Monday 4th June
Slept really well, woke at 9 and opened the hatch to some gorgeous scenery, very still water and brilliant sunshine, temp is already 27 degrees. Brekkie in the cockpit, and I make up a list of jobs to do, totals 15? I will probably add more later though. Wash all my dirty clothes first, then attack the non-slip paint on the bow. Took me 90mins to scrape it off where the new anchor winch is going to fit, am still deciding wheather to mount it on a plywood base or direct to the deck? Have a small tidy up and it's lunch time already, I bought a cheap packet of 30 frankfurters for 3 euros, so chop up half a dozen,a tomato, some fetta,olive oil and a glass of juice and thats lunch sorted. Read my new book for an hour and I'm shattered, so time for a nap! Slept for 3 hours, I must be over working I think? Cup of tea to wake me up and back to reading my book, washings all dry now, all neatly folded and back in my bag. Before I know whats happening, it's 8:30pm and I still have to cook dinner? Gave cooking a miss, had a frankfurter sandwich instead with a warm mythos (will have to get used to them with a duff fridge). Sat in cockpit reading under my anchor light till 11.30. Hope tomorrow is not so busy?
Tues 5th June
Slept really well, dead calm outside all night. Woke to a stiff breeze and plenty of clouds about. Navtex says winds 5 to 6 and thundrstorms? So, decide to give washing my sleeping bag and towell a miss today. Make a start doing the screws in the cockpit teak,countersinking the heads,after 60 I have had enough! Start to fill in the dents and scratches using gel coat filler,then rubbing it down. The whole of the topsides can do with a re-paint, and the pure white filler shows up against the cream topsides,making it look even worse. Heavy rain and thunder forces me inside, so it must be time for lunch? Spend the next 20 mins mopping up the window leaks, it's howling outside and visibility is just yards, then just as suddenly it stops and the sun comes out, but still the strong winds. Decide best option is a nap. Up at 8pm and cook a delish vegetable curry, my treat after seeing a jar of Uncle Bens in the supermarket. It went down a treat even with no naan or mango chutney. Read my book under the anchor light in the cockpit,its windy and cold so end up digging my fleece out. Time for bed and Nanjo is getting blown all over the place by the winds, I end up thinking of the hurricane that came through here last September and did so much damage. About 50 yachts in the bay tonight,just hope all there anchors are well dug in and nobodies drags? Go to bed wearing my clothes, just in case I have to get up in a hurry during the night?
Wed 6th June
Slept well,despite Nanjo moving around a fair bit. Woke to gorgeous blue skies and a stiff breeze. Brekkie in the cockpit, and had the last of my cornflakes,bread and jam. Was hoping to get the dinghy out and row ashore to get some supplies, but the wind is to strong and it's a bit choppy, don't think I would make it just rowing? Settle down to do some jobs on board. Do another 60 screws in the cockpit, only another 72 left!! Do some washing, finally get round to doing my large towell, just did not realise how much water it would soak up, 3/4s of a sink full of soapy water and it dissapeared in the towell? Think I will give doing my sleeping bag a miss,I did see a laundry in Nidri advertising a 5euro wash,so will take it there. Decided to do some varnishing in the saloon, I had it all worked out which bits to do, but as usual got carried away and did a lot more. Which meant I couldn't remember what I had done, so tried not to touch anything made of wood, which on a boat Nanjos size is pretty impossible, after several sticky hands placed on wood, I decided to go and sit in the cockpit and read my book for a couple of hours,taking my lunch with me. It's amazing how quick the time goes when your reading a good book. Back below and most of the varnish is dry now. Finally get round to getting my banjo out of its case, and start to learn "Duelling Banjos" nothing like jumping in at the deep end? After 45mins I decide to give the neighbours a repreive, and time for a nap. Up at 8pm and cook a packet meal with a tin of sweetcorn,yummy. Eat it in the cockpit with a warm mythos, stayed there reading my book till 11pm.
Thurs 7th June
Up at 9, brekkies consisted of a cup of tea and biscuits, that should help my weight? Still to windy to row ashore, so will be a low food day? Decided to have a go washing my sleeping bag in the big bucket, it worked a treat and with the sun and winds it actually dried in 3hrs. Result. Finally finished the last of my cockpit screws, it certainly all feels a lot nicer to sit on, and nomore snagging my shorts. Had to stitch them up again. Decided to cut my spare piece of plywood to make a base for the anchor winch, my trusty battery circular saw made short work of the 20mm ply. A bit of epoxy glue and then shaped the piece to fit, covered it all in epoxy and a coat of white paint, that should make it last. Rang Phil the Steel and he is ok for tomorrow, drilling my bow. A simple lunch, I do miss my bread tho. Quick nap and its time for a swim, skinny dipping is just so liberating, but when you hit a cold spot you certainly feel it more? Dinner was a packet of tomato sauce, fried onion and a pepper,it was delish. Stayed in the cockpit reading my book and having my last mythos by the light from the anchor light. Of to Nidri in the morning, I can see the jetty from here, so not a big trip?
Fri 8th June
Up at 8am, quick cup of tea and some bikkies. Get Nanjo ready, fenders out both sides and mooring ropes bow and stern. Pull up the anchor and its well dug in, glad its in mud and hopefully this will be my last time by hand? Motor the half mile to Activities pontoon and come alongside my old berth, a couple of Slovakians come to take my ropes and make things worse, luckily they leave and I can tie up properly. Into town for some supplies, back on board have my breakfast, wheaties and fresh bread. I bought what I thought was marmalade but turned out to be big chunks of orange peel in jelly? Tasted ok tho, and at 80 cents for a big jar, I will be buying it again. Give Phil the Steel a ring and he is coming down. Call in to see Con and treat myself to a cold mythos. Have my cheese pastie, and get all the chain out of the locker. Phil arrives bang on time, and tells me he does not use special drill bits, just reshapes the tips of ordinary ones and "you need a feel for the steel" is how he describes his technique. He drills the holes like going through wood, really nice bloke and a reasonable fee as well. I show him the stern anchor arrangements I like, he reckons at least 600 euros. Oh well, it's back on my wish list again? Try to wire up the remote i brought out, but stupidly I bought one for a car winch which only operates my solenoid and winch coming in, it dawns on me that you normally pull the wire on car winches out manually. Not much good for my anchor winch then? The main wires will need re-arranging but not a big problem, join everything together loosely and it all works. Yipppeee. Bolt the winch and wooden mounting plate down on some silicon, and it sure looks good. Got to re-arrange the wiring, but thats a job for tomorrow. Guy on boat next to mine is having a clearout,so I take a hammock,cool box,boat hook,some stainless tube and a hand pump, never turn down free stuff? Have a good wash, and clean clothes, of to Cons for my pizza, and the bugger has locked up? It was 9:30 so maybe he thought I was a no show. 5 min walk into town and pick up a giros and a cold mythos, scoff them back on board.
Sat 9th June
Kept awake by the disco half a mile away, until 02:30. These yachts have no soundproofing at all, and the constant same drum beat just kept bashing my head! Oh to be back with the peace and quiet of Vliho? I must be getting old? Up at 9am and really nice to have breakfast stuff in stock again. make a start on the winch wiring, I have run all the new cables through some plastic tube to protect it, fingers X it does. Of to Nidri marine and get 10mtrs of 3 core wire to extend the winch remote and 3 mtrs of 3 strand 14mm rope to splice onto the anchor chain, it's for emergency use only and means that I can run out all 60mtrs of chain until the rope comes up, then cut the rope if I have to let the chain go in a hurry. It's 34 degrees and way to hot to work, so of to the bar for a mythos and a greek salad. The flotilla yachts and the two cats come back in and I have a chat with Harry,Phil and Allan. Allans of for a two week flotilla trip to Corinth on Monday and asks if I wanted to tag along, really tempted but have to pick up my first guest from Corfu, Allans running the same trip in July tho, and said I would go if nothing else comes up? Have a nap on board for a few hours, then splice the rope to the chain in a few minutes, all that splicing in the merchant navy comes in handy. And extend the remote wires, it all works a treat,so start the engine and feed the chain back into the chain locker. It's a lot better than before, and a lot more space. Re-fill the water tanks and solar bags, have a lovely wash and all clean clothes, and of to the hotel for Cons Aussie burger. I was impressed, as it was even better than he described it to be, and I had to admit defeat and could not finish it all, my stomach must have shrunk? Posted my blog and did some work on the net while in the hotel, and of to bed. Thankfully the disco was not noisy tonight.
