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Author Topic: Back to The Ukraine Girlfriend...but not Ukraine  (Read 2828 times)

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Online SL0413

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Back to The Ukraine Girlfriend...but not Ukraine
« on: August 23, 2018, 10:58:20 PM »
Hello all.

In 5 hours I am heading to the airport for my second trip to see my Ukrainian girlfriend, T (...technically I guess this is my second date, even though the first one was for 17 days...)

I am so excited!!!  ;D :plane:

I am so tired - in the last two days I've had about 6 hours sleep total to get some last minute things done (including finishing a project at work). :Zzzzsleep:

I wrote a brief description in the New Member forum of the first trip in May/June.  I might write a trip report of that when I return from this trip.

Anyway, to the point.  I am not going to Ukraine.  The "Is Ukraine a failed state" topic has convinced me never to return due to all the corruption, oligarchs, private armies, masses of Russian soldiers building up in Crimea, bad water, scammers, pro-daters, muggers, old american men with questionable characters on romance tours, a few odd British fellas, yada yada yada.   :P


Actually, the real reason is because we are meeting in Greece to go cruising on a Sun Oddessey 449 sailboat with some friends.  We will sail to nearby islands for one week and then head off by ourselves to spend 5 days in Peloponnese.  We are going to rent a car and use Naplio as our home base to explore the area.


A quick story from last night:

Last week I asked T when she is heading to Kyiv (she lives 12+hours away by train).  She said Thursday.  Last night (around midnight my time, 7 AM her time) I asked her which train she is going to take (there are 2) - she didn't know.  She didn't buy the ticket and the trains were sold out. 

I went into panic mode and started looking at what trains were available on Ukrzaliznytsia.  I found an IC+ train that leaves Dnipro at 7:30 AM on Friday, arriving at Kiev just after noon.  I knew her flight wasn't until Friday night, so that would be plenty of time.  Then I used google maps to see the travel time from her town to Dnipro - about 5 hours (she has a car). 

Then I thought she would be tired driving all night, so maybe if she leaves soon she could get to Dnipro by around 2 or 3 PM.  Then I looked on Airbnb to get her an apt to stay - I found a nice 1 bedroom that was available right across the street from the train station.

I orgainized all this information and sent it to her via whatsapp, with screenshots and links and such.  After a little while she texted me a question mark. She wanted to know what the all that information was about.  So I explained it to her.

After a quite moment, she texted back that it was all ridiculous.  If she had to drive she would just drive all the way to Kyiv.  Anyway, she said she was waiting to hear back from the "train mafia" - female staff at Ukrzaliznytsia who sell tickets off-the-books.

Apparently Friday is a holiday in Ukraine - Independence Day (great boyfriend I am - I had no idea).  On holidays some Ukrzaliznytsia staff will buy out several seats and sell them at a higher price.   

In the end she thanked me for being a thoughtful idiot (my words, not hers).  She got on the 6PM train by paying 300 UAH more than the regular price - a little over 1000 UAH in total - for a 1st class sleeper berth.

Well, take care everyone.  If you have friends over there, warn them we are coming. Lock up all the sunglasses (T is a sunglass-aholic). tiphat


Online msmoby

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Re: Back to The Ukraine Girlfriend...but not Ukraine
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2018, 11:42:51 PM »



Actually, the real reason is because we are meeting in Greece to go cruising on a Sun Oddessey 449 sailboat with some friends.  We will sail to nearby islands for one week and then head off by ourselves to spend 5 days in Peloponnese.  We are going to rent a car and use Naplio as our home base to explore the area.



My advice - ditch the crew ... ;)

I'm looking forward to your TR ....   

I can't think of a better way for a sailing fan  to find out if one is compatible... alone on a 'small' boat together ..

