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Category: 2018

A new crewmate aboard!!!

A new crewmate aboard!!!

An incredible story about rescuing, friendship, sailing and crocodiling.

This story started two days ago. Just after a stormy moment, we saw far away, a green buoy floating over the sea, trying as good as possible not to drown. The situation was obvious, “MAN OVER BOARD”, the captain shouted.

Used to training MOB (Man Over Board), the fantastic crew of La Bum decided to save this green buoy. By arriving closer, we understood this green buoy is nothing else than a crocodile.

Even if the weather was windy and the sea was wavy, Basile with his famous fisherman skills, harpooned the crocodile and brought it inside the ship.

Scene reconstruction

At this moment, none of the crew could imagine this crocodile would become so much more than a beach kid game.

After a few hours, the crocodile, welcomed by the whole crew, became a new member of La Bum. Very skilled as a helmsman or as a deckhand, trimming the sails, Crocodile has become an important member of the crew (maybe the most important one…).

This evening, Crocodile is cooking, preparing us some good pita breads and good burgers. A perfect Chef Cuistot!


Regardless of all the good things he does, Crocodile is cheeky, always trying to sleep in Luigi’s bed, or making pranks to Renato, he is at the center of our attention… All day-long.

Hopefully, Crocodile is going to find a new owner under 12 soon, to take care of him as he deserves!

At the moment Renato still tries to understand the situation… The senior crew is exhausted after two days of being with this new crew member. 

Ahoj!

Ahoj!

Sailing with a bunch of crazy Czech people on an Italian hippie-boat is quite an experience. ”Interesting”, as Julius Ceasar would say. Being the only non-Czech crew member on board, I was not so sure what to expect from this trip. It seemed a little contradictory: Czech and Sailing. On which sea did they learn that exactly? And do they realise that traffic rules can be of real importance here?

But as soon as we left the port of Preveza I discovered that the Czechs feel very comfortable and responsible on the water. It is not just a coincidence that the nautical greeting ”Ahoj” is one of the most commonly used Czech words to say hello. As a country of many rivers they have quite some experience of moving on water. And thus after some smooth manoeuvring through the Lefkas channel, the four beautiful red sails of La Bum were opened one by one, with Czech enthusiasm and professional care.

Before the sails could be opened the Czech flag had to be raised of course. Which seemed to be a big thing (also the flag itself, quite big. ..), including some singing of the national anthem. Such a small nation, yet so proud of their culture. The few times we met some other Czech people on the water, the happiness of recognition could not be bigger: ”Ahoj!!! Jak se mate?!! Dobry! Hezky! Krasny!” It is really a cuty crazy language to listen to.

While moving south slowly, from Meganisi to Ithaka and from Ithaka to Kefalonia, I started to feel more comfortable with these Czech sailors. They really have some good habits that I can get used to. For example, they always make sure there is some beer in the fridge (and some stronger drinks of course, beer is just for when you’re thirsty). Although I do not feel the need to drink it right after breakfast, it was great to have a tasty cold Mythos when arriving in one of the incredibly “krasny” bay of Assos (Kefalonia) or Lagana beach (Zakinthos).

During the last two days the Czechs proved themselves to be very tough as well. While sailing around Zakinthos and crossing the sea back to the mainland, the wind started to increase up to 20 knots, and waves achieved heights of 1 meter. La Bum was moving forward like a rollercoaster and the salty water was washing the deck. But no one was complaining. Only life jackets, a reefed main sail, and excited smiling faces were visible. The safe arrival to Killini had to be celebrated with some strong Metaxa, of course.

 
So okay, Czech people can sail. And their black sense of humour, mostly used to make fun of themselves, is actually also quite enjoyable. Sailing on a hippie-boat, raising the Czech flag, singing the national anthem, drinking beer instead of coffee, and screaming ahoj with proud while dominating the Ionian waves professionally. We should not take life too seriously, but enjoy it like the Czechs do. Ahoj!

La Bum under the castle of Assos
Meteora

Meteora

7/8 July – The World Heritage-listed Meteora is an extraordinary place and one of the most visited in all of Greece. The massive pinnacles of smooth rock are ancient and yet could be the setting for a futuristic science-finction tale. The monasteries atop them add to the strange and beautiful landscape.

Each monastery is built around a central courtyard surrounded by monks’ cells, chapels and refectory.

The name Meteora derives from the Greek adjective meteoros, which means “suspended in the air”. From the 11th century, hermit monks lived in the caverns of Meteora. The earliest monasteries were reached by climbing removable ladders. Later, wind-lasses were used so monks could be hauled up in nets.

