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Lynch Mob

July 29, 2014
Little Vathi harbour

Little Vathi harbour

The last blog left you about a week before Pete and Pam Lynch arrived for their visit. We spent that week doing a bit more BATI before mooring in Agios Efimia on 16 July, the day before their arrival, blithely intending to hire a car to cross the island to pick them up from Argostoli airport, before heading off to cruise round the islands during their stay.

The quayside at Ag Efimia (Rampage just right of centre with blue boom tent)

The quayside at Ag Efimia (Rampage just right of centre with blue boom tent)

Things did not go as planned. 16 July is the middle of the first week of what is best thought of as The Busy Season out here. Very busy season. Packed out season. There wasn’t a car to be had in Efimia, nor was there one available via telephone enquiries to the next port south, Sami. Nothing deterred us in our quest for some sort of vehicle to pick up Pete and Pam, so instead we hired a scooter and headed off down to Sami to quiz the folks there face to face. Luck was with us and we managed to get Avis to rent us a car for the following day; the only downside was having to take it back there on the Friday morning.

Fishing boat in Fiskardo

Fishing boat in Fiskardo

Moved by this experience, we decided the sensible thing to do would be to go immediately to our final port of call, Fiskado, and book a car that evening for Pete and Pam’s return trip to the airport the following week. The crowds in Fiskado shocked us somewhat, as we’ve never been there during the height of the season but thankfully we were able to book a car with the ever ebullient Maria, then headed back to Rampage to take things easy.

Next day, having picked up the car in Sami, we made our way across to Argostoli, the main town on the island of Kefalonia. We did a massive Lidl shop and then had time for lunch before Peter and Pam arrived.

In the cave at Melissani Lake

In the cave at Melissani Lake

We stopped en route back to the boat as they suddenly noticed signs for Melissani Lake, just outside Sami. Friends of theirs had told them that Melissani is one of the Must See places on Kefalonia. The water in the lake is remarkable; sea water enters sink holes on the far side of the island near Argostoli, travels underground and mixes with fresh water to become brackish and two weeks later emerges above sea level in a magnificent cave full of stalactites and stalagmites so we took a short boat trip round the cave before continuing on to Efimia. It was great to be able to welcome Pete and Pam back on board Rampage; they boat sat for us a few years ago when we flew to UK for Polly and Tommy’s wedding.

Pete takes the helm on our first sail from Kefalonia to Kalamos

Pete takes the helm on our first sail from Kefalonia to Kalamos

After a great night catching up on gossip and making plans, we decided to head to Port Leone on Kalamos as our first stop. Going via Sami to return the hire car (J drove the car, I moved the boat) we set off into the usual windless Ionian morning. About midday, the wind started to fill from the north west and we had a cracking sail across to Kastos, stopping en route at the uninhabited island of Atokos to get a cache there before arriving in Port Leone.

The uninhabited island of Atakos

The uninhabited island of Atakos

No sooner had we arrived than Pete, eager to help, somehow lost his balance on the sugarscoop, (aft end of the boat.) Next thing we knew he was in the water, testing the temperature for the rest of us, and also the water resistance capabilities of his watch! It wasn’t long before the rest of us joined him, albeit rather more conventionally clad for a swim! That evening we had a barbecue ashore on a rather ant and wasp infested beach – shan’t go there again in a hurry.

Pete takes lines ashore

Pete takes lines ashore

Next morning, keen to prove his nautical credentials after the debacle the previous evening, Pete volunteered to recover the shore lines. This he duly did without incident, but clambering back onto the stern of Rampage, he had a rush of blood to the head and let go of the dinghy painter. While the rest of us were still registering the fact that the dinghy was now gently floating off, Pam, who had been very cautious to enter the water the previous evening, leapt in and rescued said dinghy before it could go far, thereby displaying great presence of mind.

Rampage on the stub quay at Kastos

Rampage on the stub quay at Kastos

By now, Pete was experiencing ice cream withdrawal symptoms. I should explain. When Pete holidays in warm places, there is an absolute requirement for at least one ice cream per day. Thursday was fine: we found a nice place in Efimia. Friday was not good – Port Leone is uninhabited (their spring died in the 1953 earthquake) and therefore there was no ice cream to be had. However we had told Pete and Pam of our discovery of wonderful, home made soft ice cream at Chef John’s on Kastos, so that was where we headed on Saturday morning, (solely for the ice cream, you understand!)

Pam takes the helm on a rather quieter day!

Pam takes the helm on a rather quieter day!

Pam helmed the boat for most of the journey, a new experience for her made easier by the total lack of wind. Arriving in Kastos around middle day, we found our favourite place on the stub quay free, so moored there. That afternoon, we walked up to Chef John’s to satisfy Pete’s craving for ice cream before returning to the boat to play Mexican Train and barbecue chicken souvlaki on the quayside. A more successful barbecue that evening!

Ice cream up at Chef John's Restaurant

Ice cream up at Chef John’s Restaurant

Pete and Pam share a birthday, which is 20 July so Sunday was their special day and we’d booked a berth at George’s on Little Vathi, (Meganisi.) After a good breakfast with fresh bread from the island shop, we left under motor for Meganisi. As we set our course to round the northern end of Kalamos, I noticed a boat behind us and realised it was Spring Dawn with Robbie and Jax aboard. They were headed to Vlikho but it was decided we’d stop for lunch and a swim in a cove on Kalamos.

Meeting up with Spring Dawn for a swim and drinks en route to Meganisi

Meeting up with Spring Dawn for a swim and drinks en route to Meganisi

As Pete said, it was slightly surreal to be swimming and treading water as we made introductions and chatted. After a swim we all came aboard Rampage for a drink or two before parting company. George’s at Little Vathi, as is common at this time of year, was packed out. We had a pleasant meal to celebrate Pete and Pam’s birthday but were glad to move round the corner to our favourite Abelike bay the following morning.

Pam relaxing in the infamous Blue Rubber Ring (which just takes up so much space once inflated!) Abelike Bay, Meganisi

While we were on Kastos, J had introduced Pam to the delights of snorkling and a great deal of time was spent peering under the water while feeding the fish with bits of bread and pieces of ham. Pam was most put out later that evening to see the guy in the next boat along capitalising on this and busily fishing!

Snorkling in Kastos!

Snorkling in Kastos!

After some discussion, we decided to go back down to Kastos on Tuesday before heading to Fiskado on Wednesday. The wind gods smiled on us with a brisk southerly wind as we left Meganisi, which let us tack our way down to Kastos, although the last few miles were done on the motor as the wind died away, leaving a nasty choppy sea. We were luck to find space inside the harbour, as the anchorage was too rolly to be comfortable. Indeed, one particularly persistent boat took some real persuasion not to try forcing its way next to us onto the already crowded quay. That evening we had a wonderful supper that night at Chef John’s where J and I are in danger of becoming regulars….

The view from Chef John's

The view from Chef John’s

Sadly we had to motor all the way back from Kastos to Kefalonia. Fiskado was as crowded as we’d seen it the previous week, so we moored well outside the harbour with long lines ashore. Later we had to reset the anchor as we’d been too hurried dropping it the first time and didn’t have enough chain out; on the second attempt we ran out of chain and almost had to do it all again….. J, Pete and Pam had an afternoon exploring Fiskado and buying presents for their children whilst I had a snooze.

Pam looking lovely!

Pam looking lovely!

That evening we went to a new (to us) restaurant looking down into the harbour. It called Nicolas’s Taverna and the host is larger than life, very friendly and welcoming. The food was excellent but as the night went on the clouds that had threatened all day seemed to solidify. Pete made a hasty trip back to the boat and shut the hatches just before the thunder, lightening and rain arrived: cue much scuttling about moving tables into shelter and eventually into the main room of the restaurant. Nicolas was great, producing jackets and table cloths to wrap chilled ladies in and all the while the service carried on through the chaos. We finished the evening having Tia Marias and Metaxas with coffee before plunging into the darkness and renewed rain to find out way back along a dark and muddy footpath to Rampage. We had to tip the dinghy over to empty it of water before we could use it to get back on board. A memorable last evening for Pete and Pam, particularly Pam whose hatch Pete had overlooked, resulting in a somewhat damp bed!

Pam (in borrowed jacket) with Duncan up at Nicolas's Taverna

Pam (in borrowed jacket) with Duncan up at Nicolas’s Taverna

The next morning we had to head back to the airport. For the first part of the journey we had to use the eastern coast road, as the western one with its amazing views is closed at present due to a landslip caused by the earthquake earlier this year. However we then cut across the island and used the western coastal route south of Myrtos Beach so as to show Pete and Pam some of the coastline along that side of the island. After lunch at a little place by the airport, watching planes land and take off, we bade them a fond farewell in a crowded little airport peopled by bewildered tourists and bossy types in Thompson uniforms.

Pete relaxing aboard Rampage

Pete relaxing aboard Rampage

 

Since we had last had a car on Kefalonia, a number of new caches have been put out on the island,so we took the opportunity to visit them on the way back to the boat. We found three round Argostoli, one overlooking the airport and another two near to Sami. We placed some travel bugs and collected another three as we went, so a good day’s caching.

Since the departure of Peter and Pam, life has not been without incident. We originally planned to return to Kastos because Chef John’s now has three splendid washing machines. However, halfway there we changed course as the wind was more favourable to go to Abelike and we knew there were machines at the taverna there.

The tavena garden at Abelike, Meganisi

The tavena garden at Abelike, Meganisi

Accordingly, next day, J set off in the dinghy with a massive load of laundry whilst I tackled the speed log, which has developed a slight leak; nothing serious but enough to try to stop it. J then couldn’t get the outboard to start for the return trip and to compound the problem the starboard rowlock decided to come unstuck so she phoned me for help. It took a hot, scratchy push through dense undergrowth to get up to the dirt track after a swim ashore, then a long walk round the head of the bay to join her. After a large, ice cold beer to console me, we made our way back to Rampage after I’d threatened the outboard with being used as an anchor if it didn’t behave itself.

Next day we went together with the remainder of the washing, and while we were sitting quietly in the taverna garden reading our books, an evil wasp, (there are a great many about this year, due, we are told, to the mild winter,) snuck in between J’s foot and her sandal and stung her fairly comprehensively when she, all unwitting, stepped down on it. Much excitement ensued and she sat for a while with a piece of lemon and a lump of ice on her foot, missing only the gin to make her feel it was worth all the discomfort.

Big hole in outboard casing

Big hole in outboard casing

Yesterday we moved to Vlikho Bay on Levkas, as Barry from Sioux Sails wanted to to start the process of making a pattern for our new sprayhood. We were woken at around 02:30 this morning by a loud thump. We both rushed up on deck but could see nothing, only the sound of a high speed engine heading towards Vliho Yacht Club giving any clue as to the cause. Unable to see any damage, we assumed at the time that what we had heard and felt was the wash from a fast moving vessel. This morning however, we realised that something had driven over our dinghy leaving blue, anti-foul skid marks and bashing a hole in the outboard casing before hitting the pushpit on our port stern quarter, distorting it considerably and completely redesigning the kedge anchor. It is not yet clear whether the toe rail has been damaged at all. Suffice to say we have had a jolly time with the Port Police, making a formal statement for the insurance claim. Barry was unable to work on the sprayhood today either, as it was far too windy, so we must hope that tomorrow our luck will improve. This evening we hope to meet up with Jax and Robbie at Vliho Yacht Club for a cider and drown our sorrows…

Bent kedge (spare) anchor

Bent kedge (spare) anchor

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