Joined May 2017 Message
  • Day8

    Time to Leave

    October 3, 2021 in Greece ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    A little earlier a start today because at 9am the yacht must be vacated and handed back to the flotilla company. The last of the bags was packed and transferred ashore, which sounds very grand until you realise that actually means the bags were carried off the boat! There were a few goodbyes, especially to Lou and Dylan who had coordinated things all week and who now glady received everyone's drinks leftovers and, it seems, various supplies of loo roll and other miscellaneous items. Plenty of thanks were given too.

    The minibus to transfer to the airport wasn't due until 11am so the adjacent Yacht Club bar was the destination for breakfast. Yes, just to make you jealous, photo 4 is actually the view as we sipped coffee, ate Greek yoghurt and honey and consumed early morning crepes ... and more. Heaven or what!

    Rob went for an arty photo again, of a single yacht offshore, but you will have to wait to see that because the posh camera was used instead of the phone.

    So that was it then, it's all over. The transfer to the airport went smoothly as did check-in and even though the flight departure was delayed, time was clawed back and the plane landed only a few minutes late at Gatwick.

    On arrival the assisted travel through the airport was luxury on steroids as we were once again whisked past queues and were given the honour of passport control coming to us to check passports etc rather than the other way around. Plus, our Border Force officer was the model of courtesy and even joked with Rob so how pleasant is that, making you wonder why this isn't the norm ... the pleasantness and fun bit that is - you can't expect them to come and see every arriving passenger. Let's be reasonable here.

    It's been a wonderful week of predominantly blue skies and lovely temperatures. All four of us commented how nice it had been and how relaxed it all was. Alan also said how much better he felt, not just physically but mentally too. It's been a long time since foreign places had been seen and/or visited and this week made you realise just how much that was missed. Was it worth going? You bet it was!

    Without all the effort and skills of Penny & Tom, none of this could never have happened so thank you both, for making this a week to remember.
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  • Day7

    Best Meal of the Week

    October 2, 2021 in Greece ⋅ 🌙 21 °C

    Harmonia slowly glided into the harbour at Palairos just before 5pm with Penny at the helm and Tom and Rob dealing with the mooring ropes. All was made good and the engine turned off for the final time ... but it's not all over just yet.

    For the meal tonight a table had been booked at a restaurant in town called 'New Mill Tavern'. There is no menu here and not even a wine list because food is simply brought to your table through the evening, leaving you to relax and chat for as long as you'd like to - the table is yours for the entire time you want to be there and you definitely want to be there. The wine, by the way, was a 5 litre bottle of a very pleasant rose but before you panic, you only get charged for what you drink, but ehen the food and drink is so good, why complicate life with choices?

    Your surroundings in this family run restaurant are enchanting and the host so friendly and welcoming. The food is second to none as the dishes are brought to your table at a leisure pace, prepared and cooked to perfection. The meal here was definitely the food highlight of the week and it's easy to see why a table must be booked.

    All too soon it was time to return to the yacht. The skies were crystal clear, as they were last weekend at the start of the holiday, so Rob was tempted to venture out with the camera again to see if there was a photo to be found. The best of the Milky Way had been much earlier in the evening but even so, Jupiter and Saturn were shining brightly and Rob eventually found a photo to bring home.
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  • Day7

    Last Full Day

    October 2, 2021 in Greece ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    Once more the crew rise to warm and sunny weather with breakfast at the same restaurant as last night. This really is a beautiful spot with clear water rippling onto the beach of tiny stones. Rob couldn't resist an arty shot with the different blues and the orange buoy. You can see an expensive boat anchored in the bay too, though that was nowhere near as big as the ship that passed by a little later. A helicopter on board too ... we wondered how much that lot cost to purchase and run. What do you reckon?

    The fourth photo in this footprint is of a strange boat indeed. A first reaction was 'Pirates!' but it was in fact a tub full of tourists on an excursion who, after a commentary from a guide, all spilled out onto the jetty to deposit their cash into the local economy. Life back to normal then!

