Monday, 24 May 2010

Milos to Pilos

Hi from Clare, Milos to Pilos Sunday 23rd May 2009

We left Milos at 2.30am on Wednesday 19th May to travel to Pilos which is on the western finger of the Peloponnisos. This is a 150 mile trip and there are a couple of opportunities to stop along the way. However our plan was, if the wind favoured us we would go the full distance arriving late the following day.

At first we motored for few hours until the wind came up on our beam. We hoisted the sails and as we had plenty of hot water after motoring we decided to shower. I washed my hair and felt totally refreshed. That was the only good thing that happened for the day. Our first mishap was a burst fresh water line which dumped 80 litres of water into the bilge (I should have had a longer shower). The water needed to be cleaned out and we soon discovered a litre bottle of engine oil had split and also leaked into the bilge. Great, so now we had 81 litres of oily water to bucket out. Our second mishap was one of our inflatable life jackets kept in the bilge inflated when coming in contact with the water. So now we had the Michelin Man trapped under the floor boards and Andrew had to unscrew the floorboards to get him out.

We recovered as best we could and continued our journey around the bottom of the eastern tip of the Peloponnisos, sometimes referred to as the Cape Horn of the Mediterranean. The cruising fraternity have many stories of getting a beating negotiating this area. Our next forty miles was to windward and the wind gathered strength until we saw 34 knots straight on the nose. By this time we had the main sail up and the motor on, but we were only doing 3-4 knots. Andrew was steering the boat and waves were rushing up the deck, over the dodger and smacking into him. He had his track suit pants on, his wet weather jacket and harness and a woollen beanie but he was freezing cold and dripping water. I was cowering under the dodger, sitting in a puddle of sea water trying to duck the waves as they came up over the dodger. The boat was slamming into the waves and I think that's when the third mishap occurred. We dropped anchor at 9.30pm (after an eight hour beating) only to find the pin that goes through the anchor shank had worked it way free and fallen into the anchor well. The anchor was half hanging off the bow. So I guess it is safe to say that this wasn't one of our best days.

We were now on the middle finger of the Peloponnisos. The next morning we set off and had a good sail at 30 degrees apparent, arriving at Methoni 10 miles short of Pilos at about 6pm. We anchored near by at a fish farm in flat water and enjoyed a quite night and well earned drink. It rained over night and the rain was clean so Eye Candy had a lovely wash. The next morning we got our hose and chamois out and completed the job before continuing onto Pilos marina.

Our luck hadn't changed yet, so as we approached Pilos, down came the rain undoing all our good work. Once in the marina we spent the next two days cleaning up the mess in the bilge. All the heavy items we store in the bilge like spare anchor chain, slabs of beer and plastic bottles of tonic water were covered with oil. Everything had to be taken out and cleaned up. The bilge had to be washed out with detergent to remove the oily mess.

At one stage it was sheer chaos. We had wet weather gear drying out in one bathroom; the spare anchor chain from the bilge was drying out in the other. The sink and bench area was covered with oily bottles and cans for washing. All the floor boards were up so we could clean the bilge. Andrew had the cushions up in both the back cabins cleaning the oil spill out from behind the engine. The alarm on the regulator went off indicating the charging system was out of control so the cushions in the saloon area ended up on the table while Andrew checked the batteries. It was 9pm and there was no order on the boat and I was fed up. I went to bed as it was the only place that hadn't been uprooted. At this point Andrew stuck his head into the bedroom and asked if I was OK. I said "yes, but if you want anything that is stored under this bed, you can't have it"

Fortunately things are back to normal. We have been to Pilos before so we didn't need to have a look around town. I went to the supermarket, fresh veg market and the bakery to buy traditional cheese pies, yum yum. Andrew went to the ship chandlers and mentioned in passing that he had been there two years ago. The proprietor presented Andrew with a bottle of Olive Oil made by his father. He said it had no preservatives and was good for feta cheese and Greek salad. We have sampled the Olive Oil and it is very nice.

We left the marina this afternoon and anchored out. We have made water (which I hope we keep in the tank) and Andrew is currently trying to retrieve the anchor pin from the bottom of the anchor well. I have been cooking some meals as we will leave tomorrow to travel the 300 miles to Sicily. Wish us luck as there are no stops along the way. Let's hope all the mishaps are behind us and we have pleasant sailing.

Andrew has managed to retrieve the anchor pin from the bottom of the anchor locker by using the boat hook. Not a bad effort, maybe our luck has changed!

Love Cand

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