These days, access to the monasteries is by steps that were hewn into the rocks in the 1920s and by a convenient road.

We stay in Kastraki, Meteora Hotel on a quiet cul-de-sac below the rocks, with great breakfasts and incredible view to Meteora.

We visit Moni Agiou  Nikolaou that is the nearest monastery to Kastraki, Moni Agias Varvaras Rousanou that is today home to an order of around 15 nuns, Moni Megalou Meteorou, the best known of the Meteora monasteries. This monastery is an imposing form built on the highest rock in the valley, 613 mt above the sea level. Founded by St Athanasios in the 14th century, it became the richest and most powerful monastery thanks to the Serbian emperor  Symeon Uros, who turned all his wealth over to the monastery and became a monk. We visit some other monasteries than stop due to Renato reached his limits.

Zagorohoria

Zagorohoria

6/7 July – The Zagorohoria’s 46 traditional stone-and-slate villages, tucked into the Pindos range, offer atmospheric accomodation, crisp alpine air, sublime views.

 Once connected only by mountain paths and stone bridges, they’re now connected by paved roads, some of which enjoy spectacular twists and turns. And turtles.

We book Arktouros Hotel in Monodendri, around 38 km north of Ioannina and we visit Mono Agia Paraskevi, a monastery with spectacular views over Vikos Gorge.

Agia Paraskevi has the oldest preserved church in Zagorohria. According to legend, Michael Voevodas Therianos founded it in 1413 to thank God for healing his dougther of an incurable illness.

Vikos Gorge is a river carved the 12 km long, 900 mt deep over millions of years, leaving cliffs and dephts. According to Guiness, it’s the world’s deepest canyon in proportion to its width. It begins south of Monodendri, running north until the Papingo villages.

We went to Megalo Papingo by road ribboning North offering Zagorohoria’s most breath-taking views. Megalo Papingo and Mirko Papingo -respectively, the large and the small -are two villages tucked into the Vikos-Aoos National Park at altitude of 960 mt. The most distinctive element of Papingo’s setting is the looming rock formations known as The Towers. The tallest is 1788 mt. We drive 1 Km to Micro Papingo up to natural pools fed by the Rogovo River. Many people were there swimming… not us…

Ioannina

Ioannina

5/6 luglio – Inizia il tour nel continente con la visita a Ioannina, la migliore città dell’Epiro per bere e mangiare, una grande varietà di storia e la bellezza è tranquillità del lungo lago.

All’arrivo si vede una imponente fortezza da cui spuntano i minareti e archi bizantini, il tutto contorno da montagne. Ioannina, fondata dall’imperatore bizantino Giustiniano nel sesto secolo, diventò un importante centro commerciale e culturale.

Gli ottoman la conquistarono nel 1430 e Ioannina di enne il centro culturale e artistico principale. Ioannina era conosciuta per la lavorazione dell’ argento e lo è tutt’ora. 

Nel 1789 il condottiero albanese Ali Pasha, approfittando del declino degli ottomani, ne fece la capitale del suo immenso feudo. La crudeltà di Ali era molto nota e sotto la sua guida Ioannina si sviluppò con brutal uccisioni di massa e torture. Nel 1822 fu ucciso dagli ottomani. I greci liberano la città nel 1912-13.

Nella cittadella fortificata abbiamo visitato la Moschea di Ali Pasha ora diventata sede del museo Bizantino, ed il museo delle lavorazioni dell’argento. 

Abbiamo cenato nella “Stoa Louli” con un passato storico importante di attività multiculturali trasformato ora in una caratteristica taverna.

Stoa Louli

Dopo cena obbligatorio il giro per locali del centro storico. Tutte le stradine del centro sono piene dei tavolini dei locali per bere e mangiare, occupati per la maggior parte da giovani, mai visto una cosa simile!

First days in Greece

First days in Greece

22/6 Corfu – N. Sivota

The first day of LEG 2. New crew, new skipper, new country to explore. We are leaving marina Gouvia in early afternoon to catch some nice breeze. We go out with the full sail to escape from a thunderstorm building up over Corfu. Roman and Blanka get initial training with sails. For the first night we chose to stay in a beautiful Blue Lagoon, an abandoned bay with turquoise water on N. Sivota near Mourtos. 