Sun 10th June
Slept really well, and up at 8:30. Wheatties and a mug of tea, and I settle my bill at the hotel. Into town for some fresh groceries and I'm leaving the jetty at 9:30, Phil casts of my bow rope and I say goodbye to all the skippers again. They are scrubbing the boats and are expecting more people out later today, don't really think I could do there job? Motor out and head well into the bay so I can pump out the holding tank, I have spare fuses on board now, and will re-connect the macerator in Vliho. Motor over to the mainland and pop into Vathi Vali, but it's a lovely spot ruined by fish farms. Then motor down to Ormos Varko and anchor in 5mtrs in the Eastern corner, a lovely spot and well protected from the prevailing wind. The anchor winch worked a treat with no jams of the chain, so a success so far. About 10 yachts here already, have a gorgeous swim and make a Greek salad for my lunch and read my book. It's really hot so between 3pm and 6pm I have a nap and read inside. Wake up to another 10 yachts at anchor, I decide to leave though, so winch mine in at 7:30pm and the winch does a great job, and I flake the chain as it goes into the locker. Motor sail back to Vliho and am all anchored again by 8:45, that winch makes a difference already. Tidy up Nanjo and cook a packet rice dinner, and have a couple of mythos, I'm just anchored down from my previous spot. Reckon I will be here for a week at least, have a long list of jobs to keep me busy, and I can relax.
Monday 28th May.
Up early,and give Nick a shout as he wants to swap lazy lines when I go. Let go bow ropes and pull myself out on the lazy line. All goes really well,thats my first singlehanded cast of a success. Out of the marina and stow all ropes and fenders, it's a gorgeous morning, and for once the wind is behind me, so up goes the jib. It's pulling well and gives me an extra half a knot. It's great to be on my own sailing, seems such a long time since I last took a boat out on my own. It's 28 miles to Lakka so at least 5hrs away, settle down to looking out for fishing floats and driftwood. Decide to make a start on my all over tan, now that is refreshing,just glad nobodies up this early and no other boats for miles. Chilling out nicely and I notice the Paxos Star bearing down on me at a great speed, back on with the shorts and top, and am ready to wave at the holiday makers as they pass by. Wind fades so, just the engine on,lucky really as the crossing from Corfu to Paxos is really lumpy, my wind gauge shows a force 6 and the sea is in a right state as it's got nothing in its way since Italy. The autohelm is having trouble so I hand steer the 7 miles, and really enjoyed it, once Nanjo got in the groove she handled really well. Only my lapses of concentration caused her to bounce around a lot. Motored into Lakkas natural harbour and suddenly all is calm and crystal blue sea, it's a beautiful place to visit, already about 20 yachts at anchor, so I find a spot up the top in 3.2mtrs of clear water. Dropping the hook and let out 15mtrs of chain, weary that it's me who has to pull it back in again. A tasty lunch, and I sit on the stern and clean the crap of the fenders with some Cif, then in for a gorgeous swim. Warm blue water, I swim out to the anchor and it's well dug in, so no problems. The bay is filling up, and just when you think there is nomore space a Sailing Holidays flottila arrives. I noticed "Threshold" at anchor,the American yacht I liked at Cleopatras, and she looks just as good afloat? Afternoon nap, and a packet rice dinner and a few beers on board, sitting in the cockpit reading a book. What a great life. Thats my first solo maiden voyage ticked off now. Of to sleep early, but don't get much as the wind has picked up and sending a swell into the anchorage, Nanjo and all the other yachts are rolling from side to side, and everything that can move and rattle has decided nows the time!
Had a bad night, very little sleep. Up at 6.30, have a quick breakfast and listen to the weather on the vhf, forecast NW 4 to 5. So, am pulling up the anchor and leaving Lakka by 07:30, everything went very smoothly. Of to Preveza and it's 38 miles away, so a long day ahead. Nobody else is awake as I motor out of the bay. Only need one waypoint on the gps and thats the outer bouy for Preveza channel. But rather than sail straight there, I head straight over to the mainland and pick up a small breeze, out with the jib and my speed is up to 6.1 knots, with a little help from the Yanmar, and I'm still heading the right way. It's cold and overcast, on with the fleece, any thoughts of all over tan topping up have gone for today. Settle down to eating biscuits,doing some lunch,reading my book, playing the thumb piano and of course keeping a good lookout. The tillerpilot mounting block I made is moving about a bit and making life hard for the pilot to steer, I found some of the 20mm scrap ply from the settee infill and shape a bit to use as a stronger replacement. A nice way to spend an hour? Seven hours after setting of, I am motoring up the Preveza channel. Fenders and ropes out on both sides, will save me a lot of ponsing about when I approach the jetty as I can choose either side. Head straight for the free marina at the end of town, and it's virtually empty, so slip into a berth. Nobody to give me a hand,so tie Nanjo up on my own with no problems. Another one to tick off my solo list. Tidy up and make a start on replacing the autopilot mounting. The old one virtually fell away as I pushed it, another of my jobs not done very well to start with. There are all new electric and water meters on the pontoons, and a bunch of guys turn up and start wiring mine up. Then the Dutch couple on the yacht opposite tell me they now charge to moor here, mine would be 10 euros a night, but once all the services are in place it will all go up. That explains why there are no liveaboards here, seems the boss of Cleopatras has decided to sort the place out? Finish the new autopilot mount, and decide to have a go at the screws holding the teak slats down in the cockpit,take screw out, a quick twist with a countersink bit and put screw back and it's job done. Tackled the cockpit floor, that went well but took ages. So, maybe do a bit each day? Wash and brush up and walk into town for some suplies. The marina is all fenced off now to keep people out and there is a porter cabin at the gate, so I go and try the door but it's locked. Oh well,at least I tried to pay? Honest. Looks like I will be leaving early. Buy some suplies and of course get sidetracked and stop at the Giros shop for a large one and a frappee. The town quay is full of yachts, some even rafted up? Fill the water tanks up when I return, that should last me a month I reckon? and get chatting to Ed a Brit who has just signed for a berth at the new marina. Apparently it all happened last week, all boats had a notice slapped on them to contact the new owner, those that didn't were apparently towed to the town quay. It seems it's illeagal to leave a boat unattended in Greece without notifying the authorities who the guardineage person is. So, if the port police had no record of you and you were given 21 days notice your boat was moved. There were some expensive and big yachts left here and chained up for the winter.Now all been moved. It's going to have a big impact on the local liveaboards for sure. Had a mythos in the cockpit and early to sleep, it's so nice and peacefull here.
Slept really well, made up for my night at Lakka. Up early and a quick brekkie, but not early or quick enough. The girl was round for her money, had to take my papers to the portacabin. Had a lpng chat with Ed first, he has had a South Pacific Australian anchor winch for 3 years and no problems,they are only £459? Had a nice chat with the girl in the office, they have some serious plans for the marina, and that will mean serious money as well. My night cost 9 euros, better than expected, and I did fill my water tanks up.Pop into town for a loaf and a spinach pie. Back on board and a quick check and I have let the bow line go, and the gorgeous Dutch woman of next door, pulls my stern line in so my bow goes out to clear the two yachts in front, and I'm safely away. It's a beautiful morning, motor to Lefkas channel, but on the way have a coast guard rib come flying over, telling me to go further ofshore as they are firing live ammunition at Preveza airport? Make the 12 o'clock bridge, and decide to carry on going, I have enough diesel and I can see Kosta another time. Oh yea, I phoned the liferaft guy, he is going to do it tomorrow? Wind is up at the end of the channel, so both sails are up and the Yanmar put to rest. Had a cracking sail, wind got up to a good force 6 and it was great to see other yachts taking there sails down. Nanjo handled it all brilliantly, spent 5 hours just sailing about, my arms were pumped up with all the tacking between the islands, even sailed into Nidri under full sail and doing 6.5 knots, wish I had a picture of her bowling along. Rolled the jib,and motorsailed through the moored yachts down to the southern end of Vliho, dropped the hook in 3mtrs of murky water. Stowed everything and had a well earned beer. Dinner and drinks on board,and finally got to play one of the discs from my "The Best Opera Album in the World" set. Some amazing voices, made a big change from my usual stuff, well impressed. Have arranged to go on the Activity Holidays pontoon after talking to Alan for tomorrow, Nanjos old flotilla base, bit of a home coming for her? Vernons going to look at my fridge, fingers X it will be cheap?
