© Findochty water sports club
Findochty Water sports Club
© Findochty water sports club
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Greek South Ionian Neilson Flotilla Holiday May 2017 Saturday 6th May 2017 After receiving mail from Latesail.com, we, being Neil Mairi and George elected to avail ourselves of a generous  offer to sail in the sun on board a Dufour 325. When after discussing our plans with Bev and Angus, they decided  to book as well.  So it came to be, that around 13.00 on Saturday, Neil Mairi, George, Bev and Angus headed off for Aberdeen  Airport to catch a British Airways flight to Heathrow for an overnight stop.  Flotilla holidays generally all fly out of the principal airports in England. If you opt for bare boat charter you  organise each element yourself giving you the option to fly out from Edinburgh or Glasgow. Anyway a night in an  Ibis hotel in London, with an early start the next morning, was a stress free way to go on Holiday.  Sunday 7th May (Heathrow to Vounaki via Prevesa) With an 09.20 check in for our 11.20 flight, we all had time for a spot of breakfast at ‘spoons, before we were on   our way. Another British Airways flight, that had been chartered by Neilson’s for the transport of their customers. It was  luxury to have a bit of legroom compared to the Ryan Air, Easyjet and Jet2 configuration.  Everything went well, with dookers arriving safe in Prevesa and a quick pick up by bus, followed by 40 minutes to  the Vounaki resort. With a safe arrival at the Neilson Vounaki Beach Resort (very nice)Neil, Mairi and Doddie boarded their  accomadation for the week Dufour 325, “Kilifi”. Bev and Angus boarded their Dufour 325 “Sarah”.  With a two hour time differenceand a few celebratory refreshments, we all went to the restaurant for a late  evening meal.  Pizzas and Chicken were very good, sweeled doon with a spot of wine then on to retire aboard.  Sleep came easy, which might explain Bev’s headache in the morning. Being early in the season the night time  temperatures are pleasant, with the odd hot night.  Monday 8th May (Vounaki toAbeliki) Our Flotilla skipper for the week was Sam, assisted by Tom the engineer and Celt as Mate, all sailing aboard the  lead boat “Marianne”.  After an extensive first briefing we ginally sailed at 11.00. We goy Kilifi’s brand new Hyde sails up, no in mast  furling but fully battened and stack pack.  We sailed south to Abiliki on the north coast of Meganissi island, where we anchored off the pier. Bev and Angus  followed ius in and rafted on to Kilifi, swinging to one anchor, for a lunch stop.  Bev and Angus had stores aboard and Neil was still digesting his late mega breakfast. So it was Doddie and Mairi  broke the wrapper on the spleet new dinghy and rowed ashore to meet the natives and have a spot of lunch at  Mino’s restaurant. Greek salad and Saganaki cheese sweeled doon with a spot of local wine.  The cheese was share with the local pussy cats and I met Snowy the  pet bunny rabbit, who was a little cutie. We  didn’t see him that night and had to check that Rabbit Stew was not on the menu.  We rowed back and then took Willy the whale for a swim. The rest of the fleet started to arrive and all were tied  to the small jetty. Kilifi remained at anchor overnight as it was getting short of space on the jetty.  The Kalifi crew dinghied ashore in the evening for a G & T event organised by the flotila at Minos’s restaurant.  There was Oven Chicken and Swordfish on a skewer, with Saganaki cheese and meat balls for starters. Afa yummy.  After all of this Kalifi’s crew paddled the new dinghy back to the anchorage for the end of day 2. (distance 8  miles)  Tuesday 9th May (Abiliki to Sivota via Spartakhori)  Mairi woke at 06.40 and decided everyone else should be up as well!  Kettle on for morning coffee while a quick wash was had whilst trying to preserve dwindling water supplies,  which we never did figure our how it disappeared so fast.  With Kalifi being at anchor the sun came over the hill, bathing the decks in warm sunshine, whilst the fleet  languished alongside in darkness. A good move to stay out the previous day.  We paddled ashore for the morning brief to have a spot of breakfast at Minos’s. (Still nae rabbit stew)  We all departed Abliki with “Sarah” following “Kilifi” for a visit into Spartakhori.  The bay is an enchanting spot  with deep cobalt blue water and steep slopes planted with olive trees.     We anchored both yachts separately  due to a gusty wind blowing off the hills and questionable holding ground. A morning swim opportunity and a visit  to the view point up the hill.  The view is wonderful out over Nidri, Madhouri, Skorpios and right across to the  mountains of the mainland on the E.  We departed Spartahori to sail through the Meganissi Channel to Sivota. The  channel was more of a washing machine with challenging sailing as the wind veered and backed whilst we tacked  our way south. Arrived in Sivota being another quaint small town, this time on the island of Lefkas’s South coast. The landlocked  bay lies immediately W of Ormos Rouda.  It was nice to visit Sivota as mid week stopover as previously, with  Sailing Holidays, it was a departure or end port on previous flotilla holidays.  Our evening ashore was spent in the 12 gods restaurant having Mousaka, Chicken and Bacon followed up with a  spot of dancing but there doesn’t appear to be many dancers onboard this fleet. The bairn enjoyed herself.  (Distance 10 miles)  Wednesday 10th May (Sivota to Kioni)  After Neil getting his breakfast in, a shopping trip for essentials, a quick morning brief we attempted a departure  with final success after disentangling crossed anchor chains and having to find and cancel battery alarms. But out  and clear of the land, sails were hoisted and “Kilifi” lifted up her skirts and was off like a greyhound south to the  island of Ithaka.  The dolphins put in an appearance albeit brief.  We had a lunch and swim stop behind one  church island, Ak Nicholas, before continuing past Frikes and into Kioni. Last in again. To get all the fleet in the  same place we were honeycomb parked. First yachts in moored with bow anchor down and two stern lines to the  quay in a standard Mediterranean moor fashion. The last boats in, being ourselves, came in with the bow  between two boats. Tom our engineer then carried out our kedge anchor. Two head lines, two spring lines and the  kedge taut, we were all fast and secure for the night.  Kioni village and harbour lies just S of Ormos Frikes and  the village is a gem, an amphitheatre of houses built around the steep slopes of the bay, the slopes and the valley  behind planted in olive groves with the odd tall cypress poking through.  An evening meal of Mousaka at “The  Mills” before retiring for the night.   (Distance 9 ½ miles)  Thursday 11th May (Kioni to Kalamos) An early morning stravaig along the front found the jewellery shoppy but was  not to the bairns taste therefore  would appear to be no bullion purchases this trippy, much to Neil’s relief.  Instead, more essential supplies from  the local store and a purchase of spinach and cheese pies from the baker yum yum. Continue to eek out our  meagre water stock. We departed Kioni and had sails up for a gentle sail to the East towards Kalamos. With an  expectation of a downwind sail in a westerly breeze we had a South East which eventually died to nothing.  Engine on and a motor into Port Leoni for lunch and swim stop.  Port Leoni is a deserted village on the south side of Kalamos. Deserted by the people after the water supply was  cut off subsequent to the big earth quake of 1953. It was a peaceful stop with “Sarah” rafting onto “Kilifi” again.  It was peaceful that was until “Anchor Man” arrived in his motor yacht. Anchor down, anchor up, anchor down,  anchor up, anchor down……….too much for the bairn so the Western Australia Police Pipe Band was broken out of  the box. This led on to the dancing in the cockpit which Angus managed to video and post on facebook. One of  the finer moments of the trip but dad slept through it all.  From our anchorage we could see a lot of rubbish on the beach including an old deck chair. Now we had told Sam  about the Lady Boubalina escapade in the Saronics when we found a chair, so he challenged us to find him one. A  wee dingy trip ashore and “Kilifi” had acquired the chair.  In the late afternoon we motored to the village of Kalamos, which serves as the island capital, on the East coast  of Kalamos Island As we motored into the port Mairi had taken up station seated on the foredeck in the deck  chair. Once moored the chair was presented to the lead crew whereupon Tom could be seen driving the rib  around the harbour perched on his new seat. Mooring in Kalamos was alongside rafting and as we were last in  again we were 4th off.   The evening started off with a cocktail competition on the quay. Things were going well  until “Kilifi” lowered the tone and presented the Stroupie cocktail which meant, as Celt was the official taster,  Celt landed up with the plastic stroupy wedged, by the bairn, in his mouth. Sam the skipper and Martha the  skipper trainer, were previously alerted and were able to post the pictures around the whole Neilson fleet within  30 minutes. Hopefully we have not seriously damaged Celt’s mental condition nor his future prospects with  Neilson’s. After the rains fell we went ashore to George’s restaurant for more Mousaka and prawn saganaki. After George’s  we spent a bit of time at one of the local bars on the quay with a beer, the lead crew and some other flotilla  members before clambering quietly over 3 boats to find “Kilifi”.   (Distance 17 miles)  Friday 12th May (Kalamos to Little Vathi)  In the morning the new dingy was launched and Doddie and Mairi went for a circumnavigation of Kalamos  harbour, dumping rubbish in the bins on the far side and searching for fresh water. Thinking they had found a  source the circumnavigation was completed and Doddie headed forth to find a container and water to replenish  the water tank on “Kilifi” which was now dry. With 30 litres of success Neil and Doddie proceeded to the brief. Go  to Little Vathi and don’t go inside the little island or you will run aground was the instructions, no mention of the  risk of howling gusts of wind in the North Kalamos channel. After watching the privateers untrachling their  anchors we departed.  With full main and no genoa we headed north and into the jaws of death. To be fair we did see the gusts up  ahead just before they struck. “Kilifi” rounded beautifully with the top rail in the water, the bairn nearly  disappearing overboard in her dookers, with the call of **** me my IPAD and seconds later, head to wind, all  personnel accounted for and the bairns IPAD still dry we decided that 2 reefs would be prudent. As we had seen  over 30 knots on the clock we put out a warning to the fleet behind us most of whom ignored the shout with one  in particular managing a beautiful 360°. We cleared the channel and rolled out a bit of genny and had a cracking  sail across to Meganissi in force 5 to 6.  