Marcus’s visit
Yassus shipmates (as they say in Greece). We are now snugly tucked up in Aghios Nikolaos marina on Crete. You remember we Wintered here in 2006 and like it so much we bought the marina, only kidding we could only stretch to a berth for the Winter. 

If you remember, last time we spoke we were in Fethiye bay (Turkey) waiting for shipmate Marcus to join us. I hope your sitting comfortably because you know what I’m like once I get going....

Shipmate Marcus arrived towards the end of the ‘Turkish tummy’ traumas. So for the first couple of days of his visit things were slightly subdued. He came on a shopping trip with me, where our mission was to buy a pressure cooker (it’s a rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle shipmates). We succeeded in our mission and that night I set about using my new toy to make Spaghetti Bolognese (without an instruction booklet for said ‘cooker de pressure’). Things got a little steamy and a bit scary but we all survived. I’ve bonded a bit with it now but it’s definitely the boss!

The time came to leave Turkey and head off to Crete. Our dilemma was how to go about the ‘checking out’ process. After our run in with the Fethiye customs man we were a tad nervous about not doing things by the book. Once you formally check out of Turkey, you have to pretty much leave the country straight away (no sneaky stopping in Turkish anchorage's). We’d planned to go to the Greek island of Simi which was about 60 miles away and a right old beat into the wind. So we’d need to leave early, really early. But then the harbour master and customs officials wouldn’t be open. The answer was there staring us in the face... Night-sail time! We could check out late afternoon and travel through the night when the wind that we’d be beating into should in theory be less.

We left around 6pm and ate our dinner of ‘burgers a la Karen’ before it got dark. There was very little wind and we were motoring along quite nicely. The night watches began, Crew member Marcus took the first one, then the Captain followed by moi. Towards the end of my watch the wind increased and we were able to sail, we were going along well, a little too well in fact and were in danger of arriving in Simi town in the dark! We reefed to slow down and arrived once the sun had got up and put his hat on... 
There was a slight problemo (not the usual one of Simi being full) in fact the harbour was pretty empty, the reason being that there was a strong Southerly wind blowing and in a strong Southerly Simi becomes a bit well, a bit sort of untenable! So we weren’t stopping there. We headed back down the side of the coast that we just sailed up (this time beating into it) nipped around the corner and dropped the anchor in a nice safe little bay called Panormittis. 

We held up there until the wind had sorted itself out and was blowing from it’s prevailing direction. Dinghy Dinghy Dave was called upon to help us get ashore, he dug deep and with the help of the pump was able to get us onto terra firma. After a couple of days we headed back up to Simi town to check into Greece formally and spend a couple of days watching the mooring mayhem that goes on there. Always entertaining to watch but you don’t really want to join in.

Our next stop was to be Livadhiou harbour on the island of Tilos which was just under 30 miles away. This was new territory for us and we’d been told that the harbour was small and crowded so we were unlikely to get in. In view of this we had a back up plan that if we couldn’t get in we’d go to a bay on the other side of the island. The back up of the back up was that we’d just keep going to Crete which was about 110 miles down the road (or should I say water). 

Luckily for us the harbour on Tilos is very well organised and they are able to squeeze a surprising number of boats into a fairly teeny area. We hired a car to see some of the sights that this tiny island has to offer. Shipmate Marcus was particularly keen to climb up to the castle overlooking the town (well it wasn’t quite like that) but we went up there anyway and were rewarded with stunning views. We also visited an ‘elephant museum’ where they have the remains of dwarf elephants who are believed to have swam to the island from Africa!

After a couple of nights on Tilos we checked the weather forecast and it was green for ‘GO’ for the 110 odd mile trip to Crete. We left around lunchtime, heading out of the harbour we realised the log wasn’t working. So the Captain had a quick snorkel down to give it a tweak, then we were off! We had 2 reefs in the main and about half the Genoa out, we were pretty close hauled and going along quite nicely. The waves were on the beam so things were pretty ‘tipped up’ as the wind increased the Genoa decreased. Stella was getting ‘tippy’ with a capital ‘T’. We dined on chilli, to give us a bit of ballast in the belly for the night ahead. 

Shipmate Marcus took the first watch, then the Captain followed by me. Sleeping down below was uncomfortable to say the least and when I rolled off the saloon seat I took it as a sign to sleep on the floor (or try to). We arrived in Spinalonga lagoon on Crete around 2pm the next day and had sailed (albeit tipped up) all the way, Hip skip hooray!

After a hearty fry up (it would have been rude not to) we settled down for a bit of r & r. Later Dinghy Dinghy Dave was dug out again(will we not let the poor chap rest) and after a bit of resuscitation he was able to get us ashore (pump on standby in case he needed another blast, which he did). The next day ‘galley slave’ Marcus cooked us up a curry and after a spot of top bombing, we settled down for a couple of rounds of poker and a currylicious curry!

It was an early start the next morning (possibly pre caffeine intake although we had some on the way) to head into the marina, we’d arrived and were tied up by 09.30am. That afternoon the Captain and crewman Marcus decided to play a spot of tennis (not sure what prompted that). So in the midday sun the tournament began, the outcome well lets just say there’s life in the old ‘Woodbury champ’ yet!

The time came for shipmate Marcus to pack up his kit bag and jump ship to a plane, destination Blighty. Cheers for all your help matey, see you next time round. 

Since Marcus left it’s been all go. We’ve taken off the sails, bimini and lines and Stella is looking positively naked! The Captain is ‘mid oil change’ as I type and there’s some muttering going on, so it may not be going according to plan! 
I’ve been looking for teaching work (we knew this day would come shipmates) and whilst everyone has been enthusiastic and helpful I haven’t found any yet. We’ve collected our bikes and been for another jolly on Moli. The weather has been a bit of a mixed bag and word on the pontoon is ‘there be wind on the way at the weekend’ Tomorrow we are off for the first of the Winter walks, lets hope the old legs hold up.

Well that’s all for now matey’s, you’ve done well to get through it all.

Take care and be happy. 

Love & hugs The Captain and me XX

Saturday, 24 October 2009