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Author: Debera and Mark Clark

Kalamatra – 2nd to 7th August 2018

Kalamatra – 2nd to 7th August 2018

020 - 2018 - Kalamata - 000It’s early and very damp as we head south around the first of the southern Peloponnese “fingers”, to Kalamata 42 miles away. All along the coast, high mountains (covered in snow in the winter) reach almost to the sea, leaving a thin coastal plain.

And now a very brief history lesson …. Around 2,000 BC the Peloponnese was invaded by the first Greek speaking people, a warrior race from whom the hero legends of Perseus and Pericles were derived. Later came the Mycenaeans and later still around 850 BC the warrior race of the Spartans.

Kalamata is the largest town in the Peloponnese, it was once the principle port in the area, although it now seems to be a dumping ground for abandoned boats (some of them quite large) with the very occasional small liner coming to visit. Much of the old warehouses surrounding the port is empty and dilapidated. The earthquake of 1968 destroyed much of the town, some of which has not yet been rebuilt.

020 - 2018 - Kalamata - 002Local day boats and private yachts moor up in the marina to the west of town which holds about 250 yachts. It is well run with good shelter (costing about 43 euro’s a night including electric and water).

On our first evening we went to a park in the centre of town, mentioned in the pilot book. In the middle of the park, there is an old railway station and the place is littered with “restored” steam engines and carriages. They have been restored the Greek way, which means, most of the bits you can see have been painted (sort of), but everything inside these magnificent trains is rusting, rotting and falling apart, still they look impressive on the outside. The park was also hosting a four-day Olive festival, with stalls, cooking demonstrations and some music in the evening, so we sat down for supper in what was the railway station, to watch the activities.
020 - 2018 - Kalamata - 005On the second day, we hired a car for two days to go exploring. The first day we drove down the coastal road to the Caves of Diros on the Mani peninsula. Mani is the middle “finger” of the southern Peloponnese and described as one of the wildest places in the Mediterranean, it was once a hide away for pirates and parts of the rugged peninsula are still inaccessible. On route you find the landscape sprinkled with ancient stone towers and Byzantine churches. The villages are all similar in design with their red tile roofs and stone walls all blending in with the landscape.
020 - 2018 - Kalamata - 012The Caves of Diros are supposed to be magnificent, with stalactites hanging from the ceiling and careful illuminations bringing out their colours and textures. The viewings are now strictly controlled with a guide pushing and punting a flat-bottomed boat through the caves. We were surprised how busy it was (we should have known as it is one of the main sight-seeing sites in the Peloponnese) and were extremely disappointed to learn that there was a three hour wait for the tour boats.

The caves were quickly abandoned and we carried on down the Mani peninsula stopping at a stunning little fishing village called Gerolimenas, with one sail boat at anchor and only a few local Greek holiday makers, who had managed to find this little gem. We enjoyed a delightful rest and cool down over a fish lunch.
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020 - 2018 - Kalamata - 009After lunch we continued almost to the southern tip of the peninsular, to a bay called Marmari. This is where Anthony and Cleopatra must have landed after their defeat at the battle of Actium and en-route back home to Egypt – which for anyone who knows Mark, will already realise the significance with regard to the book he is writing.
020 - 2018 - Kalamata - 016For the return trip we headed into the mountains, planning to come back via the town of Sparta which is on a central plain hemmed in by mountains. However, the clouds descended, and the temperature dropped to a low 21 degrees, such a contrast to the earlier 35 degrees. Sparta was so disappointing, it is a modern town, Greek style, no pretty building and no historical sites, we expected more. With rain accompanying us most of the way home, we took the motorway, arriving back at 7pm.