Up at 9, quick brekkie and put out all fenders, rig two bow lines and get the stern anchor ready. Pull up the anchor and it's only 5mins to the Activity Holidays pontoon, getting all ready, reach behind me to pull the pin on the rope that holds the stern ladder up and it comes apart! I normally stand on the stern step and drop it while stering. A quick turnaround and get it sorted, back again and come alongside a big cat. All goes text book,even nobody to take a bow line,so have to jump of myself and do it all. When it goes right like this,it probably looked easy to people watching, but when it goes wrong,oh boy,and I'm sure it will. Pop into the hotel and speak to Con an Aussie who had worked on Nanjo in the past. It's 10 euros a night but free electric and water and the use of the hotel pool and facilities, not bad. Vernons down within the hour and tests the fridge, plenty of gas, after spending some time and bringing back gauges and spare controller. He declares the compressor motor has seized, apparently they can get stuck in one position, Nanjos fridge has not been used for at least 2 years. Options are £600 for a new unit,or to give the casing a whack with a hammer everynow and again and it might free up? Guess which option I'm taking? He takes away my saloon infill for Gill to make my cushion. All the second hand boat stuff is now stored at Nidri marine,it's full of usefull stuff. In a corner are the anchor winches,and all the ones like mine seem to have failed with the same problem. They have only two 8mm in and both don't look to good,so I pass on them. Into town for a loaf and a spinach pie, well I thought it was, but turned out to be a pizza pie? Imagine a pizza wrapped in fillo pastry and cooked, only in Greece can you get these. Have a long chat with the mechanic working on the cat, it charters for £2000 a week for two people, with a skipper and one crew and all the charterers can eat and drink,Deal or No Deal? He might know of a second hand compressor for my fridge. Have a walk to Vliho with two of my hatch covers and call in to see Orkide, great to see her again, and she remembers me and Nanjo. Two weeks to get Nicks covers made up so no problem. Have a long chat and speak to Horatio as well. I plan to spend another day at Nidri then back down to Vliho and anchor for a week,and do very little,except swim,play my banjo (so I will have to anchor a fair bit out) and chill out. Have a salad and a few beers at the yacht club, catch up on all my internet stuff,and have a nice 30min stroll back to Nidri at midnight.
Friday 1st June
Slept really well. Went into town to Georges chandlers, he gives me a good deal on a South Pacific 900m anchor winch, a bit more than the Uk price but will be here tomorrow, all the right ups in the magazines and people I have met using them say they are good, with a 3yr guarantee. Pick up some fruit and a salad roll, eat them on the town quay watching yachts coming and going. Back on board and Gill brings my new cushion down, a lovely job and can't wait to try it out. Pop up to the hotel bar for a cold beer and use there internet, have a long chat with Con about Polikos. Have a nap on my new bed, then have to move Nanjo around to the other side of the jetty as the other cat is coming back on Sat. Am all prepared then the wind picks up and suddenley there are boats all over the place? A 10min wait and I let go,pull myself out on the kedge, re-arrange the fenders and ropes and come back alongside this time. Alan gives me a hand to ty up, then dinner on board and read my book till 11:30. I'm going to have to tighten my belt as the anchor winch has made a big dent in my budget.
Sat 2nd June
Have a lovely hot water wash, and into town, get more money out of the bank and George has my winch ready. I buy a 6 euro stainless steel drill bit as well, pick up a roll and also find a chandlers selling the engine oil extractor pump I have been after and only 66 euros, just had to buy it as the cheapest I have seen was 87? Oh well, another week living on sawdust? Back on board and I'm keen to fit the winch, but go for a cold beer first and to read the instructions. All clear now, hook it up loosely to my present wiring and it works a treat, even the remote control unit. Get all my stuff ready up on deck and mark the holes, I can't use any of the old ones at all. Start to drill, and it's obvious pretty soon that I'm not getting anywhere fast, my battery drill is overheating as it's only meant to be on for short bursts. After 20mins I have just about scratched the surface of one hole, try other drill bits, try my hand drill, all no good. God knows how I will cut the hole for the anchor chain? The mechanic of the cat gives me the number for Stainless Phill,give him a ring and he is very busy but can do it next Friday for me. So decide to leave here tomorrow and stay at anchor in Vliho till next Friday then come back here. Put everything away again, and head of to the bar for a cold mythos. Stock up on food tomorrow and fill my solar showers, am looking forward to spending some time at anchor.
Slept really well, up early at 9am, and everybody is already busy on the charter boats, the new guests are due out today, so plenty of last minute preps for them. Really don't think I could do there job, it's two weeks on and one off? Pop into see Con and pay my bill, a very resonable 50euros, and book my space for next Friday. Into town to get more money out and some groceries, spend 35 euros, which should last me the week. Say good bye to everybody, and Harry and Allan take my lines as I back away from the jetty. All goes really smoothly and Nanjo makes me look good. Motor out of Nidri and head for some open sea to empty the holding tank.As far from land as I can get, I flick the macerator switch and it all seems ok, then it blows a fuse? Put a new one in and the pump runs again for 30 seconds and blows the fuse, something is jamming up the motor and causing it to overload. I take out all the locker gear and climb in, so I can put a screwdriver on the pump, sure enough it's pretty hard to turn, but soon frees itself and seems to be ok. Back below and put another fuse in, runs for 30 seconds and blows that fuse. It's clogged up again. Free it off and decide to take the tank inspection hatch off, the tank is still virtually full, and the smell is not that pleasant, believe me. So, I decide to detach the pipes from the macerator and re-connect to the old Henderson hand pump. It soon empties the tank no problem, so I take the oppourtunity to flush it through several times. I'm out of 20amp fuses now, so I leave the hand pump connected until I can get some fuses. Motor around to Skorpios island and anchor in the bay, where Jackie O used to swim, it's a gorgeous spot and another dozen yachts already here, I find a space just opposite the old bathing huts and anchor in 6 mtrs of very clear water. Time for a lovely swim, shower on the stern, read my book, feed the fish,eat and have a nap, all that takes me up to 6:45. I up anchor and motor to Vliho, passing the Activity holidays jetty, give a wave to Harry and Nigel who skipper the big cats and are going out tomorrow. Find a lovely little spot opposite the tavernas on the west side, and drop my hook in 3 mtrs, time for another swim, although the waters a lot murkier here and no chance of seeing the bottom. Cook a packet sphagetti carbonnara, and to be honest at 1.80 euros it's not bad, washed down with a glass of expensive red wine at 2.60 for two litres, the first mouthfull is a killer but after that it's drinkable. God knows what the wine expert Gilly would have to say about it? Up on deck till 11pm, and play my 2nd opera disc on the cd. Magic. The end of an eventful day.
Monday 21st May 2012
Slept in so no rush to move on. The wind gen was showing a green light,so fully charged. I did notice a neighbours was not spinning at all, but as John said the time to worry is when mine stops spinning?Had to clean the ball fender as it was covered in oil,somebody probably did a dodgy oil change and let it run into the harbour? Left Mourtos after getting some cold milk and having wheaties for breakfast, no nproblems with the stern anchor coming up,but it's still rubbing the fibreglass stern. Motored all the way to Benitses,wind on the nose to start with then up the stern and a force 4, very cloudy and a cold day. Arrived at Benitses and was suprised to find plenty of space in the harbour, tied up bow on between a motorboat and a Gulet. I even got to use one of the trailing lines that are laid,so no stern anchor. John went to help a French singlehander after tying up Nanjos bow. A quick tidy up and we are of ashore to Dimitri and Spiros taverna, was great to see them both again and hear that Spiros throat was better and he can drink again. A couple of cold mythos and a free plate of anchovies later,I actually tried one,not to bad but think I will stick to chips? And we had a small bottle of rakki on the house as well, Dimitri warned of strong winds tommorrow so we might not leave? John might get a bus to the airport from here if it's possible. Noticed Bobs yacht and a host of others are still here. Rang the liferaft service guy, it should have been looked at last monday,he said he will look at it today and ring me back,you guessed it? I had no ring back. I thought all he had to do was put it outside and stand back and pull the cord and let it explode and inflate,must be more to it than that I suppose? Had a nap and was knocked out until 21:00, must have been the rakki as I have not been working that hard?? Wind generator pumping in the amps as the wind picked up,maybe I better buy a Marshall Amp for my banjo to use up all that power? Quick wash and ashore for dinner at Dimitris taverna, had a great meal and another free bottle of rakki. We were the last to leave at 23:59. Back on board and slept like a log.
