The couple-breaking cocktail!
We left Leros at the beginning of August and started our journey towards Sicily. The first few days were great: just the right amount of wind to sail pleasantly.
We spent the first night in Amorgos, in the beautiful bay of Ormos Kalotiri, SE of Nisis Nikouria. The passage has very shallow waters and it is advisable to keep close to the northern side of Nikouria island. We crossed in the middle where the water is just above 1 metre deep. Our draught is 1.20 mt, I still don’t know how we managed not to touch the sea bed!
We had previously visited Amorgos- the monastery carved in a cave on a steep promontory dominating Agia Anna, the cute little kora with its narrow streets and picturesque houses, the turquoise water and wild nature, the Diomarini’s taverna and its seafood!- so although the temptation to stop again for a few days was very strong, we continued towards Ios.
We were all energised at the idea of getting to Sicily and we thought it’d be quite easy – couple of weeks and we’d be there! I had family and friends waiting for me there, longing for a comfortable sail aboard our Gladan.
The second night at Ios we were at anchor again. We got there late in the afternoon, just in time for a swim before a nice dinner at one of the tavernas on the long, sandy beach of Manganari.
Folegandros was our next stop and we decided to spend the night in the port as the wind was going to pick up at night.
The small port can’t fit more than 10 boats, but the port captain tried to squeeze in as many yachts as possible so we were all on top of each other.
He wasn’t very helpful during the mooring manoeuvres: he would move around lazily and clumsily, shouting at us to get closer to the other boat instead of helping with the ropes.
Gc got upset and his Italian half took over the English aplomb: he started shouting something not very complimentary back at him. Luckily enough he did so in Italian and the guy didn’t understand or pretended not to.
Our neighbours happened to be Italians and they did understand! They started giggling while helping us with the ropes. Eventually we moored and settled in the port.
Mooring is always a tricky time. Even the more experienced sailors and solid couples put their relationship at risk every time they enter a crowded port. Even more so if the wind is blowing.
Here is the perfect couple-breaking cocktail: a crowded port, badly designed pontoons and wind blowing at 25+ knots. In these circumstances, it is 100% sure that the couple won’t talk to each other for at least a night. There is a 50% chance that she might end up sleeping in another cabin, and a 25% chance she will pack her staff and leave without even turning to say bye.
We have seen couples shouting at each other all sort of swearing words and coming up with new ones we never heard of. Sailors do have loads of time in their hands to be creative that way!
We have seen couples pushing each other out of the way – normally men do that to the ‘silly women who can’t understand anything and can’t even follow simple instructions’…just quoting some sailors here!
Normally it’s all over once the ropes are safely secured to the pontoon and the engine is switched off.
That’s when the man tidies up bits and pieces, turns the navigation instruments off and starts flavouring the well deserved cold beer after a long day at sea. The woman on the other hand, withdraws to her cabin cursing the man, the bloody boat, the day she decided to move on the bloody boat.
Why couldn’t I just stay in London with my friends and my reassuring routine…Ops, I gave myself away, didn’t I?
Couple of beers later, the man is quite relaxed and has forgotten what happened before. He is breathing in the sea air while polishing the boat, stopping from time to time to contemplate her: she’s definitely the most beautiful on earth, her shapes, those morbid curves, the big hulls, how could he do without her? What would his life mean without her, the boat!
He suddenly realises that it is unusually quiet around him. Wasn’t there someone else on the boat? And isn’t it dinner time yet?
The woman is still in the cabin pretending to watch a movie while thinking she’ll be leaving the following morning. He peeks in and asks her what is she up to.
Time has come for THE confrontational talk: the post-mooring debrief.
She dries her tears away and sits at the table listening to his lectures on ‘how to moore best’.
Reluctantly she somehow ends up agreeing with him and can hear herself saying ‘ ok, we’ll try to communicate better next time’. Next time? Next time? You silly woman! You have been tricked into it again….