Wrapping Up 2023
09 December 2023
This was our 7th season ! I cannot believe that it was April 2017 when we sailed out of Portsmouth Harbour. How time flies when you are having fun, and we have had fun.
This year we had high hopes of doing a complete circumnavigation of Crete – the largest of the Greek islands. It was in fact to be the highlight. Unfortunately, Crete seems to have its own eco system and the weather proved to be very erratic. We hunkered down in Gouves on the north coast for a few days due to very big seas and also in Kolimvari for almost 2 weeks due to big storms and consequently more big seas. It set us back quite considerably and we quickly realised that we were just not going to get all the way around and then up to Koiládhia in time for our haul out.
We did however catch up with Derek and Marilyn who live on Crete and Jim and Kay who also live there.
Friends Ros and Jules came out for a weeks holiday as did neighbours Jon and Liz and we enjoyed time with them.
The weather this season has been quite a challenge. The Meltemi never fully arrived but we've had some big seas. The time on Kolimvari wore us both down.
But we have visited some beautiful islands, swam in beautiful waters and met some lovely people and of course eaten all our favourite Greek foods !!
We had two very unpleasant encounters with commercial vessels. The first, a charter sailing super yacht, 60m long with a dozen italian passengers, whose Professional Skipper thought it was perfectly acceptable and within his right to squeeze his yacht in between us and a small yacht on the quayside, resulting in his ropes lying on the stern of Stiletto. Incredibly dangerous for all three of us, especially as we had big wind forecast which would result in a big swell. We called out to the crew that this was not acceptable when we saw them heading for us ( I thought they were going to hit us) but they just kept coming and literally elbowed their way in between us.
The end result was the skipper and Andreas came head to head on the quayside and there was much shouting. The skipper said he would call the port police. It was when Andreas replied to him in Greek that he took a step back, shocked. The passengers, left the yacht and one of them apologised profusely to Andreas as he could see that the skipper was in the wrong. He was so upset by it all he kept offering to give Andreas a bottle of red wine. We declined.
Shortly after all the passengers left the yacht, the Second Officer came to Andreas and apologised for what had happened, saying that the skipper was in the wrong and what he did was dangerous.
An hour later, they had moved to another spot on the quay where there was loads of room. So, what was that all about? Intimidation and downright bullying. We will not tolerate either.
The second encounter was with an ENORMOUS tuna fishing boat who decided to park up behind us on the quayside at Koiládhia, squeezing himself into a tiny gap resulting in his bow being dangerously close to our stern. The skipper, shouted at us to move as we were on the commercial section of the quayside. We were not. We were on the area marked for visiting yachts. There was space on another section of the quay marked for commercial vessels but he wanted this space and he was going to have it. He also shouted out that he would call the port police. Andreas responded in Greek and the skipper was so taken aback he disappeared.
They unloaded their catch and left in the early hours. So, what was that all about? Intimidation and downright bullying. We won't tolerate either.
We learnt very early on this Big Adventure that if we are spoken to in English by anyone in authority or who thinks that they have authority, we respond in English until we feel the need to switch to Greek. The effect is staggering and also highly amusing.
So to sum up this season : our favourite islands have to be Tilos, Nisiros, Kythira and the southwest corner of Kos.
What makes our summer cruising so special is the combination of the occasional company of good friends, the many beautiful, authentic Greek islands, immersing ourselves in the culture that is so very different to that of the UK and we never ever tire of swimming off the back of the boat in crystal clear water and watching the sun rise and set . Gosport in the winter doesn't do too badly !!!
This season we have sailed 821 nm.
In total, we have sailed 8,361 nm and visited 49 islands.
Mainland Greece - Peloponnese - Koiládhia
09 December 2023
“ the end is nigh" !!! - we have arrived at our final destination. Now we have to get Stiletto ready for being lifted as well as getting everything off that we want to bring back to the UK. It will be a busy time but we've done it enough times now and have it down to a fine art.
We decided to tie up on the visitors section of the quay which was very poorly maintained with very few cleats or rings on which to tie our lines. It was also very gritty and no matter how much we tried, grit still gets aboard which plays havoc with the teak deck.
The first job was to check in with the office to confirm our lift out date of October 31st and we were told that the last lift out for that day was scheduled for 1.30pm. We didn't think to ask where we were on the list for that day. Mistake.
The next job was to go and get the car which had been sat in the yard car park for 5 months. We had disconnected the battery and put a full cover over it and joked about the possibility of finding kittens living in the engine as had been the case last year when we were on Leros.
Cover off – no kittens !!! Battery connected and our lovely Max the Mazda started first time. Result ! The relief was enormous (on both counts).
We drove to the quayside and parked up alongside Stiletto thus making it dead easy to offload everything.
This year the sails are going to the sailmaker on The Hamble who made them, to be laundered and given a full MOT.
Dubsy the dinghy is not in great shape – we suspect a few punctures as the floor and one of the side tubes are deflating, so he is coming off and we will try and get him repaired. He has been worked hard so a service/repair is inevitable as long as it is financially viable.
Now that we are not living aboard permanently, we are wanting to offload a lot of clothing that we no longer need.
So the next few days were spent packing up and hauling stuff off Stiletto and into Max. Cleaning and making sure that she would be ship shape for when we returned next May. The end result was that the back of the car was absolutely fully loaded!!!
The day before lift out we put Max back in the car park, left the quayside, and anchored in the bay which was so much nicer. The plan was that the next day we would be called on our ships radio when it was time to head for the lift out facility. We had assumed (wrongly) that we would be done and dusted by about 2pm. We didn't eventually get called until 4pm which was very frustrating as we had been ready since 8am. Another lesson learnt!!!
Once our old gel was safely ensconced on her cradle, we locked up and headed to Aunt Koulas villa in Porto Khelli where we spent two nights catching up with her before moving on to Athens where we caught up with Cousin Joyce and Kosmas.
From there we made our way back home to the UK which we now also have down to a fine art and arrived on November 10th (Andreas birthday). On arrival we were both sick with horrendous head colds and coughs for 3 weeks.
Peloponnese - Koiládhia
09 December 2023
The bay that we anchored in while we waited for our lift out is extremely sheltered and very safe. So much so that people leave their boats anchored here and return home. The holding is excellent. It is also very pretty and very quiet.