THE VOYAGES OF EOS 2012
PART 2 August - October
WEDNESDAY 22 AUGUST 2012
04.15 taxi to Manchester Airport. A good and uneventful trip to Messolonghi, boat in good order though covered with cobwebs and spiders and VERY hot. Had beer and snack supper at marina restaurant, then bed.
THURSDAY 23 AUGUST 2012
Very hot, no wind
Up 07.15. Needless to say I hadn’t slept very well. Washed decks, filled half the water tanks, but water pressure so low it takes ages and someone else needed the hose more urgently.
Walked into town for shopping and to pick up our Breeze Booster -for cooling the forepeak) which was awaiting us at the post office having been purchased from America. Also new Vodafone card. We had a very good shop and taxi back.
Cleaned and sorted the remainder of the boat, made up bunks etc. and walked back to bus station to meet Tom and Madeleine from their Athens coach. On our way Mike took the wrong road and in great heat we walked further than we needed. We enquired of the way at a little shop/post office, whereupon the man gave Mike a lift on the back of his motorbike and she took me in the post office van!! However we arrived in time and it was very good to see them, quick beer at bus station and back to boat.
BBQ of chicken wings and lamb chops; chitchat and bed.
FRIDAY 24 AUGUST 2012
Slipped 10.15. Very calm. Stopped to look for a swim location around Oxia island, but as expected too deep except very close in and as usual the wind not sufficiently off shore.
Half way across to ITHACA the wind strengthened to approx force 4, a lovely run into VATHI ITHACA. A very gusty approach and I misjudged distance off the quay so the chain ran out and off the windlass. It took ages to get ourselves sorted, luckily Mike had made up a tackle last year which we were able to use to bring sufficient chain back onboard to extend it - all very annoying and frustrating especially with guests on board!! The whole situation made worse by an over excited Italian boat’s crew screaming and shouting and getting in our way!!
Eventually supper and a quick walk ashore before bed.
The most exciting news was the birth of Arthur Clarke, 7lbs.12oz to Elizabeth and Stuart in Singapore. Verity so excited and relieved, lovely news.
SATURDAY 25 AUGUST 2012
Hot, overnight wind dropped but blew up again in late afternoon
We had a lovely lazy day, did lots of shopping at a very good supermarket which sold really good packs of frozen fish, shellfish, chicken etc. Mike bought an enormous pack of langoustine which we barbequed in evening.
After an short siesta we took a taxi to Filiatro Beach across the island for a swim. Very pebbly beach and full of Greeks enjoying themselves. It is lovely to see the children so at home in the warm water, just like fishes.
Ice cream on our return. BBQ in rather windy conditions, but successful in the end.
The man in the pretty house across the road, was taken out to dinner by his lady friend on her scooter.
Also on a scooter, a bride and bridegroom together with a train of tin cans tied behind, so happy, Do hope their life goes well with the Greek economy as it is at present.
We really like Vathi though the “Greek Island Hopping” guide is not too enthusiastic about the place.
SUNDAY 26 AUGUST 2012
Bought lovely hot bread and miniature pain chocolat from very good bakery.
Slipped 09.15 up the Meganisou Channel, a bit lumpy. We thought we might have gone into Sivota on Levkas but decided this was too early in the day. Sharp turn to starboard to SPARTAKHORI (Port Spilo) on the northern Meganisi coast, a lovely spot. We were met by Bibias the owner of all he surveyed, who ran the place with authority. He told us where to go and that a force 8 was due, we should be careful.
Lunch, sleep, then swim. We were quite early in, later the place was full. The taverna was in fact a huge almost industrial tent unit, huge kitchen area, inside dining, outside dining on the water’s edge, all lovely. Lots of long tables with jolly families. You choose your food from the kitchen area, and in no time it is delivered. We had, I think, the best of traditional Greek food and local wine. You could have steaks, lobsters or various other fish cooked on the charcoal grill.
This is feeding on an industrial scale in the nicest possible way and overseen by Bibias, he is the only one to take the money.
Slept well, a little cooler.
MONDAY 27 AUGUST 2012
Less hot, force 5 gusting 6 later
Bought fresh bread from Bibias who looked as though he hadn’t been to sleep.
Slipped 09.15. Very calm and a lovely trip to LEVKAS marina. Mike did a superb stern board into a very narrow space between two other boats. We are in such a good position to watch all goings on, though we do catch the wind which has been VERY strong.
We found that Sven and Bente were in the marina : they later came for drinks.
Very very windy and right through the night.
TUESDAY 28 AUGUST 2012
Lovely temperature, still some wind
A lazy start. Then visit from the very harassed solar panel man (he has clients across the marina who are refusing to pay for his work). We hope to have some more info and price from him when passing through Levkas on our way south in a week or so.
Madeleine and I went off for another explore, so many fruit and veg shops. Stopped for a cool drink and to people watch.