Saturday 4th August – Happy Birthday Adam. With a busy day planned, we were out and about doing the food shopping and dog walking early, keen to get on our way. Tasks done, we headed off, but this time taking the mountain route towards Mystras. The 2-hour drive across the mountain range was breath-taking, with lush greenery and sharp ravine drops, which were at times a little scary.
020 - 2018 - Kalamata - 019We stopped half way at a remote and delightful road-side restaurant for coffee.
020 - 2018 - Kalamata - 020We had lunch in the village of Mystras, which is all that remains of a medieval town, crowned by a castle on a pyramid shape hill on Mount Taygetos, which rises almost 8,000 ft. It is the highest peak in a range that dominates the southern Peloponnese.
020 - 2018 - Kalamata - 022aOur next stop was the Monastery of Elona, a couple of hours drive across more stunning mountain ranges. The Monastery is set in a deep cleft in a sheer cliff, constructed on the reddish rock of Parnon. The monastery was eerily quiet, with only one other family visiting and one priest in attendance, who was not very chatty and only interested in selling us some of their wine, jam or Knick knacks. None the less, the views from the monastery are stunning and well worth a visit.
020 - 2018 - Kalamata - 024020 - 2018 - Kalamata - 028Sunday was a quiet day but very hot, there was no breeze and 32 degrees below deck. Above was at least 35 degrees, you could not walk on the teak decks without scolding your feet. Later in the evening as it cooled down we took Hudson for a walk for the final night of the Olive festival in the train park.

On the Monday 6th – Mark went off for a dive at a site about 15km along the coast, Hudson and I were invited along as there was room in the car. We were able to have a paddle and relax in a local café under the shade, enjoying a fresh juice. On the dive was a Swedish family of 3, but unfortunately, they were not very experienced, so the dive instructor had to keep stopping to give instructions. The fish life as expected was non-existent, but Mark said the colours in the extremely small cavern were stunning. Not a great success but at least a dive logged in Mark’s log book. We are now keen to get back to an anchorage, to cool off with a swim and hopefully some afternoon breeze.

Methoni – 30th July to 2nd August 2018

Methoni – 30th July to 2nd August 2018

019 - 2018 - Methoni - 000Methoni is a short hop from Pilos. This once important port is hidden behind a small headland dominated by a very large fort. Methoni is a small town in a very pretty setting, with a long welcoming sandy beach and a dusting of yachts anchored in the bay. There is no town quay, just a long mole to protect the anchorage from the westerlies and a short pier for the local fishing boats to tie onto. The setting is very beautiful.

019 - 2018 - Methoni - 001Even in high season there are only a few yachts at anchor, certainly much quieter than the Ionian … although worryingly quite a few of those are Italian. The waters are calm and clear and with very little wind, you need no excuse to take a dip, which we do frequently. It is an easy decision to stay three nights. Bernie and Barbara arrived late in the afternoon on the first day and after a relaxing few hours, we joined them ashore in the village square, just behind the beach.

This area has miles of sandy beach which Hudson is now very happy to gallop down, to take a paddle. Very different to his early experiences with the sea.

019 - 2018 - Methoni - 008On Friday, we combined Hudson’s walk with a bit of exploration of the fort, which has a very imposing entrance over the moat. Unfortunately, no dogs allowed, we should know by now.

019 - 2018 - Methoni - 004

The fort dominates the area and was built by the Venetians in 1209, on a rock separated from the land by an artificial moat. It is thought to be one of the biggest forts in the Mediterranean and is famous for the 14 arch bridge which connect the castle to the shore.

fort1

At the south edge of the castle is a fortified island called Bourtzi, built in 1500 and connected to the castle by a tiny paved road. It was a prison and place of executions during the Turkish Occupation.

The town is a labyrinth of paths with rows of well-maintained houses. It is a family resort for the Greeks, with very few foreign tourists and little English spoken.

We found a great little palm covered bar on the beach, an ideal spot to watch the Greeks at play, have a beer and play cards – I am finally winning a few games, we may stay here longer.

019 - 2018 - Methoni - 007On the third day, we were a little low on supplies so decided to have supper out. The water tanks were also a little low, so I limited Mark to a 5 second shower on the back of the boat after each swim until the end of the day, when we threw caution to the wind and enjoyed a final, no holds barred, 10 second shower before going ashore for supper in the square.019 - 2018 - Methoni - 006

 

Pilos 26th to 30th July 2018

Pilos 26th to 30th July 2018

018 - 2018 - Pilos - 00028 miles south of Kiparissia is Pilos, located in the SE corner of the large natural harbour of Ormos Navarinou. The bay has a spectacular entrance at the southern end, where the rocks have been naturally weathered into pinnacles and an arch. On the west of the town is the imposing Neo Kastro fort (New castle), which you cannot miss when you sail into the bay. It was originally built by the Franks, then later added to by the Venetians and finally the Turks after 1498 who extended the fort to what we see today.