Up early and the winds howling outside,really glad I'm tucked up in here. The wind gen spinning at a great rate and my battery monitor showing 105% charged. Of to the bakery for some fresh bread and a cold pint of milk, one euro 70 cents a great bargain. We planned on getting the 10am bus into Corfu airport, arriving at the bus stop we were confronted by a ticket mchine, pushing the UK flag did nothing to change the language on the readout. Luckily a woman from the Uk was there, a teacher who was teaching English in Benitses and she explained the ins and outs of the bus ticket system.As it worked out the machine would not accept my 5 euro note, so we went to the supermarket across the street and bought the required tickets, apparently if you pay on the bus it's another euro on the fare? We had a great trip on the bus, even doing the British thing and giving up our seats to older people,they were French and seemed well suprised? Only a 30min ride to the airport and a 15min walk and we were inside the terminal. A quick and easy trip for John tomorrow to ncatch his flight home. We went for a walk and popped into the NAOK marina for a look around, it was empty, so maybe the expensive prices are beginning to bite? A quick walk around and we managed to fit in a coffee/frappee and a cheese pastie before we found a bus shelter just the other side of the runway. A full No6 bus turned up and we were back in Benitses in 25mins. Time for a couple of mythos and a free rakki at Spiro's taverna, his family were sitting down eating lunch and they had what looked like fried budgie legs on a plate! Dimitri brought us a selection of what they were eating, and it turned out to be calamari. We both had some and both concluded that the batter tasted good but the rubbery texture of the calamari was not to our taste. Luckily we had plenty of mythos and rakki to take the taste away? Back on boad and Johns packed his bag and it's nap time. Up at 9pm a quick wash and of to Spiros for a farewell dinner, we were both glad that we were not given any free rakki this time,as usual we were the last to leave. I spotted another Disco 3000 in the harbour and a UK flag,no sign of anybody on board,we did have a look though and they have the latest anchor well arrangement, so hopefully I can get a look at it later? Early to sleep and my alarm set for 07:30.
Up early and Johns all washed and packed after a quick brekkie, we caught the 08:35 bus to the airport. Although it arrived a few minutes late we arrived at the airport for 09:15 so plenty of time to relax. John checked his bag in as soon as the Easyjet desk opened and we went upstairs for a snack. Two coffees and two pies cost John a whopping 15euros!!! The same at a taverna would have cost 6 at the most, I noticed a 500ml bottle of mythos was 8 euros compared to normally 2:50 to 3. No wonder there were not many people up there. We watched Johns flight arrive and I said goodbye as he went through to departure. Thanks for all your help John,I have learned a lot over the past few weeks. A quick photo in the gents toilet,don't ask me why,it just seemed the thing to do? I walked back to the Carrefour supermarket and stocked up on cheap stuff to eat, a very nice lady behind the cheese counter gave me a taste of what she said was the best fetta on Corfu, and to be honest most certainly was,so I bought 400grams worth. A short wait for the No6 bus,which was full up and I was back on Nanjo for 2pm. A lovely simple lunch,and I started on the cleaning, the cooker is now gleaming and the heads are all smelling sweet again. Time for a well earned nap? Woke up and noticed the crew of Yes M'lady, the Disco 3000 in the marina were on board,so went for a chat. Met Nick who owns a 50% share and Mark and Peter his friends out for a holiday. After Nick showed me around and I discovered there anchor locker is not really a big improvement on mine,they invited me for a drink which led to several and then dinner at a small local taverna they have been using. A great bunch of guys,and it turns out that I'm in Nicks usual winter spot,he went on to explain how one of the locals collects money for looking after the yachts during the winter.They are moving of tomorrow and have arranged for a rigger to go up there mast and recover the jib haliard. The owners of the large Westerly have even turned up,so plenty going on here. Slept really well.
Up about 9,and it's a lovely day,so just had brekkie in the cockpit and sat around for a while admiring the view. Bought some fresh bread and went for a walk out of town towards Petriti, never been this way before and the town goes on for quite a way with some lovely beaches along the way. Sat under a tree for shade and nibbled on my loaf just watching the world go by. Sheer bliss,nobody telling me what to do and not having to do anything either. Back on board I washed all my dirty clothes as the sun is up and a lovely breeze,everything was dry in hours. Finally got round to reading a small book on sail trim I have had for years,so hope to put some of it into practice when I leave here. First stop will probably be Lakka 28 miles South on Paxos,a big bay and normally plenty of room to anchor. Did my accounts and hopefully have enough still to stay out here,time to tighten my belt and see if I can get by on my pension? Went ashore to Spiros taverna, to use the internet and because I have been so good I treated myself to a steak and 2 mythos, Dimitri was on so ended up sharing a bottle of rakki with him as well. A lovely evening,where I caught up with this blog and my e-mails. Back on board and, it's a bit of Led Zeppelin on the music box, then I can hear the scurrying of little feet on the deck, so I turn the sound down, turn of the interior lights and draw back a curtain. It's not long before I see a bloody big rat walking past,a thump on the cabin side and it's off. Hopefully it won't be back, but a warning to keep all hatches closed and fit some bottles to the shore lines tomorrow, to keep the buggers at bay. John had a hard time trying to get rid of one that had got onboard Tulane at Nidri.
Slept really well.
No need to get up early, so lay in bed reading till 10am. Quick brekkie and I decide to have a go at setting the mast up a bit better. Took out all the split pins, but absolutely no chance of untying the cap shroud bottle screws, they are seized solid. Try wd40,butane torch and the biggest spanners I have on board, even manage to snap one of them. Not much I can do with them so set up the inner shrouds and back stays along with the baby stay. The mast now seems a bit stiffer with a nice bend in it, all looks upright and straight. But I will have to find some way to free the caps off eventually. Next job was to cut the wood for the saloon settee infill, luckily the battery drill kit I brought out had a circular saw, and it chopped through the 20mm wood no problem. I even did a pretty good job of scarfing in the extra piece, and a dollop of West systems epoxy glue and that should last. Just got to smooth it down and give it a couple of coats of varnish. Tidied up and went for a nap. Was woken up with Yes M'lady reversing in alongside me, it was a tight squeeze but we are all packed in tight now. The lads had been to Corfu to get a rigger up he mast, he found that the blocks were worn and needs new sheaves made up, so they still cannot use there jib. Nicks waiting for a phone call to go back to Corfu. Spent the evening laughing and chatting and drinking at the little taverna they use. Mark and Peter are flying home tomorrow. Got back to Nanjo late, and slept really well.
Up early, as Nick as offered to take me into Corfu town after dropping Peter and Mark of at the airport. He knows where there are a couple of machine shops who might be able to repair my anchor winch? The airport was a hell of a lot busier than when I dropped John off, it was heaving in the departure lounge. Said goodbye to Mark and Peter, hopefully see them out here again. Of to the machine shops, and they all had a look and declared it not worth fixing. The local chandlers quoted me 1,400 euros for a replacement Lofrans,Ouch!! But he did have a rather nice 12volt vacuum cleaner for 20e so snapped that up. Nick then took me to all the cheap shops he knows in town they even have a 1 Euro shop, not as gand as our £1 shops back home. I found some cheap stick on led lights for the back cabin, which will make a big diference. Back on board and unload my stuff. Pop ashore for a fresh loaf and a cheese pie for lunch. Have a quick chat with Nick comparing our yachts, they have only made small differences over the years. He had leaking windows as well, but spent 1,200 euros having new ones made up and a year later they are leaking like the old ones, maybe the Captain Tolleys creeping crack cure is the cheaper and easier answer? Time for a nap and I sleep till 8:30pm Strewth,I must have been tired? Shower on board, fresh clothes and no sign of Nick aboard, so a short walk and I get a lovely takeaway gyros for 2 euros,sit on the beach and just chill out. Lovely view and just watch the fishing boats coming and going. I can see how Benitses can suck you in and it would be easy to just stay here? Beer onboard and work out some courses on the gps. Decide to spend Sunday here and leave early Monday morning for Lakka if the forecast is good.
Into town for some fetta and fresh milk,and to fill up my spare water can from the tap in the square. Brekkie on board and a storm raging outside,heavy rain,thunder and lightning, at least the Navtex was spot on. Soon passes,so I sandpaper the infill down. Have a long chat with Nick, and decide to varnish the infill in situ in the saloon. All looked good, so varnished the small table as well. Then the heavy rain came back, Oh yes, had to close all the hatches and doors. Only then did I think varnishing in a very confined space with no ventilation was a stupid idea? I had to open the cockpit doors before I passed out, rather have a bit of rainwater to deal with than trying to brearhe, not sure whats in Greek varnish but it's a lot more potent than ours. Shut my cabin door and had a nap for a few hours. Woke up and the rain had stopped, so guess what? I put on another coat of varnish and sat on deck chatting to Nick. Soon time for some food, so of to the local taverna for a couple of gyros and a few beers with Nick. Back on board and still a strong varnish smell,suprise,suprise? Hope to leave at 8am if weather is ok for Lakka.
