Saturday, 15 September 2012

Weather change

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Over the past few weeks the weather has been slowly changing. It has still been very hot but their have been a couple of occasions when the wind has really got up. A couple of weeks ago having checked the weather a blow was forecast and John decided that it would be best for us to make for Sivota and get bedded down for the night. The spot we managed to get was perfect .... the wind would be pushing us off the pontoon and we put out over 50 metres of anchor chain and bedded the anchor in bolt tight. It was a Monday and this means in the Ionian it is the first day out for many flotillas and from our safe haven on the pontoon we witnessed the carnage as flotilla boat after flotilla boat tried to moor in 40 knots of wind. I felt every sympathy with them as some of these yachts had to wait for over an hour for the flotilla crews to get everything ready for them to moor and they would have to wait heeled right over in the wind. There was one guy who obviously had a problem with his headsail and after a struggle he managed to get it down and rather than strap it in some way on the deck he lay on top of it to prevent it opening up for over 40 minutes whilst his wife struggled at the wheel. This blow was well forecast and I wonder who makes the decisions to take the flots out in such conditions... for some it would have been their first sailing experience and enough to have put them off for life!


At present we have been storm bound in Vlicho for the last two day with strong force 7/8 Southerlies that have bought over 10cms of rain in 24hrs. Nearly sank our dinghy! We have swung around on anchor with no problems though we did put a kedge anchor out to help us. Again around us have been a couple of charter boats who have had to leave today to get their boats back to base as they leave tomorrow it would have been a very wet bumpy sail back to Vounaki! John is currently playing a chill out mp3 file trying to get it to influence the weather with limited success however it is all meant to blow through by tomorrow. Yippee!!

We had hoped to sail to Galaxhidi but the weather has not been kind to us all blowing strong and the wrong way for the last 10 days or so so we bit the bullet and drove there instead. An amazing place and here are some of the photos to prove it

The treasury for the Athenians ..... The biggest treasury there for all the rich Athenians.


A view over the valley that gives you an idea of how up it is some stunning views and just what a wonderful feat of engineering it is

The finish line at the athletics stadium every bit as impressive as the current Olympic stadium. The athletes took part in the pentathalon wearing nothing but a helmet, spear and greaves (shin pads).... would have created a stir in 2012!!

Wildlife!

We have been disappointed that we have not seen any dolphins this year so far. We have seen other assorted wildlife particularly in the Gulf of Amvrakia. Here sea urchins like to attach themselves to the anchor chain which can make it a bit tricky when bringing up the anchor chain. There are fishermen here that park their boats in what can only be described as a fishing boat garage. They have forged an indentation into the coast which is specifically for their boat so that when they drive into it they are protected on three sides all that is missing really is a garage door! At Rouga Bay they also drive their boat straight onto the beach and sell what fish they have to big Yanni, the taverna owner. Yanni runs what can only be described as a Shirley Valentine type taverna with tables on the beach. The food can be good but it can also be questionable but Yanni is hospitable and enjoys trying to engage you in political debate about the state of the Greek economy.

As you sail to Rouga Bay you pass many fish farms and early one morning as we were sailing past them we spotted what we thought was a bouy on closer inspection it became obvious that it was a Pelican out for his breakfast at a nearby fish farm. We were able to get really close but unfortunately before we could get the camera out he flew closer to the farm and out of our view. Shame.

We were also witness to a large Swordfish coming into Vassiliki Harbour. This caused much consternation in the harbour with at least three fishermen chasing it in their boats. One of them managed to spear it  but this meant that everyone could see where he was and the three fishing boats cornered it. Both John and I felt sorry for the sword fish! It was finally bought onto one of the fishing boats but I should hasten to add not the fishing boat that first managed to spear it. A heated debate then ensued about who actually owned the fish. This was a big fish that would produce many swordfish steaks and obviously worth quite a bit of money. As we left we spoke to another of the local fishermen and said to him that he had missed out there. He replied that the sword fish had committed suicide in venturing into the harbour!