Sunday, 28 September 2008

Spartakhori to Sivota

1st September

Well, we slept but I've no idea how well really. I was awoken at some unknown hour by the distant voice of a chap gabbling away in Greek. Went back to sleep and dreamt that Spartakhori had a big tidal wave coming in (weird!) - we got up at 7.15 and had a coffee, sitting in the cockpit overlooking the bay. We seemed to be the first up apart from the local fishermen, so it was pretty special to have the place to ourselves for a while. Next door (Sally and Peter) were next up and we chatted to them for a while and then walked up to the taverna to see what we could find for breakfast. We went for the yoghurt option as we already had bread and we'd bought some honey in a little shop in Vlikho yesterday. Sat in the cockpit eating our yoghurt and fighting off wasps, then Chris (son of Neil and Di) turned up to announce that he was going to teach us stern mooring - in Vathi, the bay next door.

Once we were ready to leave, we managed, with Chris's help, to squeeze ourselves out of the ridiculously small parking bay by reversing out. Fun and games! We then did some runs at reversing up to a mooring buoy before doing the same up to the harbour wall and Rodney (the rib). Marco seemed to be doing ok so Chris sped off round to Vathi and we followed on a few minutes later. Ruth and Sean were already there practicing their stern mooring and we followed suit. Evidentally we didn't do too bad because after a couple of goes, Chris let us moor up ourselves on the other side of the harbour. Naturally, all the stress of worrying that we WOULDN'T be able to do it called for a large Mythos and this seemed a good time to order some lunch to go with it. Ahhh the first Greek salad of the holiday - oh, and the first stuffed tomatoes of the holiday. Hurrah! Chris sat with us chatting about his oh so fantastic life (grrr we hate you Chris) running a successful yacht charter company in Greece all summer (!) which most of us can only dream of. After a while, Ruth and Sean came across and we struck a deal to sail down the east coast of Meganissi together, ending up in Sivota in the evening, where we would meet once more with Sail Ionian. I should stress here that this was NOT a flotilla holiday - and never felt like one - but we did feel reasonably 'safe' knowing that the guys from S.I. would be there to catch our lines should we get into trouble!

However, the best laid plans and all that meant that Ruth and Sean sailed off ahead of us, and we never saw them again until Sivota. As per yesterday, we struggled to make any headway with our feeble attempts at sailing and they obviously found wind where we didn't! Marco was starting to get a bit pissed off motoring everywhere so I put on a cd, brought out a beer and we chilled out for a while watching other boats motoring around like us. Suddenly the wind picked up! Sail up again, genoa out, engine off and suddenly we were doing some real-life sailing for the very first time. I think we were sailing on a beam reach but what do I know (well, what did I know at the time). It was great and all was going really well.....until I took the helm so that Marco could do some videoing. Everything went pear-shaped - I took the yacht about 90 degrees off course and M went a bit mad at me!!! He got it back on course but we lost the wind, it was taking ages and we weren't getting anywhere (again). As we reached the bottom of Meganisi, there's a separate little islet just off it. We decided not to sail between the islands but to go around the little islet. Mistake! We should have gone between. The gap was much bigger than we originally thought plus we lost speed and it was getting late, so on went the engine and we motored the rest of the way to Sivota where we knew S.I. would be waiting. It seemed to take forever but after Marco gave me a rough lesson in chart reading, I managed to chart our progress quite well though i say so myself.

We approached the headland of Sivota where there were some little houses on a hill, and motored in. This was really easy, plus Neil was all ready and waiting to help us in. We'd already picked our spot to moor up and as luck would have it, Neil chose the same spot so that gave us confidence. I dropped anchor, Marco reversed Winspit up and Neil grabbed the rope, wrapping it around a post. Unfortunately, as Marco was pulling the line tight, the rope slipped off the post and Marco careered backwards into the cockpit landing on his backside with his legs in the air. The first of many 'comedy moments'! Neil apologised and Marco put the line through one of the more reliable mooring rings! Now we were safe. Neil had a cold beer waiting at the Olive Press bar across the bay and offered a lift across on Rodney. However, Ruth and Sean arrived as we were getting in, so we all got out and helped them moor up. Eventually we made it across to the bar and got stuck into the beers and wine. The setting was idyllic and we could see the entire bay from where we were. We strolled back to the boat and got ready to go out, using the showers available at Yiannis taverna where we were moored. Before dinner, Sean and Ruth came over for G&Ts in the cockpit. Very civilised eh? Then we went for dinner at .....Yiannis - well it was close by and looked good. We sat upstairs where we had a great view across the harbour. Of course, wine had to be drunk, and we owed R&S a bottle as they paid last night, so we downed another couple of bottles with dinner. Afterwards, we were invited back to their boat and we ended up with their neighbours joining us on board with another bottle. Bloody sociable stuff this sailing malarky. At some stage in the evening, around midnight I think, we staggered back to Winspit where we had a top night's sleep - obviously we're getting used to sleeping on the boat...or were we just knocked out by alcohol????

No comments: