The motor sail from Kalimnos to Leros was non-eventful, except scaring myself shitless when a ferry appeared from behind a rock doing 30 knots. One emergency collision avoidance maneuver later and Odin and Esper have arrived at Pandeli, Leros, from where I write these last few log entries.
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.
“What are you doing in Kos?” my cousin asked over the phone. “It’s full of gay bars.” You’d know I suppose, Jay, I’m just here to use the internet. Easier said than done, mind. When we anchored off Kardemena, a sprawling town for chavs, the northerlies were hitting 30 knots. At least anchoring was easy but I was amazed at how much fetch could build in such a short space of sea. Rowing over to Odin for a beer was ludicrously difficult…
My troubles started when I attempted to turn the engine off. I pressed the ‘off’ button and nothing happened, the engine continued to trundle away. “Relay switch”, I thought. I picked up instructions manuals, reference books, and anything else that might offer a solution. In the end I bottled it and called John on the VHF.
Liz has left me. She has gone and now it is just me, the cat and Esper. To pull myself out of my misery I attempted some single handed sailing, proving to myself and the world that I can stand alone, man against the elements, a conqueror, a hero. Impressive was the fact that I have never sailed solo before; even more impressive was that I managed to log two continents. Well, this all sounds good on paper, but the reality was that my first week was a complete screaming disaster. Dragging anchors, smashed solar panels, dysfunctional engines and rolling harbours all contributed to me desperately wanting my Queenie back on board. All this is set against a background of consistent 25-30knot winds that have been plaguing the Greek Islands all month. The usual self-deprecation is illustrated with loads of pics (look out for ‘Moon Goat’) and a couple of video clips too.
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.
I’m compelled to send you this quick text I received from a friend of ours who is a delivery skipper (a vastly underpaid job whereby the skipper takes on a huge responsibility to safely dispatch a vessel from one location to another). We’ll call him The Boat Stig. The Boat Stig was given the task of delivering a yacht from France to Turkey. That’s a bit of a boot, and this was a delivery skipper’s worst nightmare: the owner was on board.
Started fishing at 5 this morning, about the time the cicadas started. The anchorage is a stunning setting, especially at that time in the morning. I put some coffee on and chucked some crumbs out the back. Not much action for a bit until I attracted the attention of just three fish. In all the time at this anchorage (two nights) these are the only fish I’ve seen.
Yes, after four years, three near misses, two lines and one very impatient cat we have finally bagged our first catch off the back of Esper! Under the guidance of our fishing guru, Matt, both Liz and myself caught a fish each within the space of 24 hours. Of course we frequently pull up a cage full of tiddlers and live-bait with our lobster pot but, according to our guru, “that’s not fishing, that’s just being lazy”. Click on the link to read about this very exciting moment…
It’s perhaps not surprising that my best holiday so far was the result of a series of coincidences and good fortune. Even now, parts of it feel like a dream. How likely is it that your boss in South Africa tells you that you’re being sent to a conference in Istanbul and that – taking a chance because you know your friends are sort of crazy – when you email friends in London to say you’re going to be in Turkey for a few days, do they want to join you, they come back immediately to say that they’d love to.
I learnt a lot about sailing, it was like a crash course as I had never really done any hands on sailing previously, all my boating experience has been under motor and I can definitely see the appeal when the engine is cut and you are purely under way using the power of the elements, it is quite cathartic.
We pottered back across to Turkey later that day and had a good wind behind us. It was after taking the helm on a few occasions on this trip that I realised it’s not as straight forward keeping a boat under sail pointing on a consistent bearing manually and requires quite a lot of concentration.
We woke up to hear that Liz had been up at the crack of dawn and managed to catch the same species of fish as Jamie but slightly bigger! [Ed: what utter nonsense 😉 ]
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