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Cruising with HappyCat
Vathi, Ithaca GR

Today was a lovely sunny calm day. Calm. But still a little adrenalin was in the cards. As I prepared my breakfast, I observed this lovely old wooden fishing boat, gunning straight for us. It was a local fisherman, busy sorting his nets, as he exited the harbor. He had not seen us. A few shouts and whistles alerted him, just in time! A nice wave and a chuckle from him as he motored on by. We went for a great walk, somewhat adventuresome, along the coast line and over mountains. The whole country side is amassed with wild flowers, the scent of sage, permeates the air. Decided to stay another night, realizing that in fact last night was indeed a storm outside the normal.

Vathi, Ithaca GR
Sunny 20

We begin our season, with a brief stop over, a night, at Tranquil Bay. The next day we had an early run to get down to our favourite bay, Vathi on Ithaca. We were told of how it can blow hard, and expected just the normal afternoon Northerly. But that was not really the case! Went to town for dinner, at our favorite...... thinking that the winds had subsided. When we returned to our dinghy, we realized that in fact the winds had increased. The whole bay was one big sloppy bathtub. Just getting into, and off the dinghy was a feat! 5 min. on board and the anchor alarm goes off! The winds were constant at 26-36knots! We re-anchored, and James was up until 1 until the winds just switched off. To top it all, the local Navy boat, almost drove into us, at it exited in the middle of the night! Our roughest night out at anchor! Good way to start the season!

Polishing, and enjoying Lefkas
Apr/10/2011, Lefkas Marina, Greece

With the boat back in the water, we spent the day polishing and getting ready to depart. Lefkas is such a great little city. Just wondering all the little side streets can entertain you for hours. Its filled with butchers, great bakers, and wonderful green grocers, and a vibrant community of locals. We will miss it.
-3 classic fishing boats moored in the corner of the harbour-

Paint Job Finished
Apr/07/2011, Lefkas Marina

Happy Cat goes back in the water, all ready to start the new season

Apr/05/2011, Lefkas Marina, Greece

A long day today, painting on the anti foul. But skipper insisted we do it all in one day, and with great team work we pulled it off. Just had enough paint too!! Had we been a 45' the 4 tins would not have sufficed. As you can see, the weather could not have been better.

James had made arrangement for the local Yanmar agents, to service the sail drives.
Contract Yacht Services Joe Charlton, and his team were excellent!
Bottom of sail drives were stripped, inspected, seals replaced, and everything looked in good condition. All as new again.

Haul Out
Apr/04/2011, Lefkas Marina, Greece

Today Happy Cat was lifted out of the water. Her/our first, so we were fascinated by the process. The guys at the marina did a great job, and we barely pulled into the slot, and she was being lifted! Immediately following, her hull was water blasted. We were pleased to see how clean she became. With just a light sanding, it will be an easy day tomorrow anti fouling her again.

Lefkas Marina, Greece


Back to Greece and Happy Cat, at Lefkas marina. So pleased to see how everything was as we left it, a great well protected marina.
We were amazed at how clean she looked, at least superficially.
A little bit of hosing down made a big difference though.
Nice to catch up with friends we met before we left, meeting at Porto Bar, the local bar of the marina. (Remembering how dire the wine really is!)
We have been inspired to head East towards Turkey, so planning our next route.
James is busy getting everything organized for the haul out on Monday.
I am enjoying the bounty of Spring from the many produce markets.

New Zealand
Mar/12/2011, Fly home

From January to end of March we have been back to NZ. Timing could not be better, for summer here has been wonderful! It has been great to catch up with James's family and our friends.


Great sail to Vathi for a couple of days, before heading back to Lefkas.
-A classic fishing boat, in the bay of Vathi, still being used!-


We thought we would check out Messalonghi, the new marina setting that is a competition to Lefkas. Tied to the old wharf, and although we did not go to the marina we were very happy to have chosen Lefkas Marina, above all for the proximity to the lovely town. Messalonghi is a university town, so lots of young students sitting in the coffe shops, mind you that seams to be everywhere in Greece


The bridge spanning the Golf of Corinth. Another couple of nights in Patras


A single largish dolphin follows us for almost an hour, it was magical. Great sail, with wind from our stern.
Tied onto the town quay of this great little town. One of our favorites. Our home for the next 9 days. David from NZ had co-coordinated a trip arriving to Athens. Bused into Athens, and visited the sites of the Acropolis and Delphi. Great base for exploring.
-2 Port dogs that befriended us, and every day joined us for a our morning walk-


Luckily the winds and current under the impressive bridge were kind to us. We had heard stories of the wind getting beyond the wind meter reading!
Trizonia, a tiny island on the W. coast of the Golf of Corinth.
Here we met John, as we went for a walk. A lovely man from Athens, with an orchard of olives and a summer house. He invites us back to his house, for mezze, and tsiporo! The walk was abandoned and the merry banter of new friends were bo What a nice man, and friend he became.

Patras -Take 2-

Checked into the marina right next to the ferry port. 2 nights min. ~€45. Patras grew on us, we walked to town, through the back streets, beaming with life. Did some long overdue retail therapy, and found lots to provision with. The sad sight of young men, with nothing but their clothes on their backs, every night trying to be stow aways on the trucks entering the ferry, was a staunch reminder of life on the other side of the fence. Apparently 100's would attempt this, every night, the port police have sort of given up. After all, Greece doesn't want them, better let them go!

Euphemia, GR
17 degrees

We had seen that Euphemia was a nice harbor, that we could easily tie on to side to. And it had free internet. Nice walk up into the hills.

Fiskardo, Cephalonia, GR

We managed to tie to town quay of this small hamlet. We are told that over 200 yachts could be tied up, in all sorts of ways, in the high season. It was the last w.e. of activity for Fiskardo, litteraly it would shut down for the winter. The little store barley had provisions. We liked the calm. Rented a car and enjoyed our drive around the island. Winerery, incredible bay, scenery.

Vathi, Ithaca

Really loving our stay here. A few days of a constant strong Southerly with rain, but it's a great large bay, and we are well protected.
Nice village, great walks. Lovely new taverna on back street.
Rented a car, and explored the small island.
Only one other yacht here.

Vathi, Ithaca GR

We started with 12 kts. Nicely sailing downwind towards the channel Patras, before the Golf of Corinth. As soon as we rounded the head land, the seas were 1.5mts. and the wind came up to 24kts. Even though we were completely reefed down, it was getting rougher and windier. I requested a change of plan, and we turned around and sailed to Ithaca instead.

25 degrees Sunny

Weather still good, so decided to leave the marina and explore the Ionian. Anchored here in Astakos, did not go ashore

Lefkas, Lefkada

After a night at Lakka Paxos we continue South to Lefkada where we will be checking into the marina for 5 months. It was a strange feeling coming to Lefkas, as if we were about to enroll into summer camp. We were happy to see what a great marina this was, and the town has a great feel to it.

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Who: James Joll & Marina Jackson
Port: Napier, New Zealand
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