Category: Uncategorized

Jul 07

Fiskardo

Fiskardo is described by Rod Heikell as the “Chelsea” of Kefallonia, extremely popular and fashionable. As a consequence it is extremely busy, hundreds of visiting yachts of all sizes, local fishing boats, dinghies & ribs buzzing around and then to top it all the local ferries who’s approach is just to come in at full steam ahead and if anything is in the way, just keep their hand on the horn until it scares everybody and everything out of their way.

We arrived around lunchtime and having hunted around the town quay decided to tie up on the north side of the bay away from the noise.

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Fiskardo certainly has real charm even if it is touristy; we found a great local bakery and some lovely bars and restaurants, including a great bar at the far end of the bay, looking East from the island.

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We also took a short walk around the headland where there is an abandoned lighthouse which you can still climb up and enjoy the amazing view.

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It is certainly a beautiful and memorable place but we were also quite glad to leave and get away from the hustle & bustle

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Jul 07

Richard and Jackie

A couple of nights ago we stopped in Nidri in a nasty cross wind and was helped in by our neighbour Richard. Once we had got tied up Richard and I ended up chatting for quite a while until Simone joined us with some olives and parma ham to go with our cold beer.

Richard and Jackie, who are not far short of 70 but look much much younger have been sailing around the med for between 7 and 9 years, depending on the different versions of the story! With 6 children and hoardes of grandchildren they have still found the time to enjoy the sailing adventure. They have a lovely beneteau which looks in beautiful condition for its age with a really homely saloon and a very interesting layout, with the forward head in the bow, forward of the bow cabin. Never seen that before but it makes sense and means the bed is much wider than in a regular bow cabin.

After a beer or two Simone and I went to have  dinner at the “Ionion” restaurant, great home cooking and incredibly good value. After dinner we decided to go for a walk along the waterfront and then the beach but as we got to the last restaurant before the beach, Richard and Jackie were sitting there in post dinner relaxation and were kind enough to invite us for a glass of wine or two!

We passed a wonderful hour or more swapping stories, tips and many laughs and drinking too much rose. It seems that Richard and Jackie are contemplating selling their boat and retiring from the sailing life but at the same time we got the distinct impression that it would be a very hard step for them to take.

Whatever you do, we hope it works out and you have a wonderful time. Thanks for helping us find our way around Nidri and for being wonderful company, a real pleasure spending time with you both.

 

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Jun 25

Lakka to Gaios

Leaving Platarias turned out to be event free despite crossed anchors and we had a beautiful passage East to the Island of Paxos. At the North tip of Paxos is Lakka, a landlocked bay with unbelievably clear turquoise water. We had planned to just use this as a lunch stop but it is too amazing to leave so we decided to stay overnight.

Hollie and Marc went exploring on the paddleboard to the beach and also spent ages snorkelling around the rocks. As the sun started to lower we headed ashore in the dinghy and enjoyed mojito sundowners

As we got back to the boat after dinner some swell started to build up so we had a rather restless night.

This morning we left early to get to Gaios before the winds pick up this afternoon. Gaios is a larger town in Paxos, definitely on the touristy side but also with immense charm. It is also very very popular with yachties and space is at a premium. We tied up easily on the town quay but failed to read the notice about mooring prohibited and so raised anchor again and got lucky as someone departed and we were able to nip into their space with a slightly nasty cross wind. Tied up with no drama in a lovely location just off the town square.

We also found a butcher and a fishmonger so tonight is surf and turf 🙂

Seems to be a full time occupation watching the world go by here so I guess that is today’s itinerary taken care of.

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Jun 23

Back to normality

The last time we posted on this blog seems like a very long time ago; Marc has now finished his first year at Uni, Julian has done his GCSEs and Simone has finished her PhD.

This year we are joined by Hollie, Marc’s girlfriend, I hope you have a great time.

Today we are in Plataria, opposite Corfu on the Greek mainland. As soon as we arrived, Marc pointed out that we had been here before many years ago and he remembers it because the local teenagers raced motorbikes up and down the town quay at night, I sincerely hope not.

It’s been 4 days since we arrived in Gouvia Marina and it seems like weeks ago. We stayed the first night in Gouvia, exhausted after a 03:30 cab to Gatwick. We had a great sail out of Gouvia and then round to the south side of Corfu to shelter from an expected F6 from NW.

After our first swim we dropped anchor alongside a number of other boats free anchoring and then I ferried Marc and Hollie ashore in the dinghy.

On arriving back at the boat Simone was having kittens, as the wind had picked up and we had dragged our anchor quite some distance. We had another 2 goes at relaying it but after picking up several tons of weeds and not getting a good hold we gave up and headed into the yacht club.

By this time we were all pretty tired and a combination of wind on the nose, no bow thruster, a poor approach and some rather rusty lazy line collection meant we ended up with a nice collection of line around our propeller, ideal start to the holiday.IMG_2851

This also meant that we were now side to on the quay without a motor, something that the local harbourmaster was not amused about! It took Marc and I a few hours of alternating dives to remove all the line with a combination of kitchen knives, pen knives and a fine variation of screwdrivers.

After all this I was completely exhausted and we decided to just stay and chill in Corfu an extra day, which was a great combination of sun, sleep, gin & tonic and great food.

Today we had a fantastic sail across the channel between Corfu and mainland Greece and moored up perfectly in a F5 so we are feeling a lot less nooby than yesterday.

Tomorrow we head for Gaios, though our (very nice) German neighbour has his anchor over ours so there may be more fun & games in the morning.

This holiday business is exhausting.

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Sep 08

More craziness

Lol, just found this.

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Sep 02

Croc comes home

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Aug 28

Zoooooooom

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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