The goal is to die with memories, not dreams.

08 September 2022
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06 September 2022

Greek Mainland - Thessaloniki (1)

27 September 2022
Jane Paulson
So our next major stop would be Thessaloniki involving a 3 day motor (no bloomin' wind) along the mainland coast but to take the edge off a very monotonous passage, we saw dolphins.

Day 1 we stopped in Ayios Kampos, arriving at 6pm and had just tied up when along came 2 port police. They told us we could not stay. I immediately got into a bit of a panic because I didn't know where they were expecting us to go. It would be dark in a couple of hours and there were no anchorages close by. They said " you go to Platamos ". Well, Platamos was 20 miles further along the coast. That was our planned passage for the next day. It could take us 5 hours to get there. In daylight not a problem but we really didn't want to do it in the dark unless we REALLY had to. Our reply, staying as polite as we possibly could was that our Greek Pilot Book says yachts were welcome here. They shrugged, and said ' ah, the book, you cannot stay'. When we asked why, they said that the harbour was under construction but, if we showed them our boat papers and they were correct and in order, then we could stay but had to be gone by 6am the next morning. Mmmmmmm.

So we gave them our papers - of course they were correct - they said we could stay but reinforced once again we must be gone by 6am. At 5.55am we were on our way, in the dark. Work started on the harbour SEVEN years ago so goodness knows what that was all about, will it ever be 'finished ' ? Who knows. For now, its just another UP - Unfinished Project. However, it does have a 24 hour security guard who clearly grassed us up to the police.

Day 2 and our next stop was Platamos, again on the engine, and we went into the harbour which had a dedicated yacht harbour within it. We tied up alongside, didn't need water or electricity but were still charged 30 euros for one night! We left at 7am the following morning and witnessed, for the second morning running, the most beautiful sun rise, and as an added bonus, baby dolphins playing alongside us and leaping out of the water.

Day 3 was a long slog to Thessaloniki, 9 hours actually, again on the engine with water like olive oil and this time we saw flying fish, one of which landed on the boat and ricocheted along the deck and then bounced back in to the water. Totally bizarre.
We came in to the marina, (Aretsou Marina, Kalamaria), met by a marinero who helped with our lines and we stayed 2 weeks at just 10 euros a night. The staff are so very helpful and couldn't do enough for us and although the marina is a bit run down it is very sheltered, very quiet and is in the sophisticated and charming area of Kallamaria and ticks all the boxes for whatever you may need. It is considered Thessaloniki's most salubrious suburb. We liked it. Very much.

Thessaloniki, or Salonika as it is still known to many, is the second largest city and port in Greece. It was founded by King Kassandros of Macedonia in 315BC. Thessaloniki was the name of Alexander the Great's sister.

In 1917, mosques, churches and synagogues were destroyed by the Great Fire that also wiped out homes and businesses resulting in the exodus of the city's Jewish population.

Now, it is a bustling city, boasting two universities and has a certain sophisticated vibe. Despite being the second largest city, unlike Athens, it has an 'open' feel about it. The roads are wider and nearly all are one way - the result being constantly flowing traffic. There is a fantastic bus service and we took the No.5 from the marina into the city centre to be tourists for a day.

We also met up with Maggie. We met her on Xerokambos beach, Leros, last season. A lovely, lovely lady who I have been determined keep in contact with. She was here, with a group, doing a military history remembrance tour. On a free day, before the intensity of her tour, we met her and her fellow compatriot Ann for a coffee, which actually lasted about 3 hours - so much to, catch up on!!!!
Sadly, we later learnt that Ann had her handbag stolen whilst eating in a taverna. She did the classic - put her bag on the floor. Gipsies arrived, trying to flog tat, you get distracted, another gipsy takes your bag. Never, ever, leave your bag on the floor, no matter where or what country you are in. She lost everything, phone, cards, purse, but fortunately not her passport. That was in the safe back in the hotel - thankfully. But the trauma and inconvenience was massive.

It was also here that Andrea's lap top decided it wanted to retire and just gave up. OMG! NOW WHAT!!!! This is SERIOUSLY bad news. No Grand Prix, no emails, no downloading of photos for the blog, but MOST importantly, we can't check the weather on a big screen. Yes, we can on our phones but a big screen is better. Also, there is so much that is stored on it - all our travel info for driving back and forth to the UK and countless other stuff.
And this is where Stamatis , who we had met in Ikaria and who lives here in Thessaloniki, and whom we have remained in contact with , helped us by picking Andreas up on his motor bike and took him to a computer store in the hopes that it could be given the kiss of life.

It turned out to be the motherboard and they said it would require a new one and it would have to come from Athens and that could take time and so the decision was made to wait until we got home to the UK.

It was the next day when we were walking to the supermarket that we came across the sign 'Dr Fix' who claimed to repair laptops, pc's etc. Andreas went in, on the off chance, and explained his dilemma and Dr Fix said to bring in the laptop. After the supermarket run, Andreas collected the laptop from Stiletto and took it to the workshop. This was at 4pm. The next morning, at 10am, he received a call to say the motherboard was mended, he had repaired the 'on/off' switch and said that the power charger needed replacing. Job done.

I have to mention here the enormous kindness that has been shown to us by the Greek people over the past 4 years. . So many have gone out of their way to help us. They are truly lovely, lovely people. And the staff here in this marina have been awesome and couldn't do enough for us.

Now, we will start to head South back to Leros. We have 50 days in which to get there. Its been a challenging season in lots of ways. Primarily the weather, but other stuff also, so fingers crossed for Northerly winds to take us south. Please !!

Muse for this post: You will never reach your destination if you throw stones at every dog that barks !!!


Greek Mainland - Thessaloniki

27 September 2022
Jane Paulson
On the quay at Ayios Kampos tied up very close to a huge floating crane. We were miffed at being told we shouldn't be here especially as there were 3 fishing boats moored up and a saling yacht that appeared to be here permanently. But we were not going to get into an argument with the Port Police so we kept quiet and left early.

Greek Mainland - Thessaloniki

27 September 2022
Jane Paulson
By 5.55am we were gone and enjoyed another spectacular sun rise.

Greek Mainland - Thessaloniki

27 September 2022
Jane Paulson
Stiletto on the dock at Platamonas.

Greek Mainland - Thessaloniki

27 September 2022
Jane Paulson
The Holy Church of the Transfiguration of the Saviour that looks down onto the marina.

Greek Mainland - Thessaloniki

27 September 2022
Jane Paulson
And the sun rises as we leave Platamonas. We have seen many on this adventure and never tire at the wonder of the start of a new day.
Vessel Name: Stiletto
Vessel Make/Model: Bavaria 33 Cruiser
Hailing Port: Gosport, UK
Crew: Andreas Giles & Jane Paulson
About:
We have been sailing together for 15 years and have owned Stiletto for 13 of them. We have exhausted the Solent and the South Coast and all the other usual passages: West Country, France, Channel Islands etc. that are available from our home port of Gosport. [...]