Well we made it out here to Kilada, Peloponnese, in Greece c/o Europcar/Easyjet/Pops Cars, in good order on 5 April and arrived at the Basimakopouloi shipyard after about 12 hours travelling.
We found basic digs in Kilada village at 35 Euros/night but it was not very salubrious, smelt heavily of cigarettes and Maggie didn’t sleep well - after three nights we cut our losses and retired to the boat in her cradle.
ALKIRA was launched on schedule on 12 April and all went well on that front. We stayed that night secured to the boatyard quay before moving out to anchor to rig the sails and then make our way 17nm across the bay to Astros, for water. We are still in Astros, recovering (cleaning) from the winter lay-up and recommissioning ALKIRA.
ALKIRA being lifted from her resting place ready for launching.
The facilituies here are by far the best we have found in Greece. We can recommend the yard to anyone as a winter lay-up venue.
All ready to splash as yard women touch up the bottom of the keel.
On Good Friday there was a procession through the town; starting at the church on the hill at 9pm to the north of the port, zigzagging the steep streets down to the newer part of town, led by a local band with trumpets and drums. Then came the priest and his “congregation” and 6 stout men carrying a candle lit byre, shoulder high, down the steep steps to the waterfront and onward through the town streets before the procession returned eventually to the church at the top of the hill some 2 hours or so later.
The local population turned out en-masse to witness the event, with children holding candles along the route. As the priest passed by, the watching population fell in with the procession, until there was a throng of several hundred following the band. Where they all came from goodness only knows as Astos is a small town. Although a good percentage of those watching had dressed in their finery and/or their Sunday best, the band were not well turned out and their music music was at best interesting, somewhat tuneless and very solemn, but the solitary base drummer beat a good single drum beat all the way! The port was illuminated all around by burning pots of oil set at intervals along the breakwaters. A very petty sight on a pleasant balmy evening.
At midnight on Saturday there were fireworks and the echoes of loud explosions reverberated around the bay beneath the ruins of the venetian fort that dominates the port and the town.
Sunday was like the grave until the evening and then the population suddenly appeared for their evening stroll and coffees/drinks. We enjoyed our Easter chocolate bunnies - thank you Jenny H (you will be pleased to hear they both made it out here and survived until Easter Sunday AND Monday without being nibbled!!
Monday came and,believe it or not, it does rain on bank holidays in parts of the world other than the UK, including here in Greece. At four in the afternoon the skies darkened, there was thunder and lightning and we huddled below decks like Antonio in his cave as the rain came down in torrents!! (an anecdote to be appreciated by the Bevis clan). Brighter skies to the East heralded better things so hopefully this interlude of inclement weather will soon pass.
Monday brought clouds and strong Easterly winds that backed right around as storms spread down from the valleys to the west of us. Nothing on the internet weather map! Thunder but no lightning.
Tuesday morning started fairly benign, but the wind came in at noon blowing hard from the South East for 4-5 hours before dying away. We are safely tucked up against the seawall so are comfortably sheltered from the wind, but revelling in the sunshine from the subsequent clear blue sky. All very confusing really. At around 6pm the wind died away and we ditched our fleeces. What next?
Our re-commissioning is going well, The decks are now clean, lots of deck plugs replaced and sanded, most things are in their rightful place, Solar panels polished, cleaning down below is finished, the ‘handbag' generator has been serviced, “Dolly” has been put to good use and the maintenance is progressing nicely…
Men at work.
Looking south along the quay wall. Only one other charter yacht here today.
We have had intermittent electric power and water here on the outer mole to facilitate our labours, although those who supposedly ‘manage' the port seem somewhat reluctant to attend to their duties - but then it is a national holiday! When our enthusiasm lags there is a selection of pleasant seaside bars and tavernas lining the inshore side of the port and the foreshore to the South, which haven’t seen much of us to date other than for a morning coffee at the weekend.
Friends David and Marilyn are expected on 27April, so we will leave here on Wednesday evening, or perhaps on Thursday morning, to make our way back to Kilada (where the boatyard was) to collect some spare parts, before moving on to Porto Cheli and then Ermioni, where our blissfully unaware ‘crew’ will join us for our passage to Crete!
We are both fine but a little tired as we’ve been a lot busier than we expected, (or perhaps we’re just feeling our age a little), but have also been suffering from sore throats/summer colds. The evenings and mornings are chilly and it is cool out on the water. It’ll warm up soon enough - we hope…
We hear today that there is to be an election in June, so you poor lot in the UK are going to be brainwashed by Brexit and electioneering - what joy, we will miss it all.
Charlie & Maggie