We've done two bareboat  charters in Turkey and whilst I wouldn't recommend a holiday in a third country for the first ( or even second )  meeting - a cruise for two -  will certainly reveal comparability

Good luck 


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Re: Back to The Ukraine Girlfriend...but not Ukraine
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2018, 05:47:25 PM »
Yes August 24 is the Independence day holiday.  It is prominently mentioned in PPL and PPC sites to induce you to purchase a gift to your honey to celebrate the holiday.  Of course, the PPL and PPC site takes a BIG CUT of the purchase.   :chuckle:


Online Texan77

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Re: Back to The Ukraine Girlfriend...but not Ukraine
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2018, 06:30:53 PM »
Hello all.

Then I thought she would be tired driving all night, so maybe if she leaves soon she could get to Dnipro by around 2 or 3 PM.


Dnipro has an airport and they have maybe four or five flights a day to Kiev. They were not expensive. I used to fly into there often when my girl was in that area.

Several girls I met when I was dating in Ukraine just loved sailboat and water. I bet you guys have a lot of fun.

Barry




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Re: Back to The Ukraine Girlfriend...but not Ukraine
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2018, 06:46:09 PM »
A while back, I was roundly condemned for testing a relationship by going cruising in Croatia.

It is still in my mind a good way to see the character of a potential partner.

You are in a small area, with limited privacy and entirely foreign systems, (head, galley and propulsion). You are semi self sufficient and things change very quickly. OK the Greek Islands are not the Scandinavian or the Scottish coast line. Still you will understand how your potential partner handles adversity and if you two can work together.

I hope all the ups and downs are in the berth.

As a heads up the channel marking system (colours) is reversed to what you are familiar with in North America.
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Re: Back to The Ukraine Girlfriend...but not Ukraine
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2018, 12:48:39 AM »


the Greek Islands are not the Scandinavian or the Scottish coast line. Still you will understand how your potential partner handles adversity and if you two can work together.


The MAJOR plus... no tides to worry about .... 

Offline Manny

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Re: Back to The Ukraine Girlfriend...but not Ukraine
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2018, 08:47:32 AM »
masses of Russian soldiers building up in Crimea,

Being as Crimea is in Russia and has a military base there, Russian soldiers at a Russian military base in Russia is not entirely unexpected.
I apologise.
And so he should.........

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Re: Back to The Ukraine Girlfriend...but not Ukraine
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2018, 09:16:01 AM »
masses of Russian soldiers building up in Crimea,

Being as Crimea is in Russia and has a military base there, Russian soldiers at a Russian military base in Russia is not entirely unexpected.

I also think you're confusing Crimea with sevastopol. I have been around crimea and not seen one soldier. Have seen lots of pretty things, nature, buildings etc. I have also seen tons of pro Russia items in most unexpected places. All in all i'm having a good vacation although not as quiet as other years. The nr. Of tourists here feels higher than 2013.

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Re: Back to The Ukraine Girlfriend...but not Ukraine
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2018, 01:18:27 PM »
BACK!!!

On to the trip report:

Aug 24 - Day 0:

Stayed up all night to pack.  I should have packed the day before but I am a packing procrastinator.  Also, this time it was more complicated because I didn't want to pay for checked-in luggage (my discount airfare category showed no free check-in bag) and I needed to pack a soft-sided case for storage on the boat.  There is a cool website called onebag.com that shows tips on packing, including the bundling approach to keep clothes from wrinkling.

So, I packed 1 waterproof windbreaker, 2 pants, 3 long sleeved shirts, 3 shorts, 8 t-shirts, 2 swimsuits, 3 pairs of shoes, an Equatorial Guinea flag (will explain later) and undergarments into a LL Bean duffel bag (my work hands them out during Christmas - the owner is a huge LL Bean fan).

Into a light-weight backpack I packed a foldable backpack (folds into a pocket-sized pouch), tablet, go-pro, go-pro accessories, chargers and cords, headphone, cell phone battery pack, bluetooth speaker, toiletries, wet-wipes, a neck pillow and the most important thing - towel.

My friend picked me up at 05:30 AM and took me to Boston Logan airport, arriving in plenty of time before my flight at 10:14 to Philly (American/Iberian Airlines). 

