On Sunday I’ll be publishing my shots of the Dharavi slums of Mumbai. That’s on Sunday but today is Friday, so let’s keep it light-hearted. Let’s discuss beer! Beer. The love of my life, the bain of my waist-line. A refreshment to be enjoyed at the end of the day after a hard day’s sail, a hard day’s work or a hard day’s drinking. Whatever the occassion, beer is there to help you celebrate. Here in Catholic Kerala, however, beer isn’t so understood. The booze shop is a shuttered, over-the-counter, slip-the-beverage-into-a-plain-paper-bag-before-my-wife-spots-me affair. The pubs are dirty, dark cockroach-infested holes. The imbibement of this fine libation is not encouraged like it is elsewhere in India and the mantra “alcohol consumption is injurious to health” is seen on both the labels of bottles and across the tinted windows of aforementioned grimey bars. Is ‘injurious’ actually a word? Whatever, whether you like beer or not you’ll be impressed by the sales pitch of one such beer called Zingaro. The masculine gold and red Zingaro label has an Indian, of the Native American persuasion, taming a wild horse with ‘Super Strong Premium Lager’ emblazoned across the bottom. But it’s the blurb on the back that had me in stiches…
We return to Massawa and Liz, bless her, went down with the nasty fever that was spreading amongst the yotties. It was a shame because she missed ‘Fenkil’, which was the 20th anniversary of Eritrea’s independence. We had originally been told that all foreign yachts were to have left Massawa before the president came to do his speech but we later learned that actually the town would like us to stay and celebrate with them. What an honour.
Today is arrival day. Our predicted landfall is 1600 and I’m writing this as we motor across flat calm water towards Port Said, so we’ll see if my ETA is correct. Although we can’t see land the depth is only 20 metres, and we’ve passed a couple of oil rigs and been overtaken by a huge cargo ship. With the hazy sun the entire experience reminds me of the east coast of the UK. On a good day. Instead of familiar Turkish banter the VHF is now choca with angry-sounding Arabic fishermen.
I have just had the sail of my life: I covered 73 miles in 13 hours in 25 knots of wind, passing eight Greek islands along the way. In all that time I passed just four other sailing boats in the glorious late summer sun. Sadly this was the end of my personal Greek odyssey. I am now back in Marmaris Yacht Marina (yuck) preparing to return to the UK. Permit me, then, to conclude my Greek log with my stay in Samos, which is mainly a bunch of photographs for your viewing pleasure (they’re so much easier to digest than words). The last of our summer log entries will culminate in Matt’s account of his visit with Candice, boasting some cracking photographs, but more on that next week. In the meantime I’ve adopted (nicked) Matt’s black border technique for a new-look image presentation. Enjoy.
As we left the island of Arki we were seen off by a pod of dolphins, some so big I thought perhaps they were pilot whales. They weren’t but they looked very big and very old too (two with lots of battle scars). It was quite fitting to be seen off by them, as if they were rewarding us with these favourable winds after the last week of motoring everywhere.
Emborios is a tiny hamlet with just a couple of restaurants who provide mooring buoys for yotties. Yep, you guessed it, another task as yet not undertaken single-handed. I think I performed it admirably, even if I say so myself, especially after tying up and watching a another boat make a real pig’s ear of it all: lost boat hooks, screaming skipper, trembling wife, usual story.
Pserimos is a little island in between Kos and Kalimnos and is clearly a weekend hangout for the young Greeks from the neighbouring islands. The tiny bay in which I anchored was littered with RIBS, jet skis, speedboats and day-trippers. We enjoyed a sundowner at Sunset cafe, where the waiter graciously reduced our beers from €3 to €2.50, stating “I don’t want my restaurant to get a reputation as being expensive”. Even so, €2.50 for a large beer? Clearly I was going to have to do some adjusting, now that I am back in Europe.
Anyway…this “Day in the Life” is based upon our time on the hard in the sweltering 30°+ heat of June at Marti Marina. For you non-yotties being on the hard means propping ones boat up on big sticks and climbing up and down a 10ft ladder in order to get on and off the boat.
The town of Simi had its own charm as well and after a bit more of an orientation exercise i.e. drinking more beer we decided to go and have dinner. The restaurant we chose was recommended to us by an Australian waitress who said she had eaten there recently and it was fantastic. Well if she’d eaten there on her wages then I’m a Monkey’s uncle
My strategy was to snorkel around with the boat’s sweeping broom and poke the handle into various likely looking holes in the rock with a view that the Occie would get very pissed off with this intrusion and wrap its tentacles around the broom allowing me to extract the Crustacean, at which point I was going to turn its head inside it which is the way to dispatch tour eight legged friend
Dirsek is a charming bay, very sheltered, crystal clear water and only accessible by boat. In fact the only other inhabitants of the bay apart from other Yotties are the goats which descend from the hills to forage along the coast. I don’t know if it’s the gradual increase in atmospheric pressure as they descend but they seem to fart their way down which has lead to this bay being dubbed ‘Farting Goat bay’ of course.
Much later Jamie impressed not just our immediate party but everyone at poolside by performing a series of beautifully executed complex dives. I think this one was a reverse back somersault with triple pike from memory [which wasn’t too good by then].
Introducing a new series on followtheboat: A Day In The Life. In this new category we take one day and break it down for you, hour by hour, offering a lighthearted view on what it’s like to spend 24 hours aboard Esper. In our first essay we examine an average day at anchor in Turkey, from dragging anchors and evil clerics to woodland creatures and smelly poo.
Oh, and if you’re using Internet Explorer 6, we’ve finally got round to fixing a display errors in the website – of course you should have upgraded or migrated to Firefox by now 😉
In this feature we take a light-hearted look at shopping in Turkey. We examine the customs, the expectations and the heartache. Somewhere in the article are a few tips, but don’t take it too seriously.
My first and only experience with sailing boats arrived at the age of twelve in Bognor Regis. It was a school trip and involved myself and some unruly pals sprawling ourselves across a tiny single sailed yacht. The thing with kids is, you tell them something ten times and they don’t listen, what they actually need is the experience of something bad before they know not to do something ever again.
Pubs, beer and good paintbrushes vs good food, space and great climate. Which would you prefer? My extended trip back to the UK has been a real eye-opener but I frequently caught myself saying things like ‘it’s not like that in Turkey’. I can’t help it. I’ve made Turkey my temporary home but I’ve just spent a month back at my parents, in the bedroom I grew up in, and I quickly became British again. Now I’m returning to Turkey and I can’t help but compare and contrast. It’s an interesting exercise, but which is better? Turkey or England?
Got woken up by an excited Timmy at 4am, claiming aliens had visited him! Apparently whilst on watch the sails were lit up by a huge bright spotlight.
We’ve just been chilling in Las Palmas……or trying to. The fact is Las Palmas sucks. There’s something about Las Palmas that makes it feel ‘tainted’, as Tim described it. It lacks character, though it certainly has atmosphere.
9am and there it was – the great isle of Gran Canaria, welcoming us with hot sun and open arms! We sauntered into the marina, moored up and took our first step on dry land after a rather eventful six days at sea.
Expecting an open-armed warm welcome, three men appear on the deck looking a bit perplexed at our arrival, what with our kit and bags. Even an explanation of our presence seemed to confuse the guys on board.
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