Saturday May 3, 2013
We awoke early again and headed off for a walk through town. The weather was overcast and began to drizzle. Temperature was about 10C. We inspected a host of closed chandleries and sailing stores. I bet you could find any boating piece known to man here. There is a regatta scheduled today and crews in the two marinas we visited were preparing to race to L'Havre France across the channel. This 150 mile jaunt was to be a qualifying race for the 300 mile long Fastnet race later in the season.
Returning to the flat we finished packing and tried to eat breakfast while witnessing over 100 boats starting the regatta just below us. There are 22 brass starting cannons lined up along the wall just below the RYS and with a strong breeze blowing it made for exciting starts.
We finally got the car loaded and set off to the chain ferry which is literally a barge that is drawn back and forth across the navigable river by cogs pulling on two heavy chains stretched across below the surface. Next destination was Osborne House, a National treasure that was Queen Victoria's summer estate from 1845 till her death in 1901. The humongous home was set on a large tract of land overlooking the Solent east of Cowes. We toured through the ornately decorated rooms and chambers and learned quite a lot about Victoria and her beloved Albert. The opulence of the rooms and period furnishings were really something to see. The gardens were in bloom and were spectacular. We enjoyed lunch in the period dining room before travelling back to Cowes to catch the 1 hour car ferry to the north Island at Southampton which is a huge seaport for cruise ships and container ships alike. It was a short drive to Penny's parent's home in Shedfield where Mary and Dennis Ross welcomed us like family. Also there was Penny's sister in law Janet from Vancouver.
We all cabbed it out for dinner at the Old House Inn in Wickham not far away. The dinner was a birthday celebration for both Hugh and Janet who share a birthday. We enjoyed being part of the celebration and meeting Penny's family. Sunday Hugh and Penny will drop us off at Gatwick for our flight home before going on to London to visit Hugh's son Alex.
To recap, here are the high & low lights from the trip
On board Necessity 29 days
Distance travelled by boat 167 miles
Sailing time without motor 9 hours
Distance travelled on Crete 780 Km
Best Marina - Aghios Nickolaos
Worst Marina - Rhodes
Prettiest town - Halki
Best city - Hania
Best Yachting town - West Cowes
Best walk - Samaria gorge
Best Octopus - Pineapple restaurant Marmaris
Best Lamb - Penny's crown roast
Best sight - Pammukale
Scariest drive - to Heraklion airport
Brian in Shedfield, southern England
05/19/2013, Cowes, Isle of Wight
Friday May 2, 2013
Rene and I started with a walk around Cowes while Hugh and Penny got up and organized (we were motivated by a 2 hour time shift). The island has a beautiful boardwalk along the Solent which divides it from the North Island (England). We then traversed inland past many old (really old) homes and ended up back in town. After breakfast we took the car south stopping to marvel at a 42 ft yacht (same size as Necessity) standing on her keel in the dried out river flats at low tide. The owner had tied a halyard to the wharf to keep it from tipping into the river bed. The tide here is about 10 feet. We travelled to the south east of the island where we ascended a down (ridge) to catch a great view of the east coast. The lovely green pastures and hedge fences along the narrow country roads gave a new meaning to keeping your eyes on the road. Glad Hugh was driving. We saw the smallest church on the island (pre 1100) and had crab sandwiches and chips in a terrific free house (pub not owned by a brewery). The day was sunny and pleasantly warm so we sat outside.
After lunch, we continued along the south shore and finally ended at the Needles, a spit of broken rock which sticks out from the south west corner of the IOW. We climbed a mile or so up the road for a fantastic view of the rocks and the west entrance to the Solent. Here about 60% of all the boating in the UK takes place and there are races that attract nearly 2000 boats!
It was time for a rest stop and Penny took over the driving getting us to Yarmouth, the oldest town on the island where a true English pub beckoned. By the time we finished it was time to head back home as two of Hugh & Penny's Atlantic crew were coming for dinner.
We enjoyed meeting Jasmine and Richard who both have their Royal Yachtmaster qualification and have sailed many miles with Hugh & Penny. We enjoyed Penny's chicken dish with feta and peppers and Jasmine's fresh focacia bread along Rene's salad and some vino. Another great evening.
Brian in West Cowes, Isle of Wight
Thursday May 2, 2013
We were up early and down on Necessity by 8:15 to lock things up and then went with Martin to the swindlery for the parts for the job. That complete, we had an hour to wait till our car rental driver arrived to take us to the airport. He was young and seemed to have gotten his licence by mail judging by his erratic driving and poor clutch and break skills.
We have really enjoyed Crete - the island, the people and the food.