I check-in to my flight and....I am allowed one free check-in luggage.  AA website clearly stated my airfare category does not include complimentary luggage check-in.  WTF, but in a good way.

Incident-free flight to Philly, 4.5 hr layover for the flight to Athens.  Incident free flight to Athens, arrive at 09:15 on Aug 25, Day 1.


Day 1:

Pretty fast processing through passport and customs in Athens, and I get to the Athens airport lobby at 09:45 or so.  I texted T when I arrived, using the airport wifi.  She arrived at 05:30 from Kyiv.  I look around for her, and finally notice her on the left.  She spotted me earlier and was wondering when I would notice her.   She had a mischievous grin - I guess I took too long.  She's blond and 175 cm tall - hard to miss.  In my defense she didn't tell me what she was wearing.

She's beautiful, as always, and I look a mess with a day old stubble and about 4 hours of sleep in the last 48 hours. But she greeted me as if I'm the best looking guy in the airport.

I got a SIM card for my phone and for her (she resisted - her Ukraine SIM card works in Greece - but I countered with the roaming charges she would incur).  I looked in vain for a currency change kiosk with reasonable rates, but she told me to wait until we get to Lavrio - she will pay for the cab fare.

We got a cab and 45 Euros and 45 minutes later get out at the Olympic Marina in Lavrio.  I had a hard time getting in touch with "M", our friend who rented the boat.  I naively wondered up-and-down the docks trying to spot the Sun Oddessey 449 sailboat, calling out "M"'s name every once in a while.  "T" took shelter against a building to stay in the shade - she burns easily.

I can't find the boat so we headed to the cafe at the marina to get a couple of ice coffees.  "M" finally texted back - he's at the Lavrio marina, where our taxi originally wanted to drop us off.  The mistake was that the boat belongs to Olympic Charters, not Olympic marina.  We took a cab back to Lavrio center and to the marina.

Anyway, we all met at around noon.  Me and "T",  "M" and his girlfriend "A", "A2" with is two sons ("M"'s brother), "M"'s friends "R" (male) and "A3" (female).  "R" and "A3" are friends and share the port berth, which has 2 single bunks.  "M" and "A" have the bow berth, "A2" and his sons have the starboard stern berth (double bed), and "T" and I have the port stern berth (double bed).

Here's a cheat list of the crew:
  • T:  my fiance
  • M+:  trip organizer and boat captain (+ = male)
  • A-:  M's girlfriend (- = female)
  • A2+:  M's brother
  • A2T+:  A2's older son
  • A2B+:  A2's younger son
  • R+:  M's friend
  • A3-:  M's friend

We all got acquainted and then headed off to the nearby bank for the ATM and then to lunch.  By this time I was totally exhausted.  But it was way too hot for me to try to take a nap on the boat.  We decided to split up - "T" and I would get a hotel room to shower and nap, the rest will go get groceries and supplies, and we would meet at the boat at 6PM to head off. 

T and I got a room at the Nikolakakis hotel - a very basic place and they only had a room with 2 single beds.  But it had AC.  When I explained I only needed it for 3 hours, the manager charged 40 Euros.  I briefly wondered if the manager thought this was a negotiated affection thingy, but he didn't bat an eye.

We got to the room and I immediately set the AC to 20 C, the lowest temp setting.  We took turns showering in a very inconvenient bathroom - the shower head is right above the toilet - basically the whole bathroom is a shower stall.  I took pains not to get the toilet paper wet and shower.

I immediately noded off when I hit the bed - I was beat.  Also, T was not in the mood - she suspected she was starting her cycle.  After her shower, T snuggled up next to me in the single bed and fell asleep as well.

After about 2 hours I woke up, feeling much better. We had about an hour left before we needed to be on the boat.  T woke up soon after, we got affectionate, she checked to see her cycle didn't start yet, and we made good use of that hour.  :loving:

We got back to the boat right at 18:00.  M+, as captain, assigned us into groups.  I was paired with R+, and T was paired with A-.  A2+ was paired with A3-.  The boys were off the duty roster.  ;D.  He then assigned us into duty shifts and a separate schedule for galley duty (each group had 1 full day of meal preparation). 

