Friday, 28 August 2015

28th. August - Guests on board

Waiting for Peter and Christina’s plane to land at Preveza
Christina and Peter have joined us on board. They are not sailors and we have to admit to a little anxiety not knowing how they’d enjoy life afloat. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea. “They may hate it” said Jo. However, we need not have worried – they have adapted well and appear to be enjoying it all. Mercifully the weather has been kind – we had a good, if lively, sail from Bungalow Bay to Vliho – a tad over 7 knots on a nice reach. “It’s too tippy over” shouted Jo as the boat heeled a few degrees more than normal but our novice sailors loved it as Peter took the helm. A calm night in Vliho Bay with an excellent meal at Elena’s Taverna completed a good day.

We are now in Sivota tied up at the Yacht Club pontoon and looking forward not only to a feast ashore this evening but the spectacular Sivota Bakery Breakfast (eggs, bacon, sausages, fresh juice and coffee), tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow, weather permitting, we are off to the uninhabited village of Port Leone on Kalamos which lost its water supply in the 1953 earthquake making it untenable. The houses still stand but are empty – a rather spooky ghost town.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

25th. August - ‘L’ plates afloat

The view from the Yacht Club bar at Palairos
As sailors, we all have to learn. I learnt on a 19 foot bilge-keeler on the Medway.  If I got the tides wrong I sat on the Medway mud for 12 hours. You soon learn to read tide tables and do the sums. I took that boat across the Channel to Calais. To say my boat  was basic was an understatement. The navigation kit was rudimentary; there was a compass, a depth sounder with a spinning neon and a Seavoice 12-channel VHF radio. The engine was a 3hp Seagull. No GPS, no chart-plotters, no radar. We got to Calais and, I shudder to think of it now, came back in fog and after seven hours of dead reckoning fetched up smack-bang on the entrance to Dover Harbour. Over the years skills are honed, experience builds and we become better sailors. We suspect it’s not the same today.

Yesterday we were tied stern-to the jetty at Palairos  when a 43 foot flotilla boat arrived off the harbour entrance. It spent around a quarter of an hour trying to line up. Every time it got close the skipper turned the wheel the wrong way and it completed another unscheduled circle. Despite instructions from the shore the skipper kept getting it wrong. Clearly the skipper, and probably the crew, were inexperienced. What’s more they were planning to come in along side us. We deployed more fenders and had one ‘running’ fender ready to position where needed. Eventually the skipper was as lined-up as she was ever going to be and headed towards us. Lots of revs, lots of shouting, lots of stress. She came in far faster than needed and her stern quarter aimed at us midships. I managed to get a fender between us so as to prevent damage. The engine was still delivering too much power as the jetty approached. After a few minutes the boat was secure and ‘neutralised’ – she was no longer a danger to herself or others. The skipper apologised for their untidy, not to say, dangerous, arrival.

Now if you are inexperienced then a 43 footer is not the boat to learn on with a novice crew. One suspects the flotilla companies carry out the most cursory check of competence before passing over the boats to people who really should not be in command of a vessel. One day there’s going to be a nasty accident and then, perhaps, the flotilla companies will be forced to ensure those in command of a boat know what they are doing.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

22nd. August - Almost cured

Moving on
It seems my medical skills may not be as good as I thought. Although Jo’s vertigo has gone she is now suffering from mild dizziness. I said that was normal in blondes but the comment did not go down too well and she started to act more like a redhead.

We think several days afloat and last night’s swell may explain the lingering symptoms and with high winds forecast for today and tomorrow we have opted to return to the marina. It’s more protected, if it gets too ‘bouncy’ we can get off and take refuge in the bar/taverna. If all else fails we can stay in one of the marina’s rooms. We hope two days ashore should sort out the dizziness. Jo rang the Chippy surgery this morning for a second option. They were closed and only open alternate Saturdays. We must remember only to get ill on odd weeks in future!

Friday, 21 August 2015

August 21st. - Hiding from the winds

Rougas Bay - about as busy as it gets. Breeze the furthest in the distance, on the right.

There’s a bit of a blow forecast for tonight. Nothing horrendous, just a force 5 out of the north-west but offshore they are expecting a 6 or 7.  Just in case that wind decides it wants a bit of seaside before the season ends we have opted to ‘hide’ behind a small peninsular to the east of Vonitsa in the Gulf of Amvrakikos. It is very sheltered and rather pleasant. Others have obviously had the same idea. We can see the white horses cantering out in the gulf while here it’s sheltered and reasonably calm.

The skipper - now cured.

I am pleased to be able to tell you that I am now a fully qualified medical practitioner. Today, I cured Jo of her vertigo. Well, to be honest the cure was either due to my substantial medical skills or it was a miracle – I tend to the medical option as I’m not sure the world is yet ready for Saint Trevor but should the arch bish get on the blower I’ll let you know.

For ten days now Jo has been suffering from Vertigo, or to give it it’s full name, as us doctors tend to do, it is Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). If she laid down and moved her head the earth moved, sadly, for the wrong reasons. To be more accurate the earth was spinning. Yes, I know the earth is spinning all the time but for Jo it was violently spinning out of control. A bit like being blind drunk but without having to consume vast quantities of beer or spirits.

She is now cured. 

Enter Dr. Taylor. The cure involves a series of manoeuvers; turning the head in specific directions in a certain sequence. Up until now it has not worked and then we discovered we had been doing it all wrong. Thanks to You Tube we discovered how to do it right. Within a few minutes a cure.  

Today I cure vertigo, next week I’m having a go at brain surgery. No rushing now, form an orderly queue.