Up early as I wanted to try and get a couple of sail battens that I had lost earlier. Had a chat with my next neighbour who seemed concerned that I was thinking of leaving, he asked if I had seen a recent weather forecast? A quick look on Johns computer confirmed that there are strong winds and thunderstorms heading our way soon, and the anchorages and small bays we were intending to visit would not offer much shelter. So, another day at Gouvia was on the cards. I managed to get the battens after visiting three sailmakers in town, I also picked up a rectangular foam fender for hanging off the bow for protection when I am on my own and going bow to jetties. The strong winds and heavy rain came with a vengence later,and I was really glad I had paid the extra for another safe day in the marina. We have a joint kitty going for expenses, but the extra days marina fee I will pay for, as it's my choice not to go. That evening after running through the rain and getting soaked in minutes. We found a lovely little taverna just outside the marina side entrance, ran by a real character of a woman. The food was wholesome,plentiful and cheap. We sat under the awning watching the rain come down in buckets, the street was soon awash and John was in danger of getting swamped by passing cars. We both had a laugh when a beaten up Escort cabriolet turned up and the driver was wet, those roofs were never any good? Even more laughs when he left,his door would not open,so the passenger let him in,then it only fired up on 3 cylinders as he tried to chug away in the pooring rain. Anybody who has ever owned a Ford has been in the same situation as him? We went across to the Beer Bucket Brit pub,John had noticed a Caffreys sign so had fancied one. He was to face another dissapointment, Becky behind the bar told him they had not had any for 18months or Guinness. So he settled for a mythos,this was the worst bar I have been in, it's easy to forget just how noisy and uninviting British pubs can be and this place brought it all back to me,it's a great place for the ex-pat community I'm sure and the bar staff and landlord could not be more friendlier, but just not for me. Luckily the rain had stopped by the time we walked back to Nanjo.
Tuesday 15/Wednesday 16th
The forecast never got any better, I paid the 37 euros each day just before the 2pm check out time just in case we could get away. We had been given details of the Poseidon weather site, which seemed to show vastly different conditions than anybody else. My navtex was giving 6 forecasts a day and all were bad,the marina were giving me a printout each day and they were bad,Poseidon seemed to dissagree completely. But I had decided early on that as Nanjo was now my home,her safety was my parramount importance and something I should never place in danger. The Faraway Islands of North Othoni, North Erikoussa and North Mathrakion would have to wait for another year! If I could not afford the 37 euros to make sure she was safe then it would probably be best if I packed it in now? I plotted a couple of courses to harbours on the mainland, Plataria and Mourtos in the hope that we can get out of Gouvia and sail there. To pass the time I went for a walk around the pontoons,looking at yachts and getting some ideas for a stern anchor arrangement. It's amazing what some people have come up with, some very complicated and others like me with just a bucket attached to the stern and the chain in it. I was also looking for an old wooden yacht and a couple I had met here 10yrs ago, they were liveaboards and looked after yachts to make some money. I found the wooden gaff ketch in just the same space as before, and luckily her owner Diane was still onboard. It was lovely to chat with her again after so long and to see that she was still having fun and kept her great outlook on life despite having some problems since we last met. I bumped into her later at the pool cafe with her friend Lynne,another lovely lady to chat with. Back on board Nanjo, just to keep busy,I spliced some rope for the new fender, put the new sail battens in the mainsail and stitched them in place, so the buggers won't fly of again and finally got round to running the wire throught the A frame for the wind gennie (not the 10min job I thought it would be), just got to take my cabin apart and run it to the battery now tho. Dinner both nights at our local taverna and the food was great, John ordered a steak one night and it was huge. I had been to the supermarket,hoping to cook on board, but unless we only wanted packet rice I could not compete with the taverna prices. Wed night and a force 8 was forecast (39 to 46mph winds), it woke me at 2am and the winds and rain were howling,a quick look outside and the waters in the marina were being churned up. So glad we are secure and safe, so back to bed and slept well.
Rain and strong winds again, navtex still showing force 7 to 8 and thunderstorms. When will it end? Now it's getting noticeably colder, had to dig out my fleece and any thoughts of putting my Love blanket away have vanished! Spent the morning in the poolside bar, had a chat with Diane and mentioned we were going to have chicken curry at the local taverna,it's one of her favorite places to eat so she is going to join us. Caught up with my internet stuff,had a few frappees and paid for another day at Gouvia. Before I knew it, it was time to head back to Nanjo and have a shower. The forecast for tomorrow is showing winds 6 to 7 again,all thoughts of sailing North have vanished now. After a lovely hot shower, we walked to the taverna and met Diane who had arrived just before us. The meal was everything we had been promised and it was lovely to spend it in the company of such an interesting woman who has certainly enjoyed her life so far and hopefully will for many years to come. We were all swapping life stories and before we knew it the clock was showing 11.30. I was promised the use of the taverna owners sons car for tomorrow if we were still in Gouvia and all free of charge, it was her son who owned the Escort Cabriolet we had seen the other day?? We said our goodbyes and Diane rode of on her trusty bike back to her yacht. Slept really well, the barometer has moved a bit upwards.
Up early and not a cloud in the sky, no wind and blue skies. The forecast is predicting a force 7 later? We decide to move of as quick as possible, so Nanjo is prepped and we are on our way for 08:45. Only one other yacht is moving as we motor out of the marina. Course is for Plataria on the mainland and 25 miles away, the Gods must have been with us or the forecasters got it wrong. Because we had calm seas and no winds all the way until we entered the large bay to Plataria, then it started to blow a bit but as the wind was behind us it was all ok. My only job motoring across was to avoid the ferries running between Corfu and Igoumenitsa harbour,we seemed to have all plotted the same course, so I played dodge with the ferries. We arrived at 13:45 and was all tied up bow on by 14:00, it's a Sailing Holidays charter base but we found a space to wedge into ok. Later we watched the charter fleet arrive, the winds had picked up now and were sending in quite a chop, one guy got it wrong and ended up on the beach, but luckily the quick witted lead boat shot out in a rib and managed to tow him of the beach. I hope that he gave him a good drink that night.We watched the antics of the others trying to moor up, those lead crews certainly earned there money this day.It's normal for yachties to watch and discuss what they would have done better, but only after your safely tied up.Before that happens it's your turn to provide the entertainment, and I have done in the past and I can guarantee I will do over the next months as well.Of ashore and it's a lovely place but deserted, the usual boats on the quay that look abandoned, but very few people about. It's really just one street, so we stop for a mythos at a fast food joint. There must be 12 tavernas here,so I hope there summer picks up soon. All the Sailing Holidays go to one cafe and we went back to our fast food joint for dinner,all very cheap and full filling. It's just so nice to have a different outlook from Gouvia, maybe next time I will get to borrow the car? Slept really well.
No need to get up early as we are only going 8 miles around the coast to Mourtos, the sun is shining and a little wind blowing into the bay. Our usual breakfast and we are away for 10:45 and following some Sailing Holidays yachts out. I have been looking at stern anchor systems on the internet and it's on my priority list to fit. No matter how I try the anchor chain ends up rubbing along the stern scoop, I just can't hold it out far enough to stop it rubbing the fibreglass while pulling it in. We motor all the way to give the batteries a boost, only small problem was just of the tip of Vrak Xeronisi the engine note suddenly changed! You do get used to the humming/thumping noise and it's regular beat, and are soon aware when it changes. Tried reverse,looked in the engine bay and all looked ok,it was ticking over no problems and all the oils were normal. So, back in gear and carry on to Mourtos but the speed is down a fair bit? A quick dive down under the boat and it turns out to be a plastic bag wrapped around the prop and shaft. A few dives later and it's all clear, but most of the remaining prop anti fouling has now gone. But I'm really glad it was such a simple thing to sort out. It's a lovely approach to Mourtos and the harbour is easy to enter, I found a spot straight away and we are in bow on and tied up by 13:00, and we are of into town, John has been here a few times and is soon recognised by the owner of the Bamboo taverna, after a quick look around we are back for a mythos, this guy brings us an extra half pint free and plenty of nibbles,so no need to buy lunch. Spend the rest of the afternoon watching Neilson charter yachts coming in, this is there turn around base,and these guys are really on the ball. They just keep on coming in, I went for a nap thinking the harbour was full and wake up to find Neilson got another 12 yachts in? Dinner at the same taverna, and he promises to fill us up with food, he certainly did as both of us had to admit defeat and could not finish our meal. Neilsons were having a prize day in the taverna near by as they were all flying home on Sunday. A great way to try sailing in Greece I reckon. Apparently Chelsea won a football game as well today??
