Last year on Pakilar was supposed to be our “LAST” year sailing on this amazing boat. My husband Tom and I planned to list it on the market. Aging makes it harder to move to grab a line as quickly as you might or race forward or aft to address a fouling or throw a dock line. Selling the boat was the wise decision. Still, fall, winter and spring came and husband Tom could not find the heart to list this great love. We have taken great care of her and in return she has taken great care of us… exciting sailing, as well as a comfortable home for our adventures in the Med and Aegean.
celibataire cherche compagnon June 28, 2017 Try, Try Again! Through the Straits of Messina and on to Palermo
It is a early start and we have ‘wind,’ almost 17 knots! We are sailing! My watch is from 3 to 6 pm. I am actually at the helm for the three hours while Pakilar charges through the waves. Marcelo has set the sails perfectly, of course. All I need is to keep her on course. I have been at the help this past week more that I have in 17 years of sailing, I love to sail and am sure that I would have loved it even more with more time at the helm. I should have pushed more the chance. Certain that I would have made mistakes and wobbled through the water from time to time but I would have learned. Necessity has opened the opportunity on this trip. Better late than never, I guess. (Note to sailors: Give the wife / girlfriend / daughter a chance. You would be surprised by how much they can do.)
site de rencontre pour jeunes belges June 29, 2017 On the Way to Palermo
My next watch is 12 to 3 am that matches up with our passage through the Straits of Messina between mainland Italy on our north and Sicily on our southern side. Tom, Marcelo and I are all up on deck to check for ferries and fishing boats. Small fishing boats only sport white lights. Tricky, because you don’t know if the light is coming from the shore or it is another boat. A number of boats are out fishing tonight. The wind is light so we are powering. The current is not a problem either. The 25-mile stretch passes easily and we are out of the Straits with a turn south for the 100-mile trip to Palermo by 3:17 in the morning. At the end of the straits, there is a firework display. Very nice reward for a safe passage! There is another fire-related event on the island of Sicily that we witness as we begin our passage to Palermo. The hillside is ablaze. We can see the lights of numerous fire trucks and police vehicles. Wood smoke is in the air. I always say a prayer for people when I hear an ambulance or see a fire truck. Corny, no! Can’t help it. Always have and always will.
http://www.fajardopr.org/web/misak/4448 June 30, 2017 Palermo – Villa Igiea Harbor
The afternoon comes and Palermo looms closer. Marcelo pulls out the jib to speed our progress but the wind is flukey and it is hard to fill the sail and still keep on course. Jib rolled, we plot a straight course to Villa Igiea Harbor. The southern wind picks up and the seas are mixed and choppy. Like an errant children being led to bed in one direction the waves resist and turn in odd and contrary paths.
Villa Igiea is straight ahead…or is it? What looks like a section of a broken city wall is ‘supposedly’ the entrance to the harbor. Is this really the entrance and can we squeeze through? Luckily, Tom and Marcello have been here before and know the drill. The plan is to enter the harbor and stop at the gas dock to the left of the entrance. The opening to the harbor is actually larger than it appears. Fenders and lines out, we motor through. There is a small area before you progress to either dock floats or the gas dock. The gas dock has space for only two boats and both are full. We wait. Maneuvering forward and back is a tight space, fighting the winds that hope to push our bow on its whim, when I see a second sailboat and a power boat approaching the entrance to the marina. Luckily, the sailboat sees us and waits outside the entrance while the small boat powers through.
A sailboat on the gas dock leaves. We begin to back into the empty slot. The wind picks up and starts to push our bow away from the dock pushing the stern at an odd angle to the fuel dock. The attendant on shore refuses our dock lines and throws us a very oversized line to tie up. I grab the line and begin to tie up. Marcelo runs aft to help tie up, putting it on our self tailing winch. The line is too big to run through the self-tailor and comes off. Marcelo and I push Pakilar’s stern off the dock waiting each second for that horrible sounding grind that means damage. We are lucky. Nothing damaged. Marcelo is tying the aft line again and has me run forward to catch the fuel dock gas line. I find an empty cleat and begin to tie up. When the bow started to swing, we yelled to the marina dinghy, that just happened to be motoring past, to push Pakilar’s bow with their boat. He came next to the boat and did nothing! Frustrating. Tied up, we gas up and head to our slot two floats away…exhausted!
Tonight we have dinner at a #1 Tripadvisor recommendation for Palermo in the old town near the Saint Ignazio Church, called All”Olivera Wine and Dine (Tel: 39 091 785 2487) Piazza Olivera #9. The location is on a walking street. Nothing special about the atmosphere. The waitstaff was very good but the food was a disappointment. Not bad, just average. Not a #1. After all, Italians have a reputation for fine dining to uphold.
http://www.commune-cailly.fr/filoime/krepost/857 July 1, 2017 Palermo 2nd Day
Marcelo has been telling us about a great market in downtown Palermo. We decide to go. It just happens that today many of the streets are closed for a “Gay Pride Day” Parade. Truck loads of revelers dancing and singing to very loud music, shoot water pistols into the watching crowd. It is a fun parade. From what I can see, all was very peaceful and celebratory.
It is a long walk down the main shopping streets of Palermo from where the bus drops us off but we finally find a warren of back alleys that are home to the market Marcelo has been telling us about. Actually, it is more of a food market with vendors selling meats and fish and other specialties and then grilling them for you while you wait. The smells are terrific. We have plans for dinner tonight but this could have been a happy option. It is several hours before our dinner reservation tonight, so we stop at a café for an aperitif. Marcelo gets an ice cream and Tom gets fresh orange juice. My sparkling water will tide me over for now. I am looking forward to tonight’s dinner. A specialty ice cream treat here is a bread roll stuffed with ice cream / gelati. Wow, I thought I was bad with my hot fudge on vanilla custard. The killer is that all the people I see eating this indulgent bread ice cream are thin! There is no justice in the world!
The three of us dine at “Osteria Dei Vespri”. It is located lovely and quiet spot near the Museum of Modern Art at Piazza Croce dei Vespri, 6 – 90133 Palermo Tel: 091 617 1631. Fabulous, fabulous food!!! I was tempted to have the tasting menu but happily satiated with my duck stuffed ravioli and a Tuna with olives. Fine local wines and both unique and traditional desserts make this a special night. Two bothers own and operate the restaurant. The four lovely women waitstaff were all you could hope for in helping make it a wonderful dinner. (We remember Melissa, Julia, and Johanna who is Romanian and grew up just 15 kilometers from the Count Dracula castle.) It is a taxi home tonight. Memorable day!
strattera online no prescription July 2, 2017 Catch Up
Not much to report today. We begin the day as we do every day in Sicilia with a trip to the local bakery / coffee shop. I have my usual coronetto di crema (a pudding stuffed croissant) and a cappuccino. Tom loves the fresh Orange juice and a coronetto and a café dopio, a double expresso. Marcelo loves the cannolis. Tom and I spend the day calling children and catching up on email and doing some bill paying.
It is a clean-up day. A potpourri of items from the frig are dinner ,,,smoked salmon, a selection of cheeses and olives. Marcelo and I head to the local gelateria for dessert while Tom watches the Red Sox on his computer. (Reading this, I see that we, or at least I, am very food focused. Still, this is Italia. I can’t help it!
nepal dating site July 3, 2017 A Trip to Capello Bakery and a Gourmet Grocery in Palermo
Time to stock up on our favorites for a trip to Sardinia. Light northerly winds make the trip north and west more manageable. We wait for the right weather conditions before heading off on this next push towards Minorca and Majorca. It will take about 30 hours. The next planned stop will be Calabria .
It is a bus ride into the city center and then a long walk to Capello Bakery to begin re-provisioning with our favorites. We show no shame! Marcelo, Tom and I each have two pastries. By far our favorite is the cannoli. The ricotta is amazing and the pastry is a delight, crisp and flavorful. The Bakery kindly calls a cab for us…should have been a crane considering all the sweets we ate…and we head to the gourmet supermarket Prezzemolo & Vitale, Via Piazza Villafranca,20/A, 90141Palermo. P IVA 058 953 60823. You can find all the Italian gourmet items, including wines that you want at this supermarcati. Quite a find. I recommend it highly.
Back to the boat for a rest to store all the calories we have consumed during the day. I am embarrassed to say it, we still find room for dinner! Tonight it is off to a simple pizzeria for
ist fun flirt kostenlos June 23, 2017 Kethira (Kythira)
Close hauled again on another good sailing day on our trip to Kethira. Only powered the last hour. Pulled into Diakofti Harbor on Kethira (Kythera). This port on the southern tip of the island will give us a straight shot southwest when we head to Syracusa in Sicily. There is a slot alongside a huge granite dock used for the ferry. Two other boats are alongside already. We got the last spot. Hopefully this is a good omen. We tie up and I head up to the ferry terminal, a low set of a couple of buildings that also houses Panayotis Car Rental (2736038270)…such luck. I arrange with Panayotis to rent a car for one day…he keeps saying “Ask your husband if it is alright.” Not a women’s lib kind of guy, I guess.
A hearse pulls up to the front of the ferry terminal and a Greek Orthodox priest gets out of the front seat, along with the driver. The ferry is about to arrive and I assume there is a casket on board. I head back to the boat to get the documents we need for the car rental before the hoards disembark the ferry, when the port police arrives. The young woman manning the ferry terminal said that I had to check with him to see if we can remain on the dock. He gives it the “Ok”. What a relief!
Car rented, we watch the arrival drama. Unbelievable numbers of vehicles come off the ferry…huge tourist buses, trucks, personal vehicles, equipment, etc. It reminds me of the clown car at the circus. I keep wondering if the vehicles are circling around the boat for a second ride through and off. In contrast, a solemn group of locals join the Orthodox priest on the quay. The hearse enters the ferry and minutes later, departs the ferry and drives off. The group disperses after a number of somber handshakes and shoulder pats.
The ferry terminal attendant gave me the number of a gas station with trucks that deliver diesel. We call Bardas Fuel at 2736038270. The driver asks for 10 euros extra for delivery since it is a bit of a drive for him to Diakofti. We schedule a fuel delivery for tomorrow morning. Tom and Marcelo and I take advantage of the quiet on the dock to head off in our new wheels. We plan to take a tour of the island and head to a grocery store…hopefully, a fairly large one. We have a long list of needed items for our upcoming trip to Sicily.
The island is charming and very, very quiet. Good place for reflection or to write a book. There are very few cars on the road. We head to the Chora to see the castle but parking is fairly inconvenient and we have had a long day already. We do a driving tour of the surrounding villages and stop in Potamos at “Maria’s” for a dessert and coffee and a second wind. A very nice gentleman runs the office supply place here in Potamos who gives us some suggestions on what to see on the island.
There are several large grocery stores on the island and a number of gas stations. Most everything is mid island or nearer to the Chora. We purchase groceries and then head back to the boat before doing a U-turn to Avlemonas to have dinner at a family style tavern. It reminds us of one of the many agri-tourismos in Italy. Farm fresh food served on the farmhouse’s terrace. The service is excellent but the food is just so so. Back to the boat and no trouble sleeping.
More Help June 24, 2017 Lingering in Kythera
I sleep in…again. I don’t even hear the fuel truck leave and depart or the fairly. Marcelo plans to stay aboard today…getting both a swim and a run in during the afternoon. (Son Jake’s birthday. Luckily we have internet and can send our greetings and make a phone call as well.)
Tom and I take a drive to the northern tip of Kythera and then swing south to visit Mylopotamos. Charming town, it sports a waterfall (just a trickle with recent minimal rains and then eat lunch at a restaurant next to the bell tower in the town square. The whole town is there. We sit under the large shade trees that perfectly cool the diners. Marcelo’s wonderful spaghetti tonight! We are ready to begin our long trek to Italy tomorrow. We expect three days and two nights of sailing. I will be taking a watch solo. I haven’t been able to snatch the wheel either sailing or driving the boat for more than brief interludes during the past seven years. This should make the next few days very interesting.
site de rencontre seniors suisse June 25, 2017 . First Nighttime Watch
I take the first 3-hour watch at 12 noon. That gives us all 3 hours on and 6 hours off. No wind today. I get a crash course on how to use reciprocals to make the driving easier while seated at the stern, how to alert oncoming traffic to my presence if they come too close, how to pass vessels (on their stern) and how to identify nighttime ship traffic and track their path using the radar. Most importantly, I learn where the horn is and am encouraged to use it, even if it is only to rouse Tom or Marcelo below and get help with something. On deck alone, I am told never to leave the stern area. Good idea! No one would know if you fell overboard if you are there alone. The daytime was easy but tiring but nighttime is quite something else.
I have the 9 pm to midnight watch. It is pretty simple and very beautiful during the first hour as the sun is setting. Such peace! I have my phone and earphones and listen to a playlist I hurriedly concocted. Then it got dark! No moon. Holy moly, where are the headlights on this thing! I am driving a boat going 7½ knots into pitch black. I watch only my course on the plotter and compass and check the radar for white blips. Freaky experience! Tankers do not want to hit you but you are the one who has to get out of their way. Their turns require a very long distance. As each blip either disappears or it becomes clear that we are not on a collision course, I experience a great sense of relief. At one point I think, ‘This is too much for me.” Then my ‘brave or stupid’ self (you decide) says, “You can do this. It is just driving! I feel proud of myself when Marcelo comes up for the 12 to 3 watch. I have kept us on course the whole time and haven’t hit anything! I celebrate with a half of a peanut butter sandwich and then head to bed. As the song says, “Oh, what a night!’
http://parkbarnyc.com/?flomasr=mon-mari-est-sur-des-sites-de-rencontres&fea=76 June 26, 2017 Decision Point.
The wind is on the nose today again and the current is fierce. Powering 7 knots, we only make 5 miles of progress. At this rate it will take us two or three more days to make it to Syracusa. We will be long out of fuel and the wind is forecast to die. We need to make a decision. Decision made…we head back to Zakynthos, called Zante by the Italians. Even though it is 70 miles north, there is a guarantee of fuel. It will require a recalculation of our eventual routing to Italy, a more northerly port and passage that will take us through the Straits of Messina.
We head to Lagana Bay on the island of Zakynthos. Lagana Bay is a sanctuary for the “Logger Head Turtles”. There are restrictions on boat speed when entering the Bay and the use of certain beaches. This protects the turtles’ nesting grounds.. Lagana Bay is beautiful. I can see why the turtles picked it to start a family. Apparently, some wealthy individuals share the turtles’ taste. There are a number of lovely villas on the hillside. We anchor in this good holding ground and are happy to hear the engine being turned off. We have traveled 168 miles but we are still in Greece. It was the wise choice but we had hoped to be farther along. Our surroundings reward us for our visit with their beauty. It is a leisurely evening made even better with Marcelo’s pasta and a nice bottle of wine. Nice bunk and no middle of the night watch. What a joy!
June 27, 2017 Zakynthos Town
We head off to Zakynthos Town, a bit south of Lagana Bay to fuel up for our second try in reaching Italy. On our way out of the Bay, we spy a Logger Head Turtle about three feet in diameter swimming past the boat. This was a kind departing salute on behalf of the turtle population. It was not wasted on us. Yeah, Turtles!
Zakynthos Town has a large harbor, actually two harbors. The smaller of the two is home for small power boats. We head to the western side of the marina and take a position on the dock stern to, as usual. We still experience a surge in this spot when the ferries leave. A fuel truck is standing on the dock and we get refueled within 20 minutes of our arrival. The dock attendants are very helpful and attentive here.
Once we square away the boat, Tom and I head into town. Both the harbor and the town seem similar to that on the Greek island of Syros. The town square and buildings are marble edifices, a white city. Quite nice! A tourist train sits waiting in front of the government buildings. Tom and I decide to ride the train to get a lay of the city… grocery stores, vegetable market, pharmacies and a place for me to buy some needed boat shoes. The decks get hot during the day. Also, it is much safer to wear boat shoes when off shore waves spray over the decks. The train is pleasant, provides the info we need while providing respite for Tom’s swollen arthritic ankles.
Very large grocery store sits on the large front street bordering the harbor. The staff kindly lets us keep our paid for groceries in the store while we run a couple of more errands. Then they call us a taxi to take us back to the boat. Time for a short rest and then it is off to dinner on shore. The three of us choose a “Lonely Planet” recommendation…Mesathes. (Tel: 26950 49315) located near the Byzantine Museum. The owner plays guitar and has a pleasant singing voice. A fellow diner decides to join the owner in singing some of the more well (known tunes. Happily, he does stop singing to allow conversation at the tables. The food is Ok. The service is very good. Tatiana, our waitress, was very pleasant and attentive. Glad for the short walk back to the boat.
Visits to Kythera and Zakynthos were unexpected detours…but isn’t that when all adventures begin?
June 17, 2017 Arrival in Kos
Took the early morning flight from London to Kos today. Visited with two of our children who live in London and, very importantly, a granddaughter. Hard to leave but we are looking forward to being back on Pakilar, Love these non-stops to Kos. Marcelo will be meeting us at the airport. It will be a wonderful to see him. When Tom and I left the boat last July, we thought it was the end of sailing on Pakilar. Worsening arthritis has taken a toll, making it more difficult to move about the boat to grab a line or pull in a sail. We had planned to put the boat on the market but Tom couldn’t find the heart to do it. It is a watershed moment for most men…selling their beloved boat…and for this woman. Somehow, it reminds us that we are getting old and there will be fewer, if any new beginnings. As I walked away from Pakilar last year, I tried not to look back. She has morphed into a person. It was difficult to think that I would never see her again. It is important that she continues to be well cared for. She deserves kind and loving concern.
Back aboard felt like coming home. For a moment, it seemed that I hadn’t been away at all. I know every nook, every random floorboard squeak…the ones I try to avoid when I am up at night writing this blog or helping writer friends edit their memories or websites. Writers are part of my tribe. It is always a joy helping one. Still, I hate to rouse the early birds. Most days I can sleep in but they need their rest, always desiring an early start to a new adventure.
Off to Ormedon in the hilltop town of Zia for dinner. George and his sons greet us like family. We catch up on the latest news…work, school, new babies.
Then we begin to celebrate with a delicious meal and some wonderful Greek wines. The sunset is always spectacular here on the hill.
June 18, 2017 Amorgos
Heading from Kos we sail close-hauled for a full 12-hour day to Amorgos. At one point it appeared that we might not clear the northwest corner of the island to gain entry to Katapola Harbor but, luckily, we were able to point high enough.
Amorgos has stolen our heart. The island sports imposing cliffs and spectacular panoramas. Eco tourism would be a natural here. Still, it is the friends that we have made here that draw us. Our 8pm arrival forecloses an option at the dock in Katapola Harbor. We anchor and have Marcelo’s wonderful spaghetti with smoked salmon and a very good Greek white wine. Exhausted, we all happily head to our bunks. I think I must have been a forest creature in a former life. There is a special joy in burrowing into your bunk at the end of a day outdoors.
June 19, 2017 Amorgos –Visiting old friends and making new
Midmorning we watch for space at the dock as boats venture on their way somewhere else. The ferry can create difficulties in this harbor. On one of our visits here, the ferry snagged our anchor. It was hanging from the netting draping down the ferry’s massive bow as the ferry increased speed and headed off. We frantically waved to the ferry boat crew and they amicably waved back not realizing that we were trying to get their attention to avoid impending disaster. Luckily, forward motion disengaged our anchor and we were not catapulted off the dock as the ferry motored away. Now we think we have ‘figured it out’. We leave only 35 meters of anchor line out to avoid having the ferry drag our anchor line along with them when they leave.
Happily on the dock, Tom heads to the car rental office a short walk away to rent a car to visit the Chora and friends there. Marcelo decides to remain on the boat today and keep a close watch on the anchor to make sure it doesn’t drag. This turns out to be a very wise decision! As we come ashore, we meet the owners of the neighboring boat, S/Y Englas, Anne and Kess Simmasgard from Stockholm, Sweden. We mention that we have rented a car and would be happy to give them a ride to the Chora, if they would like. Anne and Kess are on a year-long sailing trip that will take them across the Med and then to the Caribbean and on to the States to visit friends. After making this momentous decision, they rented their home in Stockholm and were off. Anne is the navigator and Kess is the helmsman. They are a good duo.
The four of us head off in the car. The first stop is Georgia Kolokitha shop in the Chora some ten miles away. What a delight! Georgia has become a dear friend over the years along with her mother and sister Mary. Georgia’s shop has recently undergone a renovation. It is lovely. Slate and beautifully honed wooden shelves offer new options for display and movement in the shop. We introduce Georgia to the Simmasgards. Georgia is working, so Tom and I decide to head to Theos café, Jazzmine, for breakfast. Theo is an avid jazz lover and named his café accordingly. as and Anne head out on a walk. We invite them to join us at the café upon their return. As we depart for the café, the waitress walks up the steps to see Georgia, sees us and greets us with a kiss. Kess asks, “Do you know everyone here?” I say, “Yes, actually Tom could run for mayor!” This is not far from the truth minus his need for Greek citizenship.
Theo greets us warmly. He is pleased to see us. “Have you come for the music festival?” he asks. Each year, Theo and a devoted group that includes Georgia organize a week long festival that includes musical groups, poetry readings, acrobatic events, and plays. One particular festival that we attended several years ago here was a highlight of our entire visit to Greece. That year, Tom, Marcelo and I ambled up goat-like to an ancient hillside chapel that overlooked the valley below. Directions to the location were rocks made into the symbol of an arrow. Flowers draped this rock directional. So charming! So authentic! The music and poetry that followed at the performance shared these same wonderful attributes. It is community that makes a difference anywhere and everywhere.
“Tomorrow night,” Theo tells us, “there is a production of four ancient plays with period costumes.” It is in Greek but the plays are classic tales and Theo is sure we would enjoy it. We hope to go.
We sit on the upper level balcony of Theo’s café and enjoy a delicious breakfast. The view is to the valley and the hills beyond. There is a strong breeze today mimicking the big winds of yesterday that allowed us to travel the 80 miles in 12 hours to Amorgos. Tomorrow’s weather report calls for continued strong winds. Kess and Anne join us. They enjoy Theo’s always good coffee and a piece of a delicious orange cake. We offer to take them on a further tour of the island. They happily accept.
First stop is St. Georgios Monastery. The hundred plus stair climb to the monastery is a dramatic feature pitched against the cliff. Anne and Kess have never been to the monastery. We tell them the view from the stairs is wonderful but the church itself is tiny and unremarkable. Still, the hospitality of the volunteers who greet guests with Rokomelo (a honeyed raki) and a Turkish delight style candy make the trip pleasant. Tom and I decide to wait below, having made the long trip up before. As we wait we receive a call from Marcelo. “The anchor is slipping,” he tells us.
Twenty minutes later we are all in the car heading back to Katapola Harbor. Kess offers to come aboard to help us reset the anchor. Turns out that it was a very kind and helpful offer. Passerella (gangplank) put away and lines retrieved, we head off the dock. I am at the bow retrieving our anchor when we feel and see that our wonderful Ultra (very good at both anchoring and catching ferries) has snagged a section of chain from one of the boats on the dock. The trick is to disengage the other boats chain without disturbing the set of their anchor. Marcelo has to hang off the side of our boat to attach a small length of line to gently lift the other boats chain from our anchor hook. For this you need several hands and great strength. Kess, a very fit age 70, tells Marcelo he will hold Marcelo’s full body weight off the side of boat while Marcelo uses his other hand to attach the line. It works! Impressive. (The boat who’s chain we snatched told us that there anchor was secure. No issue.) Kess shares that he put out 45 meters of chain for his 42’ Swan and that he had no problem as long as the ferry was not anchored in Amorgos. Apparently, the ferry still puts down a long length of anchor chain but has gotten in the habit of removing their chain very slowly. (Caught its limit of sailboats, I guess.) As long as your anchor is below the ferry’s, you are all right.
Relaxing evening…happily. Georgia comes for dinner on the boat and we have our usual wonderful time with this dear friend.
June 20, 2017 Enjoying a Last Day in Amorgos
I decided to write about each day here on Amorgos so I can re-read the adventures while sitting in front of my fireplace in Maine on some winter evening years from now.
We have plans to visit Georgia this morning at her shop. Can’t wait to find a few ‘must haves’ among her ladies’ clothes line. Some food shopping in Katapola is next. (We leave early tomorrow morning.) Drinks and dinner planned with Anne and Kess, and hopefully Georgia, at a tavern on the dock. In between Tom and I have one of Theodosia’s massage. Excellent masseuse and a friend. Her massages have a Hindu / Asian feel and heal both mind and body. Theodosia went to an ashram last year in India. While she was there, she shaved her head. Now she sports a cute little pixie cut.
Great day but sad to say “good bye” for now. Georgia has promised to come visit and stay with us in St. Martin for a week or so. Anne and Kess will be in the Caribbean in December, so our hope is to see them too. Tucked in my bunk, the next sound I hear is the engine starting at 6 am and the rattle of an anchor chain. Great visit!
June 21, 2017 Sifnos (Yialos Harbor)
Able to sail to weather today to Sifnos. (I had to ask Marcelo to make sure this was the case, since I slept most of the day. Still jet lagged and feeling a little lazy today, the nap was great!) Syfnos is a lovely island and well worth a visit, but tonight we come for one thing…dinner at “Omega 3”. Yorgos is a fabulous chef and all his fish dishes are amazingly good. In his former life, Yorgos was a bio chemist, so he understands what enhances the flavors in the fish, making his dishes exceptional.
As we enter the Yialos Harbor, the harbor closest to the restaurant, we have our own little mini-drama. We easily could have anchored in this beautiful harbor but decide on tying up in the new marina to make it easier to walk to the restaurant. The dock master Spiros, waves us to a ‘stern to’ position between two 40+ ft. boats but suddenly changes his mind and tells to switch over to another spot. The harbor curves to the right. Boats on the left and the right of this curve are at a 90 degree angle to each other. We power forward to better align ourselves to our new spot on the quay. As we begin to back up and into our new spot, there is a dramatic wind shift that swings our boat perilously close to the bow of one of the boats. “Use your bow thrusters,” Spiros yells. Yes, that would be nice if we had bow thrusters. Maybe next year Santa will bring them, but we don’t have them now.
Marcelo races to the bow and brings in the mooring line as close as he can. The crew on the other boat race forward to fend off their bow. Tom and I dash aft to fend off the stern from the quay with extra fenders. Pakilar’s bow does not touch the other boat but remains perilously close. The wind makes it impossible to move our bow back to a safe position. Marcelo and Tom decide to throw a line to the quay above midship and then crank the line to give us purchase on the bow. Slowly, slowly the bow swings back and we are able to tie up, no longer with our stern pressed up against our fenders protecting us from the quay. Spiros, the dock master, came aboard during the operation to add some muscle and encouragement. (He confesses that the reason for his last minute move to a new spot on the dock was the depth of our boat. We draw 3.2 meters. He believed the new spot to be the deepest.) Miraculously, there is no damage to any boat. Time to celebrate! What a relief! It is just another day sailing.
Yorgos, the chef at Omega 3, and his wife Elisa and new baby boy Raphael greet us upon our arrival at the restaurant. Elisa is Brazilian and her husband Yorgos, Greek but Portuguese speaking, engage in a fun conversation with Marcelo. It is always nice to hear your native tongue spoken when you are far away from home. Baby Raphael was born back in Brazil this past year. Elisa is a singer and percussionist. Now, being Mom is her very fully time job.
“We are celebrating tonight,” we tell Yorgos. “We will do the tasting menu with the wine pairing.” Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous! What amazing offerings come with some wonderful Greek wines. Actually…a lot of wine! Yianas, our host and sommelier, delights in telling us the details of each wine. Greek wines, particularly the whites, are quite good. Tonight we indulge since we are ‘walking’ home to Pakilar,
June 22, 2017 Salidha, Mylos (Southwestern Tip)
Sailed from Syfnos this beautiful clear morning on a close reach to the southwestern tip of Mylos. Good wind allowed us to average between 6 and 7 knots. Greeted in Salidha in Mylos by eight to ten boats, mostly power, all here to enjoy the beauty of the limestone formations and grottos. It is quite a dramatic anchorage with good swimming. All the boats have left now, except for us. How nice! Marcelo went for a long swim…over an hour, while Tom and I played backgammon (Tom is soooo lucky!) and watched ourselves grow a bit wider.
Happy to see that Marcelo made it safely back. (Never quite know what we would do to check on him if he wasn’t able to get back. He swims parallel to the shore to ensure a Plan B.) Lunch was one of Marcelo’s famous salads. Tuna melts for dinner tonight but missing some key ingredients a gin and tonic filled the gap in flavor.
Planning for the big trip to Sicily. Approximately 350 miles away, it will take us more than two full days. Need to find fuel and a good grocery store on the island of Kethira, our last stop before the long voyage.
Hope for a movie tonight or maybe just sitting on the deck and watching the light on the Mylos shore with its beautiful limestone formations.
Short trip to the other side of Mykonos towards the New Harbor. Winds still strong. Daughter Nadia arrives tomorrow! Renting a car from a new agency “Maxima Car Rental” at Mykonos Airport, 84600 Greece Tel: +30 22890 27502 email: email@example.com www.maximarental.gr) Clean car and good rate and excellent service…they brought the car to the marina (and picked it up there at the end of the rental). Dinner tonight across the street from the New Harbor at C Matthew Taverna (Tourlos, Mykonos, Tel: 22890 22344). Taverna food but so convenient that it was a blessing tonight.
June 26, 2016
Nadia arrives on the 7pm flight from Athens that originated in Venice, where she celebrated a friend’s birthday and anniversary. Off to M-eating Restaurant tonight for dinner and a stop at our favorite gallery “Rarity”. Sooooo glad that Nadia is here!
Short trip to the other side of Mykonos towards the New Harbor. Winds still strong. Daughter Nadia arrives tomorrow! Renting a car from a new agency “Maxima Car Rental” at Mykonos Airport, 84600 Greece
Tel: +30 22890 27502 email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.maximarental.gr) Clean car and good rate and excellent service…they brought the car to the marina (and picked it up there at the end of the rental). Dinner tonight across the street from the New Harbor at C Matthew Taverna (Tourlos, Mykonos, Tel: 22890 22344). Taverna food but so convenient that it was a blessing tonight.
June 26, 2016
Nadia arrives on the 7pm flight from Athens that originated in Venice, where she celebrated a friend’s birthday and anniversary. Off to M-eating Restaurant tonight for dinner and a stop at our favorite gallery “Rarity”. Sooooo glad that Nadia is here!
Light wind day today. We, initially, head to Nisos Rinia Bay near Delos. A predicted strong meltemi may keep us sequestered aboard for the next few days so we decide on the more active Ormos Harbor on Mykonos. We will set our tried and true “Ultima” anchor and wait for the onslaught…and it comes…30…40…45 knot winds.
June 21, 2016
Daylight hours we stand topside to watch for incoming boats. It is our outdoor ‘Television’. Sometimes it is a comedy and sometimes it is a drama, with the potential to become a tragedy. Comedies come from watching stupidity and ill-preparedness, not so much inexperience. We were all inexperienced at one time. Stupidity is failing to admit your shortcomings and sail with knowledgeable and capable people until you are one of them. “Charterers” / Once a year sailors are a big concern for most mariners. The sea is a dangerous place…suddenly so.
Watching, watching! It is difficult for an incoming boat in a big wind to set an anchor, even in good holding ground. Big winds push on the sides of the boat, “sailing” it. This flips the anchor over and keeps it from digging into the mud or sand and taking hold. Compounding the problem, improperly set anchors let loose, usually around 2 am, in a big blow. Tom and Marcelo are out early this morning sounding our air horn at a neighboring catamaran whose anchor was dragging. ‘Bwaaah! Bwaaah! Bwaaah! It is such a purposely-unnerving sound. Two sleepy boxer short and T-shirt clad souls stumble up from down below and turn on the engine, haul the anchor, and power off. Where did they go? We don’t know. Do they ever get a chance to dress while managing a boat in a wind that steadily grows? Difficult to imagine.
Reading, blogging, emailing, and taking time to catch up the news fills the day. I expend my usual quota of anxiety-ridden energy worrying about the world. Job done, I click off my computer and retire to my bunk in search of dreamless sleep.
As we entered Ormos Harbor on the first day, we saw “Turkish Delight”, a 25-meter gullet, at anchor. Owners Warren and Elizabeth, whom we briefly saw in Paros…Warren jetted over to us in the dinghy as we were leaving to say hello… are on the stern. They come for drinks tonight. They have found a wonderful business model for their totally renovated gullet (big and roomy Turkish built wooden boats that have larger than normal common space and big staterooms). They anchor in harbors like Mykonos and Santorini and provide less expensive room options than a hotel, coupled with a unique onboard experience. The rear decks are lovely and spacious for drinks and dinner. The “living room” is perfect for cooler weather lounging. Elizabeth is a fabulous chef…winning numerous awards for her cuisine. Lucky guests! (“Turkish Delight” email@example.com www.turkishcharters.com Tel: +90 534 073 58 29) We sit on Pakilar’s deck and share stories of favorite places and people. Warren has been in the charter business for 25 years. I say, “You must have had some strange guests aboard over the years,” hoping for a few stories. “They were all pretty nice,” he says. I reply, “I don’t believe it for a minute. You are just very kind.” He is.
Full moon tonight. We sit outside with a grappa in hand for a bit of quiet reflection. It makes my soul feel good.
June 22, 2016
The wind roars but we still manage to ready the dinghy for shore on a “mental health” outing for me. I also need the exercise. Cold water, big winds, many more visits to the quay than anchorages and some great meals contribute to my increasing sloth-like tendencies. Not a great swimmer, Marcelo suggests that I “jump off the bow, swim into the current towards the shore (similar to a swim in a hydrotherapy exercise pool) and then let the waves push me towards the stern of the boat.” “Sure,” I reply.
Short stop at “Turkish Delight” to view the renovations. Wonderful! We meet the crew and say “Hello” to two young…and very happy…guests. We seize the moment between fully booked moments to come aboard and tour the boat. I am so jealous of their freezer. Options! Fewer trips to the grocery store! If I never entered another supermarket, I would be very happy. My dislike of grocery shopping, predates my ‘lost heart’ for cooking. Any love for the incredibly nurturing and creative act of preparing a meal was ripped out, thrown on the grown and stomped on. I could almost hear the pop, shatter and heel grinding crunch of the shards. I cannot claim that this broken vessel was ever Baccarat crystal but occasionally it reached a Reidel Premium level. Thousands of meals later it can be officially pronounced “dead”! Occasional evenings, lifting a pan from cabinet to stovetop is an exhausting effort. I stare into its void and ‘sigh’.
A floating deck on the right side of bay near the beach provides an easy way to scramble out of dinghies. Tom and I wobble flat-footed on the bobbing dock, like a toddler learning to walk, towards the steps to shore. Trash bins for boaters are a bit overloaded and there is no recycling. We pack, crumble our trash down into the bins to keep the wind from littering the shore. Half a bottle of hand sanitizer later, we take the short walk to steps down to the beach and all the restaurants alongside.
We skip the on-beach restaurants and pick a tavern across the street (Porto Ormos ??). As we sit, I notice that the theme of “Zorba, the Greek” is playing…not a good sign for great food. Next tune is another version of the theme song…and the next…and the next…and the next! It is the only song they play. ‘The staff must go insane listening to that everyday,’ I think. Still, our waiter is very pleasant but a little harassed looking. (People burn-out?) We help with the usual paper tablecloth attachment, order quickly, and say our ‘pleases’ and ‘thank yous’. The waiter’s mood lightens. (Later, we get a smile, handshake, and “Thank you for coming”.) Tom’s spaghetti carbonara is excellent. My pork brochette is good…and becomes even better when I remember that I didn’t have to cook it!
Next stop is the AB market (both a mini-market and a larger grocery store just a few blocks inland) and the bakery. Two bakeries are located close to each other. One of them is next to the big AB Market. We check out both bakeries…to bad this is not an aerobic sport, I would be thin. The pastries in the bakery on the neighboring roundabout…not the one next to the AB…look fresher, tons of choices, and taste great! (Guess, I will be jumping on the bow of the boat when I get back.) We go on a spending spree to acquire ‘pastry” delights to bring back to Pakilar.
June 23, 2016
Hunkered in, the winds grow. Our Skype – ing to children resembles Neil Armstrong’s 1960 communications from the moon.
Late night email to our son, Jake, taking advantage of the time change to be the first to wish him a happy birthday…tomorrow!
June 24, 2016
Winds are even wilder today…gusts to 50 knots. Tom and Marcelo make a long term plan to head towards Samos and Patmos at the end of next week with our niece and her family. Don’t want a chance of getting holed up for days on end with the meltemis that are common here in the middle Cyclades. For now, we hover around Mykonis, awaiting a daughter’s arrival on Sunday.
Drinks aboard “Turkish Delight” tonight. Great fun! Tom, Marcelo and I enjoy a wonderful conversation with Warren and Elizabeth and crew. Elizabeth serves her lemon and pineapple sorbets. Delicious! Amazing what a talented person can do, even on a boat.
Dinner on shore on the beach in Ormos Harbor tonight “Kuzina” Restaurant (Similar name to the restaurant in Syros) Tel: 22890 26434 www.MykonosAmmosHotel.com They have a great sushi / sashimi bar here. Every dish was excellent. Tom’s chicken brochettes and Marcelo’s salad were fabulous.
A nice beam reach changes our plan to go to Andros. We will go to Tinos instead. Pakilar ‘is’ a sailboat and that means she goes where the wind blows. This is no hardship. We love both islands.
Today I will be prepared for the opinionated young man who tends the quay. There will be no debate, no ‘horsing’ our boat closer to the dock. I will find out how to say, “Tie a Knot” in Greek! I have had the information at my fingertips all this time. The question is “Why haven’t I looked before?” Better late than never, I make a few confusing queries online and stumble on the magic phrase “How do you say ‘Tie a knot’ in Greek. [Shocking to me how complicated I try to make things…”What is the correct pronunciation of the phrase…, etc., etc. Simple is best!]
Google Translate provides the answer. ‘Tie a knot” is κόμπο (pronounced kómpo). Just a single word. There is a speaker symbol on Google translate next to the word that says the word…“koompo”. The dock looms and I will try my new skill as I throw the stern lines. I am nervous as I shout out “koompo”. No, he doesn’t hand me a raki, he doesn’t call the port police…he ties a knot. Such power!
Dinner tonight at O Ntinos” (Ormos, Yianaki, 84200, GreeceTel. 22830 31673). All out of our favorite “Crystalized Octopus” (Really “caramelized”, but, you must admit, it sounds more exotic with this name.) Still, we are very content with our wild artichokes and a variety of fish dishes. Athena is working at the Museum tonight…a three-day folk music festival. Dino recognizes us and welcomes us warmly. His son, the one studying in Athens, is home and working in the restaurant. “I read your blog,” he tells me. A fan…how great!
June 19, 2016
It’s ‘2nd time around day on Tinos’! [Recommend the book “Tinos 360 degrees” by Zefi Potiri as your guidebook. Very helpful.] We will visit the sites we missed last time…Volax and Pirgo. The main road dead-ends in the town of Volax. You park your car and walk into the village. It is charming. Click, click, click go our cameras at every twist and turn of these easily navigated stone streets. Quaint…perfect but, perhaps, more tourist-ready perfect. I don’t get the feel of a ‘real’ village. Still, this is not a complaint. I am enjoying it.
Three fabulous features in this town…round granite stones that look like giant eggs, a small very well constructed amphitheater that incorporates two beautiful examples of these round stones, and poetry written on dozens of wooden doors throughout the town. Apparently, the winds wore away the surrounding earth to reveal the granite stone deposits and then continued to hew these stones into their round egg shapes. Dramatic and unusual effect! The amphitheater is a perfect community-sized structure …10 semi-circular rows. I could picture a fabulous concert experience sitting here on a summer night with a warm breeze. I would sit next to one of the perfectly smooth and rounded stones. It is sculpture…art you can touch…by an amazing artist…nature.
As you stroll the streets in Volax, many wooden doors have poems written on them in chalk (or a white paint that looks like chalk). Some of the poems look original and some give credit to an author from generations ago. (Don’t chisel this statement in stone. I will have to do some research later to verify my understanding.) This town is definitely worth seeing, in spite of its bit-too-polished feel.
Taking time for a soft drink and a Wi-Fi check, Tom and I head north to Pirgos. Perimeter parking lots are the name of the game here too. Home village to many famous Greek sculptors such as Giannoulis Halepas, we make it a ‘must see’ stop. We wander past Halepas’ home, view some of his sculptures, meander the winding streets, and end up in the central square next to an enormous plain tree. The trunk is swollen like the baobab trees in Africa. It is a treasure. We order sandwiches and beers at one of the local eateries and speculate about the age of the tree. Hundreds of years?? More research needed. The entire village and many tourists join us as this Sunday afternoon progresses. We are ‘walked out’ and the crowd has arrived. Time to head back to the boat.
Tom, Marcelo and I head to the Cultural Foundation of Tinos, where we met our wonderful guide Athena, to attend the last night of the “Tinos World Music Festival”. It is a three-day event. [www.tinosworldmusic.com] Tonight, the “Happy Hour Choir”, a local group of singers; the ‘Eva Quartet” (4 women singing Bulgarian folk music); and Eliza Carthy & George Ventouris (performing English folk music) are on the program. The choir was excellent. It was heartwarming and inspiring to see such a practiced group of vocalists from the community. They loved what they were doing and the finished product was quality. The Bulgarian group was fabulous. Mystical and haunting voices in this acapella group with voices that ranged from soprano to bass. The first song actually gave me goose bumps it was so good. Clear and beautiful, this soprano’s voice had a a plaintiff echoing quality, as if sung from a hillside far away. Eliza Carty was also amazing. Her rendition of classic, not often heard, English folksongs, her foot stomping and ‘fiddling’ on the violin and George’s accompaniment on guitar and bass fiddle was a thrill. How a small island arranges such an interesting and high quality performance and performers is surprising and impressive. What I also loved and made me love this island even more was the audience response. The performers deserved the accolades but the audience’s (mostly local folks) appreciation was validating of what is good and true in a shared love of the arts!
No dinner tonight but a stop at Haagen Daz for my “Cookies and Cream ice cream sundae, Tom’s banana crepe and Marcelo’s chocolate fondant! Perfect end to a perfect day!
Pakilar is close hauled. Winds are 17 -18 then 20+ knots. It is a perfect wind for us as we make our way to Syros. A confused sea…waves coming from different directions…but otherwise a great sail.
It’s midday when we arrive. Batteries are coming tomorrow. Quiet evening on the boat in anticipation of a big work day tomorrow.
Thanasis on the dock this afternoon in lime green shirt with blue piping, navy shorts and matching shoes. Bella Figura! As capable and welcoming as ever, it is good to see him.
Run the usual errands along the harbor front to laundry and our favorite specialty store. While we are doing repairs, we decide to replace a few of our fans as hot weather approaches. We head to Maistrali Marine (Karnagio – Hermoupolis, 84100 Syros; Tel. 22810 82478 Mob: 6932 560 228 email: firstname.lastname@example.org www. Maistraligroup.gr Makis Stathopoulos) Tons of marine and other items in this shop. Fans will come by ferry tomorrow…shocking on the quick turnaround.
We notice signs for a “Tango Festival” at the Opera House. We are all up for seeing an event at the opera house, a mini-La Scala that we can understand. Dance is a universal language. Love the tango…but who doesn’t?!
June 16, 2016
It’s 8am and our batteries are delivered via forklift to the quay. Each of the 4 batteries weighs 53 kilos. Marcelo has rigged a pulley system that we use to remove our old batteries from under our settee and bring in their new replacements. His system is simple and effective. Padding in key areas prevents the potential for a random ding. Tom and I alternate between winching to lift the batteries from the boat or shore and guiding them as needed. Tom and I try to help Marcelo as much as two old people can. We are finished by noontime. Batteries, palate and cardboard are recycled with Thanasis’ help. We are repaired and pristine! Feeling good but melting a bit in the heat. Marcelo picks up our new fans at the marine store. We are looking good! Out for lunch today at one of the many outdoor restaurants here.
June 17, 2016
Desperately need a hairdresser to disguise my gray hair. Finding a place “away” that a woman can trust to color your hair is a bit nerve wracking. I have stood outside many places in Greece and Turkey trying to get the courage to commit and enter. [Note: That is why women keep their hairdressers for decades, once they find a good one…and their hairdressers “Do Know Everything!”] I hear it is “not easy being green” (Kermit the Frog) so I select the salon that I have previously scoped out and trusted to do a wash and blow dry. (Tel. 22810 76580) Card is in Greek (EAEYOEPIA KAAAOAKH Hair stylist Bokotonouhou 2, Syros). It is a single person shop near the Carrefour, near the quay. Call to get better directions. She speaks English well. Excellent job! Busy lady…at least 3 local women come in for similar repairs.
My assignment for today, now that I am beautiful once again, is to get tickets to the Tango Festival. http://www.syrostangofestival.com/ There are three days of performances and lots of local sponsors.
Fabulous, fabulous! These are internationally famous tango dancers…5 Argentine couples and a Greek couple. It is an amazing performance and my hands are red from clapping. This was a quality production…no lightweights in the group. I see tango lessons in my future…with my walker. “Bravo, Ermoupolis, for sponsoring such a first rate production!”
Dinner at Kouzina Restaurant (5 Androu St. Hermoupolis, Syros Tel: 22810 89150, 6972460346). Excellent! Love those sesame spring rolls and chicken with feta.
We leave Amorgos. We said our goodbye’s to Georgia last night and hope the summer will provide another chance to see her. I am grateful for Skype and the Internet. It is a downwind sail after we turn the corner…fast, flat and relatively warm. A following sea gives us that extra umph!
We arrive mid afternoon. Dinner is planned tonight with our friends Jerome and Reinhart, who are renting a house on Paros next to the Margarita House. As the afternoon progresses and the weather worsens, plans change. It might be a manageable dinghy ride out but a rough one home tonight from dinner. We reassess and decide to move the get-together to lunch tomorrow.
Two AM comes and lightening flashes mark the night sky…Tom sleeps peacefully in his bunk. No problem, I am on duty to ‘monitor’ trouble. Someone must take charge of the ‘hand-wringing!’
June 14, 2016
Weather is definitely improving. Marcelo picks up Jerome and Reine in the dinghy for a visit to the boat then the four of us head to Ciparos for lunch. Love this restaurant. I am addicted to the sardines and lentil dish. Who knew that I could like sardines? As a child, they came in cans…tasteless and oily. This is a whole new experience. Now I understand why Marcelo likes them. Once again, our visit with Jerome and Reine is filled with interesting conversation and shared interests.
Hurrah, Jerome is cooking tonight at Margarita House! It will be a simplified version of the meal he created last week. Spring rolls, an amazing salad, chicken or eggplant curry, and a wonderful pastry with ice cream and caramel drizzle make the evening great. Mid-meal Jerome runs out of propane for the two-burner stove on which he is creating this fabulous meal. Like most older propane stoves, there is no gauge. When you run out, you run out! It requires Reine and Margarita House’s owner’s son to go to drive to town to buy more propane. Jerome pulls through like a trouper! Propane arrives and he continues on to complete a gourmet evening. Bravo!
We invite Jerome and Reine to sail tomorrow to Syros but the lack of a return ferry and their scheduled trip to Anti-Paros on the weekend foil that plan. Hopefully, we will see them in London.
Tom, Marcelo and I troop down a convenient set of stairs to the beach. With Tom’s arthritis and my troubled vision, this is a blessing.
[Note to children: Yes, I have a flashlight that you count on me to carry…along with a charged cell phone and any number of items that might be useful if we are caught in a bizarre current and drift to Portugal. You do know me!]
Our dinghy is tied to a tree and pulled up on the beach. Pants rolled up and flip-flops aboard, we wade in, push the dinghy out to deeper water and climb aboard. I carry a gift parcel from Jerome and Reine containing a bottle of zuma (a type of grappa) and another bottle of the lovely rose wine that we all enjoyed. As I put the bottle in the boat’s frig, I notice a handwritten note from Jerome on the bottle.
“Always remember Paros. June 2016. Jerome & Reine.” (with a heart!)