T & M explored the local hotel’s swimming pool and I sludge.
Drinks with Bente and Sven on their magnificent 55ft Jeanneau- so much room, 8 berth I think.
Steve and Jane next door gave us some useful hints re where to have stainless steel work done in Nidri and other thoughts.
WEDNESDAY 29 AUGUST 2012
Lovely temp again, stronger winds late afternoon
Slipped 09.00 for fuel jetty, 1000 litres @1.67€. Off to the bridge (known as a ferry so that Levkas can keep island status!) It opens on the top of the hour. A long line of boats all waiting to go through, everyone very orderly; through the bridge and sharp turn to starboard, keeping the red buoys to starboard but not too close as they don’t really mark a safe distance from rocks - the boat one ahead of us got stuck and was immediately rescued, don’t know how much damage he had incurred; The Italian boat immediately ahead of us stopped to watch, just like motorists on motorways only there is nowhere for the following boat to go, on the port side are sandbanks. We were not pleased.
We were just out into open sea when we came upon Namutomi on her way back to Levkas; we will meet up in two week’s time.
Into AMVRAKIKOS KOLPOS at Preveza. Had a good look round, not apparent room for us in a good position so onwards. Had a quick look at Vonitsa for a possible mooring tomorrow.
We travelled right to the furthest point of this inland sea to AMFILOKHIA. A medium sized town serving the agricultural area. We were alongside at a slightly 3rd world quay, but no matter we were safe though the wind funnelling down the inlet was strong, as usual it subsided by the time we had supper.
The town itself is an attractive, thriving self sufficient place. The main road from Athens to Igoumenitsa, with the lorries for ferries to Corfu, Brindisi and the rest of Europe, pass through until the motorway is complete.
On the quay lived a man and his son of about 13-14 who was learning to drive solo, luckily he managed well and didn’t drive into the sea.
Three intrepid ladies in their hats, swimming and chatting, a turtle and leaping fish.
THURSDAY 30 AUGUST 2012
Cooler first thing, gorgeous temperature later on
Slipped 10.00. Uneventful trip to VONITSA, lovely dolphins on the way. We found a slot in the harbour and are very happy. Just as a change - a beer at the nearest taverna! we may go back there for supper.
We walked up to the castle with wonderful views over the surrounding countryside including a salt lake behind the village. Village itself much larger than at first appears with a number of light industrial businesses inland. The seafront and beach is good and I imagine in good times filled with families.
Supper at Taverna which was delicious, though two stuffed squid probably too much for the average person.
The town really got buzzing after 22.00 with lots of cars coming from further afield.
Mike got inveigled into taking a photo of a baby pigeon which had fallen into the sea and been rescued. The man looking after it was in the cockpit of his rather dilapidated boat, and had the pigeon balanced on his finger. Of course, then we had to develop and print off this photo and when we took it to the man he was fast asleep. The pigeon flew off in the wee small hours.
Have just read an article describing the arrival of the Olympic flag in Vonitsa. Having visited the town it is easy to imagine the excitement.
FRIDAY 31 AUGUST 2012
Same as yesterday. Hot later
Slipped 10.15 for good trip to PREVEZA where we managed an alongside mooring. Madeleine and I went in search of lamb- didn’t see a butcher, so bought it in the supermarket.
Whilst having a drink we got chatting with the men on next boat who had been kept awake till 05.00 by very noisy night club called “No Name”, they were moving to an anchorage.
Mike and I went Lidl shopping, very good for alcohol but hopeless for meat/fish. There is also a Carrefour. Lots of fruit and veg shops in town but no butchers that we could find.
Madeleine and I came upon a troupe of traditional Greek dancers who were to be filmed. As usual with these affairs, the director had a lot of testing to do and we couldn’t wait to see the final staging.
I walked along the quay to locate another mooring space and came across the French couple on Omega we had met in Levkas, who insisted we came to a place next to them in the little marina, which we did, with a superb alongside by Mike, where we spent a very peaceful night. €1 per metre of boat per night, water and electrics, but if you leave before 08.00, free.
Good lamb on BBQ.
SATURDAY 1 SEPTEMBER 2012
Slipped 09.45, Good run to PARGA, and managed to come alongside the jetty, though as usual, having been given permission, we are always slightly nervous that we are taking the place of a fisherman or trip boat. Ferry, Captain Hook and another came in for the night on other side of the quay. Quite a tricky entrance between rocks but once done it all becomes clear. Both sides of the village’s rocky headlands have good beaches and lots of water sports going on. The island at the entrance has very attractive whitewashed church set amongst pine trees.
Parga is the dearest little place, brightly painted houses up the hillside plus an ancient fort.
Reminds us slightly of Tobermory. Reasonable shopping.
A bit of shopping and walk to the castle which has a beautifully restored old barracks building, now used for exhibitions and a cafe. 3 piece smooth jazz band tonight.