    There wasn't far to sail today so there was no rush, though 'sail' is a bit of an optimistic term given there was still virtually no wind. Lunch was at the same bay as on the last day three years ago. There were more yachts there this time but even so, it is still a great place to chill and allow one's senses to absorb the scenic panorama and the warmth of the day. Then, reluctantly, the engine was started, the anchor raised and Harmonia began its final leg of the trip towards its home port.
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  • Day6

    Another Hard Day Afloat

    October 1, 2021 in Greece ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    On the way to Vathi yesterday, Rob had taken the helm for quite a time during afternoon and also berthed the yacht at its mooring - he really enjoyed that it has to be said.

    Once again this overnight port had been chosen because of the threat of high winds overnight but, as before, they never materialised. It did rain during the night though, but by morning the blue skies and sunshine had returned.

    The mooring was quite a walk from the town and too far for Alan to manage, but the restaurant had been close by (pretty much all there was there actually) and the meal was pleasant enough. Today though, the restaurant was closed so a visit to the town was needed to get breakfast and lunch supplies.

    Penny & Tom planned to take the dinghy but following outboard motor issues, they decided to cross the harbour in the yacht instead and moor-up near the shops. This went smoothly and in no time the supplies were on board and it was time to set sail.

    The journey to the next port followed the pattern of very light winds and plenty of time to relax.

    The lunchtime stop was really nice too, at a small bay with only one other yacht there - another from our flotilla. Penny, Tom and the pineapple took to the water as usual but before they did, everyone spent time looking for tuna, which the other family had spotted just as we arrived. Tom and Rob saw one swim close to the boat but they were hard to spot and Penny saw none whilst she was in the water.

    The penultimate stop tonight was at Spartochori which we knew was a lovely location because it was one of the stopovers during the sailing trip in 2018. This time Alan was at the helm to park the boat and did a splendid job of it too. In the evening it was another group meal with everyone seated at a big long table. Rob, Alan, Penny & Tom ended up at one end next to Lou and Dylan, the flotilla leaders. It was really interesting to chat with them and all too soon it was time to return to the yacht. How come time goes so quickly?
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  • Day5

    The Storm that Never Came

    September 30, 2021 in Greece ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    The day started with Penny & Rob receiving an early bath after a wave rolled over the harbour wall and gave them a cold awakening. The wind was quite strong this morning and the waves bigger too, but by the time the morning briefing was over and breakfast eaten (crepes today), the wind and ocean activity had subsided and by the time the yacht was in open water the wind that was hoped for was virtually gone.

    The day was to be a repeat of the others: calm weather, lovely temperatures, deep blues and relaxation.

    All was not lost however, because during the afternoon the wind did actually pick up and the crew finished the day with the yacht piercing the waves at a steady speed and with the engine switched off. At last then, the sails were used and everyone on board were happy bunnies - including the pineapple.

    If your are wondering about those high winds and thunderstorm ... yes, the winds were stronger and there was rain during the night but no thunderstorm materialised. No drama there then.
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  • Day4

    Hoist the Sails - Wind at Last

    September 29, 2021 in Greece ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    It doesn't take long before you start to forget what happened on what day. This is commonly known as relaxation or, to some, Blob Mode. This isn't helped by the unbearably perfect temperatures, the drone of the engine, the soothing sounds of water flowing around the hull and the gentle rocking motion as the yacht meanders through a world of blue. Both the sky and the ocean are a deep shade of blue with the mountains of the coastline caressed by a delicate blue haze, so it is virtually impossible not to switch off and simply enjoy what surrounds you.

    And so it is, this family of four spending another day navigating their way through the Ionian Islands, though lunch was taken on the fly as there was enough wind to sail for most of the day, albeit slowly at times. Penny and Tom had their now regular swim in the crystal clear Mediterranean water but we weren't anchored in a bay this time - the yacht simply drifted in deep water whilst they jumped in and swam for a while.

    Afterwards the journey continued to Kalamos and it was great the wind had suddenly appeared to help Harmonia on its way and it was nice to be able to sail properly. We arrived in Kalamos about 17.30 with the evening meal in a restaurant only a short walk away.

    The Flotilla leader had chosen this port specifically because overnight high winds and a potential thunderstorm was forecast. As we returned to the boat for the night, the wind was already stronger and the waves were splashing against the harbour wall.
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  • Day3

    It's Sailing, but with no wind

    September 28, 2021 in Greece ⋅ ☁️ 26 °C

    The day once again started with the briefing meeting and breakfast then soon afterwards the motley crew made ready the yacht and cruised out to the open water. As you can see from the first photo, it was a low contrast, somewhat grey start but with a pleasant temperature, but it wasn't long before the blue skies appeared, with deep blue water below us.