23/6 N. Sivota – Lakka (N. Paxos)

The second day comes with overcast and light rain. We see a thunderstorm over Corfu again and decide to stay in Blue Lagoon till the afternoon and use some afternoon breeze to take us down to Paxos island. Clouds break up and we go motorsailing with a light NW wind on beam reach to drop our anchor soon at another beautiful blue bay on Paxos island. On the way we switch off the engine in the middle of the sea and take a nice swim.

24/6 Lakka (N. Paxos) – Gaios (N. Paxos)

There’s not much wind predicted for today, so we don’t rush with waking up. We enjoy some swimming in the bay and because our French neighbors seems to be very annoyed when we switch on the engine to charge batteries, we are leaving to another amazing bay with beach, full of cyprus trees and nice bungalows. We clean a boat a bit, enjoy the water, sun and rest.

Increasing wind in the afternoon says we should move on. Our water tank and batteries are almost flat, so we head towards Gaios port. 

Unfortunately it’s not possible to get water and electricity here because all chip-cards are already distributed… Maybe tomorrow. We plan to stay here for one more day anyways. Clouds and some more rain is coming, so we’ll enjoy this gem island by our feet or wheels.

In the evening we have our first dinner outside. We are attracted by a grilled pork fatback (true Czechs, haha), and then we finish ourselves with insane waffels with icecream. This night we are all guilty of gluttony!

Albania

Albania

17 – 19 giugno

Prosegue il blackout internet. La navigazione procede a motore ma in buona parte con l’aiuto delle vele. Vento NW 6/12 nodi , mare 3.

Alle 8 di mattina siamo davanti il golfo di Valona e ci dirigiamo al molo secondario dove sono ormeggiate alcune barche turistiche. Subito diverse persone si danno da fare per aiutarci nell’ormeggio, tra cui un agente che ci spiega che le pratiche per l’ingresso non si possono fare personalmente. Alla mia insistenza di procedere in autonomia un militare del porto mi accompagna in Capitaneria.

In Capitaneria mi confermano che le pratiche vanno fatte tramite agenzia e così mi suggeriscono un agente che arriva prontamente.

Tutto procede bene e alla fine il costo sono 80 euro per l’agenzia, senza ricevuta, piu 10 euro in Capitaneria e altri 10 euro in Polizia, tutto senza ricevute. La Capitaneria però conferma che non ci saranno altri costi da sostenere negli altri porti…ma non sará così.

Terminate le pratiche di ingresso portiamo la barca nel marina di Orikum, unico marina dell’Albania.

Cena ad altissimo livello a base di pesce in un ristorante in riva al mare suggerito dal gestore del marina. Costi veramente contenuti. 

Tutto il fronte mare é stato rifatto con spiagge attrezzate, ristoranti, camping, ma dalla parte opposta della strada tutto come prima… a detta di Renato.. # il nulla #. 

La mattina seguente si naviga sotto costa per aumentare la probabilità di prendere un pesce ma…. senza risultati. 

Sosta per pranzo a Porto Palermo dove tentiamo di ormeggiare al vecchio molo davanti alla vecchia fortezza di Ali Pascià. Sorpresa! A sirene spiegate arriva subito una moto vedetta della marina che gentilmente ci invita a lasciare il molo in quanto diventato area militare. Non si capisce come mai lungo tutta la spiaggia, vicino al molo, sia permesso gestire un’area attrezzata per i bagni?? 

Alle 17:30 arriviamo finalmente a Saranda dove un locale agente ci indica un posto dove ormeggiare all’inglese. Tutto bene, peccato che ci chiedono altri 50 euro per servizi di agenzia!

Montenegro

Montenegro

15 – 16 Giugno
Inizia il black out internet con l’ingresso in Montenegro.

Ci siamo divertiti a veleggiare nelle bocche di Kataro con bel vento teso e niente onda, quasi come a Trieste.

Alla sera, come ogni ingresso ci ancoriamo nella baia Velika su 9 mt d’acqua. Marco e Mikaela decidono di fare un’escursione a terra e cosa scoprono?? Nell’isola ci sono tutti gli insediamenti abbandonati di un club Mediterrane che sembra sia stato abbandonato in tutta fretta. Ci sono ancora i menù nei tavoli nella sala da pranzo!

Purtroppo niente foto perché Mikaela e Marco non ce  le hanno lasciate.

Il giorno successivo niente vento così navighiamo a motore lungo le coste per approdare alla fine nel marina di Kotor.

Anche se sotto la pioggia qualcuno coraggiosamente affronta la salita al castello. La serata si chiude con un’ottima cena a base di pesce nella taverna Tiko Tako.