After supper we found the tiny bar which Mike and I had promised the owner we would revisit. Inside, husband runs front of house and wife produces with the greatest dexterity, small meals and tapas from the most minute kitchen. For us halva, then grapes and finally grappa type. Madeleine and I absolutely fascinated at her culinary wizardry.
The whole town out perambulating, tavernas full, trip boats fully lit and selling tickets for future days, a fairground atmosphere - lovely.
Full moon. We are always amazed at the speed it moves as it creeps up over the hill, just beautiful.
Mike’s back not good.
We are having smell problems from our heads; we can clear a jetty full of people in no time. New filters to be collected in Corfu Town.
SUNDAY 2 SEPTEMBER 2012
Warm, hot later, wind
Slipped 09.50. Very quiet at first, but as we crossed towards Andipaxoi, a bit more wind and a swell so decided not to go through gap between islands to explore the west cost of Andipaxoi, but continued up the coast of Paxos to GAIOS, the chief town on PAXOI.
Very busy, yachts coming and going, ferries, trip boats etc. Luckily more boats going than coming, anchored stern to a very pleasing waterfront, some lovely old buildings, Ay Nikolaos protects the harbour with entrances either end, wooded with church lit up at night. Town has its own flock of Canada geese like Paros. Beautiful old square, shaded tavernas in the back streets, old fish market with huge marble slabs, very good shops, a thoroughly enjoyable place, though charges are made €1.50 per foot of boat.
A really loud mouthed skipper two boats up, making derogatory comments, to discourage anyone coming alongside; I gave him a word of advice and he desisted!!
Supper on board, very noisy late evening. Moon waning.
MONDAY 3 SEPTEMBER 2012
Perfect hot weather
Decided to stay in port to rest Mike’s back. The rest of us caught the 10.30 bus to LAKKA via LOGGOS. Both dear little ports, Loggos has space for 2 or 3 boats stern to and 1 or 2 in the bay, two tavernas. Lakka a bit larger, plenty of anchoring space. Good tavernas, lots of shops etc. T & M bought swimming shoes which have proved very useful already. A nice place.
The conductress on the bus, a splendid lady with turquoise trousers and a glittery top. On the way back we dropped her off at her house.
Mike had bought a splendid leg of lamb which we barbecued, great. Retsina at another bar, most people don’t like this, but strangely I do. Not nearly as many boats in today.
TUESDAY 4 SEPTEMBER 2012
09.45 slipped for CORFU, PETRITI, a harbour recommended by the French couple. It is the 2nd largest fishing port in Greece, certainly there are a large number of trawlers here, but tiny in comparison with Aberdeen or even Lowestoft. Apparently fishing when the moon is full is no good.
En route we went around southern tip of Paxos to the west coast and the wonderful cliffs and caves; the cliffs look just like cathedral frontages with their carvings. Just as we turned through the channel between the two islands, Eclipse appeared, Roman Abramovich’s yacht, the largest private one in the world 557 feet long (37 feet more than a County Class GMD), together with helicopter and anti missile equipment; we wondered how close one could get before the heavies shooed us away. We expect he was having a good rest after his spat in the courts with Berisnovsky.
Welcomed to the place by the local taverna owner, we may go back for supper. A walk around the village, not particularly attractive, beach both ends.
Whilst having our siesta, a Princess 62 came alongside on the outer wall, very noisily and not too efficiently. Suddenly a fleet of “Topduck” Dutch/NZ yachts came in, so lots of life on the jetty. They are on a tour from Rome to Corfu and then to Munich beer festival. Also a fleet of Corfu one design dinghies.
We had a delicious supper chez ‘Georges’, one of the best.
Next door boat crew came on board for late drink; one had been a volunteer at the Olympics, lucky man had angled to drive ribs at Eton Dorney, had been to opening ceremony rehearsals and loved every minute.
WEDNESDAY 5 SEPTEMBER 2012
Perfect weather, but some black clouds
Slipped 10.15. Good clear run to CORFU TOWN and moored in MANDRAKI HARBOUR beneath the fort walls, music centre above us and views of the Albanian mountains in the distance.
We have a very minimal breakwater between us and the sea; all shipping passes directly in front of us, every possible type of ferry, Cunard Queen Victoria, Holland/America Lines ships too, the tiniest home made fishing boats with aged men aboard and, of course, sailing boats. At night we have lessons in lights recognition given by Tom!
A walk ashore over the moat, past the famous cricket ground, sadly none today or during our visit. Huge numbers of tourists and tourist shops all selling the same things. Eventually Mike and I found a small supermarket which sells plastic bottles of Tuborg tonic water instead of tins, but no meat - not so useful - so store cupboard supper.
This is a lovely town with elegant buildings, though most a little faded now. The street layout and parks reminds me a bit of Liege.