    There really was no wind to speak of today so it was cruising with the engine running, relaxing as we went and admiring the view as it slowly changed.

    Lunch was again taken at anchor at a quiet spot with Penny, Tom and the pineapple deciding to take a dip. Afterwards it was a pleasant cruise to our next stop for the night and once the boat was safely moored, it was time for the traditional G&T. Penny & Tom also rigged-up the hammock they'd brought with them and you can see Penny proving its worth.

    Dinner that night in Vasiliki was at the restaurant right next to where the flotilla boats were parked. It was a shared occasion to allow the various groups to mingle - a lovely evening getting to know a family in the next table from one of the other boats, with talk of skiing and travel to places far and wide and Alan recounting stories of his time in the Navy.

    It was so nice to spend time like this, eating outside late into the evening in warm temperatures and summer clothes. We finished the evening with a visit to the ice-cream parlour - who wouldn't?
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  • Day2

    Calm Seas

    September 27, 2021 in Greece ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

    The first full day, waking to clear skies and sunshine, once it rose above the large hill to the east of our mooring. There were a few things to do before leaving including the morning briefing given by the flotilla leaders who detailed the destination for the day and any potential issues when mooring up that evening. Oh, and breakfast of course as well as shopping for important supplies such as food for lunch snacks and fruit juice to make rum punch. That last bit was the most essential, naturally.

    Then, it was time to leave. Penny is the skipper on this trip, as before, so under her coordination the vessel was made ready, the engine started and the mooring ropes released.

    This was a day of not a little amount of wind, but actually no wind whatsoever so it was engine power all day. The sails were hoisted, Jim Lad, but not for long because they did absolutely nothing.

    We dropped the anchor for lunch at a pleasant location just off a beach where that rum punch came in handy, and swam with an inflatable pineapple for a while. Bet you are so envious - about the inflatable pineapple that is.

    It was then a gentle cruise to our stop for the night - a port we visited last time called Sivota. It was a relaxing stop after a relaxing day, which ended with Penny Rob and Tom taking cocktails at a quiet bar at one end of the port whilst Alan preferred an early night.
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  • Day1

    First Evening

    September 26, 2021 in Greece ⋅ 🌙 25 °C

    The journey was really good, with the flight shorter than expected and the temperature lovely and warm when we arrived. A mad taxi driver took us from the airport to Palairos, somehow thinking she had to drive in the exact centre of the road, that bends were best taken at speed and that it is clearly expected the gears should be cruched when changed. Brakes also worked digitally, being either on, or off.

    We had arrived safely though and soon we were settled onto the boat then heading out to explore. Not far to be honest, spending a relaxing time at a pleasant bar/restaurant and staying until well after sunset, watching the sun set below the hills opposite and the colours change through yellows to blues. Back to our boat Alan and Penny called it a night but Rob then went in search of a photo - the skies were clear and ideal for a Milky Way shot. Tom went along too and they both enjoyed finding the right composition, with a drink in hand from the nearby bar.

    Unusually for the footprints on here, these photos are from the camera, rather than the phone. They are all processed on the phone though, so the Milky Way shot is definitely work in process. Tomorrow the crew set sail.
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    Fyxe83

    Not bad for a phone pic

    9/29/21Reply
    RobCowell

    This is the JPG preview of the raw file processed on the phone.

    9/29/21Reply
    Carol Bailey

    Lovely composition on the milkyway shot

    9/29/21Reply
    RobCowell

    Thanks Carol. The final image will be of higher quality once I can process it properly.

    9/29/21Reply
     
  • Day1

    The Adventure Begins

    September 26, 2021 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    This trip has been planned for ages and has been on then off more than once due to what we all know happened in 2020/21. Finally, here we are sitting on the plane at Gatwick waiting for final checks and take-off. Alan is now rapidly reaching 94 and has been looking forward to this since we said we would do it again.

    It is still the four of us - myself, my daughter Penny and her (now) husband Tom and my father Alan. We are a week or so earlier than last time and the weather forecast is for less cloud. On a sailing trip you also need wind of course, so we are hoping for that as well.
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