Archive for August, 2012

Aug 28


After dropping the kids at Skiathos airport (see earlier post), we spent an adult night out in the Old Town (proper, with cocktails and just sitting and watching the world go by) and headed over to Orei the next day. Orei is located at the top of the Evia channel and some sort of gateway for us, between the Northern Sporades and Athens. We were gearing up to spent the whole day in Orei, to help organise Marc’s transition to sixth form on GCSE results day. As it turned out, the decision was easy and we both are very happy with it (as is Marc, we think!). So we lifted anchor at lunch time and spent the next 9 hours motoring to arrive at Khalkis at sunset. We must have left quite a jellyfish soup behind us as our propeller whirled through an unfathomable sea of them (see video clip). Even though they looked revolting ( I wonder why? some evolutionary inbuilt disgust to avoid stinging animals?), it turned out, after some research, that they are actually harmless. The idea of swimming among them is nevertheless hair-raising.

Having arrived late at Khalkis meant that we spent a minimal amount of time moored up next to the bars on the north side. We cleared the bridge at 1am, anchored off in the bay just south of it and were on our way again at 10am in the morning. We had hoped to have the wind in our favour on this journey back, but alas, the wind was right on our nose again, fortunately rather weak. As predicted though, turning south into the Petalion Golf the wind picked up to a force 5 and we could finally sail down to Porto Rafti, keeping well to the west side of the golf to avoid the big winds we had on our way up. If only we had known then….

The trip down memory lane was completed when sailing past Lavrio where we were stuck for 4 days on our way up (is it really only 5 weeks ago we were heading up? It seems like a lifetime ago). We decided to explore something new and headed for the island of Hydra, 50 miles away, crossing the Saronic Golf. We loved Hydra, but more on this in the next post :).

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Aug 28

Congratulations Marc

Many congratulations to Marc on his GCSE results, 2 A*s, 4 As and 4 Bs. At the age of 15, exams can often seem unrelated to RL (real life), especially when there is so much to explore in the real and digital worlds. Simone and I remember just how hard it is to focus on revision and get through a large number of exams in a short space of time and are both very proud of Marc for how much maturity he showed in preparing for his first public exams.

Well done Marc!

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Aug 27

Goodbye Marc & Julian

Saying goodbye to my kids as they go through security at an airport just feels wrong. Aren’t I supposed to be looking after them, protecting them, making sure they get to the right gate and don’t leave their boarding passes in the coffee shop? What will happen if there are delays on the first leg of their journey and they are stuck in Vienna airport, what one of them gets ill, what if, what if…

I think this is just the price of being a parent, I will always love them and I will always worry about them. There is absolutely nothing to worry about, they have been flying since they were small children, first as UMs (unaccompanied minors) and more recently with Marc able to take responsibility for Julian. They are totally familiar with airports, security procedures, airport shuttles, gates, boarding times, departure times, in flight entertainment, bad airline food, the nightmare that is easy jet, the whole nine yards. And still as I watch them disappear through security all my instincts tell me that I should be with them.

Instead, as silly as it sounds, Simone and I watched them go with an immense amount of pride; they are rapidly growing into young men and there is the dawning realisation that perhaps this small departure is somehow a precursor to the time when they will go their own way for good and the pride is mixed with sadness.

Marc, Julian I hope you have a great second holiday with Oma and Opa, we will miss you hugely and look forward to seeing you at the airport in early September. I know public declarations of affection are totally verboten but we love you both very much (live with it:)).

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Aug 20

zohmehgodz end of holiday nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Ignore the title.

This holiday’s been pretty great for me (Julian), getting to relax 23/7 and listening to my favourite podcasts over and over again. I’ve enjoyed writing the short stories on the blog, of course it was only 2, but I was going to write more, such as William the Greek Water Particle and Fred the Greek Fish, but I guess not.

There have been some particular highlights over the holiday, like the previous dolphin sighting and having the Jamieson family on board. I don’t know about Marc, but I’ve found the holiday at times to be boring; but that’s good sometimes. You need to be bored in order to make your brain think of something to do, and I can gladly say I’ve been movie sober for 3 weeks! (I am sort of a movie-holic :D) Anyway, me and my bro will be in Germany tomorrow and I think we’re both sad to be leaving Almost Free but also both thinking that the holiday has run it’s course. You might even say that that ship has sailed!!!   ;D……………………….Sorry.