018 - 2018 - Pilos - 002There are a couple of options for mooring in Pilos, one is to go in the marina to the east of the town, but it is very run-down and neglected, mainly used for small day boats and fishing boats, visiting yachts having to search hard for a slot to moor.

018 - 2018 - Pilos - 012There is no office and no charge as the marina is not managed. The marina grounds have become the local graveyard for abandoned boats and even buses, definitely not our first choice for mooring. The second choice is next to town, but limited to about 7 spaces, so you have to be lucky with your timing …. Fortunately, we were.

018 - 2018 - Pilos - 007The town is very well maintained and clean, focused around a large central square lined with Shops, cafés bars and restaurants, there is a wonderful view out over the harbour and large lime and plane trees provide a welcome shade. We really enjoyed our time in Pilos, we loved the town and there were nice walks for Hudson …  although most of them were up-hill. We had 3-days of strong NW winds, which kept us cool and the boat pushed off the side of the pier, which should have stopped Hudson escaping …. however, it takes more than that to stop Houdini Hudson from making a break for freedom to go scavenging for food. We had to go looking for him three times as he leapt effortlessly over our barricades.

On day 2 (Friday 27th) on our way back to the boat after an evening in the square, we heard our names being shouted, only to turn around and see Bernie and Barbara from Sivota – small world. They joined us for a nightcap on Hapatoni and updated us on their travel plans.

018 - 2018 - Pilos - 004On Saturday evening, we decided to eat out, so dressed in my favourite green dress we headed into town, as we were leaving the boat and just before the row of restaurants (luckily) I noticed I had a large rip in the back of my dress and was very close to flashing my knickers to all and sundry.  It must have happened as I jumped off the boat. Mark and Hudson headed into town as I went back to the boat to change. I returned to find Mark with Bernie and Barbara having a pre-dinner drink. We enjoyed an Italian supper over-looking the bay before returning to the boat.

Our last day Sunday was a quiet event, we were keen to move on to an anchorage. We expect to see Bernie and Barbara again during the next few stops as we continue south on a similar course. Our next stop is to anchor at Methoni only 9 miles away.

018 - 2018 - Pilos - 006

Kiparissia – 24th to 26th July 2018

Kiparissia – 24th to 26th July 2018

017 - 2018 - Kiparissia - 000The sail to Kiparissia was uneventful, we left at 7.30am (there is a pattern developing) to sail the 29 miles south. Any sniff off wind that we had was on our bum, so unfortunately not enough for us to sailwith. It only increased as we arrived at Kiparissia, as we were mooring up (typical).017 - 2018 - Kiparissia - 002

The town of Kiparissia lies under the slopes of Mount Oros Aigaleon in the south east corner of the Gulf of Kiparissikos Kolpos. The town is a 15-minute walk uphill to the shady tree lined square, which is the focal point for the town and where the locals congregate for morning coffee and evening drinks.

The town is said to have an ancient pedigree, it was established in the 4th century BC and was the principle harbour of ancient Messene, with some remains of the ancient harbour lying around the harbour. However, nowadays the harbour is looking a little sad, the main form of activity seems to be the making of oddly shaped concrete blocks which are the foundations for new piers or moles and line the harbour sides in regimented rows. There is one understocked supermarket, one taverna and one bar supporting the yachties and any locals venturing down from the main town.

017 - 2018 - Kiparissia - 003The harbour is pretty much empty, which is surprising as it has good protection from the prevailing winds and swell and also has free fresh water. The number of visiting yachts and local boats is small, it seems to be used pretty much as a convenient, one-night stopover point on the way around the Peloponnese. Both Mark and I agreed that with some work this place has a lot of potential, especially with the stunning views of the mountains, which are the backdrop to the bay. Mark liked this old fishing boat, it summed up the harbour to a tee, in need of a lot of tlc, although this particular boat may be a bit past the resuscitation stage.017 - 2018 - Kiparissia - 001

There is a small sandy beach around the bay which is very Greek, with little English spoken by the locals. Despite all of the above, we decided to stay two nights, there is a hidden charm to the place …. and the locals go to great lengths to disguise it. That gave us a lie in for a change and a rest day, although with a boat there are always jobs to do, cleaning and washing for me and Mark had to fix the generator and tinker with a few other bits. We finished off our stay with dinner at the local taverna enjoying the local prawns and calamari.  017 - 2018 - Kiparissia - 004

 

Katakolon – 23rd to 24th July 2018

Katakolon – 23rd to 24th July 2018

016 - 2018 - Katakolon - 000We decided to go down the Peloponnese to avoid the Italian invasion in the Ionian and in the hope of getting some cooler, breezier days. On both counts we have not been disappointed, however, it does mean there are longer distances to travel between stops, so our early starts continue as we head south.

