Saturday, 6 September 2008

On the move

Hi from Clare, Saturday 6/9

Photo 1 - Methoni Castle Photo 2 - Not always easy phoning downunder Photo 3 - Koroni Fort Photo 4 - Down to Diros Caves Photo 5 - Spectacular Stalactites

I was amazed to find that I haven't written for nearly a week. We have been busy moving every day to different towns along the coastline of the Peloponnisos peninsular. Nearly every town has an ancient fort or castle so we have been getting plenty of exercise climbed many hills. Some ruins have been well preserved, others are not so good. One thing is for sure just about every town has one. In fact they are so common that we took photos of one town simply because it didn't have a ruin, that was different!

The towns along the coast are well laid out with brick buildings and terra cotta roves. I haven't seen a Greek whitewash building with a blue roof since we left the island of Milos. The shopping is good, however the older shopkeepers, although very friendly, speak little or no English, thankfully we usually find a young person to interpret. This saves me having to cluck like a chicken or moo like a cow in the butchers, much to everyone's relief. On such occasions Andrew disowns me and stands outside, but at least I get the chicken - I thought men were supposed to be the hunters and gatherers!

There are very few yachts around, we think the Pelopponisos is a well kept secret. We met an Australian couple from Sydney in a Beneteau 47. We called over to say hello at 9.30am on our way to the castle. They (Hugh and Kate) purchased their boat(Indaba)in France three years ago and are living a similar cruising life to us. Hugh was a mechanical engineer so he and Andrew had plenty to talk about and Kate and I certainly weren't short of cruising conversation either. We ended leaving their boat at 2.40pm after morning coffee followed by white wine and olives. We managed to stagger up to the castle feeling a little fuzzy.

Yesterday we went to the underground caves at Diros which the cruising guide recommends as a "must see". We donned hard hat and life jackets before descending down into the narrow passages with little head room. The guide punts and pushes a flat-bottomed boat (which is none too stable) through the subterranean passages which literally drip with stalactites. The spectacular trip is one hour of total peace. The guide spoke Greek but the couple behind us interpreted, just as well because at times the warning was "we are currently in deep water so don't rock the boat". I could just see the ten of us splashing around in the cold water trying to get back into the punt. Judging by the instability of the boat and a huge variance in the weight of the people I imagine the maneuver would have been repeated a number of times before success was achieved.

Earlier this morning we set out to travel along the coast to the bottom of the peninsular, but the wind is such that we can now continue on to the island of Kithera. We have just put up the spinnaker which improved our speed from 4.6 knots to 6.5 knots. It is a beautiful sunny day so I will spread out on deck, read my latest book about the Scottish clans and Bonnie Prince Charlie and enjoy the ride. Andrew is on deck and amusing himself listening to the banter between an Italian warship and the various container vessels entering Italian waters.

All is well on board and we are having a wonderful time.

love CANDY

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