Monday, 29 June 2009

The reluctant sailor

We are now in Gaois, Paxos, having sailed up through the Lefkas Canal from Spartochori on the island of Meganisi, overlooking Skorpios, Jackie O's island. It is hot, calm and peaceful and Mr Grigg is happy because we have borrowed a winch handle from a Nielson boat. On our way out of Kefallonia and mythical Ithaca we were joined by a family of dolphins. Mother and Father gracefully jumped out of the sea while Baby managed bunny-hopping belly flops.

This is the life.

But I am such a fickle, fairweather sailor - one hint of fouling up and I vow to myself this darned boat and I are finished. It's all very well Mr Grigg looking like an old sea dog on the stern, his stubble turning into Captain Birdseye's beard. But I am jolted out of my joy when trying to berth in Sami on Kefallonia.
I am the anchor woman but, to be honest, don't really understand what I'm doing. The anchor chain gets stuck twice as we come back. On the third attempt I crush my little finger. A distant memory of a Frenchman I once met in Plymouth flashes through my mind. An experienced transatlantic yachtsman, he was missing the tip of his index finger after an argument with a rope.

The injury calls for a beer and some TLC. So we stay in Sami for two days and hire a scooter, the Rust Bucket, to explore Captain Corelli's island. It is 30 per cent bigger than Corfu and relatively unspoilt by tourism. Fiskardho is pretty but full of pretentious yacthing types. I much prefer the secluded bays and the working towns where the real people are.

We turn the Rust Bucket around when we run out of oil after 50 yards and complain to the moped man, who looks like the alien from the pawn shop in Men in Black. He, meanwhile, is being shouted at by a drunkard on the other side of the road. The moped man is balding and has buck teeth, googly eyes and I swear he has cloven feet poking out from his trousers.

But we manage to make it around the island, despite the fact that the Rust Bucket's speedo and fuel gauge don't work and the tax is a year out of date. We pass wild thyme and fennel, olive trees and cypress, dry rye grass, hollyhocks and allium. A lazy cicada crosses the road, followed by a skillywiggler salamander. The smell of pine, heat and cooking with garlic as we pass through the villages.

Today we have made the long voyage up to Paxos and ended up playing I Spy to while away the hours. But Mr Grigg is tuned into my lack of sailor speak and comes up with words like binnacle, transome and sheets when all I can come up with is sea, sun and sky.

It's a hard life.

That's about it

Love Maddie x


Anonymous said...

It sounds like a hard life! You will find it hard to come back to the UK, I think.

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 said...

My heart is bleeding for you Maddie, it must be tough. I love the image of Mr. Grigg morphingi into Capt. Birdseye! x

Gail said...

I know what you mean about being a reluctant sailor...I'm perfectly happy to sit on deck with a drink in hand but don't like it when confronted with spinakers and any other irksome tasks like winching.