Posted: 28 August 2011
Yasas everyone from the bay of Monemvasia, on the south eastern end of the Peloponnisos peninsula (Greece mainland). Since we last spoke to you we have visited the bay of Marathon, where the marathon originated from, not that we were inspired to jog from there to Athens, with temperatures in the mid 30’s! We did have a meander along the bay to look at the throngs of people, lounging on the shore and in the water. It was a bit like Wenderholm in that there were busloads of people, armed with their baskets of food and their stereos, pounding away.
We have been doing a bit of a battle on board, with livestock. First there were flies, then it was wasps that had us flailing about with our fly swats like demented eggbeaters. Next, horror of horrors, we had weevils! In all our sailing in the Pacific Islands, we never had weevils and indeed I did not know what they looked like but our last crew did know. Hmmm that was suspicious! Weevils did not arrive till that last lot arrived. Any way they turned up in our cashews (don’t blame them there, who does not love cashews), in our muesli and then in the curry powder! I mean to say, what self-respecting weevil would want to live in curry powder? Guess they did not win the weevil lotto – “to the winner goes – a week in the Tebbutt’s cashew jar and to the losers (I mean losers PLURAL as there were heaps of the little buggers) – sorry mates – you get to live in the curry jar”. As for the muesli, I shudder to think I how many we ate, thinking they were those oh so healthy little linseed thingies. Actually I wonder how many calories are in eevils? Probably on Dr Nigel’s list of fibre I should be consuming.
Speaking of my mate Dr Nigel, he who recommended the Mediterranean diet as being good for me, well if I have not lost the prescribed amount of weight when I go home, I will suggest to the aforementioned Doc, that he takes a trip up here. He might want to take a look at the Mediterranean Mamas, sashaying around in their bikinis on the beaches. We are not talking of the young things that Bruce is so fond of looking at. These ladies are of a similar age to me and there are a lot of them that I could stand next to and feel positively svelte (perhaps that might be exaggerating a tad, but you get my meaning). As for the ‘lardy lads’ I see around – most of them have gone past the six pack stage, completely missed the keg stage and are now walking beer tankers. It seems to me, the bigger the belly, the smaller the togs and it is hard to see the speedos peeking out from under the protruding puku! But they are all so gloriously golden and no-one is ashamed of their size. Loud and proud! No photographic proof at this stage but we will get one when the time is right and we do not get hit over the head for not being discreet!
Any way after Marathon we headed to the island of Poros. We had visited there in 2009 after we had been through the Corinth Canal and thought it was beautiful then but only visited briefly so we wanted to go back. Well when we last visited, admittedly it was in November, there were only a couple of boats there. This time it was bedlam. Midi looked like the poor relation in amongst the super yachts around the place. Especially as they opened their garage door in the hull, and out trundled the “toys” – bigger in some cases than Midi. This is supposed to be one of the prettiest towns, looking from the harbour, that you can find in Greece and we would agree. Whoa there 1st mate. You forgot to tell them that we left with a forecast of around 20 – 25knots (from the North so behind us) so being cautious as we do know what the winds can do here, we put 2 reefs in the main and lo and behold the 20 – 25 became 30 -40 knots! So a good sail was had, of around 60nm but finished with about 5knots of wind. That is the way it is here.
Next we headed off in the direction on the island of Spetsai via the island of Hydra (flies galore). Our pilot book describes this area, as the Greek Riviera and as we dodged our way through all the mini ships that were whizzing by, we just looked in wonder and decided to find somewhere else to anchor, away from Onassis types that abounded. I don’t know what it is but the bigger the boat, the less they think they have to obey maritime rules and many a time, as a boat roared by, we had to dive below and secure things so they would not get broken by the sea churned up by these ignorant wallies. It so amuses us to watch these huge craft, with the crew working furiously around the owner male, talking on his cell phone and the owner female, lying back on the lounger, reading her book and neither of them batting an eyelid as to the work that goes on around them. None of these super yacht types have thought to invite us over for a drink. Don’t they know that we are the Tebbutts from, well, no fixed abode really. They don’t know what they are missing out on.
Now folks, since I cannot afford to continue collecting the rocks I truly love (diamonds), my attention has shifted to the other types found on the shore. I now have my own marble quarry on board so I look now for interesting other sorts. I found this little gem with its fossilised plant life in a little bay south of Koiladhia. I still have not ascertained whether I can bring back these treasures legally to NZ but I do think they will look lovely in our garden in Kerikeri.