THURSDAY 6 SEPTEMBER 2012
Hot but black clouds turned to rain for a short time
Decided to go on a bus tour to another part of the island. By the time Mike had run back to the boat to shut roof etc cos of rain, and we had walked to the blue bus station not the green, the only bus left was to PALAIOKASTRITA, a holiday resort on the other side. The journey, for me, was a bit depressing, too many closed hotels together with other businesses; it’s as though a swathe of past monied Corfu regulars now no longer come, the world has got smaller and those with money have gone elsewhere. The kiss me quick resorts seem ok.
We found a restaurant where the beer was €4 and menu to match, also the waiter couldn’t care less whether we stayed or went, so we finished our beer and went across the road.
I am glad we went but wouldn’t have wanted to stay.
Booked tickets for Carmina Burana for Friday at the castle. Watched the children’s brass and drum marching band - just like old times.
Another glorious evening watching the seagoing world around us.
FRIDAY 7 SEPTEMBER 2012
The last day for Tom and Madeleine, packing first thing, then more exploring of Corfu Town. It is so elegant, the Venetian influence is huge. Mike and I had to do food shopping for the next two days, Mike had his hair cut and I visited the Museum of Asian Art which is housed in the palace of St.Michael and St. George. A lovely building and exhibits beautifully arranged. The collection was given by the Greek Ambassador to Austria who had bought and sold Chinese artefacts whilst living in Vienna, I thought of The Hare with Amber Eyes.
Lunch out by the water, watching Cunard Queen Victoria and a Holland/America lines cruise ship coming in; the town was packed but I found a very old shop stocking beautifully made Greek gifts, glass, ceramics, wine, flowers, everything, though quite expensive. I bought a plate embossed with starfish - it was a haven of peace and quiet but the owner could have done with more customers, strange as she was only 20 metres from the throng in adjacent streets.
I persuaded the others to go to the museum too.
Swimming, then final pack and supper at the yacht club restaurant which was very good.
Taxi to airport at 20.30 for T & M and we went on to the fort parade ground to listen to a performance of Carmina Burana, lovely. Circa 3,000 people, some in seats others on the fort walls and cafe grassy bank, in front of the Church of?????.
Concert was late starting and then a technical hitch with lighting. A lovely youth choir who had come over from Preveza and adult choir about the same as ours. Tenor and soprano were excellent, but the counter tenor was decidedly odd, more alto.
Our mooring in Mandraki was magical and worth every euro of €40 per night.
SATURDAY 8 SEPTEMBER 2012
Slipped 10.33 and managed not to entangle our propellers in the laid mooring which somehow had crossed underneath the boat. We picked up a stray fender which was thought to have come from a boat just left, but when we hailed them, it wasn’t theirs, so finders keepers.
A lovely run to PLATARIAS and just managed to find ourselves a berth before the whole of the sailingholidays.com fleet came in; I suspect they wished we weren’t there but were very polite. Most of the staff appear to be Aus/NZ, scruffy but efficient.
Platarias not particularly attractive but in a pleasing setting.
SUNDAY 9 SEPTEMBER 2012
Slipped circa 11.00 for MOURTOS/SAVOTA. Fascinating watching the change over procedures, including the dumping of unwanted food from which the staff take what they need, we found an unopened bottle of Kalamata Balsamic vinegar - is the remainder distributed to the poor and needy I wonder. Huge numbers of ‘dirty linen’ bags and equally huge numbers of ‘clean linen’ bags.
A very quiet trip to Mourtos, during which we had a really good clean out of our black and grey tanks. We have had trouble with smell - we think we have killed the useful bugs somehow and I suppose we have to wait for new ones to grow!!
We are now in the midst of a Neilson/Sunsail change over day. This lot appear more professional but not so much fun. The next group of sailors arrive from Gatwick circa 16.00 and two boats worth from Manchester much later.
Mourtos is a very picturesque place, lots of useful shops as well as the tourist ones.
Today we have fixed the air vents to the ceiling in our cabin, this to stop any rot as we have two layers of ply which can cause a problem. Tomorrow we will have new ceiling lights - wow what progress.
We are staying here for several days to do useful works - again - and also whilst we wait for Sal and Jennifer to arrive later in the month. We also hope that Frank will call in on his way south from Gouvia.
There were some very late night revellers at least until 05.00, I don’t think they were at the nearest taverna but not far enough away!!
MONDAY 10 SEPTEMBER 2012
Today we have fitted the ceiling lights in our cabin and I have started rubbing down the toe rail - again, so boring and it is still too hot for varnishing and too much dew early.
This morning, instead of young at the taverna, it was full of little old ladies having their morning coffees and a good chat.
The Neilson charter yachts left eventually and their place was soon taken by sailingholidays.com.
I did a good recce of the shops, two butchers, two or three mini supermarkets, a fruit shop and lots of Gelaterias. Two sort of chandlers.