A free day in Mourtos,the sun is shining and very little wind. So spent the morning writing this blog and relaxing. John went ashore to find an internet cafe and charge his computer, luckily mine will charge ok from the boats 12volt system. Checking the engine over I found nothing wrong and all belts and oils at the correct levels. So I decided to finish of the wiring for the wind gen and take the head lining panels down in the stern cabin. That all went smoothly,but as expected putting the buggers back up was not so simple tho. The first attempt it all went really quickly, I soon found out why, when I noticed a wire hanging down behind the head lining! Take the panel off again and it's another 30mins of struggling before it's back in the right place, you have to lay on your back and put one foot against the panel,then try and put some screws in and hold it in place. I had the wiring all done by 3pm, so thinking I'm on a roll, I started to put the wind generator together. Placing the boarding plank against the stern rail and folding the bimini helped. It all went according to the directions,I connected the gennie and pushed the wires through, but first tying a line to it just incase it tried to make a break for freedom and go overboard! The blades all fitted easily after I had got the knack of the first one, all the wires connected and I let it spin, really glad to say the regulator showed it was putting a charge into the batteries. Real shame that without the fridege working I don't really use much electric now as the anchor winch is broke along with the fridge? Went ashore for dinner and a mistake on my part meant we ended up with 5 baggettes and chips along with the specials,I was hoping to have a light meal?Luckily Andreos was happy for us to take two baggettes back to the boat, he even wrapped them in tin foil for us. We left the Bamboo taverna well stuffed again. Slept really well, I tried to listen for the wind gen but heard nothing.Some of the yachting websites complained of noise transmitted through the boat with the gennie spinning? Slept really well.
14/05/2012, Gouvia Marina,Corfu,Northern Ionian
It's been a funny week since I left Preveza. Unbelievable weather, waking to beautiful blue skies and still water, which the downside means absolutely no winds. So the 18hp Yanmar has been earning its keep and relentlesly chugging away below the cockpit floor. I gave it a good check over and no oils have been burnt and everything seemed as good as it could be. The batteries were showing 104% charge and all was well on board Nanjo.
We left Preveza early and joined another 5 yachts motoring out the channel, there was no wind and the sun was already beaming. All the other yachts turned to Port and headed for Lefkas, we were the only one to head Stbd and for Gaios on Paxos island. There's not much to do on a long passage, except keep a lookout for the odd fishing boat, who will always be on your course and a pottential collision victim and plot a position on the chart every now and again, just incase the gps packs up. It stayed that way for the first 4 hours and then the autopilot started playing up, just would cut out completely or not hold a course for no apparent reason. Luckily we never had another boat anywhere near us when it happened. We motored into Gaios and slowly chugged through the channel, it's normally full of yachts either side but this early in the season there was plenty of choice where to park up. Back to the Northern entrance and we got everything ready, found a spot between two Brit yachts and backed in, John did a excellant job on the bow anchor and we were all tied up and secure in minutes.A quick walk into town and a mythos and a large plate of free fish and chips at the quayside taverna, ended a long day. They normally levy a small fee for mooring here but this early in the season, nobody could be bothered?
Of to Pitriti the next morning on Corfu, the option was a short day to Lakka and an anchorage but I really did not fancy getting the dinghy out and blowing it up. The sea was choppy as we headed out of Gaios and straight into a head wind, typical. Nanjo was bouncing about a fair bit, which was hard to get used to after all the flat sea days we had had lately. Then the autopilot went down for good,absolutely nothing on the screen. Tying a rope around the tiller, to keep Nanjo on course for a few minutes revealed 12.8 volts at the autopilot plug, so plenty of power? I hand steered for the next 4 hours to Corfu and Pitriti. No big problem, but the autopilot can steer a far better course than I can. Pitriti harbour was unusually full of fishing boats so there was no room to go alongside anywhere. We anchored in 2.5 mtrs of water just behind two other yachts. It was a pretty bumpy anchorage as the wind was sending rolling waves into the harbour,luckily John had got the cqr well dug in so we were not in danger of dragging. A sobbering sight was the steel yacht washed up on the beach immeadiately behind us, it looked like it must have happened recently. I cooked on board that night, and as expected the evening winds died away and we had a peacefull night.
A short trip of only 10 miles and we were of to Benitses, I had read about this marina that had been built and never finished, it was now full of liveaboards and the local community were not happy. As it was built to bring the passing trade from yachts and charter fleets into the tavernas? There was no wind again, but a gorgeous blue sky and flat sea. Still no joy from the autopilot, so I was hand steering again. As we approached Benitses we could see the small harbour looked pretty packed with masts, luckily a large ketch came out just when I was a mile off, so there must be space for Nanjo I thought. We motored in and had a look around, and it was full of liveaboard yachts as expected. But a space for Nanjo to fit was seen,we went back out and we put all the fenders out,John got two lines ready on the bow and I got the stern anchor ready to drop out of its bucket. The first time it had been used this trip. All going well, as I was paying out the anchor and motoring very slowly ahead. The Dutch yacht we were coming alongside,its occupants just ignored us and carried on painting. Luckily a Brit of another yacht took my bow lines. I made a mental note to myself, next time wear gloves when letting the stern anchor chain run through my hand, it would have saved the pain later!!! The harbour was full of abandoned yachts and motorboats, people who had obviously left them here all winter and flown back to there respective countries. There were a few people living on board who were contributing to the local community and had spent the winter here, but I could not help thinking what a waste for the locals. The harbour had been about 90% finished. Most places had trailing lines, there were boxs for water and electric, there were toilet and shower blocks built and a parking arear still to be landscaped. But nothing turned on or working. Back in the UK, it would have been £20 a night and this small harbour would be turning a profit, as it is now, it's just turning into decay and a free parking lot. The sight of a 44ft Uk registered Westerly Sealord yacht, probably worth over £100,000 back in the UK, obviously left unattended here for months did make me angry. Somebody can afford a yacht like that but resents paying a marina fee, I really hope that I never feel as if I am sponging of the local community where ever I am, and can pay my way. Or this cruising/liveaboard lifestyle I want would not be worth having?
John got onto his computer and through skype, contacted Raymarine in the Uk, who gave us Raymarine in Italy who were really good and they gave us a address in Corfu town and a phone number so I could get my autopilot looked at. We went ashore and found a local scooter shop and booked one for 10euros for tomorrow. Back in town I rang the Raymarine number and of course got a Greek answer machine, luckily the taverna guy told me it just said they were closed? A few beers in town and back on board for a nap, before back in town and a few beers and a meal. It's a hard life. Got chatting to Bob a New Zealender on his small yacht, who travels back and forth between UK/New Zealand and cruising the Med. Another Brit i chatted to admitted he has been in Benitses fore two winters and you have to arrive for September to get a space, it's now May so he has been on his boat for 8 months in Benitses and showed no sign of leaving? Picked up the 100cc scooter the next day and it did a great job getting me and John to Corfu town. We found the Raymarine shop really quickly, called the guy and he arrived in minutes. He quickly took the plug apart, (I thought it was a sealed unit) plugged it to 12volts and it burst into life. He checked all the functions and everything worked as it should, he declared the fault to be in my wiring. Something which I had dismissed as it was all new? So much for my big head!! We had a look around the town and John showed me where he normally anchors by the old fort and the two small marinas. I'm afraid that Corfu town is not for me, just way to commercial and full of tourist tat, once you have been down one street you have been down them all. They purely seem to cater for the passing liner and tourist trade and all the prices show that. A nice ride back to Benitses on the scooter by a different route and back on board to sort my wiring out. As expected, plugging in the autopilot did not work on board, but a check with the multi-meter showed 12.8 volts??? Much head scratching and my plug apart,the autohelm plug apart bits of spare wire and although my plug shows good voltage it won't light a 4 watt bulb when under load. John predicts a bad joint or a break. I take the fuse panel of and everything is tight and working. It's only then that I remembered a joint in the wire at the back of my cabin, climb in and take it apart,place the bulb on my wiring and it lights. The problem is in the joint or the Raymarine wiring I had spliced into. Rip out the Raymarine stuff, replace with mine and make the new joint a lot better, turn on and my autopilot is bleeping like new again. Such a relief, fingers X thats the problem sorted now. I had only wired the thing in 5 weeks ago and had already forgotten how I did it, I could have saved a lot of time and hassle if I had looked at the obvious first. A lesson for the next problem? Dinner at Spiro and Dimitris taverna later. Food was gorgeous and he left a bottle of rakki on our table after offering us a free glass full. Not sure if he intended it, but we polished the bottle of, it's so much better than ouzo which I detest. Slept well.
