A Travellerspoint blog

Sailing Part 1

The first edition of our sailing adventure

Our life as Mediteranian Sea Gyspys

summed up in one awesome three week delivery flotilla, 300 NM, with 30 people and 12 boats.

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This story paints a picture of what Stacey and I have been up to for a while.

We live on a 9.5 m Sailing boat in Greece, along with Jake our Engineer; Stacey (Hostess) and I (Skipper) make up lead crew Delphi, showing keen tourists usually from the UK & Ireland around the Greek islands for a couple of weeks at a time.

Here goes:

Today we leave our base in Epidavros and head a small distance of 8 NM over to Vathi. Epidavros is a famous Greek town, where the ancient city hosts on of the most important and impressive outdoor amphitheatre in Greece. In July we watched a couple of theatrical shows of the classic Greek tragedy’s such as Oedipus (he kills his father and marries his mother), not bad considering the venue is around 2000 years old.

As it is day 1 we spend about two hours refreshing our 30 guests on how to use their one of eleven 32’ - 50’ boats, which they will call their home, transportation, and main source of entertainment for the 3 weeks it will take to get to Corfu.
Once they listen to us ramble on about sails, engines and toilets, our guests stock up on necessary food and drink (they all mostly get Gin and Ouzo, and a lot of beer) before departing to Vathi.

Having explained in our morning briefing on how to get there, where and what the wind will be, and most importantly what to watch out for to make sure you have a good day and don’t crash/sink or get stuck, our guests up anchor and head south towards Vathi.

Vathi is a tiny town with 4 tavernas and is set on a volcanic peninsula.
Clear water and a relaxed Greek hospitality makes this an awesome spot.

On arrival to Vathi, we found that there would be enough room for 4 or 5 boats, and as we are 12 I needed to be creative.
Knowing the weather will be calm overnight, I successfully moored 12 boats on about 15m of quay space (each boat is at least 3m wide and 10m long). Stacey doubted my ability thinking that it would be too ambitious to crowd the harbour with our fleet.

All boats in and after a beer and some rum, our friends from Sirocco (another lead crew) visited for dinner. Mostly kiwis, we enjoyed the company and ended up having a bit of a laugh.

In the morning everyone assembled at a taverna for a spot of breaky and all important coffee or freshly squeezed orange juice, then let me explain the plan for the day and Stacey the things to once they are moored up.

Another easy day planned, light winds and a short hop, 9 NM north east to the amazing island of Agistri.
The name Agistri means fishing hook in Greek, and they say that tourists are hooked because they same people have been coming to Agistri for 50 years! It should be a good day on the water with some nice lunch stops (as long as they avoid the underwater cables that supply power to the island).

After breaky, Jake and I helped people set off, then we said goodbye to Vathi for the last time.
The taverna owners gave us a brown bag with a plastic bottle full of their local red wine to say thank you for bringing tourists to their town.

A little bit of sailing on the way to Agistri, but a bit slow for our liking we motored there to make sure we are first in and moor everyone up correctly before our big day to tomorrow (don’t want any issues lifting anchor and there are a number of permanent underwater chains and anchors in the harbour).

I was very happy to see the harbour was quiet on arrival, not much creativity needed today, nice and easy.
The boats trickled in slowly in, last one arriving around 5pm.

A couple of boats had noticed some problems, a small rip in a sail, a faulty light (they had to go toilet in the dark) and a fridge that wasn’t cooling down as good as it should be, so Jake and I got stuck in and sorted it all before our 6pm briefing, as we had an 8am start tomorrow.

After briefing the group went up to a taverna where we had arranged a group buffet meal with Greek music and dancing.
The taverna is owned and run by a very attractive Greek/Australian family and even after doing the same event a number of times over the season as a crew we still enjoy it every time.

After singing, dancing and enjoying probably too much wine, off to bed as we are up before 7am.

Overnight wind picked up and I was up a couple of times checking to make sure the boats are as safe and comfortable as possible.

Boil the jug before sunrise, a strong coffee or two later to help recover from the wine we were about helping boats leave Agistri for the Corinth Canal, 20 NM North West. The North Easterly wind didn’t ease overnight, making it a cracking 7 knot sail, arriving at the Corinth Canal faster than expected.

After a bit of admin with the canal we were entering bang on midday, exactly as planned.

The Corinth Canal is simply awesome.
The wind had dropped fully and the sun was out (it still is no where as hot as July’s 35-40 °C), but a great passage through an awesome masterpiece of nautical history. We cruised through at about 4 knots; I climbed the mast to take some photos and everyone enjoyed the 3 miles in a different world.

Goodbye Eastern Greece and the Saronic Gulf, Hello Corinth and the next step west.
Leaving the canal the Corinth Gulf was calm with a light breeze that picked up from the North.
This made for a pleasant sail through to Kiato, making today’s whole journey 33 Nm.

As expected the wind brought swell, so the mildly protected harbour of Kiato made it a comfortable gentle rolling sleep.

Toady we are off to Galaxhidi, a popular spot for tourists and a town rich in history, nearby is the ancient sight of Delphi, the place that our boat was named after.
Delphi was the centre of the Greek universe and where the Oracle lived.
On our journey we saw turtles, dolphins, and but didn’t catch fish or get any sailing.

Stay tuned for the next part of our journey, including some angry people on a private boat!!

Posted by travellinghoney 05:33 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

Update of the year!!

Greece again

After enjoying months of the Greek sun in 2015 we couldn't resist doing it again in 2016.

Not much to say other than it is amazing!!!!

This update comes from the second night we have slept on land since March... It was horrible!!
We are in an amazingly beautiful hotel in the fantastic Monemvasia Castle, historic, stone walled and smoking hot... We didn't realise that there was an air-con unit meaning it was the worst sleep in a long time!!! Oh well, boat life might be for us. In 10 weeks we end our sea gyspy life and resume land based travel, so watch this space!!!

Here is a sneak peek of a photo to leave you wondering for now...

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Posted by stomich 03:50 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

An overdue update!

I apologise for the lack of updates lately but life has been hectic!

From Iceland we returned to the pub and pub life continued with no drama.

On a frosty morning we visited the Stonehenge. Pretty cool place, amazing to think that they moved those stones so many years ago.
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Took Tim clay bird shooting (the thing to do in our local area), didn't manage to get him into the traditional shooting kit though.
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In early Feb and opportunity to return to Greece and Sailing Holidays arose.... it was very tempting as we were lacking some serious Vitamin D from the English winter. We decided to go for it (when will we ever have this opportunity again?!?), and a week later Tim was on the plane. I wasn't needed quite so promptly so after another week at the pub I took the rolla on a solo trip around England.
Stocked up on some singalong music to get me through...
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I was joined by the lovely Amy for some wandering through cotswolds countryside and exploring Oxford. Pretty cool place to wander around. Some very old buildings!
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From here i visited London, got very lost, watched War Horse in the theatre then got myself out of there and headed North.
Stopped in to visit Margot then carried on to the strangest seaside town I have ever been, Skegness. This was a place like no other. It was clearly off season, but i can imagine the summer sees Skegness packed. It was like a deserted carnival. When you looked out to see there was a massive off shore wind farm. So strange!
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From Skegness i made my way up through York and towards Newcastle. York was a neat city to wander
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I saw the Minster
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I saw the Shambles
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Walked the city walls, and generally just had a lovely stay.

When i reached Newcastle i stayed one night before begining my 6 day walk fro East to West coasts along Hadrians wall.
It was a lovey walk and I was fortunate enough not to get rain.. just a bit of hail one day but i thoroughly enjoyed it!
My first way was spent following the acorns across the city of Newcastle, without any glimpse of the wall.
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From here though i began to get into the open countryside and saw wall sporadically (most of it has been used throughout the centuries to build houses!)
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I was fortunate enough to be in the off season and it was lovely and quiet. In the summer is is apparently rammed with people.
My friends...
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Hail...
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I was pretty excited to reach the west coast.. Bowness on Solway.
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After my walk i headed back to London sold the Rolla and have now joined Tim in Greece. We are doing the same job as last year but are in a new area (the saronics). If you are wanting to keep up with our doings through the summer 'like' out facebook page. Search 'Lead Boat Delphi'. As part of my job i update this regularly!!

Posted by stomich 01:48 Archived in England Comments (2)

Iceland

Have just returned to the pub from a wonderful week away exploring Iceland!

We flew into the capital Reykjavik in the snow. It was a little nerve racking once I realised that the snow ploughs were clearning the runway.. I hoped they got it all. I guess they are used to it. Anyway, we landed safely and were met by Liam and Margot in the hire car! We headed straight out of the city towards Gullfoss waterfall. It was still snowing but coats on, its not every day you're in Iceland.
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It was worth the near frostbite, the waterfall was pretty cool, and bonus was there were not too many tourists.. so we had our pick of photo spots!
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Ah... the serenity.
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From here we popped down the road to the geysir.. we saw one shoot up
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But the biggie (which can shoot up to 50-70m) didn't make any movement at all. After standing around and waiting for a while, Tim finally decided to read the sign and we realised we may have been waiting a while because it only does that after an earthquake!
That evening we stayed out on a horse farm. We arrived in the dark and were thankful the heating was on!

We woke in the dark.. at 9am (so bizzare!) The lovely owners were ploughing the drive for us
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And before we left they let us sneak into the stable and say hello to the horses. Icelandic horses are a unique breed. I dont know a lot about horses but Margot is a big fan and we learnt that they have an extra run-thing that means the rider doesn't bounce. Pretty cool, and they were bloody cute.
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These guys had been brought inside for the winter, but he trains with them daily still.
We enjoyed the snowy scenery as we drove towards a town called Vik.
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On the way we found a couple of neat waterfalls.
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From here we detoured off the road a bit and found a lovely lookout spot at a lighthouse on the coast. There were lovely views and not much civilisation which was nice.
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We made it to Vik and had a lovely evening kicking Tim's butt at skipbo. It was a clear night so at about 9pm we began our big hunt. We left the accommodation and drove back to the lookout spot where it was nice and dark and we thought we would have a good chance at spotting the lights. We saw faint glimpses which was cool.. but we nearly froze solid, and after a couple of hours we called it a night. Just before bed, Liam stuck his head outside and got us out there in our pjs! The sky was lighting up! We got pretty excited (woke up a couple of people - they were stoked). We jumped in the car and got away from the town and parked on the side of the road to watch. It was pretty awesome, the lights were dancing across the sky. It was quite mesmerising and we watched for about an hour -jumping in and out of the car to keep warm. There was a point where i was actually cheering into the night bacause there was so much movement and excitement! Our cameras only got black but luckily L&M had a good one and we managed to get some pretty cool shots...
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The following day we drove to Hofn. It was a pretty big drive but again the scenery was stunning.
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We came across a glacial lagoon which was full of icebergs. It was freekin cool!
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Tim decided to walk on the bergs!
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The lagoon ran to the beach and the icebergs would go out with the tide then wash back up on the beach all smooth and shiny. We had fun playing on them and taking pictures.
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We also saw wild reindeer!
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And some fluffy sheep.
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That evening we went out for dinner in Hofn. I made it a true Icelandic experience by wearing my Icelandic wool jumper (there were some locals there who totally appreciated my jumper even if my travelling buddies thought i was silly!), drinking Icelandic beer (solbert - my new fav beer) and ordering an Icelandic meal (reindeer burger - sorry Rudolf).
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Thursday morning saw us rising in the dark (hardly a surprise) and heading to a glacier cave. This was pretty cool... so blue. This cave was formed natually by a river which forced its way through the glacier cracks and formed this cool cave (or something like that - it was too chilly for listening).
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We also got to take this choice ride.
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Friday we began to make our way back to Reykjavik. We found more horses and gave them some bread... they were pretty cute.
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We found another cave on the side of the road which was neat... full of snow and ice, but we managed to get in and out (just).
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We had a great week in Iceland and with great company! It's got us very excited to continue travelling in the summer.. planning planning planning!!
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Posted by stomich 09:38 Archived in Iceland Comments (0)

Life at The Swan

I am writing this post as we have recieved an official complaint on the lack of updates recently! (Sorry Gaz)

We have been working here just over 2 months now and have settled into the pub nicely. Tim is loving pulling pints and I am still quite rubbish at carrying plates! Our pub seems to be quite a popular one and will serve an average of about 80 people per shift although that is getting less as we head into January!
The Swan Inn:
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We have been meeting locals as we have quite a few regulars into the pub and we were even invited to a 60th party!
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We were pretty excited.

In our time off we enjoy walking the local area, seeing the local towns (which are every 5mins) and strolling over the neighbours farms (there are public footpaths running through most farms over here... so strange... but good for us!!)
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The Swan in the background.
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We feel a bit funny walking down the back of peoples farms and past all their sheds but apparently its ok?!?!

This is our towns cricket pitch.
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Recently it has been pretty wet here... our stream is quite full!
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While walking the area is great, we were getting a bit of cabin fever... so we got ourselves some wheels!
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Woop woop.. £300 and the keys to freedom!
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Our first outing in the rolla was to the city of Bath. A lovely town to visit and wander round. I had heard that the christmas markets were awesome... but unfortunately they were finished when we arrived..
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but there were still loads of fairy lights around to help us get into christmas spirit and we tried some night time (well it was dark... 5pm is hardly night) ice skating.
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No broken bones so we cant have done too bad!

The days are short here and the build up to christmas was very busy and to us it didn't really feel like christmas... Tim finally got into the spirit on christmas eve by sporting a sweet jumper at the pub.
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We went to visit my friend Izzy in Stonesfield and her lovely family hosted us ror Christmas day.
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I had been visualising "The Old Farm" since I met Izzy in 2008! I had heard so much about it and i was particularly excited for the aga! I'll never forget when I met Izzy and she had never used a microwave.. i thought it was so bizarre, as an 18yr old it was practically all I could cook with! So we had a lovely roast turkey and a relaxed day inside. In many ways it was the same.. all about family and just hanging out.. but the weather was awful and the day was spent indoors. I think over here everyone seems to value the traditions more than at home... perhaps thats just our family??
Anyway it was a lovely day and we went home full and pretty tired.
Boxing day was spent catching up with friends and then we were back to work! The time between Christmas and new year was frantic and we are only just catching up.

Tonight we are off to a pantomime (apparently it's a very English thing to do) we shall see how it goes!

We will update again soon. We have the week off next week so we are popping over to Iceland!!!

Happy new year everyone! Here's to 2016, another year of fun!

Posted by stomich 07:33 Archived in England Comments (0)

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