We arrived in Sivota on Thursday, only to find that Stavros’s pontoon was full. Well, technically it wasn’t full at all, but it was booked out. I didn’t realise you could book a slot on the pontoon. We anchored in the middle of the bay for a bit, but the water was about 12 or 14 metres deep, which meant we dumped out a lot of the anchor chain (Tim says there’s 70 metres), which then meant we had a wide swing radius, and I wasn’t happy about it, as it’s a busy harbour. Apparently someone on the shore was shouting at us as we dropped the anchor, but I’m a man so I don’t do multitasking. I suspect they were either pointing out to us that they had an anchor down about 50 metres from where we were, or around 80 metres from where our anchor was. Either that, or they were politely letting us know we could have fit alongside them.
As it happened, after we had dropped the hook, an opening appeared on the South end of the quay wall, so we raised the anchor and backed into that. Literally. Ruth laid out chain while I backed up. A friendly sailor on the shore waited to take our stern line. We fit into the slot perfectly, and yer man brought our line through the ring. All good, so far. Unfortunately, due to the strong cross wind, I’d come in faster than the anchor could pay out (I generally use the anchor windless to pay out the chain rather than loosening the gypsy, as it gives me more control). The guy on shore was having a hard time holding us close to the very solid-looking quay wall. I asked Ruth to pay out a bit more anchor, and I reversed back a bit more. Astute readers will comment that if you have a line ashore and an anchor, you have no reason to use the engine, but the guy was struggling. Between the sudden relaxation of the anchor chain, him pulling on our stern line, and me reversing back, we pranged the quay wall. Unfortunately, as the person driving and the official skipper of the boat, it’s my fault. Much as I’d like to blame anyone or anything, from the guy on the shore, to “Brexit.” We tied up, tightened the anchor, and examined the damage. Nikea has a bathing platform at the stern, which is mounted to the transom by way of five solid posts. One of these had pushed through the gel coat and even the fibreglass. Another call to Rabbit, and the apprehension of a big bill.
With Mike coming out next week, we had to get it fixed up in time for his arrival. Rabbit called back and said his fibreglass guy would work on it Saturday or Sunday, and it would be repaired in time for Mike. Naturally, this meant returning to Vlicho yet again, so he could work on the transom.
We decided to head back to Vlicho as late as possible on Friday evening, and anchor off rather than tying up to the interminable barge, which seems to radiate heat.
In the meantime, it was off for a beer and a whine about boats and stern-to moorings. We went to Stavros’s place for dinner, because it really is a lovely place to eat. By then, the pontoon was full of boats. It’s part of a trend in the Ionian. Entrepreneurial taverna owners develop the foreshore for visiting yachts, in exchange for their custom. The Stavros pontoon has electricity and water. It’s very nice, and is maintained in excellent condition. However, once again, I noticed that one or two of the boats which were tied up on the pontoon, decided to either eat on board, or eat elsewhere. I saw one family walk right past Stavros’s taverna, completely ignoring the waiter who was on the street encouraging passers by to stop in. They didn’t even make eye contact with him. That was particularly annoying, seeing as we were actually eating in Stavros’s at the time, and had been refused a space on the pontoon in favour of these people who didn’t see the need to return the favour to Stavros. There is also a trend to install a pontoon and charge money for an overnight berth. If people continue to accept the hospitality of a pontoon berth without giving their custom to the people who paid for it, it won’t be long until free pontoons like Stavros’s, become a thing of the past.
The next day, we awoke to the sound of someone playing “Rule Britannia” very loudly. We found the mood in the area was quite subdued amongst the ex-pat British, notwithstanding the music-playing Brexiteer who hadn’t really considered how it might affect their residency. Later on, we went snorkelling along the South end of the village, and saw some interesting fish and underwater plants. At one point, Ruth started chatting to a British woman who said she’d voted “leave” by proxy. As Ruth explained that Dublin and Frankfurt would now fight over who got the prize of the international banks in London, the woman was shocked. It really seems like a lot of the “leave” voters didn’t really think through the consequences of all of this. All too soon, it was time to head back to Vlicho.
We arrived late in the evening, although it was still quite bright. We anchored on the East side of Vlicho bay, where the water is clear and the swimming is nice. The wind picked up during the night, and a lot of boats arrived under cover of darkness. Presumably because they found their previous “digs” were susceptible to the strong gusts. I awoke several times to the sound of strong squalls, sprinted up on deck to check the anchor, only to find it was well dug-in and we didn’t move so much as an inch.
This morning (Saturday), we tied up alongside the barge and went looking for Rabbit. We also decided that we couldn’t face another two nights of oven-like temperatures beside Takkis’s barge, so we booked a cheapie apartment in Nidri, and jumped ship. This suited Rabbit and his fibreglass guy, because they were able to work on the boat unhindered. The estimated repair was €450 to €500, which is a lot. The damage didn’t seem to warrant the expense, but the transom has taken a lot of prangs over the years, judging by the crazing on the gelcoat. As we are heading to Corfu on Monday afternoon, we packed up our things and spent a few hours cleaning the boat down below. We took a taxi to the apartment (with both a swimming pool for Ben, and air conditioning for Ruth and I), checked in, and relaxed.