Wow, there is so much to tell you guys. I’m going to have to get on here more often to keep up with the stories!
Let’s start with the only negative – the transit from Brisbane to Greece. It was horrendous. Our flight left at 9pm on Sunday night. We had already been awake for 14 hours by that time. A 14.5 hour flight later we were at Dubai airport, with full knowledge that Athens was only about 4 more hours away. However, we had to fly to Heathrow first instead – 7.5 hours. Then spend 9.5 hours in Heathrow airport. That was bad. We were terribly tired by that stage. Heathrow terminal 5 does not have comfortable chairs! Having a pimm’s and lemonade and a beer was a great idea originally, until the alcohol mixed with the tiredness, with nowhere to sleep.
Another 3.5 hour flight to Athens got us landing there at 3am Tuesday morning. A quick (1 hour) bus ride to Piraeus left us finding the port very dark and quiet. Luckily, we found a café next to the ticket office, where the man served us baked goods and freshly squeezed orange juice for our 3 hour wait for the 8am ferry.
At 10:25am our ferry pulled up to the town quay at Porto Kheli where we were introduced to Sibia, our catamaran and home to be. Firstly, we were delighted that it was actually here! Having organized this from Australia, we weren’t even sure there was a boat waiting for us at the other end.
The weather was perfect. The water a beautiful turquoise colour without a single ripple; and the beautiful town in the background. You would think that we would immediately go in to have a nap, but there were way too many things to do!!! Things to fix especially!!
The afternoon was spent learning were everything is on the boat, fixing the toilet, filling a camping shower (yep, I have still not washed my hair since being here), changing the anchor chain over from the old to new, putting the sails on, and the list goes on. We made it to bed at about 9:30pm.
Porto Kheli is such a beautiful place. I hear the places we will be sailing to are going to be even nicer. I am so excited about this.
We are due to sail out tomorrow, given the weather forecast is promising. Before we go, let me tell you about yesterday afternoon’s events.
We decided to stay in Porto Kheli due to a forecast of strong winds. The forecast lied. The winds weren’t strong. They were cyclonic!!!!!! Not only was the wind blowing us directly into the quay, it was also blowing us towards the boat next door AND we were the first boat on the windward end of the quay (where the wind was coming from) so had nothing blocking us.
We spent some time watching flotillas of charter boats coming into the harbor. Some went and anchored to be safe. Others attempted to dock their boats in this heavy wind. We managed to take a bit of a video, until things turned extra bad for us.
First, check out the video:
The video unfortunately does not do it justice.
Ok, now us. Well, the anchor dragged enough for the back of the two hulls to come extremely close to the quay. When I say close, I mean onto the quay! It was fenders galore!!! We spent 3 hours (of our nap time) out there holding the fenders onto the back of the hulls to make sure the boat didn’t smash into the concrete. After that time, I managed to leave my side to quickly connect the motor and get it started. We then spent another hour or so motoring whilst tied on to the town quay.
FYI, here in the Mediterranean you have to tie your boat with the stern (back of the boat) against the quay, instead of being side on to it. What a sight we were!!!
Sorry, we had no camera person to show you the action! Lots of people came by to offer their advice on what we could do, when really all we could do was wait it out. I’m glad it stopped before nightfall!
Four large motor yachts were due to come and tie up next to us. We waited and waited, as they would have been fantastic wind blockers. Unfortunately they never arrived. The chaos inside the bay was apparently nothing on what was happening outside. One of the 62ft motor yachts had an engine fail as it went somewhere too shallow to avoid the wind. It his its propellors on the rocks, causing the engines to fail. It then ended up on the rocks and started sinking. We have not heard whether everyone got off safely. Hopefully they did.
Another one of the motor yachts went over a large 4 – 5m wave, its bow hit hard and it lost its anchor! Eventually after the wind slowed a bit, a 50ft princess motor yacht arrived giving us a wind break for the night. Although the wind was lighter, there were still gusts coming through. We had a bit of relief knowing it was there, as long as it held on the small shackle on the quay. We were also able to tighten up the anchor and loosen the ropes a little bit. It seemed our boat was staying put, and did not feel the need to be on the quay any longer.
As all of this was happening, everyone seemed to be an expert on when the wind would die down, and the direction it would turn to. No one really got it right, which tends to accord with the three different forecasts we saw, that were all wrong! One other yachtie told us his wind counter showed the wind as going over 40 knots.
So what else have we been doing for two days? Eating awesome food. Gyros (also known as kebabs back home) are now my favourite food. At 1.80 Euros, who needs to eat anything else? We have been stocking up the food and water on the boat for when we can’t find Gyros.
I spent all of Wednesday afternoon washing the deck of the boat with a brush and bucket, dunking the bucket into the water to fill it. I definitely don’t need to go to the gym this week. It was filthy! Ryan spent that time looking at the list of things to do, and napping. The list has still not been commenced by the way. We’ll do it as we go.
I’ll leave you now with some more photos of Porto Kheli. Next stop is likely to be Poros, the forecast looks good today.
So before we go, let me leave you with some photos from the town: