Our first visitors in Argostoli were Mauro and Adri. This is Mauro’s third visit (search for ‘Mauro’) but Adri’s first and their first weekend away from the kids!
They arrived on Thursday, 6 September, suddenly appearing at the end of the gangway at about 11 pm; the town quay isn’t that big so we weren’t hard to find! After the Prosecco welcome it was off to bed in preparation for a sail the following day and a night at anchor.
On Friday morning Mauro insisted on washing the boat down before we went to get fuel. We had last filled up completely in Bozburun and then taken just 100 litres in Milos to get us here and managed it with about 40 litres left. Running the generator every day I then managed to drain one tank completely. Doh! Manoeuvering on one engine would be a challenging exercise and one I should practice, but it was easier to have a fuel guy deliver us 20 litres in a drum, which was ample to get us to the fuel berth.
So, filled up with diesel we set off at 1 pm on Friday and headed around the coast towards a small village called Sparthia on the south coast. Once out of Argostoli we had the sails up and managed to sail for a couple of hours in light winds, arriving off Sparthia at about 5. Sparthia has a tiny harbour and a number of increasingly inaccessible beaches. We anchored and immediately got the swimming ladder down, the BBQ out and put Mauro to work again.
On Saturday we had planned to head across to the bay where we met Ivan and Lu last year, have lunch there then head back to Argostoli. But we set off late and wanted to get back to Argostoli before the rather stronger afternoon winds picked up so scrubbed that idea. However; we did manage to get the sails up again and made most of the passage back under sail. Returning to Argostoli by 4pm we anchored in the harbour rather than go onto the quay and took the tender ashore for a wander around the town in the evening before getting a bite to eat.
On Sunday morning I dropped Valeria and Adri ashore to do some shopping while Mauro and I went off to explore the marina which is on the east side of the harbour. Mauro drove, which turned out to be a good decision. The marina was built a few years ago and then abandoned after a dispute between the builders and the town council. It is ‘useable’ but has no facilities, is free and as such it is gathering dying boats and appears to be where the Coast Guard store vessels they have seized. It is a dump.
Once we had picked up Valeria and Adri we set off planning to sail up to the north end of the Kolpos Argostoliu to Ormos Livadhi. There we would anchor, swim, and sail back under the Cruising Chute, and as a plan it worked perfectly. We had northerly winds getting up to 15 knots allowing us to tack almost the whole way there, anchoring at 3pm. We had a swim for about an hour then set off south again. The wind was behind us now, still at about 15 knots, so Mauro and I got the Cruising Chute up and sailed the entire way down to Argostoli putting in a couple of gybes along the way. When I say ‘we sailed’, I mean ‘Mauro sailed’ and I just offered help hints. It was a really good afternoon.
I even had a brand new collision avoidance experience. There have been some wildfires here over the weekend and a helicopter was using the approaches to Argostoli to load water, flying at mast height north into the wind as we were heading south. There is no Collision Regulation covering that but staying well clear seemed like a good idea; mercifully Sundays tend to be charter – boat free here otherwise the Pilot would have had fun!
So, after a really good afternoon, which went exactly to plan and gave Mauro plenty of sailing practice and Adri plenty of opportunities to admire our Brasinglish ensign I went and trapped a finger in the hinge of a deck hatch while getting the BBQ out, crushed my finger and almost ripped the nail out. Ouch.
Happily, Mauro knew how to put the tender in the water and had experience driving it so we could go ashore to the hospital.
And that was an experience. We found our way in via what I now know is the sub basement. It was something like the film set for a Zombie movie, all stained concrete, stained floors and bits hanging off the wall, just needed the zombies. Having found our way to the ER, which was one floor above the Zombie set, I was seen, had the nail removed, was bandaged up and sent on my way. We got back to the boat at about 9 to find that Valeria and Adri had got the BBQ underway so we had a late dinner.
In the morning we moved from the anchorage back onto the Town Quay; happily going astern I use my left hand on the engine controls and my right for the frantic waving, so that worked out well. But once tied up, because I had a ‘hurtie finger’, Mauro stowed the tender away, tidied the ropes and bagged up the sails, and Adri washed the boat.
The rest of the day was spent packing, chilling and doing a little shopping before having a late lunch in a taverna. I went off to the hospital for a bandage change and a prescription and got back just before 7pm when Valeria, Adri and Mauro had to leave for the airport.
It was fantastic to see Adri and Mauro and we all had a really good time, with the one minor exception, and are so grateful for their help with that!