Good swimming beach.
An ancient crone walked through the village again late evening, her worldly goods in a pram and her goat trotting beside her.
TUESDAY 11 SEPTEMBER 2012
Staying in harbour to do more useful works and await the arrival of Frank on Thursday.
Lovely long Skype to Emma, they are still hoping to come to boat in September/October 2013. We may be in Sicily. We have almost decided not to bother with Croatia and Venice by boat; too many unknowns re expenses; as long as I can get a week in an apartment to really explore the city. We hope to winter in Malta then Tunisia in 2014.
We had a visitation from James and Tim of sailingholidays.com who were intrigued by our boat and asked to see around. James is VERY Kiwi from Auckland. Their flotilla has left for Parga. The Neilson flotilla novice sailors were put through their paces doing hours of stern to mooring practice before going off for a sail with instructors on board.
Mike filled the port side cracks from the dinghy; too lumpy to actually fill with slivers of wood.
The old crone and goat came past again.
WEDNESDAY 12 SEPTEMBER 2012
Perfect, but getting cooler in evenings
Varnishing 3 coats but have now decided doing the entire length of boat in one go is too much - old age kicking in, I used to do both sides at one go.
A quiet day, but a real treat having lunch out at the Steak Bar up the road, very nice staff and clientele all Greek.
Also as a special present, Mike has bought me two new mop heads, one yellow and one orange, a tin of varnish and more masking tape! What a lucky person I am.
THURSDAY 13 SEPTEMBER 2012
Warm, cloudy, thunderstorm later and force 6/7 in harbour
Sailingholidays.com boats all coming in for safety, bad weather forecast. 4 boats rafted up end of outer jetty, kedge anchors only used.
We were fearful there would be no room for Frank and Fred, luckily they came in from Gaios/ Paxos just in time circa 13.30 and we managed to squeeze them in one boat along from us, not that one of the boats was entirely happy with this!
F & F for lunch. We went for hill walk to stretch legs. Rain and wind in late afternoon. Supper out at Georges, not as good as I was expecting but he was very busy, especially as he had to keep rearranging tables, bringing them from outside, stacking some in a corridor, push the water from the dips in the awnings etc. Whilst remaining cheerful - I would hate to run a restaurant.
Nightcaps chez nous and the opening of T & M’s delicious preserved fruits bought in Athens.
Extreme wind and rain in night, our bimini on port side was showing signs of shake which worried me a bit, but Mike fast asleep and v wet outside, decided to leave inspection till day light; suddenly the wind stopped.
FRIDAY 14 SEPTEMBER 2012
Thunder, lightening and torrential rain and horrendous squall
An awful day weather-wise; we all had to stay on board to keep boats safe, i.e. running engines to keep them off the quay as the wind went round to the south for a while, moving fenders etc. Waves in the harbour. There were 5 boats rafted up at the outer jetty just with kedge anchors towards the shore; it must have been very difficult for them when the wind turned to onshore as they had nothing out to windward. The sailingholiday.com boys did sterling work checking their clients’ anchors, kedges etc. It was the worst squall Mike has ever seen in such a short time.
Frank and Fred went for a walk and got stranded in a cafe by a deep river on the road.
In the evening Brian and Josie on next door boat came for a drink, very pleasant. He ex RN and she has a sister who will be living in Wellington soon, we will contact Emma if this happens. Then Frank and Fred came for risotto supper, so all good after a foul day.
SATURDAY 15 SEPTEMBER 2012
Dull, rain, thunder
Frank, Fred, Brian and Josie left in morning, so did the sailingholiday.com boats only to be replaced immediately by the Neilson lot.
Decided to try the cafe opposite boat again, but still unwelcoming and the hot chocolate not good.
Leaks appearing everywhere, no fun having a wooden boat!! Mind you the four year old Bavaria next door had a broken windlass and also had had a new engine last year, so perhaps we can’t grumble.
Bought delicious sausages, 90% pork and no additives. I have a mystery, where has all the parsley and coriander gone; up to a month ago it was plentiful and very fresh, now has completely gone from the greengrocers.
Early to bed after several late nights.
SUNDAY 16 SEPTEMBER 2012
Dull, no wind, bright later
Slipped 09.50 for PREVEZA. Went out of Mourtos through the islands, I hadn’t realised there were so many little anchorages here, lovely, boats obviously fared ok in the storm. About 8 Neilson yachts anchored together, presumably not needed now the holiday season is coming to an end - where do the charter companies store their boats for the winter.
Stopped and anchored in sandy cove for Mike to try and remove the barnacles from the propeller and rudder - no chance, too lumpy, he was in danger of hitting his head on the hull; we shall have to get a diver to help.
The rest of trip straight forward, but no room at the little marina where we stopped last time in Preveza. Found a space on the quay and managed to squeeze in just clearing the fishermen’s quay; we are 20 metres from where we were 10 days ago and will take a risk on the ‘No Name’ nightclub being too noisy for us.
The restaurant/bar nearer to the marina is absolutely packed, it must be the place to be seen as the other bars aren’t at all busy.
MONDAY 17 SEPTEMBER 2012
07.00 nearly thrown out of our bunk as the Italian/Romanian Coastguard boat came in at high speed after it’s night of surveillance, presumably trying to prevent Romanian refugees getting to Italy via Albania.
In the day and evening time, the quay is full of line fishermen, but come the morning, it turns into a fish market; about ten small and some tiny, fishing boats, sell their wares to a discerning public, young and old, men, women; also there seem to be a number of non fishermen standing around who could be agents. I can’t believe that all this effort/danger produces an adequate income, the man nearest us appears to sell only calamari/inkfish/squid and only one box of these.
I bought squid/inkfish? from him and spent a jolly day cleaning them; usually I can do this easily, but today I had ink everywhere, my nails are black, only extensive washing up will clean them.
We went for an explore/walk and on the way called in at The Captain’s House boutique hotel 100 metres from the boat. What a lovely place, I could easily live there, in fact decided the type of decor and furnishings would suit us very well in any new house we may buy!!
Up the road past a very near supermarket (why couldn’t we find this when T & M were with us, also butchers). About 2 kms to the bus station to find out times for S and J. On the way found two carpet shops, we need a new one for the boat; a vast Chinese Emporium selling everything where we managed to find an electronic wasp killer; altogether a good day’s shopping!
Ethel made contact with us, Michael and Roseanne coming to supper.
A lovely evening spent chatting, but forgot to get them to sign the visitors’ book.
Another section of Sailingholidays.com arrived.
The nightclub in action but didn’t upset our sleep.
TUESDAY 18 SEPTEMBER 2012
Perfect, very slight chop
Again the fish market.
A bits and bobs sort of day. Found a bakery which makes quite the best spinach pies, but as we are trying not to put on any more weight, I only bought one between us!
Managed a reasonably long walk towards the fort which is a bit of a sad old place, made worse by the rubbish around it. Walking back along the quay who should we spy but COSI so of course we stopped for a drink or two - good to catch up with their travels which was spoilt by far too much wind in the Sporades etc. We were lucky last year in that we were only wind bound for a day or two.
Preveza appears to be more buoyant financially than any other town we have been to. Some shops empty and some dilapidated sites, but equally a huge number of shoe and leather shops, also very expensive stores selling china, glass, cutlery, lamps, Orators and Swarovski merchandise stocked. For the first time we have found carpet shops, but so far nothing wide enough for our saloon. I suppose the Greeks having marble floors only require rugs. Bought a replacement pillow for the one I threw away last year.
Broccoli and cabbage seedlings on sale for planting out now, probably like Verity in Monaco, her veg growing season begins in October/November.
The Absinthe Café around the corner, I wonder if it still is or just bears the old name?
Lovely little alleys with tiny tavernas and bars, tomorrow we will definitely explore some of these.
WEDNESDAY 19 SEPTEMBER 2012
Perfect, nice breeze
The diver has had to postpone until tomorrow the cleaning off of barnacles.
Varnishing, washing, ironing, shopping, bunk making and generally getting the boat ship shape for Sal and Jennifer’s arrival tomorrow.
My nails still have the remains of ink from the cuttle fish.
When shopping in the little local supermarket, I was €3 short, the till lady very kindly said I could come back tomorrow, but I went straight away - there wasn’t a method on the till for me to return some items instead.
We haven’t seen the turtle since our first day here, perhaps he only came up to escape the bad weather out at sea.
THURSDAY 20 SEPTEMBER 2012
Cooler, cloud, thunderstorm pm
Mike went off to the bay to anchor so that the diver could scrape off the barnacles, but a problem, he had a cold and found it difficult to get his breathing right, so not a complete success. Weather not as warm and sunny, hope it is not changing for the worse.
I stayed on shore in case the work was delayed and Sally arrived early. She did, but boat was back alongside. Her flight had arrived early and luggage came very quickly.
In return for drinks on board Cosi yesterday, they came to us and another very pleasant evening spent.
Jennifer arrived 20.45, so out to supper to a fish restaurant, lovely. Bed.
FRIDAY 21 SEPTEMBER 2012
Cloudy, sun, wind
Slipped 09.45 for circuits and bumps - well I did a couple of alongsides and a stern mooring, I should be ashamed of myself as I am still fairly hopeless.
