Don’t Upset Manolis!
01 November 2018 | Leros, Greece - 7,563 NM
Sunny and Warm
Our last night in Turkey was absolutely freezing in the northerly winds! The heater came out and every quilt and blanket was on the bed! Had we made a mistake sailing for a bit longer? The morning wasn't quite so cold and warmed up a little as the sun did it's bit and we got ready to go. We had to check out of Turkey and so took our papers to our agent before heading for the fuel pontoon where he turned up with stamped passports and transit log not long after our tanks were filled. We now had to leave Turkish waters immediately and our plan was the little Greek island of Agathonisi just 12 miles away. The sails went up as soon as we were outside the marina but the wind had other ideas on our destination as it was perfect for Lipsoi and so we changed course and had a great close hauled sail all the way. It was a bit chilly but we wrapped up warm (fleeces and woolly hats!) and the sun was shining so all was good. On route we kept hearing the Greek naval base on Leros calling a Turkish naval ship in Greek waters and telling them to leave immediately but heard no response. The message was repeated every 10 minutes or so until we could see the very large Turkish ship in the distance going very slowly. This continued for several hours with no response - what would happen next? Well, nothing, the Turkish ship stayed in a Greek waters going very slowly and the Greek navy kept telling him to leave. What was the point!? We reached our anchorage on the south of Leros as the sun was going down and had a peaceful night - not too cold but all the blankets and quilts on the bed.
A change of plan again! We were going to go to the tiny island of Maratho but the winds, although light, had changed to south easterly and there would be no shelter there. Looking at the charts Lipsoi Port was the best option a whole 2.5 miles away! We moored alongside and had a very warm welcome from Manolis who remembered us from our summer visit. First on our itinerary was coffee at the lovely bakery and, of course, getting their WiFi password. We then made a picnic lunch and headed off on a lovely walk which was relatively short but very hilly with fantastic views all the way. We enjoyed our lunch sitting on a quay by a deserted beach in the sunshine. On returning to Freya another Westerly had arrived - Freya's big brother, an Ocean Master (48'). It had just been bought by an Australian from a South African and both were onboard. We enjoyed a drink on board later and an interesting tour of the boat.
Summer seems to have returned and we're loving Lipsoi. We thought it might be dead with everything closed for the winter but there's just enough open and enough people around to give it a great feel. We decided to stay another day. It was Ochi Day (no day) in Greece which celebrates the day Greece said no to Mussilini's 'request' to station troops in Greece at the start of WW2. Its celebrated all over Greece with big processions and the little island of Lipsoi did its bit starting with a very loud service in the church overlooking the harbour broadcast to the whole town. The locals then crowded into the square on the quay, festooned with flags, giving us a ring side seat on Freya as the children in their school uniforms paraded carrying their Greek flags. Next followed lots of prayers, speeches and fidgety children! After the excitement we went off on another beautiful walk and finished the day with dinner at Manolis' lovely restaurant (not the harbour master).
The quay in Lipsoi had been very quiet during our stay with just a few boats moored alongside but on our last day there was a sudden influx of sailors. The quay filled quickly and boats had to go stern to to make more room. By this stage we were hemmed in forward and aft and so couldn't move to make more room even if we'd wanted to but a very large Greek charter boat arriving that day was alongside and taking up space for 5 boats stern to. Manolis asked him to move but he refused. He then started to help boats to moor effectively doing Manolis' job. Meanwhile incoming boats were queuing. It was getting very heated and a very frustrated Manolis drove off at great speed to fetch the port police who duly came looking very officious and gave the skipper the third degree going through his paperwork in detail and boarding the yacht. Eventually he moved but it all got very interesting and the moral is - don't upset Manolis!
The day came for us to head over to Leros to pick up a buoy outside the boat yard ready for our lift in the morning. We had a leisurely start including coffee in the bakery. Luckily the yachts moored stern to next to us had left and so we could leave and motor the 8 miles to the buoy where we had a peaceful afternoon and evening. A Finnish boat came and picked up a buoy next to us. The boatyard method is for all boats to be ready at 8.00 - who would be first? Luckily it was us and Freya was lifted and in her cradle by 9.30. We have 2 days to put Freya to bed......