I don’t want to alarm you but......
05 November 2019 | Mytilini - 8,443 NM
Lorraine Chapman | Windy
We had 10 days in Mytilini before our visitors arrived. We spent the time being very sociable with our fellow yachties. As well as Gordon and Louise on Camira we were joined by Edward on Windhoos from the Netherlands and Uva from Germany. A few bleary mornings were testament to the good nights had by all!
It became apparent that we could not get the new foil for the foresail before going home and so the riggers returned to refit the forestay as we couldn't leave the the rig held up by the spinnaker halyard all winter. We've ordered the parts and will fit them in the spring. We then started working down our winter decommissioning list. All this as the lovely sunshine held and we hoped it would continue for a little longer......
Tasha and Maddy arrived late on Sunday night leaving just enough time for a glass of wine and some supper while they settled in onboard. Monday in Greece was Oki Day - a national holiday celebrating when Greece said no to Italy moving into Greece during WWll. All over the country it's celebrated with parades of school children, clubs and armed forces. We watched it all from Mytilini harbour. We then walked to the other side of town and found the perfect table by the sea for lunch. Unfortunately lunch didn't live up to expectations as we waited forever and even then only half of it arrived before we gave up, paid for what we'd had and left! We walked back around the castle and had ice cream on the harbour.
Tasha and Maddy wanted to go sailing. Unfortunately there was no wind and, of course, we only had one sail but we could still give them a flavour. We left for Scala Loutra in the morning, raised the mainsail and left our visitors to helm along the coast. We dropped the anchor in a lovely, sheltered bay for lunch and a swim. It was a bit chilly so late in the year but we (not Paul!) had a lovely swim and snorkel in the turquoise, crystal clear water. Tasha was first out and while looking down from the deck she uttered the now forever immortal words "I don't want to alarm you but.....
there's something very large with a fin swimming towards you"! Maddy almost levitated back on board leaving me to follow behind. But there really was a shark in the water! It was 2-3 metres long and patrolling the fish farms looking for lunch. Tasha, Paul and I were really excited - Maddy wasn't so impressed! After lunch we went through the beautiful channel further into Kolpas Yaras to Scala Loutra where we moored stern-to on the quay. That night we had a delicious dinner in the taverna.
The next morning we walked around the village and up to the "Mama Mia" style church high on the hill above the bay. Our walk then took us through the lanes and olive groves to the village of Loutra a mile or so inland. On the way back to Mytilini we dropped anchor in "shark bay" (hoping to get some pictures). The shark didn't make an appearance but regardless of this Maddy still didn't seem too keen on swimming.
For the next day our plan was to take a day trip to Turkey which is only a 1.5 hour ferry ride away. As it entailed an early start, Paul walked round to the travel agent to buy the tickets. We had done some checking and were told all we needed were our passports, no visas or the like. But no such luck. It turns out that a minor (under 18) can only travel to Turkey, on this day trip at least, if they are accompanied by both their parents or a solicitors letter giving permission. As we only had one parent and no letter our day trip was off.
The weather let us down the next day. We drove up the east coast of Lesbos stopping at the Roman aqueduct, pretty spots on the coast, the monastery with the fighter plane outside and then up in to the hills along north coast where we had lovely views. Unfortunately it was very chilly and we found a beautiful taverna with spectacular views just as it began to rain - food was delicious though. We headed back to Mytilini and explored the shops in the rain!
Luckily the sun returned the next day as we headed for the fairytale town of Molyvos. On route we stopped at a lovely monastery with lots of cats for Maddy to cuddle, which was a theme of the holiday. In Molyvos we walked up through the narrow streets to the castle before stopping for lunch with a view over the bay and then down to the pretty port. Finally, we stopped at Petra to see the old town and the church on its rock pinnacle in the middle of town.
We tried to watch the rugby world cup final in the marina cafe over breakfast but we were disappointed to discover it wasn't broadcast in Greece! Breakfast was good though. In the afternoon we sat on the beach and had a final swim before Tasha and Maddy headed home early the next morning. A great week, over way too quickly!
We had 2 days to complete our decommissioning and get Freya lifted before flying home for the winter. Unfortunately, the weather forecast was showing heavy winds and the lift was looking very doubtful. The next morning, the wind had picked up and a southerly swell was building. About 9.00 am we found Jorgos in the boatyard and he said we were on for the lift despite the 1-2m swell running across the harbour mouth but luckily it was a bit less by the haul-out quay. We were more than a little apprehensive but we moved the boat around as requested. Our next job was to loosen the backstay holding up the mast so it didn't foul the crane's sling. We have never been lifted by crane before and the 20 - 25kt winds made it even more scary. But after a couple of hours Freya was finally safely ashore in her cradle. From now on when selecting a boatyard for our winter haul out we will look for a travel-lift. They seem to be much safer and faster.
After a night ashore, we caught an early morning flight to Bristol via Athens and will return to Freya in the spring, perhaps a little late than usual as we are spending a month in Antarctica over Christmas this winter.