Bookmark and Share
Cruising on Seren Mor
Seb Coe
10/05/2012, Katakolon

The man himself. He kindly posed for us. Made my day.

The Plebs
10/05/2012, Katakolon

The crowd waiting for the ceremony of the lighting of the Olympic Flame

Olympic Flame
10/05/2012, Katakolon


Having decided that the London Olympics was nothing to do with us, we found ourselves in Katakolon - the port for ancient Olympia on the very day that the flame was to be lit to start the torch relay. Well, we had to be there, didn't we?

We boarded the almost empty small train right by the quayside that would take us directly there. It was only once we were on our way and paying our fare that the conductor informed us that today the train would only return as far as Pargos, the next town along the line. Ok, we'd worry about that later. In the meantime our quiet train was suddenly flooded with sixth formers complete with piercing voices and the distinctive aroma of armpits and bubble gum. All I'll say is that they don't have the same idea of personal space as the Brits!

We thought we might get a look at the ancient site, maybe visit the museum as well. No chance. The police were everywhere and funnelling everyone into a particular entrance via metal detectors and bag searches. Following the crowd we found ourselves sitting on a grassy bank in full sun, surrounded by school kids and waiting for the bigwigs below to take their seats below us. For some reason they preferred to linger in the cool of a shady tree while lackeys carried bottled waters to them and never mind us plebs.

Naturally we'd started to wonder what the hell we were doing there waiting for a load of speeches in Greek. Surprisingly much of the ceremony was in English and following the turgid Olympic anthem the raising of the Union Flag to the strains of 'God Save the Queen' suddenly had me by that slender thread of patriotism I didn't know I still possessed. When "Lord Sebastian Coe" was announced, well, I was clapping and cheering, taking photos of the distant figure on the stand.

Only the elite were allowed to go to the temple for the actual lighting of the flame, supposedly direct from the light of the sun itself. Except, with perfect timing, the sun was suddenly covered by the first cloud we'd seen all day. I assume they have contingency plans or maybe someone had a cigarette lighter.

Either way, dancing 'nymphs' came over the hill, one of them clutching what looked like Aladdin's lamp containing the flame. As she stood at the top of the hill it soon became apparent that the flame had gone out. "It's an omen, I tell you" muttered Neil for the second time that day. The cigarette lighter must have come in to play again as she re-emerged and the first torch was lit without further incident as another nymph released a dove into the air.

And so the relay started, the flame making its way to Athens where it will be handed over to the British runners. But the highlight of my day? We bumped into Seb Coe himself as we were leaving the stadium. All politics were, of course, forgotten and he was the hero who won gold for Britain.

Journey to Katakolon
09/05/2012, Katakolon


We got out of Killini about 8am. The wind out at sea had been about a force 5 during the night but hadn't really touched us in the harbour. However, it wasn't the glassy water I like to see before leaving port. In fact, once outside, the swell from the last night's wind soon became uncomfortable. The wake from both the Kefalonia and the Zakinthos ferries was no worse.

I kept telling myself that this sea was nothing compared to the big Atlantic rollers we'd sailed in a couple of years ago. Yes, they were definitely much worse. But then I started yawning, felt uncomfortably hot and then that unsettled feeling in the gut that isn't quite what you'd call nausea. The threat of seeing my breakfast again had me heading into the cabin. Forget about watching the horizon. The only real solution for me is to lie down, eyes closed and be grateful that Neil was totally unaffected. I heard him moving about and playing with the sails so knew he was happy enough.

An hour or so later the swell had almost completely disappeared. I was back in the cockpit doing my bit (tidying the ropes, mostly) as the sails went in, out, in, out.....

Entering Katakolon we were faced with the immediately recognisable sister ship to the Costa Concordia berthed near the entrance and the fact that the harbour looked nothing like the diagram in the pilot guide. Come on Imray - isn't it about time you pulled Rod out of the Caribbean and back in Greece?

Arriving in Killini
08/05/2012, Killini


Others we know have been to Killini before us. I'm sure they must have told us all about it but I only remember that they didn't like it very much. We followed the pilot guide and went to moor stern-to behind the breakwater as it directed us. As soon as we got close we knew it wasn't right. The area is clearly prepared for something very big to come in and cranes wait on the shore.

Our other alternative was to anchor off the beach but as there was a mast visible over what is described as the fishing harbour it seemed sensible to have a look. Our cruise-past coincided with the arrival of a fishing boat going much quicker than Seren Môr. He was waving frantically as suddenly the water under us disappeared and we touched the bottom. The fisherman's comment was, as I recall, "Inside is good, go inside!" We took his advice.

Leaving Messolonghi
08/05/2012, Killini


I think it's fair to say that I didn't want to leave Messolonghi today. It's also fair to say that I never like to leave a nice safe berth unless the weather is perfect. Today it was forecast to be, shall we say, borderline - in my opinion anyway. Also say that Neil felt if we didn't go today we probably never would. In fact, I think he used those exact words. But he left it up to me to make the final decision.

So we're now on the quay in Killini after a perfectly adequate journey. Not much wind at all. Not enough to keep the Genny flying. Of course, here in Killini it's blowing but we're side-to and it feels secure. I'm happy.

Newer ]  |  [ Older ]


Seren Mor
Who: Cathy and Neil Lamputt
Port: Plymouth
View Complete Profile »

Powered by SailBlogs