What a lovely voyage! We sailed out of the rather barren looking docklands of Lavrion harbour, complete with a plethora of local dogs. Mind you, after a short walk along the waterfront you found yourself in the midst of local tavernas, shops and the like. We motored through the Cephera channel through which the wind and tide funnelled but thankfully for us, all in the right direction!
Our first planned stop was Volos in the North, where having enjoyed a number of dolphins playing round our bow, we came alongside a sea plane and some impressive looking yachts. Dave the 2nd mate, complete with a RIB full of cadets, took depth soundings in this bay in readiness for Tenacious to return for the Tall Ship’s Race this summer. We learnt that this was the basis for terms such as ‘a plumb job’ and ‘swinging the lead’ – apparently a cushy number but I suspect the second mate might contest this! This also gave the mate Chris and chief engineer Pete the opportunity to dive to inspect the propeller and strainers and check that all was in order.
Next morning, some of our new voyage crew literally scaled new heights as they had the chance to climb the rigging, before we brought the gangway back in, let go our mooring lines and headed south again. Having enjoyed some very calm and gentle seas, it was great to feel the wind pick up and we had a good day of moderate to rough seas and F8 gusting 9! Tenacious was heeling well to port so we also experienced walking uphill in the lower decks! One or two of our voyage crew were glad to see it calm as we approached an anchorage off Spetsai Island. The Cook and Engineers together with their assistants (was it Pauline/Paula or Pam?) had all been busying themselves with preparations for sundowners by the main mast before we all enjoyed a BBQ as the sun set and the moon came up and an amazing number of stars which we were able to identify thanks to Neil and his iPlayer. Next morning, at 0530 hrs we turned the fore mast sharp up to starboard and boxed the main mast by keeping it square, then as the sails came aback, the helmsman turned hard to port and as the anchor came up, we braced the yards to port, the sails filled and that was it – we were off – quite magical – and well worthy of a good breakfast that followed!
Our next stop was Crete (Nisos Kriti) with all hands being called to harbour stations at 0700hrs and coming in to Souda Bay at 0800hrs. Many of us took advantage of the local bus to Chania on the opposite side of the headland, passing the bright red hisbiscus and trees laden with oranges and lemons. A lovely day was spent meandering through the narrow streets and enjoying the street cafes and each others company.
The sunshine has been great but as soon as the sun has dipped blow the horizon, so has the temperature – and out have come the sweaters – but having said that we haven’t had hardly any rain so the foul weather gear really hasn’t had a proper outing – let’s hope I’m not putting the kybosh on that for the next voyage!!!
From Souda bay, straight after breakfast, we then made our way to Poros – a typically Greek island – and what a pleasure. Chris brought us in and it appeared that we’d simply pulled alongside and ‘parked’ on the main road! The pavements ahead of the ship were laden with bars and restaurants (and dogs and cats!) within a stone’s throw of the ship. After a lovely evening exploring the old town, we got the ship ready once again for our final leg back into Lavrion. Once again coming in past the pierheads – and a warm welcome from our local dogs who we all seem to have taken for a walk into town and back – or maybe they see it as their duty to escort us everywhere?
Finally, having docked for the last time this voyage, we invited the voyage crew to join us for a ‘tot on tour’, enabling us to uphold the revered Royal Navy tradition of marking the end to the nominal working day, showing respect to our Sovereign and entering into that sense of community which every voyage seems to have. So it was that TNS 273 came to a reluctant finish! Let’s hope it‘s not too long before we are able to sail with you all again!