After a leisurely Christmas and New Year it was time for some much needed boat refit – plumbing, to be precise. We’re still in the middle of it, and that’s why I won’t go into any detail at this moment. I will write about the project later, when it’s finished. There hasn’t been much time for anything else besides drilling, screwing, demolishing and building during the last few weeks.
However, sometimes you need a little distraction from this kind of work. In our winter Marina in Messolonghi, there’s a small, but very nice cruising community, the first we’ve encountered during our journey. Here it manifests itself particularly with a weekly barbecue, usually on a Sunday – weather permitting, but the weather has mostly cooperated.
There’s a twice-weekly market in Messolonghi, with all kinds of local vegetables, fruit, dried beans, nuts, rice, spices, honey and sweets. The vegetables are fresh, juicy and delicious, and what’s more, really affordable! A backpack full of onions, potatoes, peppers, aubergines, pumpkins, lemons and other delicacies costs only a few euros. You can also find thick bushes of dill here, an integral part of many Finnish fish dishes, but it has been hard to come by since leaving the Baltic Sea behind. We always visit the market on Saturdays, in order to have fresh stuff for the barbecue. There are also several butcher shops, fish shops and bakeries in town, and, sure enough, we have our favourites among them. Seafood is reasonably priced around here, probably because there’s a lot of fish farming going on in the lagoons surrounding the town.
On a Sunday afternoon, there might be some sea bass, sea bream or prawns cooking in the barbecue, or perhaps some locally grown mountain lamb, Greek souvlaki, or tomahawk steaks, halloumi cheese, and of course, all sorts of different veggies. We enjoy the sunny day cooking, eating, talking and having a good time together. Gradually the day turns into a cool, blue Greek winter evening, and people slowly get back to their boats and turn on the heating. Our neighbours have become our friends, and it’s nice to know that many of them will be sailing in the same areas next summer where we plan to be.
Apart from boat projects, we’ve managed a few bike rides in the vicinity – nothing like last winter, though. The lagoons around Messolonghi are very interesting, with a lot of bird life, and picturesque, majestic mountains as a backdrop. Every now and then a calm, clear day makes the perfect setting for a photo session. We’ve heard this winter has been exceptionally warm and dry. We have indeed enjoyed plenty of sunny weather, and clear, cold nights. Sometimes it rains a little, and there might be the occasional thunderclap – that’s when the marina dog, Anouk, runs to our boat for cover. She’s terrified of lightning and thunder!
In a couple of week’s time our plumbing project will hopefully be finished. Then we will leave our winter marina in Messolonghi, and sail our s/y Aina to a boatyard, where our boat refit will continue. But more about that later!