With 47 miles to sail today to Katakolon, we started at 7:07am. The day started overcast with a lot of dampness in the air and stayed that way for most of the day. The afternoon breeze arrived early, which was nice, but it was also accompanied by some swell in the wrong direction, so there was a little bit of “rock and roll”. Hudson has now become a true sailor as he was sitting up in his bed swaying with the motion, it was so funny to watch his head anticipating the rock of the boat, effectively keeping his head in a vertical position like a true seadog. (sorry wish we took a video). We arrived at 1.30pm.

As we are back in deeper waters, Mark is fishing again, Hudson and I await our next fish dinner with bated breath. He got one nibble, but the lure was obviously not tasty enough for whatever had a chomp at it, as it was spat back out – in reality, that’s probably the closest I’ll come to my fresh tuna meal this season.

There are very few yachts going up or down this coastline, the only sighting today was a very large cruise liner, which approached Katakolon in parallel with us. Unsure of our intentions, they radioed us to notify us that they were turning into the Port. Mark decided to see if he could get in before them, but this is one of those occasions when size really does count, so we stopped and made it very clear that our intentions was to let them go in first. As I mentioned earlier, one of the reasons for visiting the Peloponnese, was to escape from the Italians, not many come this far south … to our horror the cruise liner we let in, was Italian with 3-4,000 Italians on board ….. doh.

016 - 2018 - Katakolon - 001Katalolon harbour is built to take cruise liners, with space for 3 or 4 of the big ones, disgorging their tens of thousands of tourists who all make a beeline for Olympia which is about 15 miles away. There are many bars and shops filled with tourist “tat” but the visitors seem to skip the town itself, which is a shame for the locals. The town seems as though it is buzzing when the ships arrive, but it is only a transit point for the masses of buses heading to Olympia.

The view from the dock where the yachts moor is a large ugly car park, so not very inviting and although they have facilities (power and water), we are not tempted to stay more than one night. So, after walking Hudson to the lighthouse, which by the way, was also not a pretty route and a quick beer we retired to Hapatoni for dinner, ready for an early start “again” on Tuesday. We may visit Olympia from another port, but the thought of those thousands of visitors also on the site is putting us of visiting in high season …. So maybe earlier in the year.

Ay Nikolaos on the Island of Zakinthos – 22nd to 23rd July 2018

Ay Nikolaos on the Island of Zakinthos – 22nd to 23rd July 2018

015 - 2018 - Ay Nikilaos - 000Another early start leaving at 7:20am but this time we did actually sail some of the 38 miles to Ay Nikolaos on the island of Zakinthos, our first time to this Island.

Zakinthos is the southernmost of the Ionian Islands and very different to its northern neighbours, Cephalonia and Ithaca which are really mountain tops in the sea. Zakinthos has a huge central plain, surrounded by a horseshoe range of mountains which makes it very fertile and green. There is an age-old rivalry between Zakinthos and Corfu for which is the most beautiful island. The down side of all this natural beauty is that you can’t move for tourists and loud music and buses and tripper boats …. Not for us.

Ay Nikolaos was recommended to us by Bernie in Sivota, he gave us the name and telephone number of Dimitris to reserve a mooring on the quay, who we understand pretty much owns half the village including the petrol station, a restaurant, mini market and several “tripper boats”. He also supplies water and electricity to the quay (encouraging yachties to use his restaurant).

015 - 2018 - Ay Nikilaos - 003Ay Nikolaos is at the northern end of the Island and as we discovered, revolves around the large number of tripper boats making their frequent and popular visits to the caves. Coaches and taxis arrive throughout the day bringing masses of tourists, these caves are not going to be a tranquil place. We were disappointed not to visit the caves which all the adverts show as stunning but with this level of tourists it is not for us, certainly not at this time of year, maybe we can return earlier in the season another time. The village suffers from too much tourism, like the rest of the island, added to which is an inability to put out bins for rubbish or to collect any of the rubbish left lying around because of this lack of bins.

015 - 2018 - Ay Nikilaos - 001The place was a “ok” (a stopover point) but we won’t be back in a hurry.

Sami – 21st to 22nd July 2018

Sami – 21st to 22nd July 2018

014 - 2018 - Sami - 000Keen to move on, but also a little sad to leave, we left Kioni at 7:50am, sailing the 16 miles south to Sami on the island of Cephalonia. Sami is the main ferry port and a favourite pickup/drop-off point for the airport in Cephalonia.  As we came in to park, we were greeted on the town quay by a chubby Greek insisting we couldn’t park where we were pointed, Mark was having none of it and explained to him that this is a town quay and we’ll park where we want to. To which our chubby little Greek shouted that he was the Harbour Master and we had better do what he said. A little sheepishly we moved to the place he indicated and all was calm once more. The quay was 16 euros per night including water.

Sami is set in a wide bay, under the setting of a high wooded ridge. The town is entirely modern built (with the help of the British) after the 1953 earthquake, so it is neat rows of concrete houses, bars and restaurants with none of the normal quaint Greek architecture, it feels a little souless. The pilot book describes wonderful walks around the bay, but we did not get that far as it was very hot.

014 - 2018 - Sami - 001

We walked Hudson, re-stocked our supplies and retired to Hapatoni for a quiet night, following an extremely hot day. As we were settling down for the evening, there was a knock on the transom, and low and behold it’s David whom we had last seen in Giaos a few weeks ago, having dinner with his partner Moria and his son in the restaurant directly behind our boat. We are now 100% sure he’s a stalker. We were on a no-alcohol night and very tired so said our brief hello’s (and goodbye’s) and retired, ready to continue our journey south to Ay Nikolaos on the next Island Zakinthos.

Kioni – 15th to 21st July 2018

Kioni – 15th to 21st July 2018

013 - 2018 - Kioni - 001We left Sivota at 8am, the challenge with Kioni is getting there at the right time for a space on the town quay which only holds about 20 boats. The other option is to long-line around the west side of the bay, dropping your anchor and securing yourself with lines to rocks or trees on the shoreline. As we approached the entrance to the bay, a Canadian boat was ahead of us, he took what we thought was the last space, but happily the space turned out to be big enough for 2 boats.

It was nice to finally return to pretty Kioni on the Island of Ithica, 15 miles south of Sivota, it is one of our favourite places in the Ionian and we didn’t get to pop in last year on our way back from the Aegean.

 

013 - 2018 - Kioni - 006

Kioni has not really changed in the last 2 years, with only one new restaurant bar at the start of the town quay. It has retained its beauty and charm, although in mid-July it is a busy place. The volume of boats and dog-leg shape of the quay means that it is deservedly living up to its reputation as the “crossed anchor” capital of the Ionian. The high winds of the last few days have made this even worse, as new arrivals drop their anchors upwind, increasing even further the number of anchors they cross, I think we had four over ours at one point – lucky we weren’t in a hurry to leave.

013 - 2018 - Kioni - 004

The days developed into a simple routine, much the same as Sivota; wake, swim, walk the dog, swim, eat, hobbies (I read Mark does his stuff), cards & beer, eat, sleep.

013 - 2018 - Kioni - 009My new transport with room for Hudson too……

The sea is still a little “fresh”, a bit cooler than it was last year, but I still managed to have a couple of dips on the first day. Our early evening walk ended at the En Pol roof top bar which has the perfect view of the bay. Ideal for keeping an eye on the charter boats as they flood in to take the last spots. After supper and what was supposed to be a “quiet night”, we got chatting to our Canadian neighbours, Gary and Linda, who we invited on board and together had a very pleasant evening. Gary brought a bottle of single malt with him, so Mark was a happy bunny.

