Upon our return from our trip with Keith, Tracey and Mike our parcel from the UK arrived. Keith brought it down, along with a load of washing they had done for us. We then sat waiting for our weather window to get across to Mesolongi at the entrance to the Gulf of Patras.
The entire distance is 60 miles which would take us 12 hours. Instead of this we decided to wait until we had favourable winds and stop half way. We planned to anchor on the south east corner of Cephalonia at a place called Skala. But first we had to wait out a couple of days of 25 to 30 knot winds; even in Argostoli we had a less than comfortable couple of days bouncing around in the swell pushing into the port. But I digress.
Returning to Argostoli we found the quay deserted. We selected a spot as close to the north end of the quay as possible, next to some day rental motor boats, and a cafe with a wifi signal we could use! We would also only have to be concerned with other boats mooring to our starboard side. We were thinking mainly of Charterers as they are appearing in increasing numbers.
However; our main source of amusement this time was a privately owned, 45 foot motor cruiser. It was crewed by a couple of guys who didn’t have much of a clue. They dropped their anchor and ricocheted into the space directly alongside us. Then they found that their windlass wouldn’t heave in meaning they were unable to moor properly. One of the guys pulled up some slack chain by hand. He then sat holding it for a long while until he and his mate wrapped the chain around a cleat.
This is a bad idea. Apart from the risk of loosing fingers, Sod’s Law dictates it will jam. Regardless of that the chain couldn’t have been pulled tight enough to keep the boat in place when the winds picked up.
I raised my concerns with the Harbour Master and was told an engineer had been sumonsed to repair the windlass. That wouldn’t be a lot of help if their chain jammed so I offered to help secure the chain properly. Assistance accepted and so I set to work.
As I did so one of the guys stepped on the windlass control and the windlass motor worked fine. It just wasn’t turning the gypsy (the toothed wheel that acts on the chain). Problem solved. Operater Error. I simply screwed down the clutch on the windlass drum; lo and behold the windlass worked perfectly. I went back home for tea and medals and shortly later Valeria was presented with a nice bottle of wine by our grateful new neighbour. We knew it was for Valeria as it had ‘Captain’ on the label!
So that was Act 1 – The Arrival. The following morning we had Act 2 – The Departure Part 1. They waved farewell, let go their lines and began heaving the anchor until it jammed. Much to the annoyance of their other neighbours they were now resting heavily on their boat. They got themselves back in, almost, and beckoned me on board.
All anchors have a locking device to keep it in place when it is stowed away; this device stops it dropping all by itself as might happen if you perhaps forget to screw the clutch down tight …… There is also a rope which attaches to the chain to ease shock loading when actually at anchor; this is called a Snubber. Our heros had used the locking device, a snap shackle on a wire, instead of the Snubber and had forgotten to remove it as they left. In heaving in the chain they snapped the wire and jammed the snap shackle closed and it wouldn’t go around the gypsy. I freed that for them and beat a hasty retreat then sat watching as Act 3 – The Departure – Part 2 unfolded.
Actually recovering the anchor was a complete dogs dinner of dodgy boat handling and as the final straw they dredged up another boat’s anchor! That is simple to clear if you know how …..
As we sat waiting out the strong winds we bumped into a couple we wintered with in Roccella a few years ago; Jim and Karen in Mai Tai. They had spent their ‘lockdown’ in Galaxidi which is where we’re headed now. We had a drink and a catch up and bid our farewells until next time!
The remainder of our stay was relatively uneventful. Regular trips to the fantastic fruit and veg market, the butchers in search of chicken hearts and the bakery for cheese pies. Argostoli is still rather quiet but tourists are returning. There are more yachts around although owners still out number charterers
Our last day here was Monday, 20th, and Keith came and took us shopping so we could stock up with essentials from Lidls! Then on Tuesday the wind dropped and our weather window opened. We loaded 200 litres of fuel and set off for Mesolongi via Skala.