Wednesday 15th May
When It's Cold
Well this is unseasonable. This time last year we were sweltering already and swimming and going solo, away from the crowds. This year so far has been cold! We have had the heater on in earnest, not just for testing. So when it's cold, you congregate and are sociable.
Classic launch and we were back down into Lakki, great place to start the season with good stock-up facilities, fabulous greengrocers and hardware shops and people who seem to be able to tackle most jobs. We had familiar faces and boats for company, exchanging future plans and general boaty bits experiences. Our new sprayhood (made over the winter) was delivered and fitted by Yannis and son: they have done such a good job. They also did a good repair job on the tent, and will be first on our list if we feel it needs replacing eventually. Also getting them to quote for new upholstery.
A day of sunshine and hot temperatures encouraged us to be up and off. We had a couple of nights in quiet anchorages and sailed in two stints to the fabulous island of Amorgos, home of the monastery stuck on the side of a cliff and location for the classic film "Big Blue". To our surprise this early in the season, it was packed. Owners boats from all over; from Australia and the US to Belgium, Spain, France, Germany, Italy and the UK as well as the usual charter fleet. More surprisingly we had a quorum for a sort of pop-up Hallberg-Rassy rally with 4 of us here ranging in size from 2 x 34s, 1 x 39 and 1 x 45. We got to know each other, discussed the tortuous payment of the new Greek cruising tax (now resolved for all four boats as of yesterday) and the differences and similarities of our respective boats. It's always useful to get ideas from others… and there were some good ones!
We also celebrated Richard's birthday, thankfully a non-special one. We had been so busy prior to coming out that birthday pre-planning was on the negligent side. He had lots of cards though (thanks everyone) and messages and a couple of presents that somehow found their way into the luggage along with the holding tank (although missed opportunity, that would have made a great present, all it needed was a red ribbon). There is a good range of waymarked walks on the island, about 3 of them do-able directly from Katapoli port. We set off on one, managed not to get lost in the scrub and waylaid by the goat paths, towards the lighthouse at the end of the point. It's further than it looks and after a couple of hours and several km, decided to turn around and head back - birthday cake was waiting and one must get one's priorities right. Second priority was a fish supper later on in a local tavern.
This morning saw the chaos of departing fleets, the port emptied with lots of excitement, gesticulation and upheaval over crossed chains, lifted anchors, strange manoeuvring and the like. We too said our goodbyes and headed off, all of about 10nm to a tiny gap between the islets of Dhrima and Andikaros, a remote and quiet anchorage with a sand spit, baby goats and fellow HR34 Panacea for company.
We have a sort of plan - a big loop up, north, round and about over the next weeks - tbc. For now, we are going to row over to Panacea for a chat - it's cold again and we all have long sleeves on still. Get the oars out.