013 - 2018 - Kioni - 003On Monday we were expecting the charter boats to arrive, for some unknown reason they did not turn up. Our Canadian neighbours left in the morning, so we had the “joy” of waiting to see how much sailing experience our new neighbours would have … if any. All day, I have been looking forward to returning to the Avra restaurant on the water’s edge, for their fantastic Lamb and Pork Spit Roast. The restaurant is in the centre of the village on the water’s edge, overlooking the bay, you could smell the joints roasting all afternoon. Mark and I both had the pork spit roast with Greek roasted potatoes and salad, we were not disappointed, (although I don’t think the Greek roast potatoes go with not having a gall bladder).

013 - 2018 - Kioni - 007Over the next few days we had strong NW winds blowing on the beam, so anyone arriving or leaving has a challenging mooring. A Croatian boat coming in next to us messed up several times, bashed us on the front the third time, luckily there was no damage to either boat and then succeeded in parking on the fourth attempt. Apologies followed, together with an offer of a bottle of scotch for bashing our boat, which Mark amazingly declined, but it was nice of him to offer.

The wind continued to gust down the valley at 30 knots all the next day (Wednesday), so we decided to delay our departure one more day. On Thursday, Hudson and I tried to walk to the three disused windmills at the entrance to the bay, but we could not find the route to them, even after braving the goat path and several steep hills. 013 - 2018 - Kioni - 014So, for a change of scenery, the three of us did a 5k hike to the next village called Frikes, our timing was not great, it was very hot. Frikes is a very small village, not nearly as pretty as Kioni and more exposed to the winds blowing off the mountains, it seems to be popular with the Flotillas, I’m not sure why. The quay is small but no longer the rickety pontoon described in the pilot book. I was glad we went for a look, but it’s not a place we will visit in Hapatoni.013 - 2018 - Kioni - 011

 

With the Italians now starting to arrive en-masse, it is time to move south … however we once more delayed the move, because Kioni was having a festival with food, Greek dancing and lots of drinking in the centre of the village. The spit roasts were roasting in every restaurant all afternoon, extra chairs and tables were brought in and an additional bar was set up in the centre. The music and dancing got started about 10 pm and continued until 5am (so ear plugs were definitely a must). All the restaurants did a simple set menu of spit roast, chips and salad, with beer in a can and wine. The restaurants took advantage, putting up the price and the food was not of their usual standard, we were very disappointed. 013 - 2018 - Kioni - 012

Relaxed in Sivota – 6th to 15th July 2018

Relaxed in Sivota – 6th to 15th July 2018

012 - 2018 - Sivota - 000It is hard to believe we have stayed in Sivota so long, when we first arrive we thought we would stay a few days do the washing, stock up, swim and watch the football at The Family Café, then head off south.012 - 2018 - Sivota - 001

Nine days later ……

We were lucky when we arrived, the pontoon outside Liovitri bar was available and so we tied up side on, safe as houses, with no need for an anchor for the charter boats to try and pull up. The first few afternoons we had some strong NW winds gusting through the bay, so the boats trying to moor up had a challenging time, but interesting to watch none the less. As usual several of those anchored in the centre of the bay lost their holding and started to drift as the wind strengthened but fortunately, no damage done.012 - 2018 - Sivota - 008

Mark was a bit concerned on day 2 as the winds were blowing all afternoon and we still did not have a neighbour on our port side and the football was due to start at 5pm – we do like to have someone parked both sides, then you can relax knowing no harm can come to your boat … such a dilemma. None the less, Mark left early for the Family Café to ensure a good table and Hudson and I followed at a more leisurely pace. The bar was full of English yachties, the atmosphere was great with lots of singing and chanting and surprise surprise, we won 2-1 against Sweden. So, Mark decided we now had to stay until after the semi-final against Croatia.012 - 2018 - Sivota - 004

When Wednesday 11th July came around, off we went once more, to The Family Café. It is the only place to watch England play (in English), again the bar was full. Mark had his spot reserved and we went early to have dinner first, Bernie and his wife Barbara from their yacht Ioannis joined us at our table.

Bernie is quite a character; he and his wife Barbara have been coming to Sivota for many years, he seems to know most of the residents of the village as well as all the regular yachties visiting. Bernie likes to help everyone with their mooring, whether they need it or not, admittedly some are in very dire need. He is very informative about the Ionian and always keen to offer advice or assistance to all ….  which is surprisingly & unusually, very useful.

