015: Wintering on a Sailboat when Thunder Storms Start and Sailing Stops

So in the last blog we said goodbye to
our friends Craig and Jamie. We also had to make a decision about whether we were
going to go to Sicily or not. It wasn’t a good idea to try and get
across to Sicily; it would have been a two or three day voyage and we weren’t sure
about our engine, the windlass and various other things so it was a good
decision to stay where we were safe with the storms passing through, where we
could sort out things in our boat. We were about to leave to go to Lefkas but
this massive tank came in. Our anchor is probably underneath it somewhere cos
laid it out really nice and far to be secure. So we decided we’re gonna wait;
we have to wait and we’re just identifying the flags on top and day shapes and we’re listening out for sounds to see if there are any sound
signals as it turns to starboard or if it goes engines astern or any of those
things. So the big ship has got to dock and the little Greek fishing boat has
come along and to grab his stern line, so they threw the line over to him and he
got his boat hook out to grab that line and now I think the Greek fisherman is going
to take that line to shore. So we finally left back to Lefkas;
we had to pick up some parts and so to get to Lefkas we went through the
canal which we’re becoming quite familiar with now. When we arrived in
Lefkas – as we were mooring up stern-too on the town quay we were dropping our
anchor and the whole windlass just kind of fell apart. In Europe when you more up
it’s mainly Bows-too or stern-too and so you have to put your anchor out to hold
the boat out away from the quay so once the anchor dropped we were really
concerned about how it be possible to tighten the anchor up if the windlass
which is the winch that pulls up the chain if that was completely mangled how
we would do that. We saw some examples of boats that obviously had been crashing
against the quay; their anchor must have dragged and they’d been rubbing against
the quay and we could see like massive gaping holes in the stern of their boat and
we didn’t want to happening to our boat. So luckily you know when you come into
marina most of them have lazy lines so the lazy line would be attached to
either chains which i think is the case in Lefkas Marina or it will be
attached to a massive block of concrete. So we booked ourself into Lefkas Marina for the winter and it really was just in the nick of time because the weather
had already start to turn but it just deteriorated after that and big storm
started coming in. The storm that came straight after we arrived at marina was
the first of many storms really. So we realised that – you know – we needed
to stay in Lefkas Marina for the winter; we were going to be kind of stuck
here. The flights all stop to Preveza. It’s a six-hour journey to Athens so
you’re quite kind of isolated here. The decision to stay in Lefkas Marina was
also a little bit daunting because we didn’t really know what we were going to
do here for six months. We realised there was a community in Lefkas Marina; we
found the room that looked like there was lots of things going on. The first
thing that you know really introduced us to other people was a dock party.
Everyone who’s living aboard comes to this party you bring the dish and you
get to meet all the people that are going to be living in this marina for
the winter. A fantastic group of people so we decided that we were going to get
involved with everything going. So one of the groups was a knitting group that met
in the cafe in the marina. It’s the only cafe that stays open, everything else
closes down. So it’s really quite cozy, you go in there, everyone gets a nice cup
of tea and we learn how to knit. I mean it’s something I would never
imagine doing – me knitting – but I have learnt how to knit. Rowan, my daughter is
much better than me but it was great; it’s this new skill,
something that might come in handy. I’m still working my way through a piece of
knitting that I started at the beginning of winter but that’s one of the groups. Do you mind if I get you knitting? Yeh, someone told me about all the other
things that’s going on in Lefkas. One of the things was horse riding so I
decided to find out where the horse riding was. We just cycled miles to go
meet Janet. What is it? Lemon, lemon mmm. These sticks
are prepared for next year and flattened to hit the olives off the trees. The way that Janet teaches horse riding is
a real gentle method. I thought it was really easy – you get on and off you go –
but I realised there’s so much more to it. The other thing that we joined was a
group on Sunday. So a couple of people that live aboard, they plan these routes –
these walking routes – around the island. The kids absolutely love it, and we love
it because you get to meet everybody else every Sunday. It’s active and
you get to see some really beautiful places around Lefkas. So the only
thing that we found quite difficult was the fact that we were the only family
living this life so nobody else who’s homeschooling with their kids and that
was really difficult so when we discovered that a boat had arrived and
it was Clive and Nick with their two kids we were so overjoyed when we
realized that they decided they were going to stay for the winter. So we’re
wondering how much they celebrated Christmas here. Obviously
everything’s bustling back in England before Christmas. So this is the Friday before Christmas and we found this square which is really lovely It’s got a really nice Christmas tree
but it’s pretty quiet, not much going on. I don’t know where everyone is. I kind
of thought would be nice to go and sit in there but um there’s no one else
around, so it’s kind of strange no one’s here. This is the Christmas fair in Vliho Yacht Club. And even Father Christmas turned up
which the kids were really excited about! So then New Year, they open up the cafe
especially for all the liveaboards. That was the end of 2017. It was really
an amazing year for us. A lot of our dreams came true. So after Christmas they celebrate the
Epiphany here. The Greek Orthodox Church celebrate it. It’s quite a big thing so we
went down because we really want to see how they celebrated it. So we’re here in
Lefkas for the Epiphany and everybody is selling oranges everywhere. Everyone’s started gathering on the
bridge because they wanted to see the cross when it’s thrown in the water. We’ve got the coastguard and a yacht out and all the little opys (optimist) and several more yacht coming out They all have his oranges and
they dip them in the water. It represents the Holy Trinity. Everyone gathers around
the water. They throw a cross into the water. People have to jump in and try and get it. People start chucking oranges in. It
was quite entertaining really. Another group that we joined was the guitar group and it is brilliant. On thursdays there’s a man that comes down from the mountains and
he teaches guitar. It’s free so we’ve been going for an hour on thursdays
learning some new techniques and something to practice in the weekday. We’ve made the most of being in this one
place for six months but we really really want to travel again. We knew
we had to spend his time to get things ready but we’re excited about going off
dropping the lines and being free again. Our guitar teacher said that this was the
worst winter in ten years. He says they never had so much rain. You should be free. You should be playing a tic toc. We didn’t expect to be in one place in
the winter with such terrible weather. We kind of got away from that but um but
that is wintering; wintering means you’ve got to find somewhere, a safe haven
somewhere. There’s quite a few times I wondered at what we were doing and
whether we should have stayed England and sent to the school. Then we made the
most of it and we met loads of good people. So we’ve still got a few months
to go and and we still got quite kind of jobs that we need to do on a boat. We
have got into a good routine of staying fit and healthy and we’ve also got into a good boat schooling routine as well. so I trying to do yoga every morning.
It’s a great way to start the day. The next few blogs are going to be about
some of the other amazing places we’ve discovered on Lefkas Island, how we
actually managed to get off the island and explore the mainland a bit. So we’re
right at the top the mountain now. I’m going sailing around the world So thank you for watching these videos.
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