Off to sea to the Levkas bridge, canal. Huge swell before Levkas. Went past rocks and sandbanks with no problems, had to wait about 15 mins for the bridge to open. Later tried to anchor for lunch but for some reason couldn’t get the anchor to hold so in the end gave up and motored on to SIVOTA, LEVKAS. We have never seen so many boats, mostly sailing and nearly all going north; I assume everyone making the most of a good wind and little sea for their last few days of holiday. Very gusty when we arrived, stern to opposite the little taverna where we were last time. Had a good walk, a beer, supper on board, Metaxa at the taverna. Very nice German couple on a catamaran next door, they had a bit of difficulty coming in and the cat on our starboard side had to come alongside in the end as just couldn’t get stern to.
SATURDAY 22 SEPTEMBER 2012
Sun, little wind, gorgeous
Slipped 09.50 off to Kalamos. Anchored at the southern tip of KASTOS for swim and lunch. A fisherman in wet suit, flippers, goggles etc. Swimming just below the surface and towing his boat astern, I wonder what he was fishing for, he hadn’t a spear so don’t think it could be octopus?
Just ready for a swim when a motorboat appeared carrying hay, water and other feed for the goats on land. The owner whistled and about 100 goats appeared, running down the slipway to greet him and their food, some getting aboard his boat. He spent about an hour with them, then left.
Swimming a bit chilly, but the others thought it wonderful.
Wonderful news late afternoon, Alice has her tenancy in chambers, the only one, so very sad for the other 4 who didn’t get in.
Arrived KALAMOS, welcomed again by George.
Celebratory supper at Georges, not brilliant food. Place quite crowded as a sailingholidays.com fleet in.
Others say there was a small squall in the night, but I didn’t hear/feel it.
SUNDAY 23 SEPTEMBER 2012
Sun, a little wind later
Slipped 10.30 for One House Bay on Atakos, for swim but a little chilly to sit around on deck for lunch in wet swimmers, so left. Went into Cliff Bay to show the others the wonderful cliffs.
Before we left Kalamos, first the little ferry came in loaded with produce for the shops and tavernas, then the old red caique came in with a huge load of hay for the animals - wonderful.
Wind to 4 probably all the way to KIONI ON ITHACA. A bit of a tight squeeze and the boat on our port side decidedly po faced about it, however managed to sort ourselves out so we weren’t in contact.
Long walk to the windmills, actually after having taken the wrong road, only Sal got there climbing over rocks and through brambles.
The big house is still being worked on, though think the interior finished, workmen starting before 08.00.
I have bought a very pretty moonstone and silver ring from the jeweller; he has some most beautiful items, all made by him in his workshop, though I am worried about the amount of stock he has at this time of year. He and his wife run a very professional outfit, everything is beautifully displayed and packaged.
Supper on board, late stroll, very quiet.
MONDAY 24 SEPTEMBER 2012
Sun and scudding clouds, hot
Slipped 09.50. The boats on either side had left earlier with the po faced one hardly able to squeeze out. We had our chain lifted by one boat moored 3 down from us, strange; when we left another boat’s chain had twisted round us twice which took a bit of time to sort out.
We had a lovely trip round the north side of Ithaca to FISCARDO where we had a rendez-vous with Kevin the boat photographer we had met when Mike and I came to Fiscardo by bus earlier in the summer.
He is a superb boat handler coming within 2 metres of our bows when we are doing 10-11 knots, then backing off and riding over our stern waves. He spent about one hour with us whilst we went up and down the coast at speed. The result 300 odd photos and 3 videos, all great fun. I think we should be able to find one or two really excellent photos from that lot.
Kevin does talk a lot; born and brought up in Cornwall, sailed and fished all his life. Apart from his photography he seems to be the RNLI around the local coast!
We came alongside in Fiscardo so that K could download his work, we really were right up against the tavernas, but no-one really minded even when leaving with our usual exhaust smoke, Mike did a superb stern departure.
Good run down to EUPHIMIA, but coming in was a disaster as the chain wouldn’t run out due to being twisted up in Kioni, eventually we gave up and came alongside - much simpler. Sal did sterling work untwisting the chain.
Had a quick swim as by this time we were all hot and a bit tired. Later supper at To Steki and P though he didn’t stay too long as one of his daughters is not well.
The town has bought some old pieces of concrete jetty covered with mussels which are extremely stinky, we were very glad the wind was blowing away.
TUESDAY 25 SEPTEMBER 2012
Cloudy, warm, lovely sun later
Slipped 09.50. Between Ithaca and Cephalonia, we encountered at least three dolphins who played in our wake for at about 2 nm, obviously thoroughly enjoying themselves.
Now back on the merchant shipping route, but only saw 3 or 4 and I think they were ferries.
On west side of Oxia island in the lee, we stopped the boat for a final swim, lovely, and luckily Mike didn’t drive off without us.
Arrived MESALONGHI about 16.30, we are pontoon 2, almost next door to the restaurant and very close to the showers and loos.