I would also like to take the time for sometimes being a pain to the parents (Well, more of a pain than usual :)) during this holiday. They’ll probably tell me otherwise but I’m a pessimistic guy so they can’t nudge my opinion. I think having 4 people on the boat helps a lot though in mooring up and stuff, so hopefully that made up for it. (Insert inappropriate rainbow)

Anyway, my friends probably won’t see me ever again, as our grandparents are taking care of me and Marc, so I’m probably going to die of diabetes while I’m there, but our awesome ‘Oma and Opa’ let us get a game of our choice while we’re there, so I guess that makes up for that.

This is my last blog post, so feel free to stop checking by daily as nothing interesting will be on it anymore. >:D

Julian ‘King Julian/Jubes/Jules/Jublian/ Jubey-Boobey/Dumham’ Dunham





























Why are you still reading…?…..GO AWAY. >:(    I NEED MAH PRIVACY

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Aug 20

Playing with dolphins

As we headed to the north of Skopelos island, on our way from Skopelos Town to Skiathos, some dolphins decided to make friends with us.

Just amazing.

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Aug 20

Sayonara Jim, Nicki, Alex & Zoe

We set off early this morning from Orei to avoid battling the winds forecast later in the day. By 8am we were motoring across a millpond in a straight line to Panormous. By midday we were already close, so decided to do some sailing and then find a bay for a swim stop. We hugged the coast between Loutraki and Panormous and found a fantastic beach only accessible by boat; it was clean and deserted apart from a small number of boats. Having taken Martin ashore we swam, snoozed and read for a few hours before heading round to meet the Jamieson gang.

No sooner had we turned the corner into Panormous bay than we saw Nicki, Alex & Zoe waving to us from the beach. With light winds we decided to anchor next to the hotel and took a line ashore before enjoying the traditional G&T, reunited with our friends and crew.

After a refreshing power shower in their air-conditioned room we enjoyed a fantastic meal, though I think we all ate and drank too much. By midnight we were all struggling to make sense and/or stay awake and I just about managed to operate the outboard to get us home.

Friday morning we met at 10am and loaded luggage and crew aboard for the final trip over to Skiathos airport. We managed to fit in one final swim stop at “Sayonara Bay”, just next to where we had stopped the day before. When we arrived there wasn’t another soul around and we enjoyed great snorkelling, swimming and the traditional swim ashore.

Around midday some other boats turned up and anchored pretty near us so we set off for Skiathos under sail, with Alex & Jim taking us most of the way across.

It was very sad saying goodbye at the Meltemi bar in Skiathos Town but I think its highly likely that we will do some more sailing together in the not too distant future, wherever we all are next year.

Thanks, it was a pleasure having you on board.

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Aug 18

Martin’s Migration

Hey, my name is Martin. Apparently I’m on the internet now, so I thought I should explain myself.

In the video you saw, I was actually just visiting my  cousin, Marcus, and I overheard a conversation on a boat called Almost Free saying they were going to the island where he lived, so I packed my things (Which didn’t take long) and hopped on board the previous night so they wouldn’t stare at me all the time.

The next day, exactly that happened. I had just found a comfortable pole when suddenly this small human with a camera comes along and starts filming me and saying he’s called David Attenborough even though he’s called Julian by the other humans. At this point I tried to turn my head the other way, but he followed me, so I just sat there waiting for him to go away. He took a whole 5 minutes. Ugh.

When we arrived at the island, I was wondering how I was going to get onto the island because instead of parking on the beach, we were just off the island. I saw a small boat and hoped they would take me there in that, but no. The big male shoves me into a small container for 5 minutes, eventually I got out though, so I was happy. My experience with humans is never really brilliant but I don’t care as long as I don’t get interrupted.

I’m Martin the Mantis. By the way if you’re thinking all mantises have names beginning with m then you are correct. I don’t know why but Mother Mantis told me so I’ll believe her.

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Aug 12

Sheltering in Skopelos Town

After an action-packed week last week and a dodgy looking weather forecast, we decided to stay in Skopelos town for a couple of days. The sail round the south of the island from Panormous was tough, only F5-6 but with some very big gusts, so Marc and I kept one hand on the jammer and the main sheet respectively and let out the main when the biggest gusts came. However, we managed to miss one at the precise point that Simone was in the galley getting some lunch ready. The guard rails hit the water and the boat rounded up into the wind accompanied by some smashing sounds from below:( No real harm done just a mug or two fewer.