Our next anchorage was in Koiladhia, a lovely spot in behind some rich Greek’s private island. I must mention at this stage, that we have been seeing a lot more catamarans up around this area and we are still of the opinion that the Fountaine-Pajot catamarans are the best looking of them all (not that we are biased of course). Anyway more livestock had done damage on Midi. Mosquitoes had a huge feast on me and I was covered in more than fifty bites and with no antihistamine cream on board, I had about 36 hours of agony until we got to a chemist. 101 Dalmatians had nothing on me. A couple of days before, our main gas bottle had run out (it is a 15kg bottle from France). Now we have no problem filling this in Turkey (although I have strong suspicions that it wasn’t actually filled in Istanbul, maybe partially but not completely) we have a lot of bother trying to fill it in Greece. So off we trot to the local super market to check that they have gas which they do. So back to the boat, load the bottle into the dinghy and back to shore (dodging the large resident turtle that lives in the harbour). Back to the shop where they hummed and haaed and said no can do. But (being the helpful types that they can be sometimes) they send a guy back to the boat with me, with fittings and a 10kg bottle of Greek gas. After some fiddling about our man promptly cuts off our existing fitting and fits the one that will fit the Greek gas bottle. I have a look and say it must have a regulator. No problem no problem says our man and proceeds to light the stove and almost blew up the boat!!! Singed all the hairs on one of my arms which I am waving around in great alarm and before he can try to light the stove again I am turning the gas off everywhere I can, as you can imagine. I am waving the regulator at him to get the message across. Some other guy (Greek) comes by in his dinghy and he yabbers away to him then says, ‘no problem come” and gets back in the dinghy. Back to shore where he gets a regulator which we take back and fit now we have gas again. Phew but almost no boat but no problem! So very helpful and now we can exchange our bottle (40 euros for 10kgs including the 20 euro deposit for the bottle) so it is reasonably priced. I really cannot understand why all fittings can’t be the same the world over, after all isn’t the gas the same!
Once again we decided to take in the delights of a local waterfront restaurant. We pick our restaurants by looking for the one that has the most locals in it and at first we were a bit puzzled by that lack of menus available but we have now worked out that there is not much variety between restaurants and the locals just sit down and order what they know will be available. Bruce was feeling the lack of shell fish at one restaurant we went to and so he ordered cockles. Usually the dishes of food you get are rather large but not this time. He got SIX cockles, opened on his plate, for six Euros. That is nearly $2 a cockle! Fortunately I had a good Greek plateful of calamari, so I could help him out with food.
Our next anchorage was inside a little island called Korakonisia. Lovely little spot, with a deserted little island with not a lot on it to explore but a beautiful spot to while away a day or two, in and out of the water as the temperatures soared. At this stage temperatures are hitting the high 30’s and probably the low 40’s at times, mid 30’s in the boat and still over 30 when we go to bed. Next was Fokiannos, another lovely little spot that we were forced to wander along the beach to have our fresh orange juice and watch the locals. We were driven out of the bay by hoards of wasps that disappeared as the sun set but unfortunately, were back at sunrise.
We are becoming very lazy sailors as everything is down wind at this stage. The last two times we have moved we have only pulled out the genoa but when we sailed from Korakonisia to here, we sailed under reefed genoa, with up to 42 knots of wind and hit a top speed of 15 knots. The sea was a bit lumpy but it sure was a fast passage. Midi picked up a gust and a wave at the same time and he felt like she was about to take flight.
Next anchorage was Ormos Monemvassia, where we anchored off a little church (pictured here with yours truly outside) where at 6pm a wedding took place, the reception of which was held at a hotel off our stern and wouldn’t you just know it, a terrible singer (to our ears) serenaded us until 2am! And no, we didn’t get an invite. I had shaved my legs and dusted off my posh sarong but no – alone again.
Next we went into Monemvassia harbour, underneath what they call the Greek Rock of Gibralter and yes we climbed to the top, up and down very slippery stone paths. Photo of Bruce here, looking pensively up as he wonders how he is going to get me to go further without sliding over. It is yet another beautiful spot and is a very popular place.
Forgot to mention that we caught our first fish of the season and threw it back. It was the ugliest, skinniest barracuda looking thing. Thank goodness for frozen fish fingers is all I can say.
Well, that is about all from us for now. Those of you lovely types who have called us on Skype will have all this news so we hope we are not boring the socks off you but at least you get pictures this way. If you have not already figured it out, when the type is in Italics, that is Bruce’s addition to the email. At least you don’t get the voice over of him swearing as the computer does not do what he wants it to.
Love to all,
Lesley and Bruce