Kithera, Greece

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Kalamata People

10 May 2014

This morning the tall black man who seems to go to his work along the marina road, passed the boat; I waved and said good morning whilst Bob turned and shouted ‘Peperuka’ to him, at which he took a little skip and waved his hands as if they were rising in the air. He kept walking and looked quite funny, so neat and light on his feet for a tall, well-built man.

                It seems he had asked Bob the previous day what language the name Peperuka was from, to which the reply was, ‘Swahili.’ The man had then made this rising hands gesture. He’d known the meaning. And now it had become a joke.

                The German couple who we met before the winter have left for Crete this morning saying, ‘See you around.’ We intend to leave tomorrow. We don’t know their names either or the name of their boat.

                The boy from Bangladesh sped by me as I was walking to the showers, flashing his wide and very white smile at me.

                We decided to take a bus to the market which is about two and a half miles away. While we were at the bus shelter looking at the timetable the bus sped round the corner and didn’t stop. It wasn’t a help that I was looking for it to my right or that we were not sure how to stop it. A Greek family came along, the mother sat on the seat in the shelter while the daughter actually stood in the road to make sure the bus would stop.

                For the first time we bought beetroot complete with leaves which I have boiled and it’s very tasty. The colour makes it quite exciting to peel and cut. I thought it would make such a mess but cleaned up quite the thing. We also bought a large bunch of broccoli (about nine inches in diameter), fruit and meat but no fish as we wonder about making a mistake and there being too many bones; we are too used to buying fish in packets.

                The boy from Bangladesh asked me if we ate fish and I replied that we did. I asked him if he was a fisherman but he said no, not here. It doesn’t take long to get to know people in a new place.

Kalamata Marina, Greece

Another day of working on the boat. Today Bob washed all the cockpit covers and sail bags. It was a good drying day. A little splash of rain at about 7pm which means the BBC weather app was wrong as it gave rain at 3pm. Windy with a south-westerly.

      Last night we spent about two hours trying to fix the cooker – only three burners work. Bob had posted the spare part from Force Ten and we had the internet site with instructions open. Firstly, the instructions were wrong as there were no screws on the front, only bolts which couldn’t be loosened to lift the top. Then the part could not be fitted. Bob put all the burners back together.

       After that, when Bob went up to the cockpit a can of lubricant had sprayed itself empty all over the wooden seating and the covers, so out with the hose. And that was why the covers were washed this morning. The boat is still a mess.

       We did work together to repair the fridge and the pan lids that had the top (handles) broken off. Used epoxy adhesive that had come from South Africa with the boat.

       I read another of the short stories for Farhana’s anthology. Only Sue and I have posted for the Tiree Tattlers anthology. I wrote a list for the story about the fostered child on Tiree though it’s not complete. I discussed with Bob the story of Alana and Moon River.

Messing about in boats

That’s what we’ve been doing since 29th April and it’s now 8 May 2014. This morning Yannis came to help with the sails and ropes. Then the electrician came to be paid for the work he’d done on the main board. And now the marina specialists, who were originally here to change the oil in Peperuka’s engine, but over an hour later they are still here – the boss, the actual work expert and the gopher, as Bob calls him.

       The impeller needed changing and was in pieces, the toilet pump was replaced making the process of emptying the bowl and filling again with sea water much easier on the muscles of the arms. And then they climbed into a bow locker to change some bolts there. In between I managed to have a chat in Hindi with the ‘gopher’ or engineer’s assistant who is from Bangladesh. I’d mentioned to Bob that the boy didn’t look Greek, he looked Indian. He is from Dacca, Bangladesh having left there four years ago to find work in Greece. It’s for the money he says, jobs are difficult to find in other parts of Europe so he’ll be here for a while.

       The boat is now messed up again. We have invited everyone to join us when they have time but I hope we’ll have tidied up by then.

       The excitement of the morning for everyone was a line of VIP Mercedes cars and 4x4s with huge, mean looking minders ranged along them. They waited for nearly an hour before a long, sleek black and white boat driven by uniformed Navy-type men brought four women, three with little dogs in their arms and a VIP man who all climbed aboard the cars and drove off. The sleek boat with three white-uniformed men left and returned in ten minutes bringing a teenage girl to the one car, and one bodyguard, that was left. I said to Bob, ‘She must have been the one who needed more sleep!’

       In the VIP cars that had waited for an hour was a family of a young couple and two little boys who we thought were going to the yacht that the others had come from but no they went away in the cars with the bodyguards (more of them than there were VIPs). It seems they were wealthy Greco-Russians whose large yacht was moored in the bay.

The Sea – the final frontier :)

I was born, and lived until I was five, in a landlocked state in India. No swimming – which probably accounts for my aversion to it as well as lack of ability – although, I have taken a mooring line that’s tied to a yacht and jumped into water to tie the boat up on rocks. But I always carry a ‘noodle’, a long piece of polyfoam which hitches under my armpits to keep me afloat. And Bob watches from the helm while he keeps the boat steady. I’m sure he would find a way to help me if I got into difficulties. He’d have to make the boat safe by which time I would surely drown – oh well, the sea is the final frontier after all.

           I am reading Sandra Clayton’s Dolphins Under my Bed in which she calls the sea ‘the final frontier’. It is the first in a series of books telling of her cruising adventures on a catamaran called Voyager with her husband David. This book follows their journey from England to the Mediterranean. Here is how Sandra explains why she started to write about their time on the sea:-

           ‘I found our experiences so new and captivating that the urge to write them down was irresistible. In addition, I knew that the many places we were visiting, often for a very short time, would quickly blur into a very few; which would be a pity because each was unique. And I knew that all the things that are happening to us would soon become a jumble, and could envisage a future time in which we would be unable to agree about what happened where and when and how and to which one of us, because memory is so fallible. And I feared that, with advancing age, memory might fail us altogether …’

         Enough said.

         So, in similar vein, here are Bob and I on Sailing Yacht Peperuka. The boat was built in South Africa, her name is the name of a wind in the language of Swahili. She was built in 2002 and sailed to the Mediterranean by her previous owner.

           This is Bob’s second summer season in the marina at Kalamata, Greece. Last year he arrived during the third week of July and sailed north around the Ionian waters with friends. I was awaiting publication of my book, Finding Takri and we had recently moved into a new house so I came in September to help put Peperuka on the hard for the winter.

         When we arrived in Kalamata on 29th April this year; the preparations for her summer season began.