Upon arrival in Skopelos Town the quay looked extremely full; a 9 boat sunsail flotilla was already there along with the local annual regatta boats. We spotted half a parking space and decided to go for it; Julian was very nervous as we approached, convinced that we weren’t going to fit. It did turn out to be a very tight squeeze between a 50ft beneteau and a 34ft jeanneau both of whom were very helpful in helping us tie up.

The following day, once we had shopped, filled up with fuel and water and done the laundry we spent most of the day drinking frappe, snoozing and reading, while the boys very quickly found their way back to the internet cafe.

After dinner Simone and I took some deck cushions up to the bow and as we watched the world go by a few rain drops started to fall. This is the first time we have ever been rained on while sailing in Greece but by 3am the storm was in full force with the sound of the rain on deck extremely loud. All of us woke up after some large thunder claps and we rejoiced that we were in the shelter of the port.

This morning the rain was gone but it is much cooler. Today’s activities have been restricted to eating, drinking coffee, reading and snoozing, another tough day.

Although Skopelos Town is large enough to be a ferry port it still retains a great deal of charm, especially once you leave the port front tavernas. All of the cobbled back streets contain lovely homes which are all extremely well cared for. There are plenty of good tavernas and the place generally has a great atmosphere. The clip below is taken from our favourite coffee bar which overlooks the town and the port.

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Aug 11

A Packed Week

We have just taken our friends Nicky, Jim, Alex and Zoe back ashore, after a great week sharing the boat and the adventure. It feels very empty and we are already missing them. They have been a great crew in the cockpit and the galley! Marc entertained Zoe, who is 8, or was it the other way round? Julian, Alex and Zoe linked up their DSs in the morning and all 4 just spent a huge amount of time in the water, together with Rocky (the shark), the lilo and Crocky (the crocodile who sadly escaped overnight in Stargaze Bay). Lots of time left for the adults to talk about the serious issues in life, like what goal we have to achieve next to earn a G&T or if there are possibly any “rock” jokes left (see last post).

We have packed a lot of things into the week. From the first (sleepless) night in Skiathos, stopping for Mojitos in Koukounaris bay (well, we girls did, the boys went shopping), admiring the Milky Way in Stargaze Bay (on Kira Panayia or goat island), climbing a mountain to go shopping in Gloussa ( without a working credit card or enough cash :)), breaking the holidays’ sailing speed record (7.5 knots now in 18 knots of wind with the dinghy in tow) to the sad separation in Panourmous Bay. I guess they need the week in the hotel to recover from it. Thanks guys for a great week!!!

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Aug 10

25 Jokes to Rock Your Socks

As our family is very keen on puns, I felt it was appropriate to post this blog post regarding 25 jokes that we all made up themed around rocks. Enjoy!

‘You know, I’ve kept this rock for 2 years now.’       ‘Why?’      ‘I dunno, just has some sedimental value.’

What’s a rock’s favourite children’s story character? Goldirocks

What does a rock use to  carry things around? A Rocksack

How do rocks navigate? They don’t, they just approximate.

What’s a rock’s favourite girl’s name? Roxanne

How do rocks communicate? They chalk to eachother.

Where does a rock like to sleep?  Bedrock

What does a rock want to be when it grows up?  A Rockstar

How does a rock a rock weigh itself?  Using Stone

What’s a rock’s favourite form of transportation?  A Rocket

What’s a rock’s favourite vegetable? Brocolli

What’s a rock’s favourite boy’s name? Brock

Where do rocks live? Estonia

What do rocks eat with?  Crockery

What do you call a blood-drinking rock?  Drockula

What do female rocks wear?  Frocks

What’s a rock’s favourite shoe brand?  Crocks

What do rocks cook with? A Wok

What do rocks hear when they wake up?  Crock-a-doodle-doo

What’s a rock’s favourite piece of furniture? A Rocking Chair

What’s a rock’s favourite nursery rhyme? Rock-a-by-baby

What’s a rock’s favourite console? An X-rox

Who’s a rock’s favourite band?  The rolling stones

Where do rocks go skiing?  The Rockies

If you haven’t killed yourself yet, congratulations, YOU’RE MAD.

P.S. – Some of these jokes were made up by the Jamieson family who were on board with us for a week, thanks guys!

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