Messolonghi Marina. 38:21.652N 021:25.051E

Charles & Maggie Bevis
Fri 23 Oct 2015 09:50
The end of the sailing season has arrived for us.

Our last stop off was in the island of Megavisi in a delightful sheltered spot where we enjoyed balmy sunny weather.

It is sad to report we are guilty of vandalising the shoreline there while mooring up - after securing our stern line to a substantial rock on the water’s edge we were surprised to hear a very large splash as the rock was dislodged and pulled into the sea! The consequence of this was that our nylon line released like a gunshot and zoomed back to the boat; before we realised what was happening the line had wound its way around our propeller. Out came the diving gear for only the second time this year and after some effort and a lot of bubbles we were free! The gear has now paid for itself - a diver would have been much more expensive, on top of which he would have had to find us first!

The rest of the day was magical and we debated as to whether or not to extend our stay there and make the most of the beautiful weather or to strike south on the Thursday. In the end we opted to move. On the morning of Thursday 15 October we commenced the 46 mile treck south to the Gulf of Patras. Sadly the winds did not oblige us and we motor sailed all of the way - winds that were forecast to veer and provide us with a last sail did not materialise. Having arrived at dusk we anchored just outside the marina and berthed early on Friday 16 October.

We’ve had a busy week since then but are making good progress. The sails are down, washed, dried and folded away, the dinghy is cleaned and in its bag and the winter covers have been exhumed from below the forward bunks. We are working hard and with ten days in hand we should get everything done before lifting out on 2 November, we’re giving it a good try anyway.

The weather has collapsed this week and we’ve had a lot of rain, especially over the past 36 hours or so. Thankfully we were able to work down below all day yesterday and the boat now sparkles. Today it could do anything but presently it’s overcast and quite chilly.

We’re enjoying being here very much, have met some really nice people and gained a new social life. Several of the boats have been coming here for 4 years or more and know each other well, so it’s really nice to have been invited to join in with them. We were invited to Pam & Rogers boat (from Keyhaven) on Tuesday night for drinks and to play Rummikub, They’re rather better at it than us; a new game will be introduced to us in a rematch due on Friday evening. Thankfully, we’re weren’t too bad and Charlie won a game and so did Maggie, so we didn’t disgrace ourselves.

A Danish couple on a Najad have berthed back to back with us on the pontoon, they have a younger version of Alkira and are curious to see what ours is like inside, so on Sunday we’ve arranged to show them ours, providing they show us theirs!

Wednesday night was music night in the marina bar, so some of the yachties entertained us by singing and playing their guitars; it was a fun night, the rain only drowned them out occasionally. We went out into town last night with a delightful bunch of people and enjoyed fantastic pizzas and the odd carafe of wine, followed up by a night cap in the marina bar; we had to get taxis there and back as it was still chucking it down.

Pam tells us that in the 5 years they’ve been coming here for the winter, she’s never known so many Scandinavians here before, so the word must have got out and here they are here in big numbers; Norwegians, Danish, Swedish, together with French, Belgians, Dutch, Germans and of course Brits. There’s a really good atmosphere and all are very friendly, everyone says hello and frequently stop for a chat.

Very few will stay throughout the winter on their boats, most leaving at some point in November, returning some time in March, much the same as we are thinking of doing, although we haven’t exactly made up our minds yet if it will be March or April when we come back, too soon to say.

The town is a university town so everything is open and busy and only a short bike ride away. It is much larger here than we first thought, and although some areas are a bit run down, others are pleasant. There are plenty of shops, dozens and dozens of bars and restaurants and good supermarkets. A street market is held every Tuesday and Saturday selling in season fruit and veg, the quality varies, but good value, they’re set alongside a few others stalls selling anything and everything but food. The bakery closest to the marina sells excellent bread - the best we have found in Greece.

We’re off into town today, thankfully it’s stopped raining, to do some grocery shopping and to pick up some parts from the chandlers.

A few days ago our fridge/freezer pump has split casing and is now leaking vast quantities of water into the bilge, so Charlie has to pump the bilge out every day, once the new pump is fixed, we won’t have to worry about sinking!!! Very glad it waited until we arrived here though and although we’d started to run down the contents of the freezer in readiness for shutting it down, it would have been impossible to fix and we’d have had to throw everything to the fish. I spent a very busy morning cooking yesterday, as well as doing all the cleaning, and we now have a large batch of bolognese, a fish pie, pork chops and duck breast all needing to be eaten very soon, hence a good reason to invite people for dinner and help us get through it all before Sunday.

The bimini has now been taken down and the cockpit tent is in place, which feels very strange indeed. ‘Dolly' has done her bit and all the clothes, towels, bedding etc together with the dodgers and hatch covers are all washed and stowed away. Charlie has run a check to make sure the heating works and it feels like we’re going to have to turn it on in the mornings until the sun hopefully puts it’s hat on. When it does shine, it’s beautifully warm and we can still ditch the long sleeve shirts in favour of t-shirts. We just need a dry week to finish preparing everything prior to lifting out on the 2nd of November.

Charlie & Maggie Bevis
alkira {CHANGE TO AT} mailasail {DOT} com