Last day at Benitses, spent doing very little. Weather was gorgeous, had a chat with Bob. He knows the owner of Sailing Holidays Charters and reckoned they get rid of there sails every 3 years, he is after a replacement main sail and Nanjo could do with something a lot better as well, so he is going to find out just how much they are. There is also a second hand yacht spares shop down in Vliho that apparently has sails as well. Evening was spent at the taverna with Dimitri serving us and plying us with free rakki. We had a superb meal, all his recomedation of 3 locally produced different starters then a main dish. We returned to Nanjo well stuffed!
Left late as we are only going to Gouvia marina on Corfu, 11 miles away.Pulling up the stern anchor was a lot easier on my hands wearing gloves,and my fears of getting the anchor stuck on the other lines was unfounded,but no matter how I tried the chain still managed to rub against the stern. I really need to find some kind of arrangement to hold the chain clear of the fibreglass. Absolutely no winds, so the Yanmar chugging away at 1800 revs. The seas were dead flat, I'm glad to say that the autopilot bleaped as soon as I plugged it in and was performing as it should again. Corfu town and fort looked impressive as we motored past, and the cruise liners came into view as we past the old harbour. One of the Costa cruise liners was in port, up close you realise just how monstrous these things are, and this was a smaller one than the Costa Concordia that ran aground in Italy.I could not imagine one of these on its side and at night,it's easy to see why the lifeboats could not launch. Deffinately not the way I want to be at sea. We stopped at the marina fuel berth for diesel and to fill up our water tanks, the water was very low as we had not filled up since Messalonghi,and the diesel tank was half empty. All the pilot books I had looked at did not mention easy access to water or diesel in the Faraway Islands. We were directed to a berth on "H" pontoon by a guy in a rib, and I drove in bow first, everything tied up and secure in a few minutes. Of to the marina office with my papers,and several forms later,I was booked in for the one day at a cost of 37euros with my 6% RYA discount. Fresh water,WiFi,Electric was all extra if I wanted them? It was a lot of money as so far I had only paid for one day at Messalonghi at 15 euros. Welcome to the Ionians most expensive marina. The showers are free, so me and John went looking for them,they were appaling,and obviously in a bad state of repair.I think the money they are taking is not being re-invested in the marina at all. Hot shower soon revived my tired body tho. Next stop the poolside bar for a cold Alpha beer. We walkd into Kondokali that evening for a meal and Johns long dreamed of cold Guinness, Elvis's bar still had the Guinness sign out side,so in we went. 10 seconds later I had a cold Mythos and John had a glass of iced water, Elvis's did not have any Guinness as it was so early in the season and they had only recently opened! The town is normally buzzing and full of people in every taverna,but it was pretty empty.
Left Messalonghi after handing the marina card back, we only spent 70 cents? There was no wind so it was another day with the motor thumping away. We were heading to Limin Petala a small anchorage behind one of the islands we passed on the way down. We arrived after a hot day, luckily I had put the stern bimini sun shade up and it's only small but gives a great deal of cover. We tucked in as far into the bay as I could and dropped anchor in 1.5 mtrs of water. The anchor winch has broken completely and John had the good idea of flaking the chain on deck just incase it jammed. We had just settled down and I was about to cook a spag bol, when I noticed a small fishing boat heading our way. I went on deck and helped him alongside, he then handed me a large box of fish about 20 and all different makes for free and said we should join them for coffee in the morning. They had rowed over from a small shed on the mainland, I should think a pretty lonely existence? Big problem now is I am not a fish lover unless it comes as cod and already battered with chips and two pickled onions? Luckily John is, so I put two in a frying pan with some olive oil, as I could not find any receipes how to cook fish in my cook book. Luckily John phoned his wife who gave us instructions, phase 2: I threw the ones in the pan out, John picked two more and this time he cut the heads and tails off then gutted them and gave them a wash. Back in the pan and some more olive oil, 10mins later John eat them and was happy with the result. I had a couple of cheese and tomato sarnies. Nanjo smelt like a trawler, thats probably the last time she will ever smell like that?? The rest of the fish were put on the stern and then dropped into the sea later. It was a great jesture on the part of the fishermen, and I am sure the fish were worth a lot of money, but I would have preferred a free pitta gyros or apple.
Up early and we left the small bay, It would have been great to visit the fishermen for a coffee, but not this time. Maybe next? No wind again, so the Yanmar was chugging away again. We soon reached the island of Kastos and its small harbour, which looked a lot bigger in my pilot book. There was only one other yacht and he was moored alongside, so we joined him. A bit of a mistake on my part, we had not seen another yacht all day. And did not expect to see any more. We went for a cold mythos at the Windmill taverna, which has views to die for. We watched other yachts arriveing and wondered where they would go? Back to Nanjo, I found out, we had been blocked in by a large Dutch yacht behind who had reversed to the quay, and a large Swiss ketch in front who had another yacht rafted up alongside him. There were also two anchored in the middle of the small harbour. I had a gorgeous hot shower at the Windmill and we returned for dinner later. The owner said they get 40 to 50 yachts inside in the summer, I certainly don't intend returning then. Slept really well.
Woke up late as we only have 20 miles to go to Spartakorri. I was hoping one of the other yachts would have moved but no such luck. After a quick think, I worked out a plan to get us out. Luckily the wind was helping as well and we were being blown off the quay. John pushed the bow out, I pulled the stern in and Nanjo motored out of the gap very nicely. A lesson to me to reverse or go bow in next time. No wind again, so motored to Spartakorri on Megannissi island. We only saw another yacht after going round the top of Megannissi, the sea was flat calm and a brilliant blue. The biggest surprise was finding Spartakorri empty of yachts. It's normally full up in the summer months. As I approached the taverna quay, the old boy walked out to pass us a stern line. It's probably the easiest mooring you could ask for, just motor in slowly with two bow ropes ready. He will stop you from bumping the jetty by holding your bow, he then passes you a rope which is attached to a concrete block imbedded on the sea bed behind you. Tie the rope to your stern, he puts your two bow lines through some rings, you pull them tight, and leave just enough gap so you can step ashore, and it's job done. You are expected to eat at his taverna or at least buy a drink, which is no problem as it's all good stuff and a good price. Nanjo was tidied up and we went for a mythos, only to find he was closed for food, but happy to serve us with beer. It's to early in the season for him to be fully open. We had 4 mythos and I offered to pay, but the old boy said to pay next time I am back. Somehow, I just could not imagine that happening in the Solent?? John went for a walk and I went for my first swim, the water is so clear here and you always hit a hot spot every now and again. Biggest shock was, diving under Nanjo and finding the expensive proppelor anti-fouling had all gone, so much for a 2 year life span and suitable for motorboats up to 20knots? It's only been just over a week since my launch and only about 120 miles, the stuff could have gone at anytime. It's a small problem, and I will have to dive under every now and again to give the prop a clean. We had a huge dinner up in the town, a steep climb but the food and views were well worth it. It's the first time I have not managed to finish my dinner. It was the home made Peasant pizza, sausage and fetta cheese. Maybe the medium size with a large plate of chips was a bit to much? Back on board, I slept really well. Probably the quietest harbour I will have for the rest of the trip?
