I thought I would tell you a little more about our winter so far in Leros. We have chosen the small harbour (Lakki Marine) and there are only three or four boats staying here over the winter period. So far, the weather has been amazing although we have now got winds forecast for the next week.
This morning I had my first attempt at Med mooring (with me steering). It was a beautiful morning and we had to move along the harbour wall to a slightly safer spot. We made a plan to go out for a motor, empty our holding tanks and come back into the new position. I thought it might be good practice if, when we released our lines, I drove forward and then back into position as if to moor up but with Paul by my side making sure I was doing the right thing.
Apparently driving our boat is very similar to driving a tank and with two engines and two levers, you can turn on a sixpence. Of course, most of the time you don’t want to turn on a sixpence, what you want to do is hold the boat still when the wind is trying to push you off somewhere.
For those of you experienced in driving tanks, these manoeuvres will be a piece of cake. For those of you, like me, who are much more comfortable riding a horse than driving a tank, then you will understand my nervous approach.
The practice run went very smoothly and I thought that actually driving a tank wouldn’t be quite as confusing as first thought. However on our return it was rather more difficult. I managed to keep TopCat straight whilst reversing. I was nervous about going to close to the pontoon as I wouldn’t be ‘TopWife’ if I bashed the boat on the concrete wall. I was still a little bit far away but Paul threw his first stern line to the waiting gang ready to catch the ropes. (I am sure they were just there to watch to see a woman driving). So with our port stern line attached, Paul took the port lazy line to the front of the boat and secured the front.
Had I better explain lazy lines? The difference with using lazy lines means that you don’t put your anchor out to hold you away from the wall, you find ropes in the water attached to blocks which will hold you out. This is obviously important if you are going to be there for any length of time so you aren’t putting excess strain on your anchor chain.
However, in this instance, we (meaning Paul) secured the first lazy line whilst we were too far out and when we tried to go back towards the quay we couldn’t. We pulled the rope so tight we then had a problem trying to release it so that we could go back. So it actually took us a while to adjust all of the ropes and get us into the right position. The good thing for me, was there was no way I was going to hit the quay whilst tied so tightly with the lazy lines. The second good thing was I didn’t have to deal with the mucky, dirty ropes, the straining and pulling trying to loosen them and the embarrassment of not throwing the stern lines far enough because we were too far from the quay. So all in all, I got the easy ride and gained a little bit more confidence with close manoeuvring, while Paul pulled and tugged at ropes, got wet and dirty, strained and struggled to get us into place. I guess I know I will be better when Paul gets an easy job doing the ropes too.
With the boat now in position I went for a lovely swim around the corner and spent the afternoon playing around with some of the photographs I have been taking.
The best thing about being here this month is that I have a beautiful walk in the mornings with Lilly and have been able to take some great photos on the way. Because my photo taking is so awful, I have signed up for an online course to take great photos with the iPhone. I am so pleased with the results so far, it is such fun turning a mundane photo into a spectacular one but also you start to see everything in a new light. Will that make a good photo? Is that light good? Can I get a reflection or a shadow?
So I have even more entertainment to keep me amused and the best thing is it is just using my old phone. Hopefully you can now enjoy more of my morning walks with Lilly now.
Preparing for the Southerlies
Lakki on Leros, is pretty protected. It has been completely calm here for the month we have been here. The predominant winds from the North don’t affect us at all. When the wind moves around to the South however and the South West, we have been warned it becomes very rolly.
The main street begins ‘battening down the hatches’. They know if the wind turns then rocks and waves batter the town and the sheltered harbour becomes a storm scene. We are used to watching the weather having lived in Falmouth. Storms often gave us bumpy nights although only one or two a year were so bad we couldn’t sleep. (There was one fateful night in Falmouth, before we took residence there when the pontoon was actually ripped from it’s holding and damaged multiple boats as it dragged them down under water).
With the concrete pontoons in Greece this is not likely to happen, but being ‘stern to’ makes securing your boat more difficult and being alongside concrete pontoons means you can’t afford any rubbing alongside whatsoever. So this calls for a different tactic.
First of all we secure extra lazy lines to the front of the boat. Then we attach extra mooring lines from the bow to the quay to help prevent us being swept sideways. So we currently have 3 lazy lines, 4 stern lines and one additional bow line to hold us steady.
It is unfortunate that I chose this rocky day to make a video about my homeopathic app. Trying to video keeping the phone and iPad still in rolly waves, I have discovered, is quite difficult. If you didn’t have vertigo before watching the video, you may well have afterwards! Because we are used to the movement we really don’t notice it … everything moves … so it becomes the norm. Occasionally I am reminded that this is not normal and might be frustrating for others to watch.
The south winds have bought with them, rain. We haven’t had rain for months, this is the first rain since the beginning of September. That was 24 hours of wet! I do have to say …. It rather reminds me of home!
The wind, rain and consequent fall in temperature has meant that we have had to drag out the jeans and jumpers. Although walking in a jumper and waterproof is far to warm. The temperature now is still 21 inside the boat although it did drop to almost 12 last night. Let’s face it, it is not cold, and although a bit damp, as soon as the sun pops out, everything dries out again and we all warm up again.
The up side is I get to practice with my photography of clouds …. after so many blue skies this is a great treat!
Dark & Stormy Photos
Is that rain on it's way?
Rushing home before the weather gets here
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