T and I excused ourselves again and went to our berth to take a nap. We woke up just as M+ dropped anchor nearby at the southern tip of the mainland, near the temple of Poseidon, in Sounio, at around 21:00.

We had some snacks on deck and talked about our plans for the next day - to visit Sounio and hike up to the temple of Poseidon before setting out to Poros in the afternoon.  Then we noticed that a restaurant/night club in Sounio was blasting dance music.  M+ set up the dingy (complete with a small honda outboard) and headed to shore with A-, R+ and A3-.   A2+ wanted to go but he stayed to watch his kids, who went to bed.  T, A2+ and I chatted and got to know each other. 

About 30 minutes later everyone came back.  Apparently the music was from a wedding reception.  I suggested they should have crashed the wedding, but they weren't dressed properly to pull it off.  :laugh:

They stayed up to drink a bit but T and I went back to our room to finally catch up on sleep.


Next:  Rolling and rocking and early departure. 

P.S.  The flag thing:  M+ apparently told everyone to bring their country's flag.  Any by everyone this meant only T (everyone else was from Poland, and he forgot to tell me).  T wanted me to bring a US flag, but mentioned it the night before I left.  I didn't have a chance to buy one, and not knowing why, I brought the only flag I had - an Equatorial Guinea flag from a Windjammer Cruise 4 masted ship (that was licensed in Equatorial Guinea) from a cruise I took years ago.  It was signed by the entire crew.

I found out it was what people did when the rented sailboats - add their nationality flags to the Greek flag - to show everyone else where they are from.   :travel:


Online msmoby

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Re: Back to The Ukraine Girlfriend...but not Ukraine
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2018, 09:08:35 PM »
THIS might help folks understand the sleeping arrangements :



T and you aren't going to get much 'privacy' ..  you are a brave ( or crazy )  man !







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Re: Back to The Ukraine Girlfriend...but not Ukraine
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2018, 12:13:03 PM »
P.S.  The flag thing:  M+ apparently told everyone to bring their country's flag.  Any by everyone this meant only T (everyone else was from Poland, and he forgot to tell me).  T wanted me to bring a US flag, but mentioned it the night before I left.  I didn't have a chance to buy one, and not knowing why, I brought the only flag I had - an Equatorial Guinea flag from a Windjammer Cruise 4 masted ship (that was licensed in Equatorial Guinea) from a cruise I took years ago.  It was signed by the entire crew.

I found out it was what people did when the rented sailboats - add their nationality flags to the Greek flag - to show everyone else where they are from.   :travel:

The Flag Thing, is an international requirement for private vessels. Fly the flags from the starboard spreader.
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Re: Back to The Ukraine Girlfriend...but not Ukraine
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2018, 04:38:50 PM »
THIS might help folks understand the sleeping arrangements :



T and you aren't going to get much 'privacy' ..  you are a brave ( or crazy )  man !

Thanks for linking the photo!

Yes, that is the layout of the boat.  We are in the top left bedroom. 

We mostly had the pillows to the left, instead of the right as shown in the photo.   This is significant because the space above the left 2/3 of bed is only about 2 feet above the bed, due to the main crew deck being right above.  The right 1/3, where the pillows are in the photo is normal height -- 6 feet+

This detail is significant, as will be detailed in the trip report.

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Re: Back to The Ukraine Girlfriend...but not Ukraine
« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2018, 05:16:55 PM »
Day 2:

Wee hours:

We went to bed at around midnight on Day 1.  T and I were tired so we just went to sleep, or tried to.  At around 2 AM the boat rocked violently, as if a large ship passed by close to the boat.   This wasn't the case because we were at a good anchorage, near the port of Sounio, and we were not near any shipping or ferry lanes.

We tossed a bit, but settled down and went back to sleep.  About 10-20 minutes later we woke again due to another bout of violent rocking.  This time we heard someone walk up to the deck.   We listened for a bit and heard the anchor being pulled up.  T told me to go up and see if anything was the matter and if I could help with anything.   

