Barry's Blog # 50 - Back to the future

I'm writing this blog in an attempt to bring my blog timeline more in sync with our YouTube video timeline, so for this week it's back to the future as I recall our trip from Kefalonia, through the Greek islands and onwards to Kaş (pronounced cash) in Turkey.

Here today gone tomorrow

Medicane Zorbas

With the associated high winds from 'Medicane Zorbas' dying down to nothing in the area of our hidey hole in the unfinished marina in Kefalonia, Greece we were able to untie A B Sea at 7.30am on Sunday 30th September and start our 6.5 hour trip north to the island of Ithaca. It was an uneventful trip and we had to motor the whole way as there was no wind, I guess the wind gods had run out of puff after all the effort they put in Zorbas!

The reason we were going to Ithaca was to meet up with another yacht that Mike and Elaine were going to help sail to Turkey, just as they had done with us from Spain. Arriving into the big and well protected bay at Vathy, Ithaca I was starting to feel somewhat nervous as I was about to attempt my first ever Med mooring. I'd heard all sorts of horror stories about it all going pear shaped, but I also knew that I had perfectly calm, flat and almost windless conditions for my first try, plus I had the secret weapon of Mike standing by my side with his 20+ years of sailing experience. I give a full description of exactly what Med mooring is in Barry's Blog # 48 - Med mooring is a bloody nightmare so I won't go into any detail here. Suffice to say that overall it all went okay and by 2.00pm we were tied up, putting A B Sea to bed and drinking a cold beer.

Our stay in Ithaca was just long enough to top up our fuel tank with 64 litres of diesel, have a nice wander around town and get two good night's sleep in preparation for the next leg of our journey which would be a 22 hour overnight passage. But before I get into that, there are a couple of things I'd like to mention that may be of interest to other med sailors visiting Ithaca. Firstly there is a lady who comes around to collect a fee for mooring against the harbour wall and at first there was some question about whether she was genuine or just scamming. Phil, the owner of the boat we were meeting up with, phoned the port police to enquire if there was a charge for mooring and they said no there wasn't. At which point the phone was passed to the lady who proceeded to have a very animated conversation with the police officer, the phone was then passed back to Phil and the police officer then told him that there was a charge for mooring. This action alone raised more concern that maybe she was now giving the police a cut of the takings. Eventually we ended up paying 12.50 Euros per night, however that didn't include any electricity or water as there was none available to hook up to. You can, if you wish, simply anchor in the big bay and dinghy ashore, which is what we'd normally do, but this was a good chance for me to practice mooring stern-to and we also wanted to introduce ourselves to Phil and Linda on our buddy boat.

Here come the charter yachts

Our rest day of Monday at Ithaca was going quite smoothly until about 15 charter yachts turned up skippered by Russians. The weather conditions were still very favourable and the wind was manageable but for some reason they just could not get a handle on the med mooring. At one point Mike had to dive into the bay to bring a line ashore for one yacht because they'd managed to get the anchor chain of the boat next to them in between their keel and their rudder so they could not safely go forwards or backwards. With five people on each of their foreward and aft lines they were eventually manhandled to safety. Mike was rewarded with a couple of glasses of fine Russian vodka.

Next to us was an empty slot and after watching and helping with several other moorings I was rightfully concerned when the next yacht in chose to come alongside A B Sea. Needless to say it didn't go smoothly but we managed to not get any scrapes on our hull and only just avoided our anchor chain getting hooked by their keel.

Very busy leaving Ithaca

On Tuesday 2nd October at 11.30am A B Sea and our buddy boat untied the lines from Ithaca harbour and began our 22 hour passage which would culminate with us being on the southern side of the Corinth Canal by 9.30am the following day.