Malta to Poros

May 15 was a happy day. Margaret and her house guest drove me to meet Rope Sole and a salt encrusted, continental looking chap strode up the pontoon as I raced down to greet her. ‘ Is that your husband?’ Margaret enquired nervously!
Crumbs it was Simon….he had changed colour and badly needed a shave but was already off the boat and coming to greet us….and eager to contact Raymarine about the faulty AIS.
The following two days were different for all of us. Charlie was now on the last leg, tired, missing his wife and suffering painful shoulders. Terry was…being Terry, totally busy and engaged with everything and everyone. Simon was on a mission to get the replacement AIS and became a frequent ‘guest’ at the desk of the local Raymarine agent! Me…well I expect I was disruptive and bossy but the guys were very welcoming to me.
I took a fistful of euros and set off in pursuit of lovely fresh vegetables which I knew would be found amongst the back streets. When I finally hit the jackpot I was so pleased that I took a photo. The shop keeper asked why? As soon as I told her how beautiful was her display, she was delighted to relieve me of aforementioned cash?
Charlie found a wonderful spa where his back was thoroughly massaged, Terry took a bus into Valetta where his old haunts were rediscovered and Simon pursued the AIS.
By the time we left the Marina on May 18 we had (between us) located ( thanks to Margaret ) a new gaz bottle, visited a local house of prayer,T and K, chilled out in a bar next to a pirate ship, C and S, and all eaten a hearty supper at a late night Chinese restaurant.
Raymarine honoured the warranty on the AIS and a new one arrived from Italy just before we left.
So….after collecting the laundry and filling up with water we were off.
It was our wedding anniversary.
The sail out of Valetta harbour was lovely, to be on board with the guys and in the Med. was the culmination of so much planning, endless work on the boat and hard sailing.
Shearwaters swooped and skimmed around us and we all hung over the bow as a school of dolphins playfully accompanied us for several minutes.
I sat on deck with a great pile of MedVeg ( courgettes, red onions, aubergine, peppers, garlic and tomatoes) and chopped the lot into our biggest pan ( thanks mum ) with a hearty slug of olive oil.
Seasickness has always been a huge issue for me…in fact any kind of motion sickness and I was already starting to feel queasy, in spite of the usual medication. My sea legs were nowhere to be felt and eventually I slunk off to bed, at least leaving something tasty to go with the pasta.
The seas were lumpy but not huge and I took the inner side of our berth so Simon could come and go easily. He was very sweet and fed me more pills, water and crystallized ginger as I dozed on and off.
Three confident sailors worked out their rotating 3 hour watches and Rope Sole handled her environment and crew with comforting grace.
The AIS was working perfectly and all sails were nicely filled under a moderate SW wind when at 03.00 May 19 something was wrong.
All went strangely still.
Suddenly there was an almighty thump and I found myself unceremoniously dumped out of bed and on top of Simon…who was carelessly lying on the floor!!
My first reaction was to laugh….well it was a rather amusing predicament, especially as a selection of books joined us one by one from their new elevation..then Simon politely, but with a touch of urgency, told me to ‘MOVE!’
Not that easy.
Meanwhile, back to the strange stillness….Charlie was on watch and sensing the lack of momentum leant out of the hatch and tightened the main sheet.
The mainsail softly jibed as the wind died, before a strong gust ( wind sheer or buruni) of 35-40 knots pushed Rope Sole over from the port side just as the main sheet was tightened!
Charlie quickly let the sheet go but by this time the wind had evaporated and finally settled into the familiar SW groove again.
Down below the damage was considered…Rope Sole had been briefly laid upon her starboard side and we searched for debris from shelves and lockers. Amazingly, apart from the books in our cabin, everything had remained firmly in place, thanks to fussing around with non-stick matting in Lymington…..even the 18 eggs on top of the cupboard above the sink remained in place. HIndsight reminds me that TP did a big reorganize of stores in Weymouth…thankyou for that my friend!
Another memory is of Simon waking the following day, to discover a very handsome black eye. Positively piratical!
The Ionian sea continued to be challenging…to my stomach. Though the log calmly records passing ships and N to NW winds. As we romped on towards the tip of the Peloponnese and entered the Aegean, my memory is of a sudden leap in momentum, incline of floor and lurch towards the goal.
The guys were tired by now, ‘the nurses station’, which is how the softly lit chart table appeared at night, was constantly occupied and sail changes were frequent.
May 21 a frisky wind of 19 knots kept Terry busy on his night watch and I grumpily slept in his cabin as the boat sped forwards on her side. By 06.00 we were sailing at a much more comfortable 9 knots along the length of the Peloponnese, gazing at an endless vista of cragginess, quietly aware that this was the Greek coast at last.
At last for me too. The eagerly awaited sea legs finally arrived…just as we swung into Monamvasia at 18.35! With mooring angels ready to receive our lines and just two other boats to snuggle alongside.
We quickly surveyed the village, found a welcome fly swatter ( €1 and still going strong, thanks to duck tape) and dined on a feast of Greek dishes, right on the tiny beach.
May 22 nothing recorded in the log but we all envied Charlie’s sudden sighting of an enormous turtle as we cleared the impressive old town and fortifications and motored out of Monomvasia. I remember a lovely sick-free sail in familiar seas, passing Spetses and Hydra and receiving a call from Jonathan, his voice audible to us all through Charlie’s mobile, on his way from Ermioni to Poros….neighbours at sea!
As we motored into Poros, Vangelis could be seen on the quay, waiting to take our lines…..and, after securing loose bits and bobs and sorting out various ropes and sheets, we dropped into Dimitri and Dina’s for a wonderful meal…..and a beer! Or two.

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