I put on shorts and a t-shirt and headed up.  M+ was up there with A-.  He told me that the winds shifted and we were getting hit by the wind-driven waves.   I asked if I could help with anything, but M+ and A- handled what they needed to do (pull up the anchor) and M+ started the motor to head to the nearest anchorage at the Lee side of the wind, which was our next destination - Poros.

M+ said he was fine and suggested I head back to bed, which I did.  I told T what happened and we went back to sleep, this time to gentle rocking as the boat was heading relatively smoothly against the waves toward Poros. 

Morning:

I woke up as daylight hit the windows, to find T sleeping at my feet.  That is, she shifted 180 and had her head near my feet and her feet was near my head.  I thought about waking her to ask what was going on, but I knew she had a long day yesterday (she left Kyiv at 2:30 AM) and needed her rest. 

I, unfortunately, had to get up to get breakfast ready.  Today was R+ and me on galley duty.  I got up, used the head, and went up to the deck to find R+ piloting the boat.  Sometime in the middle of the night M+ went to bed and R+ took over.   We were about an hour away from Poros.

I went downstairs and figured out how the stove worked.  It is a 2 burner gas oven, set on pins to rock back and forth (to counter the side to side rolling of the boat).  It was pretty neat - almost perfect except the balance was off and it tilted back a bit (perhaps a 5 degree slope?). 

I put a kettle on for hot water for the coffee/tea and started taking inventory of what we had.  I wished I went with the group to the grocery store had I known that I would be on cooking duty the first day :shrug:

We had bread, eggs, butter, green tea (no black tea or english breakfast), ground coffee, coarse sugar, milk, cereal, yogurt, honey, and fresh fruit, among other things.   I made a pot of coffee using a french press and started getting things ready for french toast and fried bread (bread fried with butter on the pan - sort of pan fried toast). 

About an hour after I got up everyone started waking.  M+ took over the helm and R+ came down to help me with breakfast.  We decided I was the more experienced cook so he acted as assistant - cutting some fruit, preparing the table and washing dishes/cleaning up.

We didn't have any maple syrup, so I improvised by caramelizing the french toast by sprinkling sugar on each side as I fried it.  Along with spreadables like tapenade, jam and more butter, breakfast consisted of coffee/tea, orange juice, pineapple juice, fruit, fried bread and french toast.  It was a hit (especially with T  ;D).  A2+ and his sons ate yogurt with cereal, which they told me was the only thing they usually had for breakfast, but his sons had some french toast as well. 

T decided to do the dishes, even though it wasn't her turn at the galley.  R+ tried to take over, but T did them anyway.   Then the kids jumped into the water for a swim, and I quickly changed to my swim trunks and joined them.  After T finished with the dishes she joined as well, when the port police came over.

The police yelled at us - apparently M+ dropped anchor too near the channel and it was a no-no to swim anywhere near there.  Oops.

We got out of the water, pulled anchor and relocated.

The plan was to spend the rest of the morning and lunch at Poros, then sail out in the afternoon towards Hydra.


Day 2 afternoon to be posted later....



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Re: Back to The Ukraine Girlfriend...but not Ukraine
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2018, 11:22:07 PM »
I wonder will you stop over at Spetses... I haven't been there since '83... I wanted Australia win the America's cup on a Black and White TV ;)

Indeed, not a few of us will have worked out the need for manoeuvring room in your 'bed room below the cockpit ..  Even big yachts 'bedrooms' are too confining - hence my comment that there's too many crew ;)


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Re: Back to The Ukraine Girlfriend...but not Ukraine
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2018, 11:16:21 AM »
Day 2 Afternoon:

M+ decided to stay onboard and watch the boat, rather than setting anchor - the area was a bit crowded.  The rest of us took the dingy and headed ashore, in 2 batches due to the small size of the dingy.

