Last days cruising the Med. Big Sunsail reunion party. Penny’s sister visits with her boyfriend.
Topical point - also coming to stay on board: the son of the former governor of Libya and his lovely wife.
Well September is here. I have to admit we've had some good fun in August, but boy was it hot. Every day we draped tomato netting over the boat in an attempt to keep cool.
Not very attractive, but most effective.
I was just downloading pictures from my phone and was reminded of the time "Mad Robbie" came aboard after a session on the "fruity". He attempted to read Libby her bedtime story but wasn't quite up to it at the time. Libby didn't mind, she thought our great old friend was highly amusing....
Well, Daddy might lack the comic timing but at least he's able to see the words on the page.
August is always a difficult month out here, so at the moment we're feeling relieved that it's over. It sounds ungrateful, especially as we've heard it was the UK's worst summer since 1993. (Ah, I remember that year - it's when I first came to live in Greece!) However the heat gets to you. It seems we had an argument almost every day - not usually with each other thankfully, but with other boaters. You can cope with inconsiderate behaviour and rudeness when you're not overheated, but it's much harder to keep calm when you're hot and bothered. I'd like to say that it wasn't mostly Italians - but I'm afraid it was mostly Italians! I would certainly not write off the entire nation; we have had wonderful holidays in Italy and met some gorgeous people there, but there's evidently a certain type who come to Greece and behave like spoilt brats. (I guess it's comparable with drunken British louts abroad - celebrated by the low-life media. There must be plenty of affronted foreigners who make the mistake of assuming they are representative of their respective nations.) Every summer there's an almost perceptible collective sigh of relief around the islands as the last red white and green ensign disappears over the horizon at the end of the month.
So, it's September. The nights are drawing in, there are clouds in the sky and the light has a new quality to it. Great for taking photos, so I'll try and do somewhat better this month. When we worked in charter boats out here, this was the time people started turning their thoughts to what happens next. The perennial questions from punters usually start with "what do you do in the winter" and "what do you do for a real job", (as if being responsible for a fleet of boats and 80 odd souls 24/7 was NOT a real job!). Conversations in every bar around the place inevitably turn to the immediate future.
So for us now, we're looking forward to the infamous Ionian Regatta, then we will have Sandy and Maggie to stay and also Mary and Sev. Both parties have been immensely generous to us in the past, so we are looking forward to repaying some small part of that. As for the regatta, we don't plan to actually compete. It's quite costly, but the main issue is coping with the general mayhem both afloat and ashore. Our plan is to be there for the party, and I may well do a little turn on stage too. We hope to get a babysitter for Libby so we can let our hair down a bit. Most of all we're looking forward to catching up with a host of old friends and colleagues.
The infamous "South Ionian Regatta" was on the 15th. We elected to remain in in port - for several reasons - but we were here in Sivota to welcome the fleet. I avoided too much partying in anticipation of the "gig". Penny however paced herself beautifully through the afternoon in anticipation of turning in around 9.30 pm to babysit the girl. However, we inadvertently found ourselves with a babysitter, so unfortunately for Penny, she was carried on a tide of inertia which suddenly ended around midnight. It's just as well. I had been on stage for long enough and it's probably good to leave wanting more. (I wanted more. Not sure about the crowd!) Sadly I can find only one snapshot of the gig and it doesn't capture the atmosphere, but it's a record anyway.
The following weekend we were joined by Sandy and Maggie, or "The Irish Contingent" as Penny's late father used to refer to them. They are Penny's Uncle and Aunt and are able sailors. Sandy is especially talented at the helm.
We hunted around for wind and did manage a couple of good sailing days. Kalamos Island was a hit - one of our new favourites, especially if the weather is calm enough to anchor off the pebble beach.
Unfortunately, we had a forecast for stormy weather in the coming days, so we had to pick a secure place to be for a couple of days - so disappointing on a one-week holiday. We chose Sivota with the proviso that we could get on the south quay. If not there, I'd have thought hard about going around to Vlikho - a large shallow bay with a reputation as being a good storm refuge. Well, we got the blow that night but somehow found other stuff to do - not least of which involved ice-cold beer at Pirates bar. Listening to forecasts we elected to stay a second night in Sivota, and that was the night a tornado ripped through Vlikho bay (our second choice) literally causing death and destruction for yachtsmen at anchor there. Horrendous. We'd been there less than a week earlier.
Penny's sister Mary along with boyfriend Severin joined us the following day in Paleros. Sandy and Maggie got in some warm water skiing while the rest of us mucked around on a nearby floating trampoline.
Now if that's not an "aspirational photo" I don't know what is!