Monday, 23 October 2017

end of season

Annie arrived on the Superfast ferry at 10.30 pm on Thursday 21st September. Unfortunately it was a bit windy and Annie does not like a bumpy ride, so we stayed in Lakki for the weekend. On Friday we pottered around Lakki and Lin and Annie went for a swim on the town beach. We cooked a prawn saganaki for dinner on board. On Saturday we hired a car for the weekend. We spent the morning on the beach at Xerokampos, which Annie loved, and had lunch at Aloni. After lunch we drove to Belfouti, but it was quite windy so we decided to try Gourna, which was equally choppy, so we went instead to Merikhia beach, where Lin and Annie swam, though Annie found it difficult getting out and almost pulled Lin in when Lin helped her. We went to Ostria for dinner, where we saw Mary and her new baby daughter for the first time. 

Richard was having dinner with Mathieu, Claus, Sherry and Carsten’s daughter. Mathieu had been sailing in company with Carsten when Carsten fell on his boat and broke his hip. He had to be airlifted to Germany, so Mathieu had arranged for his boat to be lifted on the south of the Peloponnese and Mathieu had sailed back to Lakki with Carsten’s daughter and his dog, Paul, arriving this afternoon. Mathieu was going to lift his boat, take Paul and Carsten’s daughter to Samos to pick up Carsten’s caravan and drive dog, daughter and caravan back to Germany. One of the greatest pleasures of cruising is that people (cruisers, though rarely charterers) are always ready to go out of their way to help, even strangers, but Mathieu has taken it further than most people would!
On Sunday we went again to Xerokampos and had lunch at Aloni, 

coming back to Lakki for showers in the late afternoon. After a big lunch we decided not to go out for dinner and just had a salad aboard.
On Monday morning, 25th September, the wind had dropped so we motored straight up to Arki. 
 When we went in to the harbor there was nobody on the quay, though a few boats came in later in the day. 
We had lunch at Nikolas and went to the town beach for the afternoon, coming back for showers at Stella’s and dinner at Nikolas. 

As Annie had to leave on Wednesday we motor-sailed down to Arkhangelos on Tuesday 26th, where we picked up a buoy. A fishing boat had his nets out just off the jetty.

Lin and Simon swam over to see Simon and Christiana, who were leaving for Lipsi. Annie swam ashore to join us for lunch at Stigma, but she found it very difficult getting in and out of the dinghy on the way back, so we decided to get a takeaway and eat aboard in the evening. Georgos was back from Athens, where he had been for an operation on his hand last week, and had gone out fishing in the morning, catching nothing. He was back when we went to get our takeaway and was very pleased with his favourite wine that we had brought him from Agathonisi. He said the operation had been an instant success – he was no longer in pain and could sleep soundly at last.
On Wednesday morning, September 27th, we motor-sailed back to Lakki and went on to the marina quay. Lin got the first two loads of washing on, to get ready for Gill’s arrival on Thursday. We picked up a hire car at midday, had lunch at Poppy’s, and drove Annie over to Aghia Marina to catch the catamaran to Rhodes. More washing and cleaning in the afternoon before we drove over to Pandeli to have dinner at El Greco with Al and Kitty, Kitty’s mum Jenny, their friend Cloe, and Helen, a guest in their hotel who lives in Samos. We had the usual excellent dinner (and the usual dishes and the usual surprise at how modest the bill was). El Greco is certainly our favourite place to eat on Leros – the food is at least as good as the up-market Milos, the atmosphere is much more relaxed and the bill is much less.
On Thursday morning there was stocking up shopping and final cleaning before Gill’s arrival on the catamaran at 12.20. 

We picked Gill up in a car and got her and her suitcase aboard. We had dinner in Ostria and left to motorsail up to Arkhangelos on Friday morning. After a bit of sunbathing on the beach, 

we went for lunch at Stigma with Al, Kitty Cloe and Kitty’s and Cloe’s mums, who had come over in Georgos's boat. 

Gill found getting in and out of the dinghy very difficult, so we got a takeaway dinner from Stigma.
On Saturday September 30th we motored up to Arki and tied up on the quay. We had lunch at Nikolas, went for a swim on the town beach 

and had dinner at Nikolas. The next day Frank and Lin arrived from Agathonisi, with Frank’s daughter Natasha and son-in-law, and joined us on the quay. It was getting autumnal, but we still spent the afternoon on the beach, swimming and reading.
On Monday October 2nd we motorsailed down to Lipsi and got the last place on the quay, which was full mostly of charter boats, most of whom moved on later. It was cold and windy, so time for reading below! 

We went to the town beach, but nobody felt like swimming. We had dinner at Manoli’s. As the wind was forecast to increase we decided to go back to Lakki and hire a car.
On Tuesday 3rd we had a good downwind sail under genoa to Lakki and went into the marina. Costas did not have a car available until the evening, so we took a taxi over to Xerokampos, which we thought was the best beach for Gill, given the difficulty she has getting in and out of the sea on rougher beaches. We met up with Simon and Christiana, who were having a long lunch with friends. We all watched a charter boat trying, and repeatedly failing, to pick up a buoy from the stern – apparently this is the method recommended by the charter companies, though people often run over the buoys and cut the rope. Eventually a Finnish man rowed out to hand them the buoy – he sat there in his dinghy waving it to them, but they went off an anchored further out (the holding is very bad in Xerokampos because of thick weed). Apparently they dragged in the evening and drifted halfway to Kalymnos before they reanchored. Costas arrived with the car about 6pm, so we could go over to Pandeli for dinner at El Greco.
On Wednesday 4th we drove up to the Deposito di Guerra, a private war museum with a huge and very well organized and presented collection. Then we went up to the castle and went for the first time to the ecclesiastical museum, where the curator, a Texan of Lerian ancestry, gave us an interminable, though very interesting, lecture on the history of Leros, but this prevented us from looking at the exhibits, apart from a black Madonna icon, which was a feature of his lecture. Lin and Gill excused themselves to go outside into the sun, because they were so called. 
Meraviglia and Alinda Bay from the castle

Agia Marina from the castle

After walking round the castle we drove to Pandeli, which Gill loved, and had a rather disappointing lunch at Psarapoula 

before an afternoon on the beach. 