Once onshore we split up:  A2+ and his boys went to get ice cream and then to someplace to get pizza.  R+, A- and A3- went off to sight-see and do some shopping for souvenirs.  T and I went off to look for hats (really strong sun in Greece) and then to a cafe.  We also kept an eye out for grocery stores and a fishmonger - the request from everyone was fresh seafood for dinner. 

Quote
(quoting myself):

The cost of the boat rental was 650 Euro per person.  Then we all pitched in 150 Euros per person for the groceries, dock fees, boat diesel, and other misc. expenses.   So when I went grocery shopping for dinner, including purchasing the seafood, it all came from the boat budget
 

We walked along the main street along the waterfront.  I picked up a straw cowboy hat and T selected a red wicker visor type hat - hard to describe, actually.  We then went to a cafe that seemed to have a good grill - I was in the mood for some gyros. :)

I ordered my gyro - I think it was 4.5€, and T ordered a grilled halloumi (type of cheese) salad - 6.5€ - and a beer to share (Fix - 3.5€  for 500 ml bottle).  Then I asked T why she rotated position in the bed this morning.  She said that she woke up and had a bit of a panic attack - the close ceiling made her feel claustrophobic.   When she turned 180 the extra room above her head made her calm again and was able to sleep.

After lunch we went to get the fish - a fresh sea bass for 18€ per kilo, and shrimp at 17€ per kilo.  I picked a medium sized sea bass, about 2 kg, and a kilo of shrimp.  T noticed that there were about 1/2 dozen shrimp left in the display when they weighed out the 1 kg.  She told to buy the rest - I shrugged and did as told.  The fishmonger cleaned the fish and pulled the heads off the shrimp (I declined the offer to have them peeled).  I think the total was 53€.

When we left with our purchase T explained that she wanted me to take the rest of the shrimp because she knew they couldn't sell the rest -- too little for anyone to buy -- and it would be a loss for the fishmonger.  Also, she said she loved shrimp and would eat the extra I purchased. 

On the way back to the boat we stopped by a grocery store to get some more honey and yogurt.  I found out that in Greece they sell the yogurt in clay dishes! They also sell them in the plastic tubs, but the ones in the clay pots were about the same price.  Very cool.  Also, the greek yogurt in Greece is a lot creamier and not as thick as the ones here in the States.  I wonder if it's because they are from small farms, or if it's because they are made with sheep's milk?  We also stopped at a produce store to get some garlic and eggplant, along with some tomato sauce and basil.

Around 2 PM or so we all got back on the boat.  Even though I bought the sea bass, I didn't know how to cook it - I don't normally cook or eat fish.  R+ took over and cut it into steak portions, like swordfish, and seasoned and wrapped each with aluminum foil to bake in the oven.  I prepared the eggplant for my version of eggplant parmesan - I don't bread the eggplant but instead do a simple egg wash before frying it in olive oil until soft.  Then I layer it in a casserole dish like a lasagna, with tomato sauce and shredded cheese on top.  T helped me clean and peel the shrimp to get it ready for shrimp scampi.

While R+, T and I was busy in the galley the rest of the guys raised sail and we headed for Hydra.  M+ was at the helm, tacking against the headwind.  The three of us went up to the deck and watch just as we entered a narrow channel between the mainland and a small island - it was a lot of fun watching the guys loosen and then winch the guideline for the genoa sail as M+ tacked.   Also, M+ called out distance to land, and he tacked as we approached 30 meters or so. 

After about an hour, we finally cleared the channel - it would have only taken about 15 minute if we motored past, but then it would not have been nearly as fun.  Ironically, as soon as we cleared the wind died.  We waited for a few minutes, then had to winch in the sails and turn on the diesel to get to a small cove to go swimming.

We dropped anchor at the cove, and as the others went swimming, T and I headed back to the galley to finish the meal preparation for dinner.  I fried up the eggplant, prepared it in the casserole dish and placed it in the oven to bake.  Once it was done R+ came down to bake the fish (the oven was small and only had room for 1 dish at a time).

