I spend wintertime in NL and left the boat on dry in Greece, so some contractors I hired, could do some work.
We went in February to Oman. It was a pleasant surprise to meet so many kind people and where sometimes invited into their home to join a meal.
My dentist called sick for a longer period of time. Shit. So my last implant can not be placed. I will try to find one while underway.
In March I returned to Greece and had to do a lot of work before launching beginning of April. I had the escape hatches removed, because they where leaking every time and I applied the copper coating.
The company, Ionian Boat Assistance, that should have been serviced the engines, left me with two disassembled engines. Happily I found an engineer who could finish the job. He turned out to be a very nice guy and we got along very well.
Then, finally launching. I sailed back to Nydri and took some time to relax. Ellen visited during Eastern, but the weather was unpredictable. So I thought it would be wise to hire a car and the first night invite her into a comfortable hotel. She loved it.
We drove around Lefkas, visited the Northern part and did a small hiking to the waterfalls.
Then, when the wind permitted us, we left for Vathi and straight on the next day to Sami. Those rides became a bit rough, but Ellen is slowly adapting to the fact that it always turns out different than expected. In Sami is a nice small marina and the island Kefalonia is beautiful.
We discovered the best terrace I’ve come accross in Greece, Assos.
It is a nice small quite village on the West side laying around a lagoon. We also visited the Drogarati caves.
As a young guy I visited them and was very impressed. In that time there was an old lady selling tickets, but since I was the only visitor, she did not bother turning on the lights. It was pitch dark and I was reluctant to set one more step. Then, suddenly, she turned on the lights and I was just standing right before a cliff, which in my memory was at least 10m deep. Now it turned out to be just 3m, but still.
When Ellen left. She could only spend a week.
I planned for Malta. The forecasts where all telling me wind from the West. I thought, by just being patient, there will be an opportunity, but after two weeks I did not see that happen. So I came up with a nice workaround. A depression near the coast of Italy would give me the right wind directions. Only drawback, you have to be on the right spot on the right time and a bit of a detour.
I could leave on Wednesday with no wind. This low pressure system would start on Thursday and I should be able to sail just around it and the wind would turn with me.
After leaving Lefkas, some dolphins where swimming along with me. To say goodbye I suppose, because I will not see Greece for a while.
On Thursday the wind did pick up and I was able to sail exactly as planned. The forecasts where that accurate.
Near the coast of Sicily the wind would blow strongly right on the nose, so I went a bit from the coast, where the wind would be moderate.
Sailing about 40km of the coast a bird landed on my solar panel. I suppose she was glad to get some rest.
People ask me what a man does on a boat when sailing for a couple of days. Well in this case I was very busy. Sleep is a big issue. I have set an alarm on every hour, the whole trip. I complete my log, check the weather, check the sails, listen to the sounds and compare the forecasts I downloaded with the actual situation. I am always alert for sounds. Engines, sails, boat. I check my equipment to see other traffic. Along the coast of Greece and Italy it is quite busy. I put out my fishing gear and get it in during the night. Also prepare meals and coffee and of course enjoy the sailing and the beautiful skies.
So, busy, busy, but rewarding.
After 3 days of sailing Valletta came in site.
There are two entrances and after looking at Google Maps I decided to pick the Southern lagoon. A bit tricky to find a nice spot. There where all kind of buoys scattered around. It was not clear to me if I was permitted to tie my boat to one of them, but I just did. A nasty job on your own, but I managed to grab a thick rope tied to a buoy. But now I am very happy with this mooring. Safe, near the city and private.
And Valletta turned out to be a very nice town. Actually it comprises three of them. So it is quite big.
All the buzz of a big city around me is a new experience to me being on my boat. Malta has a violent history, so lots of castles, old buildings and narrow, steep streets.
Valletta owes its existence to the Knights of St John, who planned the city as a refuge to care for injured soldiers and pilgrims during the Crusades in the 16th century. They created a new fortified city. It was done with lots of money which came from grateful Christians and even the Pope.
I did meet some guys who just crossed the Atlantic on a 20 million dollar motoryacht. As crew their expenses where paid and on top of that a decent salary.
And, the best, finally nice, tasty food. Something rarely found in Greece.
The search for a dentist succeeded. He was prepared to place an implant without a crown. A crown can only be placed a couple of months later. It is nice here, but I don’t have a couple of months. I will try that later on in Spain.