The days passed in a tranquil blur. Christine and Peter (friends from Hamble) arrived on Thursday 12th July on their boat Ouija (I hope I have spelt that correctly). After they had settled in we joined them for a cup of tea and a brief catch up, as we were chatting away a yacht came into moor next to Ouija, Mark being the helpful person he is, went to help. Unfortunately, as this is only the second time Peter has deployed his paserelle, it does a bit of a back flip if you stand on the very end and on this occasion, it had also moved away from the shore. So, to everyone’ surprise, but to Peter and Christine’s horror the paserelle folded in half and Mark dropped into the water. Luckily no harm done other than an early wash for Mark. Peter then spent the afternoon fixing the issue before our return for happy hour later than evening.012 - 2018 - Sivota - 010

On Friday the four of us went to the 12 Gods for dinner, the best restaurant in Sivota for fresh fish, we love their Red Snapper and mixed vegetable side dish. The fish was grilled, very simple but delicious, washed down with too much of the local wine and finished off with a night cap at The Family Cafe on the way home, (not that we needed more), a very pleasant evening.

The next day Mark took Hudson for an early morning walk. Hudson now likes to paddle in the sea, he goes in freely but only up to his belly, great progress for a dog who does not like water … but it does help to cool him down.  Whilst on the beach, Mark came across a bizarre scene, a “boat” (not sure if that’s the right description) with four rather large half-dressed Swiss men on board. Being curious, Mark got talking to them and it seems they purchased their “boat” yesterday for their 2-week holiday in the Ionian. They slept onboard last night in sleeping bags on the deck, washed in the sea this morning and the rest they will make up as they go on. The question is, how far will it go, as it does look like one wave will send it to a very watery grave. Ignorance is bliss …..012 - 2018 - Sivota - 006

Christine and Peter decided to stay another night and join us for the final England football game at the Family Café on Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, we lost, but I guess we exceeded all expectation, so no complaints from the boys – although there were some very noisy Belgiums in the bar who were determined to celebrate.

The next day, Christine and Peter went north while we went south. We’ll meet up again back in “sunny” Hamble in late September.  We finally left Sivota on the Sunday (15th July) and moved onto Kioni, as we very slowly head to the Peloponnese.

Lefkas – 4th to 6th July 2018

Lefkas – 4th to 6th July 2018

001 - 2018 - Lefkas - 001Reluctantly we returned south, sailing the 39 miles to Lefkas for Poleros to complete the final few repairs to Hapatoni. We left Gaios early at 7am so we could moor up on the town quay at Lefkas before the afternoon breeze made my stern mooring a challenge. None the less, the afternoon breeze had started to blow when we arrived, but even if I say so myself (self-praise I know – bad form) it was a pretty good stern mooring.

Two-weeks after my operation, Tim has had to be rushed to Lefkas hospital for his appendix to be removed following a few days of stomach pains. He said the hospital surgeons and staff were excellent but the hospital itself was a bit run down and the food was like school dinners. Tim is now recovering on his boat but will be out of action for a few weeks.

We settled in opposite the Margareta bar and restaurant, Mark notified Robert at Poleros where we were parked, so he could start work on the final bits that needed doing.

Hudson and I left early the next morning, with the objective of staying out the way and having a very long walk, which ended up as two and a half hours. We did our usual route up to the Lefkas swing bridge, round the lake, through the town, picking up some bread and a new basil plant (they always seem to die on me). We then stopped in to see how Tim was doing and drop of a copy of Chapter 1 of Mark’s book for Tim’s to read and review whilst he is resting. Then finished off with a hot walk to the boat yard to see Alice and how she was getting on, antifouling her boat.

Hot and bothered we returned to Hapatoni, to find most of the jobs completed by Poleros, although a couple of small jobs still left but not important enough to keep us in Lefkas. Everything surprisingly went to plan and even more surprisingly on-time.

So, with the boat sorted we went to visit Tim and Tina on Shiraz, who are now almost permanently based out of Lefkas on the town quay, whilst Tim is getting work. We had planned to leave as soon as the work was done, but we agreed to join Tim, Tina and Alice for supper at the “Coloured Chairs” taverna as it would be the last time we would see them now until we returned north early in September to pick up my parents.