Sailing the Mediterranean

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Flag of Greece  , Dodecanese,
Thursday, May 26, 2011

I had organized to be a crew member aboard a 50ft sailing yacht for a month. This had always been a dream of mine and I remember when I left NZ on my trip I made it my goal to try sail on a boat at some point.

The way it works with crew is that we share the costs of everything; food, fuel, mooring costs etc. So I emailed Malcolm asking whether I could join his boat and he told me how much it would cost. I replied saying that I couldn't afford that price but offered to work double the work in exchange for a discount. He made me a counter offer that I meet him 4 days before we sailed and spent those days cleaning and getting it ready for sea. This suited me fine so I booked a flight and headed off to Kos, Greece.

When I arrived there I was told by a Greek friend of mine that everyone speaks english or German so i had no problem being understood. I took a bus to the town and then asked around and walked to the marina. When I asked at the boat named Freya, I was greeted by Malcolm who was very friendly and open and showed me to my cabin.

The boat was dirty as it had been moored up all winter, but the inside was very nice and because malcolm lives on it by himself it's a real mans boat. It had everything you needed. Good sound system inside and out with an iPod dock, wireless, a tv (could only use that when we were on mainshore power) so I was pretty happy.

The next 4 days we just cleaned. The routine would be: wake up, musli, clean, lunch, clean, dinner, have a beer and sleep. I was polishing the stainless steel, scrubbing the desks, and dingy, waxing the fiberglass, shopping and I cooked dinner. Looking back I really enjoyed those days though. It was nice to do some physical labour after all the traveling and it's always rewarding to see the end result. Malcolm had spent many years traveling so at nights we would swap stories and we got on really well.

The funniest thing we did was do the shopping for provisions for boat. I have never laughed so much in a supermarket. We rented a little jeep and headed to the supermarket. He told me that things were cheaper in Kos so we were going to stock up on everything that would keep. There would be 7 people on the boat when we sailed so thats a lot of food. It took some getting used to this type of shopping. For example he would tell me to go get some cartons of fruit juice. I would come back with 3 cartons and malcolm would laugh at me. The way it was meant to be done is you drive you cart over to to stack of juices and throw in as many cartons you can and then some more. We went down the isles like this and anything that looked good and would last we would grab around 15 of and chuck in. This same rule applies to beer cans so in the end we had about 300 cans for the two of us :D happy days. So in the end we finally carted two carts of food to the checkout and then chucked it all in the back of the little jeep Which filled it right up. Then we did the same with meat and later the same with fruits and veges. When we brought it to the boat we first put all the food in the lounge and it was literally a mountain of food. I will upload photos when I can.

When the boat was clean and filled with provisions, the rest of the crew arrived which consisted of A cool English guy Paul, the kiwi nightmare allison (I'll explain later) and then malcolms family which consisted of Phillip, antony and gill.

When we finally left it was great to get onto the water and start sailing. So far I have learnt a lot and had really enjoyed myself. We always anchor somewhere else overnight so we get to see many different places and we often stop In a secluded bay somewhere for lunch I have seen some of the clearest water I have ever seen in my life.

Paul had some experience and so Malcolm mostly taught him and he was normally the one who put the anchor up and down and then when he left after ten days, he taught me what he had learned and now I am the one the anchor (all it involves is pressing a button and directing malcolm which was to steer but it's still cool to have some responsibility).

I was having a really good time and everyone gets on really well but it was soon clear that the new zealand woman Allison was a little... Different. She got on most peoples nerves and soon people started keeping their distance. I kinda felt sorry for so from time to time I would sit with her and have chat. I didn't think she was that bad but malcolm did and that was a problem as she had signed on to Sail with him for 3 months.. After I leave I will try keep in contact with him and I'm sure that he will lose it some point and throw her overboard. We will see.

Because I was paying a reduced rate from everyone else I was sleeping in the smallest bunk bed on board which I named 'the shelf'. I named it this because it really looks like a shelf that's on the side of the boat. If you can imagine it's about the width of me and has a strong but of fabric on the side which you tie up to if you roll over you don't fall out and on top of the person sleeping the bed below you. I have no problem sleeping in whatsoever and it did sound quite funny when At night I would say goodnight and say I was off to the shelf. Or when Paul left I yelled "woohoo I'm off the shelf" however now whenever im joking around with Malcolm and being a bit cheeky he can threaten to put me back on the shelf.

So far the sailing has been pretty easy going without trouble but apart from one morning. I was happily sleeping (not on the shelf) and suddenly I hear Malcolm: "Tim sorry to wake you so early (9am!) but we have a squall heading for us" jumped out and was thinking crap a squall! So I put some shorts on and ran to deck. While I was running I realized that I had no idea what the hell a squall was so... But whatever it was it sounded like it was bad. Maybe a dangerous fish or a viscous bird. So while running I grabbed a spatula from the kitchen and jumped into the cockpit and was ready for battle. I looked around and realized that a squall was just a small storm so I just had to be ready to raise anchor if we needed to move. So I decided to go for a morning swim and got my togs on and went onto the platform at the back. Just as I was about to jump off malcolm said that the anchor was slipping and we had to go. So in my togs I walked to the front, raised the anchor and we were off again. Don't worry, I managed to get that swim later in another bay.
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thelma van der Werff on

I am so pleased to read you are enjoying yourself! Could not stop laughing about the squall! Well, good term, get back on your shelf....will remember that one!
big hug je moesje

jos on

well done Tim and thanks for the update. Can't wait to see the pictures....
See you in 2.5 weeks in Holland.

Leopoldine Arco on

Wau wie aufregend,wenn man etwas wirklich will klappt es.Wann kommst Du wieder in den Hafen der Familie zurück?Gratuliere zu diesen phantastischen Erfahrungen.>Servus Puppe

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