Walked up to the bus station to buy tickets for Sal and Jennifer. Sal’s to Athens is straightforward, but Jennifer’s to Preveza is a bit tricky; she will take a taxi to the autoroute to wait for her bus there, a little nerve wracking.
Lovely supper brought by taxi from The Red Rooster. A bit late for bed considering Sal is getting up at 05.30.
Haven’t seen turtle yet.
WEDNESDAY 26 SEPTEMBER 2012
Hot, good breeze
Sal’s taxi on time at 06.00, she was at Athens airport by 11.30. Jennifer left at 09.50 for the main road bus stop where her bus was half an hour late, otherwise all well
Washed boat, did some sorting, but I was so tired and I slept all afternoon!
THURSDAY 27 SEPTEMBER -THURSDAY 4 OCTOBER 2012
Hot, sometimes a breeze
This is wind down time, winterising boat etc.
Rubbing down and varnishing, changing oil, eating store cupboard food, getting to know the ‘live aboards’, fighting mosquitoes each evening.
We have booked a night at The Adonis in central Athens for the night of 4 October. We decided we had better have a quick visit to central Athens before we leave the area.
(It is strange to see people who are not bronzed)
The Marina Sunset cafe is delightful and nearly next door to us, as are the showers and loos. The chit chat at the cafe is lovely to listen to, everyone, as you can imagine, very animated in a multitude of languages and us not understanding a word!
Saturday 29 NEW MOON
Lost a full pepper grinder overboard!
The next few days we spent winterising the engines, varnishing etc.. Managed to persuade a Swedish couple on the next door boat, who are staying for the winter, to do a weekly check on the boat; they seem very happy to do so.
Drinks with Bill and Sue, also met Australian couple who are horribly energetic, have tramped all over Aus and NZ, walked frequently in Nepal, kayak, etc. Etc.
Thursday 4 Oct. Bill gave us a lift to bus station, good trip to Athens, then wrong bus to central Athens and Mike had forgotten to write down the address of our hotel. Down a little side street we found a cafe for a beer, the other clientele were all aged men looking very pale and grey. (It is strange seeing people who are not completely bronzed all over) The patron was so helpful, he went away for about ten minutes and came back with a map and directed us. We should, of course have taken a taxi; the distance on the map looked nothing at all but was at least a 2 kilometres. Nearly a bit of a humour failure!
Arrived at Adonis hotel only to be told they had a problem with our room and would we like the hotel opposite? Now we are in what had been quite a gracious interesting ancient building (now Government listed) but somehow our room was not - never mind. The hotel has been in the same family since 1965 and are obviously doing some refurbishment. However I think we would stay here again if we could have a decorated room.
By now it was 16.00 and we were quite hungry, ate at the little cafe down the road; quite the wrong time of day as we didn’t need to eat again in the evening. Then up to the Government building and watched changing of the guard Greek style; Syntagma Square is where the demonstrations occur. Found our station for tomorrow’s train out to the airport.
We found the central meat/fish market which was just about closed, it is enormous but a bit grisly early evening with all the tag ends of meat thrown into the central aisle for clearing up, we hope. Marks & Spencer, H & M, Mango etc etc.
Found The Bank of Greece having new roller shutters made, also security guards wearing flak jackets, I wonder why? We presumed a trial of some importance was being held as a throng of photographers and police waited outside the court buildings.
Us in the UK have no idea how to stock a hardware store, those in Greece and Turkey are places of wonder; their shops a haven of all useful things you didn’t know you wanted. You don’t get chicken feeders or bee keeping headwear in downtown Birkenhead.
As in Turkey the shopping streets are mainly arranged in merchandising order. We found in the Plaka area wonderful gems of shops selling jewellery or icons or ecclesiastical robes and church accoutrements including rich velvets and brocades for altar frontals etc., home fabrics, shirt makers, carpet sellers etc.
Around the city area, all the shops you would expect of a capital city including Cartier and fur coat shops. Judging by the carrier bags being carried, people are still spending money.
At night the cafes and tavernas are buzzing and you do get hassled a bit. We were just on way back to hotel when a dog flew at an Indian seller of roses, he dressed in impeccable white shirt and trousers; the dog definitely went for his ‘private parts’ but only got the man’s finger. Poor man was so distressed, luckily people did go to his rescue, but we had a feeling it was time to leave as the owner of the dog was about to be stoned I think.
A good night’s sleep, good breakfast, all nationalities staying. We were a bit early for the train so went around the back of the very gracious King George Hotel and found an upmarket bar to buy a delicious large glass of fresh orange juice which turned out to be less expensive than that bought in a scruffy place in central Zakinthos.
Although the train to airport is clean, quick and efficient, we decided we preferred our scruffy speedy bus, on the other hand this time the station was just around the corner.
Arrived home in sunshine around 16.30. House in good order and garden not too overgrown, though leaf sweeping will be the order of the days to come.
The end of another successful and most enjoyable few months in Greece