Friday, 5 July 2013


I have been very bad updating the blog since we have been in the water. My excuse is that we have been mainly concerned with getting the boat ready for the Atlantic. We seem to have made endless lists which we are slowly ploughing our way through. The installation of the watermaker has been slow and sourcing things like saddle clamps to attach the filters has been difficult to say the least. In Levkas there is a large DIY store which we refer to as B&Q that seems to have most things but clamps …no. There is a really nice Australian Greek lady that works there that seems to know where everything is and what’s really good is that she speaks English so you don’t have to resort to gestures, pointing and playing charades to try to get your needs understood! When we tackled her about clamps she told us ..’The Greeks don’t really do tidy they are more concerned with if it works not with how it looks’ We will get our clamps off e bay and get the next person coming out to bring them with them we are not going to commission the watermaker til we get to Gibraltar and beyond as we don’t really need it till then.
We have been on the Olive Press pontoon in Sivota for quite some time now beavering away at our ‘lists’ but whilst we have been here we have experienced strange weather for the time of year. The winds have been strong making it hard for people to moor. We will always offer our assistance but sometimes that is not enough! Incidents tend to occur on Sunday or Monday when people have just picked up their charter boat and if the winds pick up. On one occasion a 53ft charter boat full of American Greeks was making preparations to come in outside the Olive Press…John and I were sitting having a sundowner.. this bar is a great place for that.George the bar man/DJ is so helpful and he laughed when John made the error of calling him Spiro calmly explaining the difference between Spiro and Spiros but then saying with a smile but my name is George!! Anyway I digress back to the charter boat.... The man at the helm was struggling to control the boat as he reversed in and the the man on anchor put the anchor down but then proceeded to lift it again there was no communication between the two guys and the boat was all over the place he took out the guy on port sides anchor but the wind was a strong north westerly and took the bow to starboard where he wedged himself alongside the quay and the pontoon gouging large amounts of gelcoat and grp at the same time. Fortunately there was no one alongside the pontoon and we were able to move the boat to moor him alongside the pontoon where we knew he would be safe. There were 10 people on board the boat. This was their first day out and the women were traumatised! Not a great start to your holiday. I think you could safely say he lost his deposit with the charter company! The Port Police now ask to seek the documents and qualifications for all the charter boats and so on Monday the first day for many the morning is spent being bussed by the charter companies to the local Port Police for this process to take place. However having a day skipper certificate and chartering a 46ft yacht that requires stern to mooring are two very different things. We have heard one skipper ask the flotilla leader as he brought in the 45ft brand new flagship Bavaria ‘now let me just clarify if I want the yacht to turn that way I turn the wheel this way!!’ Scary stuff!

I must just recall one last incident involving a very large wooden yacht that had a number of paying guests on board. They came into Sivota when strong F6 north westerlies were forecast in the afternoon. John helped them in and they assured him they were only going to be there for five minutes. The wind at that time was southerly. Two hours later they asked John for his help leaving. The wind had now turned and was blowing strong. This boat must have weighed 150/200 tons and they had put on an extra line to prevent the bow blowing to starboard. They had tied the line with a bowline a knot impossible to undo under pressure particularly 200 tons worth of pressure! The skipper was adamant though that the two other lines must be undone first so John obliged but he told the skipper that there was no way that the bowline would be undone so the instruction from the skipper was I will slacken the line then you undo the bowline as quick as you can. It is not easy to undo a very thick line let alone when it’s got that much pressure on it! It took John about 15 seconds and in the meantime the boat swung towards the pontoon in the wind the passarelle took out the newly painted lamp post outside the Olive Press and ended up in the sea! The boat continued to lurch towards a boat moored alongside on the pontoon. There were a number of young girls sunbathing on the boat who jumped and started to grab fenders to fend off the beast but I shouted them to get off the boat if the thing hit the boat a fender would be useless against that sort of tonnage! Fortunately the skipper put it full throttle forward once free and missed the yacht by a few metres. Phew that was close!! A testimony to how well the local council works here the lamppost was retrieved from the sea and reinstated on the quay within three days. I do not think that that would have been the case in the UK!

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