Indian summer

Dick and Irene Craig
Sat 13 Sep 2008 07:20

The forecast is good for the next week and as Koroni is such a delightful village, we decided to stay for a bit longer.

The temperature is still mid 30’s, and this does make it a little more difficult to get to sleep at night. We could use the air-conditioning but for some reason, we don’t.

The sea is flat calm and we are anchored in no more than 3 metres. Looking over the side of the boat, it is easy to see the bottom of the sea, the water is so clear and inviting.

Today, being Sunday, the restaurants along the sea front are all busy, mainly with locals but also with the odd tourist. The super-market is closed which highlights the fact that this village still remains un-spoilt by tourists.

The down-side of Sunday is that the bells started at 7am and although not continuous, kept ringing until 8.30. However, we didn’t notice if the bells rang the hour all night, so presume that they didn’t and it is not unreasonable for the church bells to toll on Sunday, to encourage the flock to attend the services.

Having spent some few months in Moslem countries, we have tended to forget the church bells, accepting the Imam’s call to prayer, a number of times each day, as the norm.

We swam in the crystal clear water with a turtle which was quite unperturbed by our presence. Dick hung his towel over the guard-rail to dry and it had to be rescued from the sea-bed, complete with the 5 clothes pegs, still attached, which clearly had not performed their function.

We barbecued on-board, fish which we had bought from a local fisherman, who kindly de-scaled and gutted them for us.

We moved on from Koroni and made our way to the island of Sapientza having first  passed the northern coast of the island Skhiza. I mention this latter island as it is supposedly used by the Greek air-force for bombing practice. As we approached the vicinity of this island, 4 fighter planes flew over, quite low, but we didn’t hear any bombs explode although it would have been difficult to hear anything over the noise of the planes.

We anchored in the deserted bay of Port Longos, tucking ourselves away behind a fish farm. We were soon rewarded for our trouble as flocks of mouflon, a species of wild sheep, a strain of which domestic sheep are supposed to have been bred, walked out from the shrubbery and wandered around the beaches and climbed across the rocks. There were so many of them, mainly female. Later, at dusk, 2 white ibex came down to the waters edge. Unfortunately it was not possible to take photographs as the light had all but gone.

Next morning I was up early and watched as a small fishing boat zig-zagged back and forth between us and the shore and between the fish farm and the shore. It was trawling, starting from the buoys it had placed initially near the bow of our boat. There were 2 men on board and one was reeling the net back into the fishing boat. It continued in this manner until it reached the exit from the bay.

I am finding the heavy dew each morning to be somewhat tedious. It is wonderful that the weather has been so fine but with the hot, near windless days, there is a penalty and that is the dew. This is the 5th morning in a row that I have had to mop the boat decks before breakfast. I could leave it but then, with all the walking back and forth, shoeless in Dick’s case, the boat would be filthy. If I mop the boat before Dick gets up, the fiberglass has time to dry in the sunshine and the boat remains relatively clean.

We left Port Longos and travelled for less than hour to Methoni. The flat, calm sea started to move up and down again. There is still not much wind but we now have a swell and a slight sea.

We anchor in 2 – 3 metres over sand though there are patches of weed which provides hiding places for the fish. In front of us, 200 metres away is the beach with no more than half a dozen people on it. Behind the beach and to the west, is an old Venetian fort which, like the fort at Koroni, guarded the shipping route, around the Pelopponese and was known at the time as “the eye of the Republic”.

The tale of the captive in Don Quixote, might well relate to the experiences of Cervantes who was held prisoner in this fort, by the Turks, after they had taken it.

We took the rib ashore that evening so that we might eat in a local taverna but the food was disappointing, being the worst we have had since we left the Middle East.

We unpacked the wet suits and fins and practiced wearing them as we swam in the bay. Dick always wears fins when he swims but I prefer not to do so. We plan to take a diving course when we reach Zakinthos (Zante), so thought I should get used to wearing the fins. Dick already has a PADI certificate but having not dived for the last 8 years, thinks that he should have a refresher course.

11th September is not just the anniversary of 9/11 and the distruction of the twin towers, but is the birthday of Koby, our grandson, who is 2 this year. He sang “happy birthday” with us when we phoned.

Friday morning the generator intelligently turned itself off when we switched it on. There was a problem which resulted in Dick having to change the inverter. Thank goodness it was nothing more serious. We use it for an hour in the morning and an hour late afternoon, to top up the batteries. Although we have 2 wind generators and 4 solar panels  they cannot provide sufficient energy for our power hungry boat, which has all the electrical comforts of home plus all the electrical, nautical gismos we need when we are on passage. 

Today seems to be one of those days when things need a bit of extra tender loving care. The next task to be undertaken was to re-attach the comfort pad, one of 2 which fit either side of the nose, on Dick’s glasses. A simple task if one can see what has to be done, not so simple when the glasses can’t be worn and fixed at the same time. We find a pair of sunglasses which react to the light and Dick wears those while he fixes the pad.

It all happens in threes and changing the non-return valve on one of the electric toilets was job number 3. Its not all dossing around on a boat, there is a need for constant maintenance.

Since the end of august, we have found that, as we sit at anchor in no hurry to get anywhere, other boats come and go. Some arrive just before lunchtime, stay a few hours and then move on. Others arrive anytime during the afternoon and evening and leave again next morning, sometimes before breakfast. Never more than 3 or 4 boats at any one period of time and never spending more than 1 night in any of the anchorages.

A large, American, long-range, displacement pleasure cruiser arrived mid afternoon on Friday. This is most unusual as, apart from the fishing boats, we have seen almost no motor cruisers for the last 2 weeks.


Below:- Mouflon on shore at Port Longos and Tucanon at anchor at Koroni