23 May, 2010

Finding your way home

In your home town getting lost on your way home can only be attributed to taking the wrong turn or having just a little too much to drink. When sailing not finding your way back to your boat can have dire consequences. In my case I was a sober a judge, knew the right turning but just could’nt get to the right bay. I might say I was walking on in the RIB.
I had anchored Malua in one of the many bay of Abelake on the NW side of Meganisi. In the late afternoon I set off for an evening walk having walked in this area the previous year. That was both an advantage and a disadvantage. I knew my way around but also recognised the road and the twists and turn over the hills. I climbed up from the beach through a fairly rough bit of land with overhanging trees and bushes. Noting as I reached the road that a previous walker had stepped in a mud puddle and a few meters up the road there was a pile of stones. Great pointers for my return.
I walked for about an hour and reached Little Vathi to find Charlie Girl stern too the quay. I was invited onboard for a drink which then turned into a delicious meal. The weather had turned to rain but looked as if it would pass before it got dark. Excusing myself I left about half-an-hour before it got dark – about the time it would take me to walk back to the bay in which Malua was anchored. Charlies parting words were “we have a sleeping bag you can stay on board”.
I set off at a pace up the mountain along the road towards the bay just as the rain started to fall. I remembered the road was it from this year or last. No problem just follow the road to the pile of stones and the mud puddle. The rain was no falling and the night had closed in. I could just see but finding the pile of stone was a problem and the mud puddle had of course turned into a pool. No sweat I could see the anchor lights of the boat in the bay below so I head down the side of the hill through an olive grove. About 100 m from the shoreline the bush closed in but I was able to pick my way through the bush in now the darkness. Success I reached the beach. The wrong beach and wrong bay.
OK I recognised the dirt track leading from the bay knowing it would circle the headland and come out on top of the hill above Little Vathi. All I would have to do was return and start again. After about 40 minutes walk I was back at the start point. Right follow the road. This looks familiar - this year or last? Now it was quite dark but with the white road I could make my way. I followed the same road and reach the same olive grove so I knew I had gone too far. Back track to a point I could see anchor lights. The same lights the same bay? No more lights a different bay. Only one way to find out. Head off down the hill side. After a short time I came out in an olive grove which had the same feel as the last but on this occasion I could see the an anchor light. Again the last 100 meters was thick bush but this time it was pitch dark and raining. I took my time and struggled through the undergrowth only to come out on the same beach as before. Ok back along the dirt track to the start point. I was now getting cold and my feet were sore in the wet dockshoes. The thought of the warm sleeping bag on Charlie Girl was tempting.
Right, start at the beginning. Think what you did last time and take the right turns this time. As I passed a house with a high wall I thought the entrance led to the front door but not wanting to miss an opportunity I took this turn. No front door just the correct path I had taken earlier in the afternoon. There was the pile of stones, now look for the mud puddle. Well it had gone replaced by a flowing stream. I head off down the slope and even in the darkness I knew I was on the right track. After a few minutes I was on the beach and there was the RIB securely tied to a tree. I was off to the dark outline of Malua in the distance. I climbed aboard, took off my wet jacket and stepped fully clothed into the bathroom to turn on the hot shower while I undressed and started to warm up. Was I pleased for the shower and to be home in my own bed.

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