Nisos Astipálaia - Skala
10 October 2021
I feel Andreas deserves a mention in dispatches, particularly for his photographic work. He has, over the past couple of years, produced some fabulous pictures. Despite both our Lumix cameras deciding to take early retirement he has managed exceptionally well with just the camera on his mobile phone. He has a really good eye for a good pic and I personally think that he has excelled himself here in Skala, with the exception of the very last photo which we have “borrowed” because, although he can walk on water, sadly he can't fly 😂 !!!!! It's been a very difficult task to reduce the number of photos that he took for this post, consequently there are a lot - enjoy!!
So we moved around the island from Vathi to Skala. From the water it looked very imposing with its ancient castle way up high and the white houses spilling down from its walls. The Greek word ‘Skala' means steps. Of which there are very many.
The castle was founded in 1403 and is sadly very much a ruin although attempts are being made at renovation. Greece is littered with historic buildings and ruins but simply does not have the funds to spend on renovation. It really is quite shameful that these ancient buildings are just being left to fall to the ground.
Skala reminded me of Monaco, with its steep winding steps up to the top, and also Mykonos, with its windmills, before its soul had been lost to extensive tourism and designer label shops.
There is a quay here with water and electricity for a nominal charge and we dropped the anchor and very competently reversed Stiletto onto the dock and tied her up. We would be here for a few days. The boat next to us had the perfect slot – tied up alongside so no need to drop anchor and we decided that when they left we would take their place. The reasoning behind this was that not every boat that comes in and reverses onto the dock makes a good job of it and the result is that anchors get crossed so that when boats leave there are problems with picking up other people's chains and dislodging anchors. The boat left a couple of days later at 6.30am and while it was quiet and calm we moved into the space. Much nicer – we didn't have to “walk the plank” (which I absolutely hate) to get on or off. We simply step off from the side of Stiletto straight onto the dock.
It was great having shore power and we had the best 4G ever!! It was another Grand Prix weekend so Andreas was a happy chappy and I caught up with the blog.
We found a really good supermarket who would deliver direct to Stiletto so we filled our boots and bought bottles of water, beers, wine and soft drinks as well as a few other bits and pieces. There was a fabulous meat counter and the butcher cut us two beautiful pork chops which went down exceedingly well. Andreas cleared the shelf of Heinz Baked Beans, a can of which accompanied the chops. Simple pleasures!!!
On our way back we noticed a boat reversing onto the dock next to us. Husband at the helm, wife standing on the passerelle, ropes in hand. We were literally 2 minutes away and intended to help them with their lines making it so much easier for them. It is the norm to help fellow cruisers with lines if you are able. We are always very appreciative of anyone who helps us. She looked like she was going to jump from the boat onto the quay ( an absolute no-no, far too dangerous) and I said out loud, to myself “don't jump, don't jump. She jumped. She landed in a heap on the dock. By then we had arrived and took the lines and tied the boat the dock. She had horrible grazes on both legs and my first aid training told me her right wrist was broken and that she must seek medical help immediately. We said we would keep an eye on their boat should anyone come in next to them while they went in search of a doctor. (In fact, a block of flats, disguised as a megga yacht did just that). They returned two hours later. Had managed to see the one and only doctor on the island who bandaged it up, put her arm in a sling, cleaned her wounds, and had assisted them with getting the first flight out to Athens in the morning and a hospital appointment. There is no hospital here so thank goodness there is a small airport!!!!! They were on the 7.30am flight to Athens, envisaging an overnight stay as surgery may be needed, but in fact they were back on their boat by 8pm. The bones reset, her wrist plastered, a supply of painkillers and she must return to the hospital in 7 days time. They won't be going anywhere any time soon. And this all happened on a Sunday.
We were amazed that it all went to plan. Here we are, on a tiny Greek island, the country on its knees financially and these people flew to Athens, got hospital treatment, and flew back - all in 12 hours without any problem.. You can wait that long in a UK A&E department before just being seen!
Peter, the husband,had given us 4 cans of beer for helping them but when they returned from Athens he also gave us a small bottle of Bombay Sapphire for being so kind, (how he knew that it was my favourite gin I don't know, but it was gratefully received despite being totally unnecessary!).
Had we of walked just that little bit quicker and got to the quay 2 minutes earlier, we would have taken their lines without his wife leaving the boat and this accident would never have happened.
So dear reader, what's the moral of this story??. Quite simple. NEVER, EVER jump off your boat. No matter what the circumstances or (as in this case) your husband tells you to!!!
I have to confess that we do enjoy watching, in particular chartered boats, coming in and leaving. I say enjoy but most times we are simply horrified that skipper and crew haven't a clue what they are doing. Whilst it is entertaining, it really is quite frightening. Here was no exception with crossed chains and anchors and the histrionics that go with it, along with lots of shouty-shouty and bad language when yachts were trying to leave.
The next day, we were sat in the cockpit and watched an elderly gentleman walk the plank (passerelle) two boats down. Got to the end and mis-judged the step down from the passerelle and fell between the concrete dock and the transom of the boat. Someone tried to haul him out but he would have suffered terrible injuries from the rough cast concrete so he was encouraged to swim to the neighbouring boat who put their swim ladder down so he could climb out. We saw him later with a large dressing on his leg. He was so lucky to have got away so lightly. He could have smacked his head on the dock and the rest doesn't bare thinking about.
We had sat out a few days of high winds and had a window to leave for the 40 mile passage back to Kalymnos. We are now slowly wending our way back to Ikaria in the high hopes of returning to the UK in November. Fingers crossed please.
Muse for this post: you don't meet people by accident there is always a reason: a blessing or a lesson.