As it was cloudy we didn’t have a lunch stop and for once were first in. However, not being certain of where we  were supposed to berth we dropped anchor just outside the port as the rain came on. With the shower passed,  yacht ”Caroline” identified “Karnagio’s” pontoon as the place to be. Mairi questioned her crew as to whether  anybody had paid any attention at the brief. Doddie claimed lead crew’s artistry was questionable as they hadn’t  drawn on the muckle headland between the port and Karnagio’s. Anyway anchor up and stern moor with lazy  lines to Karnagio’s restaurant meant that lunch was available ashore. Neil had succulent leg of lamb with Mairi  and Doddie on Greek salads. The afternoon was spent lazing, finally finding a water hose to fill water tanks and  generally lazing in the sun. The evening meal was a return to Karnagio’s although by this time Neil wis nae weel  and didna get any supper. Broad Bean starter followed by stiffado for supper was beautiful with the bairn  discovering a prosecco source and endeavoured to eliminate it. Karnagio’s subsequently got a 5 on Trip Advisor.  (Distance 13 miles)  Saturday 13th May (Little Vathi to Vounaki)  With Karnagio’s having WIFI access all e-mails etc were caught up with. For a change all of “Kilifi’s” crew  attended the brief in the restaurant. Neil by this time was a tad hungry so ordered up a special omelette for his  breakfast. As the prosecco source had failed to be eliminated the previous night and as it was last port Mairi and  Doddie decided to have a wee prosecco with Neil deciding it was a good idea to wash doon his breakfast with a  wee white, since it was our last port you see. Well the 9AM briefing was just about to start when “Kilifi’s”  breakfast appeared which earned a round of applause from the rest of the fleet!!!  With briefing complete, breakfast finished and bills paid, we assisted “Sarah” out of her berth before releasing  “Kilifi” and heading to sea for the last day. Heading North on engine and no sails as it was flat calm we proceeded  to goat bay with thoughts, a wee tear and a sniff, of Tom who passed away here on our last holiday in 2013. The  goats are still there but the small restaurant on the shore has gone. We slowly motored on to the next bay before  dropping anchor for a lunch stop. Still flat calm and in sunshine we lunched and swam with Willy and the rubber  ring. Sadly we eventually departed to head for home base at Vounaki. Sam our lead skip mentioned that he had  heard there was a mankini onboard and they had all seen Neil’s rubber frogs head which he had a want to go  swimming with. Sam suggested if these items were to be aired then he would berth us outside the main office.  So en-route to Vounaki we made a paper replacement name of “BORAT” and covered up “Kilifi” with the stern  fender. The stroupy of cocktail fame was lashed to centre point of the wheel, Neil wore the frog’s head and  rubber ring and as for Doddie who was driving……….  We entered the marina stern first to berth alongside the 3 lead crew boats outside the main office, to a round of  wolf whistles and the lead crew waiting to take our ropes heard to say “Oh god! Is he wearing a mankini and  speedos?” They then spotted the stroupy and the bairns scrunchy beaver which was jammed between the speedos  and the mankini, it was hilarious!! There was much flashing of cameras whilst Mairi, for once, decided someone  had to be sensible and did the mooring ropes.  After things settled we were able to get hot showers and tidied up before a cocktail party ashore where Pimm’s  punch was served declared mingin by the bairn so her and Neil went onto beer. With Pimm’s finished we all  moved along the beach to the barabeque, except for Neil who decided he wis afa tired. It really was an excellent  barbeque with reasonable wine. The presentation of prizes for the week then took place with Bev wining the  enthusiasm award and “Kilifi” aka “Borat” winning the class act. Being our last night Doddie, Mairi, Bev and  Angus headed into Palairos which is a small village beside Vounaki, and has a small harbour and sits under the  high mountains in the NE of Ormos Palairos.  We arranged to go with the lead crews although we initially lost  them but on finding them again in the second bar the dancing started with Mairi and Martha doing “Summer of  69” with accompanying air guitars. With co-ordination becoming an issue Bev and Angus took a taxi back to  “Sarah” and Mairi and Doddie walking back at 2AM with some of the other flotilla folks.  (Distance 11 miles)  Sunday 14th May (Vounaki to London) We were up again at 6AM having been eaten alive by mosquitos. Packing was undertaken unenthusiastically with  the masks and snorkles unfortunately being left behind. As we were up we felt our lead crew should be up as well  so with the collaboration of Martha who went aboard and turned on their radio we gave them a blast of Captain  Pugwash on their working channel.  Neil by this time was very hungry so we went for a nice buffet breakfast in the restaurant. With “Kilifi” vacated  and bags stacked ashore we took up station beside the child free infinity pool for the day swimming and sleeping  in the sun. A beautiful hot and sunny day. The marina at Vounaki has a hotel, pools and beach activities. The  hotel and infinity pool is perched up the hill from the marina so affords beautiful panoramic views over the sea.   With the middle of the afternoon it was time for showers, to say our goodbyes and catch the sad bus to the  airport and our flight to London.  Until the next time……..