While the fish was baking I saute'd the shrimp in butter, garlic and olive oil (we were getting low on butter), in several batches due to the small size of the frying pan and burner.  On the other burner I boiled some linguine to go with the eggplant parm or shrimp.  Soon everything was done and I placed the dishes on the dinning table, buffet style.  Everyone took a plate, loaded up and went on deck to eat.  We placed a couple bottles of wine and coca-cola, and had a great meal.   T really enjoyed the eggplant and shrimp, and I definitely earned some brownie points.

One funny incident.  A2B, A2+'s youngest son, was a picky eater.   He loaded his plate with pasta only - his father admonished him to at least try the eggplant (A2B didn't like seafood).  I took the initiative and placed one eggplant slice on A2B's plate.  He looked at me as if I committed the worst crime in the world.  Then he asked me to take the eggplant away - he wouldn't touch the plate as long as the eggplant was on it.  I countered back and said that he should try it, even just a little bit of the sauce (he loved pizza).  He wouldn't and again asked me to take the eggplant away.  I looked at him, asked him again to try it, and then headed with my own plate to the deck to eat. 

I am not sure if he ever touched that plate....

Dinner was a success, everyone loved the shrimp and eggplant and fish (except A2B and me - I didn't try the fish), and we pulled anchor to head to our mooring for the evening - at Hydra.

After R+ and I cleaned the dished and tidied up the galley, I went up to the deck to see that we went to Mandraki instead of Idra (the main port town).  Apparently the mooring spots on Idra was full, and it was too late to try to squeeze in.  We maneuvered around a bit because M+ thought the area was too deep for our anchor (bottom was 30 meters or so, our chain was 80 meters).  I don't know what the issue is - I am sure some sailors in this forum can elaborate.

In the end we anchored near a large double masted schooner, where the bottom was about 25 meters.  We communicated with them, and we agreed to leave by 8 AM (because our anchor was too close to their anchor).  When he saw our polish flag, the other boat's owner conversed a bit more, and mentioned he had a factory in Poland.  What a life...

We sat up a bit late that night and drank, and I got to know the rest of the guys a bit more.  M+ and A2+ are brothers, and they are half brother to Natalia, T's childhood friend.  They grew up together in the same town as T in Ukraine, although T never met A2+ before.  A2+, however, knew T's sister and spent a couple summers with her as friends when they were young.  Eventually M+'s dad moved to Poland with their mom, M+ and A2+.  Now M+ and A2+ live in Wales, working for an international accounting firm.  A2+'s boys go to school in Wales as well. R+ and A3+ are M+ and A-'s friends.  R+ is an IT guy, and A3+ is a doctor - endocrinologist.

Soon it was time for bed, and T and I excused ourselves early.  We headed to our cabin, where T got a bit frisky.  We were vewee, vewee quiet and enjoyed each other...

Odd thing happened afterwards - T went to the bathroom and came back excited - our activity started her time of the month.  I thought this was a curious thing to be excited about, but she was late by a few days and was worrying about it. 

To forgo any speculation - no, T did not have an affair and was not afraid she was pregnant (we didn't see each other for 2.5 months prior to this trip).  However, she had a hormone test done as precursor to an IVF procedure we are planning in November.  That test was not great - she had an anomaly on one of the hormones.  It was too high, indicating that she might be heading towards menopause.   So, she was very worried that the late cycle meant something was wrong, and was relieved once it started.

Anyway, I went to sleep with a very happy T and was only woken up 3 times in the middle of the night - by T's sudden panic attack with the low overhead compartment.   Each time she was half asleep, saying a couple of phrases in Russian that I didn't understand except the last word - "please" (Pashzalusta).  Each time I comforted her and she went back to sleep.  In the morning - you guessed it - she once again rotated 180 and was sleeping with her head by my feet.

One may ask why we did not sleep that way to being with.  Couple of reasons - it is a little tough to climb into bed and orient that way, and we used the bed to sit and store our towels and clothes (which meant we placed the pillows to the back).   But we did start sleeping with our heads to the right after that night, dealing with the issues.


Next:  Idra and 2 days of blackout....