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Winter in the South.

February 7, 2012

A cold wintery walk in the wind

We came to Greece because it was even further south than Spain and then we moved here to Messolonghi, which is south of Corfu where we spent last winter, all in the forlorn hope that we would escape the rigours of northern winters. Well, if the recent weather is anything to go by, all we have done is to exchange the rigours of the northern winter for the seemingly equal rigours of the southern winter instead.

Having spent the Christmas/New Year period in a fairly balmy (if damp) UK, we made our way back to Greece and found that the weather was a deal colder than the UK, although it was a dry cold. So the thermal underwear came out, the large woolly hats made an appearance and we added another layer to the bedding. Oh, and we ran the heating more or less constantly.

J well wrapped up against the winter chill at the weekly Sunday barbecue!

At least, with the dry weather we could do some work on the outside of the boat and spend time in the cockpit tent (or conservatory as it is known). J has been keeping the decks well cleaned (we’ve had un-metered water recently as the pay-as-you-go hose reel has been broken), whilst I have been making them very messy by making a new bracket to carry the outboard motor. I managed to find a few bits of plywood left over from concrete mouldings for the new loo block and have used them to make a replacement for the original plastic one which had begun to disintegrate. We’ve also been redoing the teak oiling of what little external woodwork we have – the cockpit table and the platform in the pulpit.

The new outboard bracket

Then the weather changed. Instead of being merely cold and bright it became cold and bright with a bitter east wind blowing at about force 6 – 7. Then it started to rain as well. It became impossible to sit in the cockpit, as with no sun (hidden by the rain clouds) the conservatory has become too cold, so we have had to retreat inside the cabin. This has put a stop to the outside activities; doing woodwork in saloon is an absolute no-no!

So, what do we do to fill the time until reasonable weather returns? Well, there are some little tiddly jobs that we been doing. I’ve been taking the cabin lights down, polishing them and coating them with clear nail varnish in the hope that I won’t need to repeat the process again next year. J has made new mosquito nets for the hatches as the ones I made 2 years ago, which have become rather battered and horribly discoloured from the ultra violet.

The amazing Byrne prototype mosquito net for hatches - this season in tasteful blue!

Apart from that, there is little to do other than play games, watch movies or have folks round to drink warming comfort drinks. We make the odd foray to town for shopping or to do battle with Vodafone.  It’s a long ongoing saga in which we desperately try to give them money in return for an internet service and they steadfastly decline to debit our card each month!  It has yet to be satisfactorily resolved!

Our alternative residence in Messolonghi. We're thinking of taking sleeping bags, sandwiches and flasks of coffee next time we visit!

Or we go to the bar and have hot chocolate which we do fairly regularly with resultant additional inches to our girth but ah well, the extra blubber should help to keep us warm!

Shipwrecked in the storm yesterday

Then yesterday the winds really kicked off – a neighbour measured 65 knots; according to the Met Office this counts as a Force 12, hurricane with sea state 9 i.e. waves of 14+metres.  Well it certainly wasn’t that bad in the marina but it was quite bad enough frankly. A number of us retreated to the bar for most of the afternoon as it was so uncomfortable on board the boat. In between games of “Quiddler” we watched in awe as the spray soaked the pontoons and all the boats rocked and rolled. Then a small yacht that has been at anchor just outside the marina all winter, broke away and wound up on the shore so we had the entertainment of watching it being recovered. In addition to the wind we had torrential rain and a tremendous thunderstorm. Water started to work its way round the window and door frames of the bar. They are not really suited for such weather but instead are more designed to be folded open through the hot months of summer. Finally at about 7pm the wind abated somewhat and swung round to the south making the marina more comfortable as most of the boats lie north/south. We all decided to make a break for it back to our respective boats and supper. (Had Dimitri been able to provide hot food I think several people would have remained in the bar all night!)

Being rescued

I had an uncomfortable, wakeful night while J snored like a sawing machine but this morning things are a lot quieter and having inspected our own boat and “Curly Sue” next door, I am reassured that we have managed to escape without damage although there was a small barracuda on the deck of “Curly Sue” – impressive since the deck must be nearly 2 metres from the waterline (she’s a Nauticat motorsailer and a very different beast to “Rampage”.)

Well the barometer is still hovering around the 992mBar mark so we expect more winds to come. Oh deep joy! Now where are the chocolate biscuits ….

Duncan and our neighbour Pete remooring "Shindig" after one of her mooring lines broke.

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2 comments

  1. J snored like a sawing machine, I don’t believe it !! Does sound frisky and glad you sorted our other neighbour ‘Shindig’ out. Thanks for keeping an eye on Curly and regards to Pete n Sally


  2. Weather sounds grim in Messalonghi, our current neighbours were there last year. Winter in Cartagena, by contrast, has been delightful, sun most days even when chillier in January, about 10C during the day. Still had t-shirt days in shelter of open cockpit. Little rain, no serious winds, used heating in evenings and on northly wind days but mostly fan heater for a boost.
    Got sunburnt last week and using sun cream on my face every day to avoid fetching red nose look now. Weekly Wednesday bbq in fine weather since last October, cancelled only once due to rain, usually in t-shirts until sun goes down.
    Saw your post on YBW and realised it was Rampage, been following your blog for ages, hoping to ‘bump’ into you in Greece, looks like we may pass in transit this year!
    Fair winds to you 🙂



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