All that talk of walking the plank was really tempting fate wasn’t it.  After three years of living on a boat … I fell in!  Shopping and all!

It was one of those days, the wind was blowing, we were safely moored up, we decided to go shopping.  Usually I hate shopping so this should have been a warning for me.  I bought clothes, pottery, food and a few boats bits.  We came back fully laden.

Paul passed me his bags as he went to lower the passerelle firmly onto the quay.  I (sensibly) put the food bags down and (stupidly) kept one bag in each hand as I stepped onto the passerelle. 

We re not sure what happened next, whether a gust sent the passerelle rolling or a wave hit and knocked it, but in true slow motion fashion I tipped to the left (if I had gone to the right I would have landed in the dinghy) and went crashing into the sea. One bag landed in the dinghy but my pottery went flying out and into the water.

(Beautiful quiet streets of Pythagorean.  This is much better than seeing a photo of me falling off the passerelle)!

I have always had a fear of falling in and getting caught under the boat.  I knew it had to happen sometime and actually this was the nicest way for it to happen.  I was wearing my big Cuba Coat which very nicely brought me back to the surface quickly.  I was able to swim easily to the sugar scoop and was able to haul myself in without the ladder being down.   Paul has always insisted that we test the ladder that we are able to pull it down into position when we are in the water as they are useless if you can’t.   However, the catamaran is shaped with a very low platform (the sugar scoop) and it was surprisingly easy.    I was of course much more concerned at losing my pottery but luckily the nice lady had wrapped it in bubble wrap and it was bobbing gently down the quay.  An easy reach with the boat hook.

The lucky thing was that there was only 3 people in the cafe opposite watching, so my embarrassment was not to noticeable.  Two hours later there were over 50 people in there, I am not sure if we had become the entertainment of the day or if this was a coincidence.

The good news was that I was unhurt and unflustered.  I felt good about having survived the fall, the splash and the cold water, I was pleased I had been able to climb out of the water with ease.  I felt it had been a good ‘mob’ situation and 1st attempt at falling in.  I am now more aware that we need to practise ‘mob’ when sailing as this might be much more problematic turning the boat around for a rescue.

The port police had been tied up alongside us and obviously rushed to help and make sure I was ok.  They explained that they were in fact Swedish and having completed 4 months stint on Samos were actually packing up and heading back to Sweden, boat and all.  We asked them about the immigrants they had been bringing in, having seen lots arriving in Leros over the winter we had seen just one boat being towed in in Samos.

The story is as you would expect.  The immigrants (only 4% are fleeing from war zones), pay a huge amount of money to be put on a large inflatable boat in Turkey.  These are nothing more than huge dinghies which can barely cope with the big seas here during the winter.  One of the eighty or so people onboard are told to drive in a particular direction.  This happens at night.  A few are picked up by the coastguard and bought into the islands, usually because the engine has failed or ran out of fuel, many do make it to the Islands of Greece and beyond.  As they are loaded onto the boat, they are told that if anyone falls in they must keep driving.  The boats are so overloaded it is unsafe to try to turn without further loss of life.  The inflatable boats are Chinese, they are shipped in every week and used for one journey only.  This seems to be a huge, lucrative business making huge amounts of money, with less risks to the dealers than drug dealing. 

Having spoken to one of the officers helping to sort paperwork for the immigrants in Leros, he had explained that most of the people coming in at the moment are from the Gaza Strip.  In Leros, they are given accommodation whilst their papers are sorted before being moved on to other parts of Europe.  In Leros, we met quite a few families who were given accommodation in the town and they were always very polite and friendly.

So now we are heading back South to meet with Sophie (my daughter) who is flying in to Kos to spend some time on the boat.    We have had another fantastic week in Lipsi (the little island we love) and we have got to know a few locals here.  We found everyone on Lipsi is so generous and helpful.  Everyone is happy and smiley as they prepare for the holiday season to begin.  We are loving the green spring here in Greece even though we keep having gusty gales, torrential downpours and big waves!  We hope that it will all begin to calm soon and we can go back to anchoring in the little bays in turquoise waters!

We are Free to Sail 57

We are Free to Sail 57

We are back on anchor and free to sail.  (In the image above is the bay we are now sitting in). Well that is the theory anyway!  In reality we need to do another shop and we need to pick up a parcel that hasn’t arrived yet So in the meantime we can test all of our...

The Sunday Lunch Club 56

The Sunday Lunch Club 56

Overwintering on a boat in Samos Marina, on the beautiful Greek island of Samos could be quite a lonely affair if it wasn’t for the live-aboard community, let’s refer to them as the ‘exuberant partakers of the odd libation’.... so one naturally forms, The Sunday Lunch...

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