Monday, 29 September 2008

Sivota to Kalamos

2nd September
Today's lesson was - don't be inexperienced sailors and attempt to sail 20knots downwind!!!

Firstly, If you've never sailed before let me just say that waking up in a new place every day is the best feeling in the world. It's like that feeling you get on the first day of your holiday - a new place to explore....and on a boat you get it every day!!

We decided to explore Sivota and get some lunch in one of the many supermarkets lining the front. Before that, we washed and brushed up in the showers at Yiannis taverna. I was disgusted to find that one of the loos was blocked with toilet paper. EVERYONE knows that in Greece, the loos everywhere get blocked really easily and therefore, a bin is provided for you to dispose of your paper. It was so early in the morning that I imagine it could only have been fellow boaties that would have used the toilets during the night. Some people are animals honestly and really should know better.

Having shopped for provsions and complained to Marco about the state of the loos, we started what was now becoming the daily battle to eat breakfast and swat wasps at the same time. Having dispensed with 5, we were just finishing up when Chris arrived. He'd come to fix us up with a new genoa as the one we had on was too small (not that we'd noticed). It was interesting to watch him and it took a matter of minutes to take the old one off and put the new one on. Marco helped out enthusiastically. Sean came across and we arranged to meet up with him and Ruth in Kalamos tonight.

We cast off and motored around the corner to Ormos Rouda and the tiny village of Poros. Oh WOW! WOW! WOW! This place was lovely. We picked a spot in between two other yachts and dropped anchor. It held first time - hurrah! We were being blown towards the shore and although I say so myself, Marco did a top job for a first 'lone' attempt. We went swimming off the back of the boat and I put on a chillout cd. Marco launched himself into the dinghy and I chucked him a can of Mythos from the boat. Then we looked at each other and started grinning inanely. This life is bloody fantastic! We're on our own (well, it felt like our own) boat, anchored in a beautiful bay, surrounded by water, drinking Mythos and with no inclination to go ashore! We felt ridiculously priviledged to be doing this.

We stayed in Poros for a couple of hours eating Greek salad for lunch, bread, tzatziki etc. It was like a dream. Eventually, we raised the anchor and motored out into the big wide world! Quickly picked up wind and it hit 10/11 knots before we knew it. Put the genoa and full sail out which in hindsight was probably a mistake as there was far to much of a sail/wind ratio. However, this is how you learn isn't it?? We headed for Arkhoudi, a little island between Meganissi and Ithaka and although that was ok being on a beam reach, we knew we'd have to tack round to get to Kalamos and would be heading downwind. Easier said than done especially when you don't know what you're really doing, and each time I tried to turn to port, the boat heeled and I freaked out. M took the genoa in and it was better after that. However, the best thing to do was gybe down to Kalamos and this is when it all went horribly wrong. My helming skills aren't finely honed yet and so when I turned the boat as I was meant to, it went far too far and whizzed off course to the stage where we were now on a beam reach and nearly heading back the way we came. Help!! Lots of ''What the hell are you doing'' from the skipper! We tried it again...same thing. Then because we still had 20kn of wind, M tried to reef in. Oh dear - the reefing system's not what we're used to and my helming was crap! Decided that the best thing to do in the circumstances was take down all the sail and motor up to Kalamos as we were now losing time. We could check the reefing tomorrow in calmer waters.

Nearing Kalamos, we could already see plenty of masts. Inwardly groaned as we approached and saw how full it was. Despite our best efforts, we'd happened upon a flotilla of 'Sailing Holidays' boats who had taken the prime harbour wall spots. Obviously we should have arrived earlier. No matter....Sean and Ruth were already there and were with George, the local taverna owner who helps hapless sailors like ourselves find a spot to moor up for the princely sum of eating at his taverna! Geroge indicated that we should go bows to between the anchor chains of two other boats. Hmmmm sod that for a first time solo park-up. M was all for heading off elsewhere but I knew it would be like this anywhere else and Kastos was apparantly smaller than Kalamos! Having been persuaded to find us somewhere else, George parked another boat and we ended up coming in stern to next to him and in front of a local boat. The chap next door, took our lines and tied us up through his boat with a bow spring. George took a stern spring to the shore and we were done! We'd made it. Got off the boat and had our first beer of the day sitting in the sunshine with S&R and a guy called Steve from S.I. who was teaching a couple to sail who were on their honeymoon.

Later, having showered and changed, we emerged again from the boat to find George at the quayside. He shook our hands enthusiastically saying "My name is George, you eat at my taverna". So we did!! The food was so-so. I had swordfish and it didn't set me alight but of course it might just be my bad choice because everyone else raved about theirs! One thing that was true to form was the red wine. Very drinkable and of course, we got through another 2 bottles. An early night was in store - very tiring this sailing. Apart from the mooring nightmare I rather liked Kalamos.

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