Arriving in Gatwick after a smooth flight over Greek islands, the Alps and the French countryside, we joined a very slow queue of non-EU passports which ate up the hour we thought we had to spare before our train to Southampton. It was a pleasant ride that took us down along the canals and through very green country till we followed the Test river down to Southampton. We hopped the free bus to the harbour where we caught the Red Jet Catamaran for the 30 minute ride to the Isle of Wight. Hugh met us at the ferry and we discovered Penny on the narrow old street, coming back from a meeting of the Lifeboat Society where she volunteers. The town of Cowes is like a theme park - larger than life Charles Dickens with yachting as it's reason for being. We moved up the narrow pedestrian streets with 17th century buildings on all sides and ended up at The Cowes Yacht Club, one of many on the island. Here, drink in hand, we moved to the deck to watch the lifeboat launch. Next door is the Lifeboat station where volunteers man the RIB boat to launch in any weather assisting mariners in distress. Each Thursday there is a training session during which the boat is launched and rescue exercises are completed.
It was a short walk to their flat which is sandwiched between the London Yacht Club and The Royal Yacht Squadron and has a view over the mouth of the river that divides East and West Cowes. They have mirrors strategically located so that you can see the water from almost any place in the open kitchen and living area. We enjoyed the last of the sun and settled in to a fabulous rack of lamb dinner which Penny had prepared. She had taunted the local butcher saying that we Canadians considered our meat to be the best by far. Certainly, it was by far a superior lamb roast to any I have had in Canada! Totally tired we enjoyed a sleep on a comfortable bed for a change.
Brian in West Cowes, Isle of Wight
Wednesday May 1, 2013
Had a more leisurely morning and enjoyed breakfast at the apartment before heading down to Necessity. Martin, our woodworker, arrived with questions about the wood we wanted. It will be 100 Euros for a piece of oak to fix the rubrail. We made arrangements to meet about 4:30 to review the other aspects of the job and then go to pay the wood guy. Rene and I finished up the last few jobs on board and with things looking good, went for a walk and lunch at a really nice restaurant high above the bottomless lake in Ag Nik. In spite of no octopus entre being on the menu, they indulged me with fabulous grilled tentacles and Rene enjoyed a risotto featuring shrimp with an ouzo pepper cream sauce.
Relaxed, we wandered around the town and then I took Rene back to the apartment and went to wait for Martin. As I waited, I stewed about the batteries. Last summer, even with the solar panels turned away from the sun, there was too much charging, leaving the batteries way over charged. The plan was to disconnect the solar panels altogether but there was some residual current draw which made this risky. So we will try to provide a load to use up most of the energy the panels create and I wondered how best to provide this. Martin finally arrived one hour late and we went over the worklist adding some repairs to the teak toerail and welding of some hairline cracks in the forward cleats. That finished, we went off to the chandlery (or swindlery, as he calls it) finding it closed and then on to the wood guy, who was not there either. Martin & I had a beer together while we waited and I learned that Martin was an engineer who had run large ships out of New Zealand for several years before retiring to his 50 yr. old 36' racing yacht. He is also a diesel mechanic so if we cross paths again we will get him to have a look at the engine as well.
By the time I returned to Necessity the sun was going down and I started looking for a 12v plug to hook up a load for the solar panels. It took 3 plugs before finding one that worked with a bow light we had purchased some years back. Concerned I might miss the laundry pickup I scurried off collecting it and picked up Rene before going back to Necessity to finish up.
We had snacks at the apartment and finished some packing before bed.
Brian in Manos Apartments Ag Nik, Crete
Tuesday April 30, 2013
We stopped in to the office about 8 to see when we would be hauled (3 rd attempt) The yard had finally decided we would be number 2 so we hurried to get offshore to clear the holding tanks and had only a few minutes to wait before being picked out if the water. Brian dismantled the damaged port rub rail and determined the wood strip needs replacing due to rot. Brian went to talk to an English engineer about a replacement piece while Rene went with the Greek apartment owner to check the place out. It was perfect and also 30E per night. We filled the afternoon with misc. projects and by 6:30 we were nearly pooched. We dropped off the sheets and towels at a laundry, picked up some groceries and headed to our new digs on the outskirts of town. A bit out of the way but certainly quiet and quite pretty (if you ignore the slime green pool). I think we are the only ones here.
A dinner of leftovers and finally catching up on the blog.
Brian on the hard, Aghios Nikolaos, Greece
Monday April 29, 2013
The morning was filled with packing of bags and emptying the deck locker, drying the anchor rode and generally tidying up in preparation for haulout. We went out to a water front pizza restaurant which served huge pizzas - excellent! While there, we enquired if he had rooms as well . Hearing we wanted a room he called a friend who appeared moments later offering to show us his apartments. We deferred as we were about to leave for the airport while Rene cleaned the boat.
With Howard and Brenda gone Necessity seemed a bit lonely. They have been great crew and we had lots of fun and many laughs on our adventure together. We will look forward to spending time with them in Gore Bay this summer.
Still full from lunch, dinner was cheese and crackers aboard. The internet connection wasn't good enough for Skype so it was early to bed - again.
Brian on board Necessity, Aghios Nikolaos, Greece