Ahoy, me hearties! Well, we're home and our sailing holiday was ......... not as bad as I was expecting. Is that damning with faint praise? Probably. It was during the Easter holidays that R first expressed a desire to go sailing. The rest of us were decidedly underwhelmed by the idea. R has in the past done a 2 day sailing course on a dinghy to learn the very basics. L, E and I were absolute beginners. We had several reservations about the plan - mine were more related to the actual boat, more specifically the bathroom arrangements. The thought of a pump toilet that couldn't handle anything that 'hasn't passed through your body', filled me with dread. E's concerns were based more around the fact that R would start bossing people around and shouting at our incompetence. Of the 3 of us, L was the most optimistic. We suggested other holiday ideas but R threw a strop, said it was the only thing he wanted to do and so, of course, we signed up. He later tried to pass the whole idea off as being 'for the girls'; sailing apparently being a life skill (?!) which would stand them in good stead. You can stop laughing now! We pointed out how it was funny that the learning of 'life skills' didn't extend to skiing (which R refuses point blank to try) but that fell on deaf ears.
So, we set off on Father's Day (appropriately enough, as it was after all entirely for him) for Preveza on mainland Greece. Our tour was of the North Ionian Islands: beginning on the mainland, moving up the coast to Parga, then Sivota Mourtos, crossing to Lakka then Gaios on Paxos, Emerald Bay on Antipaxos, Petriti on Corfu and then back to Preveza. 'We' were a small flotilla of boats with an assigned lead ship of 3 crew - Cookie the engineer, Emily the hostess who told us where bins, tavernas and supermarkets were situated at each harbour and Callum the sailor, who was there to sort out any difficulties with the sails etc and to help us to moor. Each morning we had a meeting at about 9:30am, where we were told the day's destination, wind speeds, any potential hazards and what time to be in the next harbour. We then had until that time to make our way there, stopping to swim, have lunch etc. on the way.
Here are just a few of the many photos that were taken:
Our home for the holiday: Panopeus.
These rubber shoes were brilliant - non-slip for on deck and waterproof for swimming, making pebbly beaches easy to navigate. Notice E's photobombing sandal!
Despite the heat (although we managed to time our holiday to coincide with the heatwave in the UK - we had temperatures of 29 degrees on one day and it was apparently 33 at home!), the Greeks are brilliant gardeners, managing to grow plants in any available space:
Dinner in a lovely taverna in Parga. We did have to do the 'Drunken Triathlon' to get back to the boat - navigating down the hill, along the beach, then finding our tender and rowing across the harbour, all in the dark and after a moderate skinful!
Getting up at 4:45 to watch the sunrise at Lakka. This was my favourite anchorage - we anchored out in the bay and it was peaceful and utterly beautiful.
Emerald Bay on Antipaxos - the water was so clear that it was like a swimming pool:
Our trusty little inflatable tender. You could pay extra and hire an outboard motor, which in retrospect would have been very worthwhile. R and L took turns rowing and it was quite fun pootling across harbours balancing on the sides:
The lead boat, Kallamas:
Sunset on 'Make a cocktail' night. There were a couple of get-togethers in the evenings. Our cocktail comprising Gin, Prosecco, Pomegranate juice, Peach juice and a lemon actually came second. We were so proud!
The girls quite enjoyed it - L more so than E, who found it a bit boring at times being constantly out at sea. She adores Greece, but would have been much happier, I think, staying in one place and having a chance to explore and spend more time snorkeling.
I found it a bit too much like being in a floating caravan and certain things started to irritate me towards the end: the men who took the radio far too seriously. R, who because we managed not to sink the boat on calm, non-tidal Mediterranean waters, thought he was Ellen MacArthur. I swear if he'd said 'Well. that's what happens at sea' (accompanied by a knowing nod of the head) one more time, I'd have hit him with a fender. Most irritating of all though were the boatload of Australian students who treated everyone in our final harbour to loud music, drunken tuneless singing and foul language until 1am in the morning. Unfortunately, we happened to be moored next to them and sleep was impossible. It was made more annoying by the fact that we had to be up at 5am to clean the boat and pack for the flight home. The final straw came when we got up to discover that they had thrown all their rubbish (bottles, cans etc.) onto our deck. Unfortunately, their passerelle (gangplank thingy) was up, so I was unable to hammer on their door. I was tempted to heave all our rubbish (bathroom bin included!) onto their deck but E stopped me. Furious, I grabbed the deck cleaning brush, leaned over the side and hammered on their deck until they emerged sleepy and cross, before tearing strips off them for their inconsiderate behaviour. It wasn't my finest hour but the thought of an irate English woman facing down a boatload of drunken Aussies whilst wearing tartan pyjamas still makes me laugh. I don't think that my family are going to let me forget that little incident in a hurry!
Anyway, that's all for this week. I'm just off to do the supermarket shop and then I hope to catch up with everyone's lovely blogs later in the week. Enjoy the sunny weather.
Toodle Pip for now. xx