Part 2 - The journey to Leros begins
Picture Sydney airport at 3pm on a Friday afternoon, completely empty. A few staff and maybe 5 flights on the board and the Qantas lounges are all closed. It would not have surprised me had a tumble weed rolled through the place.
Where are the tumble weeds??
I don’t recall the reason now but we ended up having to fly via Melbourne to pick up our Emirates flight to Dubai, so here we are checking in for an international flight at the Qantas domestic terminal. We had all of our documentation at the ready, including our Victorian transit border pass (please attach to the windscreen…) We knew we had ticked all of the boxes to be able to depart, including a rationale for not having a return ticket, as well as all of the entry requirements for Greece and UAE. Qantas had other ideas though – their computer said no! Despite what was clearly outlined on the Emirates website Q insisted we have a negative Covid PCR test before they will check us in saying it is required for UAE!
Its difficult to argue with the person with the power to let you on that flight that you are so desperate to board. So we have to hot foot it over to the international terminal in a taxi with all our luggage, get at test, fork out $300 (plus taxi fare) and get back to the domestic terminal. Luckily we had given ourselves plenty of time. The flight to Melbourne was not that full and thankfully uneventful but our arrival was anything but! We were greeted by “officials” in full PPE who turned on the theatre for us. We were pretty much frog marched from the domestic terminal to the international terminal and they waited for us at the Emirates desk to change our seats before escorting us to the departure gates. Important to make sure we left the country, did not pass GO and did not enter Victoria. Wow! I only wish I could have taken a photo of the last minute message on the passport scanner – words to the effect that returning to Australia these days was rather difficult and expensive, in case having come this far you wanted to change your mind!
OMG you should see how empty the plane to Dubai is! Which empty row am I going to lie down and sleep in??? Who needs business class! Finally the plane doors close and we can heave a sigh of relief. We are on our way. Oh and by the way UAE did not require a Covid test from anyone coming from Australia, and even if they did, free testing is offered by Emirates on arrival! Thanks Qantas!
At least my Q Club membership had been extended long enough to get me into the Emirates lounge for a shower and to start feeling human again. Due to dry July I did resist the Moet bar at 10am (Keith didn’t). The plane to Athens was a different story, packed to the rafters with obnoxious holiday makers. We had planned our arrival carefully to connect with the overnight ferry direct to Leros, but dang! no cabins available, so we decided to stay a couple of nights in Pireaus and catch the “fast” day ferry. There is a VIP lounge with its own toilets and canteen so we could isolate somewhat from the masses.
The highspeed ferry stopped at a few places along the way, including Ikara, Mykonos, Patmos and some other place I cant remember now. Its incredible to watch these huge car ferries manoeuvre. They charge into a tiny little island port, turn on a dime and go stern to a concrete dock. Sometimes they will drop and anchor and med moor, but more often than not they hold it on stern lines and engines as people, cars and trucks pour on and off.
Finally the next stop is Leros, a slower than normal trip due to Meltemi and the chop and someone forgetting to get off at Mykonos! Keith got chatting to one of the officers and we got invited up to visit the bridge so we enjoyed watching the entry into Lakki (Leros) harbour from there before hot footing it down to get our bags and get off quickly as they don’t stop for very long. The lovely Mrs & Mr Pagonis were waiting with our car, we managed to take the scenic route back to their shop, stopped by the supermarket on the way and arrived at Artemis Boatyard at sunset. We got an enthusiastic greeting from the nightwatchman who had clearly missed all his Aussie and Kiwi catamaran friends. And there she was! Our home, our beloved ITIKI! Oh the dirt, dust and rust! But what a sight for sore eyes. It was all we could do to hoist our suitcases up the ladder, make up the bed and collapse. Check out the video below to see the final leg of our journey!
Lynda is slowly getting used to the transition from working to not working and racing to cruising.