Monday 18th June
Up early, got lots of little jobs to do as I'm setting of tomorrow for Corfu. Got in the dinghy and took some pictures of Nanjo at anchor,then touched up the hull white where it is starting to rub away with some white gloss. Pulled the dinghy onboard,give it a wash in fresh water and left it to dry before deflating and stowing away,and all this before breakfast? Lovely brekkie, wheaties,tea and fresh bread and jam, oh what a life? Deflated the dinghy and it and even managed to get it back in its bag, all nicely stowed in the cockpit locker again. Went for a swim to cool of after all that hard work? Washed my dirty clothes and put up a line on the bow, my shorts were dry before I hung my last t-shirt out to dry, 36 degrees and 31% humidity with a gentle breeze helps. It's going to be hard wrenching myself away from this place. Sat in the cockpit reading my book until it just got to hot. Siesta time for a couple of hours. Woke and checked the engine over, all fluids are ok. I have just done 100 hours since the oil change, so will try and change the oil in Preveza and fit a new filter. Cooked something different, pan fried tinned luncheon meat,fresh tomato,tinned tomatos and some bread, much better than expected, so will put it on my menu again. Sat in the cockpit eating dinner,having a warm mythos and reading my book. Had a 15min swim just before it got dark, great way to cool off and wash away the sweat after a busy day,final shower and buff with some shower gel on the stern and I'm smelling like a new born?
Up early at 07:15, have a leisurely breakfast, get Nanjo ready and have the anchor pulled up at 8am. Not many people awake as I motor out of Vliho and past Nidri. Empty the holding tank and settle down for a relaxing trip to Lefkas. Pick up 40 ltrs of diesel at Lefkas marina, not bad she is still burning 1 ltr per hour of running and it cost me 65 euros to fill up. Have missed the 10am bridge by 5 mins, so drop anchor just outside the marina and wait till 10:45, up anchor and catch the 11:00 bridge. Plenty of depth in the channel so no problems. Arrive at Preveza and am tied up in the marina for 13:15. Get out my new engine oil extractor pump and change the engine oil and filter, it works a treat, absolutely no mess, sucks it out in seconds, drained,new filter and filled again in 20 mins. Now thats the way the job should go,if you remember the trouble I had with that cheap pump? Well worth the 66 euros, cleaned it out and stowed in the bow locker,ready for the next oil change in 100 hours.
Paid my 9 euros marina fee and went into town, stopped at the internet cafe for a couple of cold mythos and a club sandwich, bought some groceries and back on board for 6pm and a well earned nap. Slept for 90mins, still very hot. Went back into town to the hardware shop for a brass spring catch, they even had one in stock and only 1 euro. Just made a cheese sandwich and a mythos for dinner, sat in the cockpit till late. Seemed to be plenty of high speed jets in the night sky,all heading North?
Up early and the wind is howling outside, not what I expected at all. Had my brekkie and got Nanjo ready to leave, cast off and on my way at 08:10 no problems. Nobody else on the move, but at the Preveza channel bouys there were small fishing boats everywhere. Turned right for Parga, settled down for a long slog, the only wind was on the nose, so a motoring day. Sun was baking and the water was pretty flat, finished reading my book.After 6 hours I started my approach to Parga harbour, it's up from the main town, the pilot book did not give the berthing arrangements much encouragement and I found out why when I entered the small harbour. It's been made using large boulders and looking at the other yachts they were all a long way off the quay, some were anchored then had a long line taken ashore to keep them in place, the recommended anchorage by the old breakwater was another long line ashore job. So not really a one man moor up, I decided to give Parga a miss. Maybe another day when I have crew on board. Changed course for Mourtos/Sivota another 10 miles of motoring. The sun has been starting to burn me so I got out my long sleeve work top for protection. Passed some interesting looking coves/anchorages but the pilot book did not recommend them for overnight use. I took the short cut between Nisis Ay Nikolaos and the mainland, it says minimum depths of 2 mtrs, I draw 1.6 so should be ok? The lowest my echo sounder read was 2.5. Got all my lines and fenders out ready and the stern anchor. Entered the harbour and found a spot on the East wall, even had a trailing line, a nice Norwegian guy took my lines and passed me the trailing line,and I was all tied up and sorted by 17:30. Certainly been a long day at sea, total trip distance was 42.3 miles, really don't want to do to many of those again? Baking hot below, I have been used to being at anchor and Nanjo always turns to face the wind, so there is always a stream of fresh air coming through the boat, problem being tied to a quay is you only face the one way,and are normally hemmed in by bigger boats, so the wind below can be fickle. Had a gorgeous cold shower on board and went ashore to the Bamboo taverna for a cold beer and a burger, sat there watching the sun go down, glad to see the town and tavernas are busy, amazing the difference a few weeks makes. Turned in at midnight, absolutely shattered, to long a day and I missed my siesta nap? I must be getting old??