We went back to the boat for showers and had dinner aboard.
Gill flew out on Thursday morning and we had a day chilling. We had planned to sail down to Palionisos and Xerokampos for two or three days, but the weather was still cold, with strong winds and heavy rain forecast, so we decided to stay in Lakki and rest and gradually get the boat ready to lift out. On Friday we went for dinner at To Petrino with Simon and Christiana (bon filet all round). We went for a beer at Poppy’s every lunch time, where friends gathered. Sue and Steve arrived back from their visit to Santorini on Saturday night. On Monday we took Frank and Lin to dinner at El Greco.
On Tuesday morning we took advantage of a lull in the wind to get the genoa down and packed away, which went very smoothly. In the evening Simon had to go to the dentist to have a root canal filled. He had had a toothache for a couple of weeks and went to the dentist last Friday, who took X-rays and booked him in for the treatment. On the way back we had ouzo with Simon and Christiana at Poppy’s, before going home for scrambled egg. We had planned to leave for Arkhangelos on Wednesday morning, but Simon had to go for the second round of treatment on Wednesday evening. Instead we cycled over to Pandeli to have lunch with Al and Kitty and Al’s mum and dad at El Geco, then for a swim. On the way there Simon lost Lin – he had gone a little ahead and Lin had turned up a side round so that Simon missed her when he went back. Eventually we met up. Lin’s cycling has got much better as she has got more confident. She stll pushes up the steep hills, but does not use her brakes too much downhill. We had scrambled egg for dinner again before Simon went off to the dentist at 8.30, not getting back till after 10.
On Thursday 12th October we left for Arkhangelos at 8am, motoring up into a Force 6-7 wind, though the waves were not too big as we were in the lee of the land. Georgos had put his water boat on the strongest buoy, so at first we tied onto the lighter one (which Frank and Lin had last week seen a catamaran testing by driving flat out in reverse, so pulling it inshore and closer to the othe r buoy). We heard a big thump and decided that this was not secure enough, so in the end we anchored off. It was still pretty windy even in the bay, but we had lots of chain and the anchor dug well in. Dimitra and Tasos were not there as Georgos is fitting a new engine to Tasos’s boat – he bought a second hand car engine from Athens and is fitting and marinising it down in Xerokampos. Evropi had, as promised, made us her chicken stewed with prunes and grapes, which we had on Thursday and Friday nights. 
On Thursday morning Simon climbed to the top of Arkhangelos

to see Gill's cruise boat arriving in Patmos.

On Friday night Georgos and Evropi had to serve dinner for 19 people, so they were rather too busy to chat! We swam on Thursday and Friday – invigorating because the water temperature is down to 18 and the wind is cold! On Friday we found a gas leak in the cooker, so we cannot make any hot food or drinks. We are hoping that they can fix it in the yard on Monday.

We motored over to Partheni at 6.30 on Saturday morning, September 14th

picked up a buoy and waited to be lifted out. We were second and were on the shore by 10.30 ready to start work. We had tuna mayo for lunch and hard boiled eggs for dinner, boiled for us by Margaret. Patrick and Margaret came for drinks on Saturday evening. The wind was howling. We had a car from Sunday so we went for lunch to To Steki in Alinda and met Sue and Steve for dinner in Lakki at Ostria in the evening, Ostria's last day. On Monday Tomas came to remove the cooker. It turned out that one of the little rubber gaskets on one of the switches had broken when Simon knocked it taking the cooker out to clean. We have to try to find a replacement, not easy because the cooker is so old.
On Tuesday we went in to Lakki for lunch at Poppy's and to say goodbye to everybody. After lunch we went over to Pandeli for a swim with Al and Kitty and Kate.
We flew out of Leros to Athens on Wednesday morning. After lunch with Lena we took a tram and bus to visit Mahamad, Maysun and the children in their apartment. We had taken a big chocolate cake, which was great as it turned out it was Mahamad's birthday. Mahamad and Maysun are desperate to get to Germany, though Nagm would rather stay in Greece, where all the kids are doing well at school. Mahamad cut Simon's hair and we met their landlady, who has been very supportive. She is an unemployed actor and Syriza activist.
We spent Thursday chilling at Lena's before going to have dinner with Nikos and Fanni. Nikos is still very upset about his Lena's death, but overall is getting better.
On Friday we went for lunch at the Cretan taverna near Lena's before going to the airport to fly home via Paris. We had an hour to change planes in Paris, but there was no departure gate on the board, even when boarding and then Final Call were indicated. We raced around to find somebody who could tell us the gate - a technical fault- and then ran like the wind to get to the plane just as the gate closed. Becky and Charlie picked us up at Birmingham airport and we got home to the cold and wet English autumn.