No rush to wake up, I must be honest and admit I am getting really used to not wearing a watch and not having to set an alarm clock. We let go the ropes and motored the 6 miles to Nidri sea front. More yachts about, but still really quiet compared to the summer. John decided to flake the chain on the bow again as the anchor winch could not be relied on at all. Luckily there was a large free spot on the town quay for me to practice my first reverse up, John dropped the anchor in just the righjt spot, Nanjo responded to the tiller and engine and it all went very smoothly, as the guy on the British yacht came and took my stern ropes. My first back up, and no problems, thanks to John controlling the anchor. When on my own, I will always be going bow in, and using the stern anchor which is kept in a bucket and I can control it. Of for a beer, and we met Tom and Anne again from Messalonghi. It was lovely to see them again and they had motored all the way as well. Gill, Vernons wife, brought the fridge control unit down for me. His fridge repair company is called "Stiff Nipples", cost me 160 euros and was quickly wired up, and the fridge started to hum, so all looking good. John went to an internet cafe and I decided to take the anchor winch off as it was more a liability where it was. The bloody thing was seized solid, there was no way it would have ripped out, but the gearbox was broken and the motor was banging around. Eventually, I had to have the motor running and whack it with a hammer to get the main shaft loose as it was seized. Glad to say, after much pounding it all came apart. I cut a hole in one of the anchor locker lids to pass the chain through and thats job done. No more possible jams, but it does mean a lot of hard work for John having to lift a 35kg anchor and normally 30 metres of 8mm chain. A Sunsail yacht arrived with a crew of Russians who promptly dropped there chain on top of mine, they recovered it and tried again, same result, then tried again and the same result. Only this time they just left it and went ashore!!! We had a relaxing time in Nidri, I managed to scoff two pitta gyros, one good and one very good. Quite a few mythos later and John found a supermarket selling Guinness, so bought a few. In anticipation of good things from the fridge. Slept really well, it's getting a lot warmer at night now. The Love Blanket is hardly being used.
I actually set my alarm for 7.30, as we had to get to Lefkas early to get my "A" frame fitted. Leaving the quay was no problem for me, but was hell for John, pulling up the anchor by hand. As expected the bloody Russians had dropped it across mine, and it took the pair of us to get my anchor up enough for me to reach over and untangle the Russians anchor from mine. Normal practice would have been to pull theres taught and drop it again, to be honest I thought it was pay back time, and just let theres drop where it was. They showed no interest in helping us, my only hope is the slack now in there chain, meant there expensive 44ft Sunsail charter yacht was now banging its stern on the quay. It's early in the season and I'm sure to encounter more ----holes like them? I set the fridge on 6, the half way position and we motored to Lefkas. In a cloudy and strangely cold morning. I topped up the fuel tank and filled the spare drum with diesel at Lefkas marina fuel berth. 35 ltrs and 56 euros later and job done. The Yanmar engine is only using 1 ltr per hour at 1800 revs, which gives me 50hrs motoring on the main tank and another 22hrs in reserve. Hopefully, I will never run out? I found a spot to reverse up at Lefkas quay, John let out the chain and all was going smoothly when 10ft from the quay my rudder touched the bottom, there was no way we were going to back into that spot. I had to tell John to pull all the anchor chain up again and we had to move elsewhere. Not an easy job. 100 yds further up there was a spot between two Uk yachts both bigger than Nanjo, so I reversed in again. This time a success and the Brit on the next yacht took my stern lines and we were all secure. I thought the fridge would be cold, but no such luck, maybe 90mins was\not enough to have any effect? I rang Kosmar to fit my "A" frame as we had arrived before 12. His response was he will come and have a look. He turned up 10mins later, then said he would be back at 6.30pm, my first thoughts were he had not made my "A" frame yet and was going to spend the next 6hrs building it? We spent the afternoon having a look around town, and avoiding the harbour police who were now charging 7 euros a night to stay here. They have never charged before, the general rule is, if your not onboard they will not bother you. So, we did the obvious thing and had a mythos and watched him collect money of other yachties, only going back to Nanjo when the coast was clear. 7 euros is 3 mythos, I know where my money is better spent? Kosmar arrived dead on time, accompanied by 4 other work mates, the "A" frame looked really good and I am well pleased with the job he has done making it, the welds are smooth and the pole for the wind generator is well fixed. He did say a 20min job to fit, but after only a small amount of grinding, drilling and somebody shooting of on there scooter for a part it was all bolted down and looking good.It took them 90mins to fit in the end. I placed the wind gen on its pole to make sure it all fitted, to be honest, he told me it would and seemed a bit upset that I doubted him? I gladly handed over the remainder of the money I owed him, for a job well done. I will fit the wind gen and solar panels I will buy,at a later date. A shower on board with the cold water, very refreshing once your wet all over, and of into town for dinner. We both chose the mousakka, which must have been the smallest meal on the menu after we sat and watched what others were getting? Next time I will watch what other are ordering and get the largest. We went for a stroll around town and ended up at Buranos for a few beers, (what a suprise?). Where, I saw what looked like a copper Dustbin lid being served. This thing was full of meat and pitta bread and salad, apparently a appertiser for two? It was on my list of things to do tomorrow. Back on board and the loud creaking from the back of Nanjo worried me as I tried to sleep. Eventually I could take it no more, and pulled the wooden gang plank on board. It had sounded like the cleats were being ripped out? Slept like a log.
Up late, and went to the nearby supermarket for some cereal and cold milk. There are just times in your life when Cornflakes and cold milk are calling you, and that call has to be answered? We have decided to have a free day in lefkas, I have convinced John that it would be a crime to leave without sampling Burano's Dustbin lid special. I had a go at putting the bimini up, and suprise suprise it fitted perfectly under the A frame. I'm really glad as it will save my bald spot from getting burnt again. Into town for a walk around and we bumped into Tom and Anne at a taverna, they had hired a scooter in Nidri for 10euros and were driving around. I mentioned I was after some plywood to make a infill for the settee in the saloon, it will convert it into a nice double for when the back cabin gets to hot. 10 seconds later I'm on the back of Toms 50cc scooter and whizzing out of Lefkas. Those of you who know me know I have been a biker all my life, but am possibly the worst pillion passenger on the planet. But now I'm sitting behind somebody I hardly know, and I have only seen him on a electric scooter before, he has a helmet and I don't. The poor old scooter is struggling to lug my baulk up the hill out of town, I must be honest, there were times when I closed my eyes as another car was about to pull out of a side street! We got to the timber yard just before it closed, the really great guy cut me a off cut of 20mm marine ply. I think Toms jaw dropped when he realised it was over a metre long and 40cm wide. It was fun driving back into town, the plywood acting as an air brake every know and again, and Tom sticking to a slow speed as I only had one hand to hold on with. I think we would have looked more Greek if I had a tray of Frappee's and Tom was on his mobile as well? Thanks Tom, for a really great ride out. We made it safely back to the taverna we had left John and Anne at. Hopefully I will bump into them again before December at Messalonghi.
We went back on board for a rest, you soon get worn out when your not used to doing anything? I'm very glad to say that later that evening we went to Buranos and ordered the Dustbin Lid special along with a couple of mythos and half a litre of wine. We were not dissapointed when it arrived, with a big sense of occassion the waitress opened the lid, and it was full of sovlaki chicken,pork and lamb on sticks and plenty of loose meat around the edges, chunks of different pitta breads and some salad and sauce. The people on the opposite table asked what it was. It does say a meal for 2 but there is enough for 4 people. I'm glad to say that we did the chef and is dish proud, the local cats were not going to fed by us this night. They would have been perfectly welcome to the wine though, as it really was crap! A highly recommended dish if your hungry and all for 22 euros. We rolled out of Buranos and back to Nanjo,well fed. Just before I turned in, I remembered the plank and pulled it on board. I slept like a log.
It's election day in Greece and we are not sure what will be open, so decide to go to the marina and make sure the Lefkas floating bridge is working. Luckily we notice yachts heading for the 10:30 opening,once we see others coming through, we decide to get the 12:00 opening and head for Preveza. Just time for an ice cream and to get Nanjo ready for sea,we are away from the jetty at 11:30 and the first yacht in line for the opening. Well, we were the first to go out, it was another story the other side of the floating bridge,I could make out about 10 masts jostling for position,and waiting to come in. On paper I have right of way, but in reality it was every man for himself as usual. We watched as a guy tried to get in front of a big cat, then changed his mind, waving the cat through, the poor sod behind him nearly rammed his stern as the guy in the yacht suddenly slowed. It must make a great viewing place in the height of the summer? A bumpy passage to Preveza with the engine running to give the fridge a work out, and before long we were going alongside Cleopatra marina outer pontoon. It was only a quick stop so John could drop his stainless buffer of and pick some bits up, and I had no intention of paying a marina fee or stopping. 20mins later and we had left and found an empty space at Preveza free marina, on the same pontoon as last time, result. We went to our regular mythos bar and had 3 mythos and 3 plates of free nibbles, just hope I'm not turning into a alcholic? Had a nap on board, then of to Johns favorite taverna for dinner and some more mythos/wine. Back on board,and I worked out a couple of options for our trip towards the Faraway Islands,it was either Gaios or Mongonissi both on Paxos and between 28 and 33 miles away. I decided that tomorrow will be a free day in Preveza so we can get some food in and get a decent up to date weather forecast. No rush to get up in the morning and I slept really well.