Yacht Pipit


Work work work - if you can call it that - 29th August 2013

Who did the ironing? The front and the back, for Andy's future reference - more on that story below...

Listen to the sound of The Ionian Summer 2013 whilst reading:  

Since our last update, we have not been far; this has been dictated partly by our desire to avoid the popular places until next month, and partly because we have been working - working! We had mentioned to our favourite charter company that we were available if they could use an extra couple of pairs of hands and since then, we have been working on Sundays, change-over day. We have been doing inventory checks and sail & equipment checking and, whilst not especially taxing work, it's a fairly intense few hours ensuring that the yachts are all Ship Shape & Vliho Fashion in time for the arriving charterers. The fact that we are doing this in the heat of the midday sun makes it fairly exhausting work. I have also been doing some assisted skippering for less confident charterers, on Sunday evenings and Monday mornings. I don't think I'm a natural teacher, but I have found it quite satisfying passing on what little knowledge I have - basic stuff mainly, but then if I think back to the first time I chartered, with a completely novice crew, after passing my Day Skipper course, I suppose I have gained quite a bit of useful experience and it's nice to be able to pass this on.

So our time has been divided between our berth in Vathy, Spartochori, Kapali and Vliho - all within just a few miles of each other! Vathy, apart from being a nice place, is useful for shopping, washing, filling with water and having shore power; Kapali, our new favourite anchorage and only half an hour away, is a complete contrast as there is nothing there - perhaps that's why we've so far always had room to anchor, even in the middle of August. Often our only immediate neighbours have been a pair of kingfishers darting along the shoreline. Spartochori (or more accurately Porto Spilia) remains one of our favourite places - it is the first place Ann & I sailed to when we first chartered in 2007 and Sail Ionian continue the tradition of suggesting it as a Sunday night destination. It's only about 5 miles from Vliho, but it gets you sailing on the first day followed by dinner on the beach at Babis & Panos' Taverna - just a few hours but a world away from Gatwick or Manchester airports!

The steep walk up the hill to the village of Spartochori is well worth the effort - surely one of the best views in the Ionian, and the coldest Mythos we've yet found!

View from Spartochori.

The 'air conditioned' Opel Ascona at Porto Spilia has deteriorated somewhat since our last visit:



And here's another ideal vehicle...

A couple of Mondays ago we did travel ever so slightly further afield, all the way to Sivota, another favourite. We managed to get pole position right outside The Olive Press. Whilst there Simon of Liberty Yachts in Plymouth, who sold us Pipit and was on a flotilla holiday, dropped by for lunch. It was good to catch up and we met up again later in the week for dinner at Spartochori.

The Olive Press, Sivota.



The following Monday we repeated the visit to Sivota, this time to meet up with my sister who was on holiday in Vasiliki. We spent a lazy afternoon chatting and drinking in The Olive Press, only interrupted when the yacht next to us broke out its anchor and came to rest on Pipit. The subsequent weight of their boat plus 20 knots of wind on the beam then loosened out our anchor so we had to quickly evacuate and re-anchor. Whilst we were doing that the other yacht ended up alongside the quay, rather than stern to it, so our quick action was indeed timely. We later repaired to The Old Store for dinner - prawns wrapped in bacon followed by lamb kleftiko in my case - delicious!

Re-anchoring shenanigans.

The Old Store.

Another week of toing & froing and another Sunday of working (on my birthday!) was followed by a second rendezvous with my sister - this time we collected her from Vliho on Pipit and had a gentle motor back to Vathy, where we spent the day belatedly celebrating my birthday - how better to start than mojitos all round!

All aboard at Vliho Quay.

A little star. Nice Disco an' all...

"What's that?"

Outside our local in Vathy.

Seems to be something missing...

...ah - here they are!

Lunch was the best fish I have ever had - a large red snapper big enough for all of us.

Post lunch stroll.

Birthday cake - and candle.

How did that Mythos get there?

250 Horsepower hairdo - high speed ride back to Nidri - courtesy of Yannis at Odyseas Marina.

After a lazy day on Monday, I had a rude awakening on Tuesday when the alarm went off in time for me to catch the early ferry to Nidri - another day of work! This time as skipper on a day charter. I was slightly apprehensive about doing this as, despite what Ann & I have achieved together on Pipit, it is a very different proposition - entertaining clients who are paying a lot of money to have an enjoyable day out on a sailing yacht. Would they be interested in the sailing, the scenery, and willing to help? I could effectively have been sailing, and more awkwardly parking/anchoring, single-handedly, but I needn't have worried - two couples and two adult daughters, were the most delightful clients I could imagine - friendly, interested, and willing to participate. It was not the most auspicious of starts though - I emerged from the companion way to be introduced to the clients, whereupon Di informed me I had my skipper's shirt on back-to-front. I asked the clients if they had ever done anything like this before to which they answered "No". I said "Neither have I" but re-assured them that although I may have got my shirt on backwards, as Ann & I have sailed 4500 miles from the UK I had a rough idea of which end of the boat was which, and so the ice was broken. We motored to Kalamos, via Kapali for a quick swim, for lunch at Georges's, where I was invited to join the clients despite having been provided with a packed lunch. We motored some of the way back until the afternoon breeze filled in, and then had the best sail I have had since we arrived in the Ionian - 10 to 12 knots on the beam in a flat sea - perfect. Coincidentally the yacht, a Bavaria 39 called Rumours, was the yacht Ann & I chartered in 2008. It seems everyone went away very happy with the day, including me!

Working was never in our original plan, and still isn't, but we always said that if something interesting presented itself we'd be happy to do it. If Ann & I both work for a few hours on a Sunday we can in theory live for free. However in practice we eat out more often instead! We also drink out more often as, although our fridge does an admirable job of keeping the Mythos chilled, sometimes only an ice cold one (with mini 'Mythos bergs') in a frosted glass will do! If I do any additional skippering on a Sunday evening or during the week that's an extra bonus.

Our Sunday place of work.

Our Sunday place of rest.

We had a day off last Sunday as there were not many yachts to turn around and headed to 'One Tree Bay' or 'Goat Bay' on the mainland about 5 miles north of Vathy. We're not sure why it's known as 'One Tree Bay' as there are at least 3 prominent trees, and the goats went to lunch and returned as sheep! Anyway the water there is the clearest we've seen since the Balearics. We lazed at anchor for 3 nights, swimming, snorkelling, reading and enjoying the music playing in the beach bar before returning to Vathy ahead of forecast strong winds.

Goats. And sheep. And trees - lots of 'em...

Crystal clear.

Mainland mountains.

It's not every day you get to chat to a Hairy Biker (Si King), with no mention of hair, bikes or cooking, nor find yourself swimming alongside Mariella Frostrup back from the beach to our adjacently anchored yachts, but both have happened in the last few days!

Also in the last few days someone has flicked a switch - nearly all the Italians, Greeks and family charterers have gone home and everywhere is much less busy. This may change a bit next week as people sans children come to enjoy a quieter time. Also another switch has been flicked - the weather is just beginning to change - slightly cooler (i.e. low 30s instead of high) and last night saw the first heavy dew - autumn is coming...

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