Saturday, 25 October 2008

Kioni to Fiscardo (or where NOT to park your boat)

6th September

Grrr.....flotillas! It doesn't matter what time you turn up at a place, they are always there first, bagging all the spots. It really makes life hard for the novice sailor (i.e. US!!) trying to do it on his own. Still, we made it albeit with a little help!

The day started well. Kioni is such a pretty picture postcard place that it was a pleasure to wake up there. Ashore, we had a little wander around, taking advantage of all the photo opportunities there. After breakfast we said goodbye to Mick and Tanya next door and Mick helped us with our lines - just as well really as Marco dropped the long line at both ends and we had to go back for it.....a good throw by Mick and it was safely back on board. Once out of Kioni, the wind got up to 6kn and in minutes up to 10kn so we were quick to put the sails up and take advantage of a bit of morning sailing at last. As it turned out, we had fantastic wind all the way around the top of Ithaka and down to Fiscardo which was great....I even sailed while Marco tacked, and managed to keep her on a close reach on both tacks without stalling..hurrah! Fiscardo wasn't too easy to spot coming in from the north, but soon, the lighthouses mentioned in the pilot guide loomed into view. We took down the sails and motored in. So far so good eh? Well, it didn't last! It quickly became apparant that even at 2pm, you can't beat Sailing Holidays into any harbour in the Ionian! So we did a little circle, surveying the area trying to decide where to moor for the rest of the day. We managed to find a space between a dinghy and a yacht towards the NE of the harbour and were feeling quite pleased with ourselves, especially as we managed to drop the anchor and reverse in first time! I cracked open a couple of Mythos and came up the companionway, ready to celebrate. Our smugness was short-lived though......a Greek chap emerged from the shadows of a nearby shop and told us we had to leave as it was the space for a local boat. Marco (being tall and therefore allowed to be smug) ignored him, cheerily calling to the chap 'first come, first served'. I shifted nervously on my cockpit cushion. The Greek chap didn't bat an eyelid as he lit a cigarette, drew heavily on it, blew out the smoke and said menacingly 'you'll pay' . I became rather nervous and was assured by 'the smug one' that he was all smoke, no fire or words to that effect. Fifteen minutes later, another Greek chap, this time, better looking with better English told us the same story about the local boat and it was up to us but the owner was a bit wild. So I then shifted rather more nervously than before and Marco rang Chris at Sail Ionian for advice. Chris asked where we were moored, and advised us to speak to the port police. Marco headed off and I sat in the cockpit competing with The Man with No Name for who could scowl the most, the one with the fag or the one with the beer! There was no winner, as Marco returned looking as worried as I felt and said 'let's get out of here'.

As if that wasn't bad enough there was more.

A friendly enough guy came up to us as we were preparing our lines and asked if we wanted help leaving. I opened my mouth to say 'yes please' but found myself beaten by the 'no thanks' of Marco...damn! Marco gave me the nod and I started to pull up the anchor.....within seconds it slowed,then ground to a halt. The anchor would neither go up nor down. Fab! Out of the corner of my eye I could see the friendly guy climbing into a dinghy and motoring out towards us. Upon reaching us he told me to release the anchor from the windlass and let it I obeyed....he then asked me to try again, and the anchor started to come up with no problem. I asked what had happened and he laughed. 'Look over your left shoulder' he said. With a sense of foreboding i took a glance, to see the owners of all the yachts on the north quay looking from their bows to me and back again........dropping our anchor in that spot, we had crossed every one of their lines. When I tried to pull the anchor in, it simply brought all their chains together risking fouling every last one of them. Luckily, they all seemed ok and meandered back to their G&Ts or whatever, leaving me rather red-faced at the bow of Winspit.

The friendly guy asked if we needed help finding another spot. Without hesitation or looking at Marco I immediately said YES!! We motored out a little way and as luck would have it, as we did so, a Sunsail yacht was leaving a berth right by the Captains Cabin. We dropped anchor and squeezed into the gap he left with no trouble at all. I thanked the friendly chap profusely and he gave me a cheery 'it's all part of the job' kind of salute and headed back to his warm beer. Once we'd moored up safely and tied our lines, Marco started moaning about where we were parked and how we would get so much noise ....blah blah and how he'd wanted to moor on the east wall with a line ashore. Ah well, never mind that we were moored outside the most famous canopy in Fiscardo then!

We walked away from Fiscardo up the hill and found a lovely bar with Mythos on tap where we could overlook the sea and watch the yachts coming it (we called out ''it's full'' while smugly sipping our beers). It was idyllic. Marco called his dad to tell him how fantastic everything was while we had our two beers each. Wandered back to the boat to find next door having trouble keeping their boat off the quay. they tried to tighten the anchor but ended up pulling it up. So they tied a stern spring from their stern to our bow in order to be secured without having the hassle of relaying the anchor and possibly crossing ours at the same time. By way of thanks they offered us a glass of wine and so we sat chatting to them for a while....a lovely family (even though they were with a flotilla) who were en route to Corfu. They went off for dinner eventually and we speedily got ready and did the same. The quay is chock full of restaurants and there were lots of people around and a great atmosphere. We wandered to the end of the harbour to see what we fancied and ended up choosing Tassia's. It was a great place but pretty expensive as is most of Fiscardo in comparison with the other places we visited. Lobster pasta and filet mignon with a 1lt bottle of wine came to €90. Not content with our litre bottle of wine, we stopped off for a cocktail on the way back to the boat for a nightcap. We had amaretto, vodka, baileys, metaxa 5* and ice cream, all in one glass - YUM!! It was great at the time, but oh boy it hit us as we got up to go back to the boat. I made it back in one piece but only as far as the cockpit. Spent a couple of hours catching flies.

Woke up thinking 'where am I', to a whole shed load of noise coming from the other side of the harbour. A wedding was going on in a large taverna over there and cars were all honking their horns, people were shouting, laughing and generally being rather 3.30am. How glad was I that we were moored outside the tranquil Captain's Cabin instead of that awfully noisy eastern side ha ha!! Who's the smug one now???

No comments: