A great deal of time was spent sitting in the cockpit painting 9 hours a day while Aquarella was patiently waiting, tied to a mooring. I had a deadline to keep for an exhibition in Finland in October.
|Me taking the dinghy back to Aquarella between Poros and Galatas|
In the evenings I took the dinghy ashore to sit at Cafe Fresko under the stars in the company of my many wonderful new friends on Poros.
|The "Harbour master" on watch at Perdika on the island of Aegina|
|Jane, Charlotte and myself celebrating a successful trip|
Then, in September two friends Jane and Charlotte from Denmark, also widows, came to visit. So we three merry widows went sailing, talking, laughing, dancing through the night and thoroughly enjoying ourselves for a week.
After a few more days saying goodbye to people and studying the weather forecast it was time to make my way back to the shipyard where I keep Aquarella for the winter.
|Rolling the mainsail down|
With no threat of any strong winds for the next few days I made a mad dash for the next anchorage. It took only 7 hours but I stayed the night there and continued the next day for three hours to anchor in the bay of Kilada near the shipyard.
|The dinghy flew like a kite!|
The following morning I prepared the boat for lifting out. I took the furling genua down in the early morning, thankfully before any wind got up. In the afternoon the sky blackened and a stiff breeze stretched the anchor chain out. I took the outboard engine off the dinghy but I still needed to lift the dinghy up onto the foredeck in order for the crane to lift it out with the boat. By attaching it to the spinnaker halyard I had enough strength to hoist it up using my body weight by jumping from the cabin roof onto the deck. But even though I lifted it I still couldn't pull it over the foredeck. It flew like a kite in the strong wind. I had to give up, lowered it again and tied it back onto the stern. I just hoped the boatyard would help me with it.
I couldn't do anything in the gale force wind, the boat was rocking and rolling and the wind was screaming in the rigging. Suddenly I heard a knocking sound, dashing up into the cockpit I saw a smiling face sticking up over the railing. It was my kind mechanic who does the winter maintenance of the engine. He had come over in his own dinghy to help me get onto a safe mooring. I was so grateful to be able to have a good nights sleep before lift out the following morning.
At 8 am sharp the shipyard called over the VHF that I should be the first boat to be lifted. Which meant now...
The wind was still very, very strong so I had difficulty loosening the mooring ropes. I pulled with all my might and finally could lift them off the cleats. Immediately the boat shot backwards dangerously near the mud bank. I charged back to the engine controls in the cockpit and put the engine in full ahead while I steered out towards the outer end of the dredged channel to the shipyard. I'd forgotten to reattach the forward mooring ropes ready to tie the boat onto the quay. I was already in the channel and there was no room to turn around so I slowed down and put the autopilot on. Then I charged forward, attached the ropes to the cleats and hung their ends over the safety lines. By the time I got back to the cockpit the boat was about to bump into the channel marker buoy. Back on course I crossed my fingers and toes that someone would help me tie up alongside the quay because I wasn't sure I could stop Aquarella in this wind.
Five strong men stood ready when I came and caught my mooring lines with boathooks and with a great relief I stopped the engine for this year. I didn't even see when they lifted the dinghy out and put it onto the boat trailer, it was suddenly there safe and sound.