Lipsi on Thursday, so the periptero, cafe and tavernas were doing very little business, when usually they would be very busy by this time. Nikolas said that he had heard that Patmos and Lipsi were also very quiet - there seem to be far fewer charter boats than usual, maybe because Turkish charters are a lot cheaper than Greek ones.

We left Arki on Sunday morning and motor-sailed down to Lipsi in a Force 4-5 northerly (we were motoring to make water).

When we arrived in Lipsi we saw that, indeed, the quay was half empty, when we had been anxious that there would be no room. We tied up and Lin took the washing to the laundry while Kai slept all morning. Lin and Simon went to the beach for a swim the afternoon. In the evening we went to KaI's friend Manoli's dad's taverna for a good dinner.

On Monday morning, 10 July, we left Lipsi for a fast sail down to Arkhangelos in a Force 5 northerly.

There were only a few  boats in Arkhangelos, and none on Georgios's buoys, so we picked up a buoy.

We saw Evropi going for her morning swim, so we swam over to the beach to greet her. The taverna was packed at lunchtime - Georgios had brought a boatload over from Partheni and a dozen punters from a gullet had gone over too.

Soon after we arrived we heard a lot of bleating from the goats. When we looked across we saw that two guys had come over in a dory to capture some of the goats, no doubt to take them to the butcher.

Kai was still asleep when we went over for lunch

so he rowed over to have some lunch later.

That evening Kai came to dinner at Stigam taverna, with his phone

We left Arkhangelos at 6.45 on Wednesday morning to get lifted out at Partheni, ready to leave on Thursday.

We hired a car for our last day and went for lunch at Poppy's

and then for Lin and Simon to swim at Xerokampos, while Kai stayed on the beach because he did not want to mess up his hair.

On Thursday morning we drove over to Aghia Marina to take the catamaran to Kos, from where we had a flight late in the evening. We stood up the front, cooled by the breeze, which turned into a full gale when we drove into a headwind approaching Pothia.

As soon as we got to Kos Kai was off to Macdonalds while we left our bags in the left luggage. We went to the wonderful Archaeological Museum, which is open at last after a major reconstruction and is beautifully air conditioned, then we had a bit of lunch.

Kai was very tired, having had to get up so early,

and was very annoyed when we woke him up to leave.

It was too hot to do anything, so we decided to go along to the air conditioned library in the marina, where we spent the afternoon, until it was time to pick up our bags, have some dinner at a moderately good Mexican restaurant and go to the airport. When it was time to leave we asked them to call us a taxi, but it seemed that all the taxis were booked. The woman in the beauty shop opposite eventually got through and told us that a taxi would pick us up at the top of the road in fifteen minutes. Lin was getting increasingly agitated as she was afraid we would miss the flight, but within ten minutes a taxi drew up and dropped a passenger off. It was not the taxi booked for us, but we hijacked it and got to the airport in plenty of time. Kai wanted to go straight through to departures, although we warned him that Kos departures was like the Black Hole of Calcutta at the best of times. It was indeed hot and jam packed, but luckily our flight was called early so we did not have to wait long in the lounge, though our take-off was delayed because there were a lot of planes queuing to land, having arrived early on the strong northerly wind. We landed a little late at East Midlands, where Andrew was waiting to drive us home to flop into bed at 2.30.

While he was with us Kai has spent most of the time on his phone

chatting to his friends most of the day and half the night, using about 3 gigabytes a day, but he has come out for meals, swum when the sea is not too cold/ too salty/ to far to walk, even played cards,

talked to us now and then

and even driven the boat a bit,

but it has been a real joy to have him with us now that he is slowly turning from a teenager into a civilised, though nocturnal, human being.