A futile task trying to stay up to date. This internetted world provides no excuse to leave stones unturned... but most stones hide others, or have neighbours that beckon attention. For today I give up. Surrender. A slightly tired update this. Pictures and a few words, and many thank yous.
Stavros / Lake Volvi
Stay with and am looked after once again by Thomas, Stavroula, Kostas at Volvi lake. Some repairs: inject epoxy in a bit of soft deck. Put a wrap of glass around boom head to restore clamp to secure fit. Even go foil windsurfing: good fun but no substitute for the all purpose Phantom.
Paralia Ofriniou - Pirate Bar
A couple of days paddling to get here, but dolphins on the way, and a room to stay in thanks to windsurfer Alexandros and family. Night are now chilly, so buy an additional pullover. Quite enjoye the retail therapy. Rainy.
Eleftheron hot springs
Favourable wind direction for a few miles, before the Aegean normal - a headwind - is restored. Thunderstorm brewing above a kink in the coast. Count seconds between flash and rumble: a tolerable 6 seconds. Stay close in, but then torrential rain arrives and a near-simultaneous bolt provides clarity that sailing time is up. Cold! Wow, really cold. The rain sucks away body heat. A kind couple who had been about to alert coastguard instead supply hot tea.
Then contacts Tasos and Christos track me down by car, and say to jump in. I've no idea what's going on. Standard.
We head up a valley into the woods, to an abandoned military camp. Buildings covered in graffiti. Dogs. Pissing rain. A guy called Babis is located and unpadlocks a door. Christos sets a fire in the cement and draincover homebuild woodburner, then undresses and dons a fluffy bathrobe. I have my modest towel. Now back to the 4x4. Re-cross the swollen river. A dead end track. Not sure I like this.
But a few metres more and we reach the steaming geothermal pools. A steady 42º apparently. Wonderful! Close to perfect! Just let down by the discarded rubbish - a blemish so often observed it no longer surprises.
The boys leave. Now warm to the core I unstuff sleeping bag, cook expedition mash and tinned fish in the little room, and when the candle burns out am asleep.
Nea Iraklitsa (Kavala west)
Walk to coast road and thumb a lift to where the board is. Forecast is too much wind (yes, headwind) but it looks OK close in and it's a horrible cold day so not much fun for sitting about. Plenty of snow from around 400m. Extra layer means body is OK but the hands... oh how the hands suffer! Regular 30 shakes per hand to stave off the aches. Still, there's wind enough to slam though the tight swell. Until 12nm further on - at the next headland - where the wind becomes chaotic and the sea stomach-churning ugly. Patience to get through it. And finally - from the bay where I land - an offshore wind in laminar flow grooms the sea into a predictable short-fetch chop. Another different world.
Lovely support here from Makis, Claudia and family, and others. Even a Christmas tree. I stay another day - let this cold snap recede and awkward sea subside.
Very light headwinds. Three days paddling or near hopeless zigzags to reach here. After first day Tasos takes me back to stay with the family. Enjoy a few minutes helping out with English homework! Next night on a remote beach behind an air base and nature reserve. Cold *cold!* night. Then finally Keramoti, where North Sailing put me up in a yacht. No wind again. Ioannis who I met on the Ioanian side comes to say hello, with brother Dimitri and we do Pita Souflaki for dinner.
Today: catching up, writing this, considering potential complications for the border crossing to Turkey, a sail delivery, and the challenge of staying warm and healthy.