After living alone on board most of the summer I was really looking forward to having children and grandchildren on board for a while . First to arrive by ferry from Athens was my oldest son, Philip, his wife Henriette and daughter Olivia.
Safety on public transport has much to be desired in Greece though and the water buses are clearly no exception. The wooden motor launch with a very powerful engine and 23 passengers on board was sailed across the densely trafficked sound at full speed by a 10 year old!
My 7 year old granddaughter commented dryly " Good that it wasn't a two year old"
After pottering around the sheltered waters of Poros bay for a few days we set out for the open sea and sailed to Vathi on the volcanic peninsular of Methani. I was nervous about taking the boat into harbour for the first time, until now I had only stayed at anchorages. Aquarella has a long keel which means she is very difficult to reverse with. My husband always took her to the quay bow first, after dropping the stern anchor 20 meters away. I had always stood on the foredeck with the mooring lines ready to jump ashore.
Now I sent Philip and Henriette up front with the lines, ready to fender off the other boats and jump ashore.
When we passed the breakwater into the tiny harbour I wished I had chosen a bigger space to practice my first harbour manoeuvre. There was very little room to turn the boat so when I was too slow to get into a slot between the other boats I turned round and went out again. I took a deep breath and made a new attempt. This time I reacted faster, checked the sea bottom for other anchors and chain, dropped the stern anchor in line with the slot and took Aquarella slowly to the quay. Apart from getting my foot tangled up with the fast running anchor line, all went well and I let out a sigh of relief.
It was a beautiful little harbour so we stayed a couple of days. When the harbour master came to see the ships papers he asked to speak to the captain. I said "thats me" and he said " congratulations!" and from then on only addressed me as "Lady"
|Aquarella in Vathi after the other boats had left.|
We sailed from there around the Saronic Gulf stopping at anchor in Epidavros and Korfos then had exhilarating sailing with good wind over to Perdika on the island of Aegina. Perdika is a small, idyllic fishing harbour with little room for yachts but I thought I'd try my luck again at squeezing in. We arrived in the early afternoon before the usual rush hour of arriving yachts and there was plenty of space at the outer end of a jetty.
The 2 week trip with my family was a great success, I gained a lot more experience, and in spite of all the cuts and bruises, lost items over the side, wasp stings, mosquito bites and sunburn we had a wonderful time together.