Barb, Tom and Michelle are leaving fairly early, so they are first up. They grab a taxi to the airport and it takes a couple of attempts to find a taxi big enough to haul all the gear. They are taking a big box back for us, which is really nice.
Daniel and June leave next via taxi to a hotel (Novatel) where they are staying a couple of nights to explore Athens.
Susan, Sheven, and I hang at the boat to meet Nikos for the checkout. We get to spend an hour or so chatting with him.
He takes us into his monohull next door. It’s a Greek-made Ocean Star sloop, 56 FT long. I’ve never heard of the manufacturer, but it seems to be a very excellent high quality construction. The craftsmanship is beautiful and there is a surprising amount of room below. He explains they cost about 20-30% more than the mass-produced boats like Beneteau, but that they are very rugged, high quality boats.
We ask Nikos more about his business. He has 3 sloops like the adjacent boat and also the Catamaran we rented. Sometimes they are chartered through The Moorings and other times through his company.
We have a small list of things that didn’t work on the boat and he carefully goes through the list, making sure he understands. I’m sure he will have them fixed before the boat departs next.
The Moorings representative shows up, has me sign a couple papers, gives me back my credit card imprint for the deposit and offers to call a cab for us. He says the cab will be there at noon and he disappears. The cab never shows.
Nikos is working around the area, calls us another cab, then runs to the front of the dock, gets a cab and brings it back for us.
I’m still scratching my head and wondering what The Moorings actually did for us. At the beginning they took my credit card, and at the end they called me a cab. That’s about it. I suppose they also deserve credit for lining us up with Nikos, since presumably if he was a bad operator, they wouldn’t be doing business with him. I also suppose, though, that I could have done some more internet research and found reviews for local companies and found a good outfit myself.
I didn’t want to put Nikos in the awkward position of probing his relationship with The Moorings and asking what it was that they actually did on our charter. So I avoided any discussion of The Moorings with him.
Nikos’ last name is Zouras, his company is Zouras Yachting and his web site is www.zouras-yachting.gr
When I come back, I’ll go straight to Nikos – he’s an excellent operator.
We take the cab to the same hotel as June and Daniel and get a room. Fairly cheap (107 Euro) and it’s a nice, gleaming, modern hotel.
Then we go explore the Acropolis. It is swarming with tourists, but it is still worth it. An amazing place.
We walk down the hill from the Acropolis and explore the markets and streets below. There are a huge number of street vendors hustling for a buck and trying to sell everything you can imagine.
When you eat at a restaurant around here, you get asked to purchase something (watches, toys, sewing needle threaders, flowers, etc.) by vendors at least 20 times. It’s distracting and I’m surprised the restaurants allow them to come in.
We go back to the hotel hoping to hook up with Daniel and June but they are not there. We leave messages again, then head out to find food. A couple blocks away we find a small restaurant that appears to be full of locals and we have our last, excellent stuffing of Greek food.
In the wee hours of the morning, Sheven jets off to Portland via Zurich and we head to London on our way to Anchorage.
It’s been an awesome trip, despite the rough weather. We had an excellent group of people and the Greek Islands are a perfect place to cruise in a sailboat. I’m happy, and starting to think about the next trip.
According to our GPS tracker, we covered about 600 miles. I think I’ve also switched over and become a Cat person. I might need some counseling when I get home.