Slept till 9am, woke to a gorgeous day and feeling refreshed. Bought some fresh bread and cold milk from the local shop for my brekkie.Had wheatties and made a cold frappee with the milk, delish. It's a short days run up to Sayia'dha only 18 miles, Nick reckons he gets his Disco in no problem,it's a very small harbour so time will tell if I make it? Left Mourtos/Sivota at 10:30, let go no problems. Typically wind on the nose all the way, so another motor day with flat seas. Made a detour to Sayia'dha avoiding the large area of shallow water, spotted the harbour and made my approach, depth went down to 3 mtrs. Very narrow entrance and the harbour only has 2 mtrs in most of it. Arrived at 14:30, only one other yacht here so plenty of space. Dropped the stern kedge and went bow in, nobody to give me a hand, all went ok, and I stepped ashore with two bow ropes and made them fast to a long chain running the length of the quay. It's really hot, and I'm dripping. A quick tidy up and a cold water wash and of ashore to have a look around. Half a dozen tavernas and thats it, small village behind the harbour. Have a couple of cold beers and a chat to the owner, he reckons they have had 15 yachts inside some days,but normally just 1 or 2. Back on board and I decide to re-connect the electric macerator pump, a hot job inside the cockpit locker, plumb it in and its still blowing fuses, dissconnect again and it's not sucking at all. I will have to take it apart, could be the impellor gone? Reconnect the old Henderson hand pump again. Have a long cold shower, notice two large yachts anchored outside the harbour. Go ashore for a souvlaki and a beer, sit next to four Brits off a big yacht, the poshest sounding people so far, and one of the women is called Margo, and sounds just like her, and even one of the blokes is called Tom. I thought it was a episode from "The Good Life"? All I could do to stop laughing every time Margo spoke. Back on board and a relaxing sit in the cockpit, and watching the local kids jumping 20ft off the top of a old fishing boat into 6ft of water. Amazing what kids will do when they don't have a X box? Nice easy sail/motor tomorrow to Benitses 18 miles.
Up at 7am and had a quick breakfast, hot already and no wind. Departed Sayaidha at 07:50 no problems,nobody around so sorted it myself. Motored all the way to Benitses,on a flat sea. Arrived at 10:45, plenty of space, noticed one with a lazy line attached to the quay, so backed up, jumped ashore and made two line roughly fast, back on board with the lazy line to the bow and Nanjos secure, no body around again, which helps give me the confidance. Sorted out the stern lines and thats it? Very hot now, so put the big sun shade up, and I could feel the difference straight away. Washed all my clothes and ran a line from the jib to the mast, everything dry in a few hours. Got out one of the cockpit cushions and had a nap in the cockpit,slept well. Woke just as Nick was coming in with "Yes M'lady", he had his girlfriend Rachael on board. Helped him tigh up and got invited on for a cold beer and a chat. Rachaels a fellow postie so was good to talk shop for a while. Nick suggested a few places I should try I have not been to before up here, so will give them a go.Gave Nick the covers Orkide had made for his hatches. He told me about the motor boat that had been here and was slowly sinking by the bow, apparently it got really bad and the locals complained, somebody got on board and started the engines to run the bilge pump, they then started looking into who's yacht it was. It seems that the owner had done a runner with it from Gouvia marina owing them a lot of money, they sent someone down and they towed it back to Gouvia. I assume to sell it or hold the owner to ransom? Ended up having 4 beers and then time for a shower on Nanjo and back into town to Femmias for dinner. The Greeks were playing football against Germany, plenty of local interest obviously. unfourtunately Greece lost! Had a lovely meal as always, booked the car for tomorrow, and Nick gave me the phone number for Mandraki yacht club, just round the corner from Naok, who have no space for Sunday night.Got back on board and went to sleep.
Up at 9am and straight to the bakers for some fresh bread,spinach pie and a pint of cold milk. Scoffed the pie on the way back,made a gorgeous all cold milk frappee, and some bread and jam. Breakfast sorted,had a chat with Nick and Rachael, they were taking some friends out for a trip for a few hours. Got a bag of goodies of Nick for my food store. Then it was time to clean Nanjo ready for my first guest, took me ages to clean the inside, had not done it for ages, checked the engine,bilges over. All ok. Packed some clothes into my big bag and placed them in a cubby hole under my stern bunk. Put Nancys new covers on the cockpit cushions, they fitted brilliantly and really do look good, I'm going to be paranoid now about spilling something or getting them dirty now. Finnished cleaning down below and started up on deck, washed and got the Cif out, can't remember when Nanjo last looked so clean. Did a bit more washing and tried to stay out of the sun. Went and picked up the hire car,as expected I ended up with the mini bus a Fiat Scudo. Quick check of my licence and I'm ready to drive. Brand new car, soon got used to the controls and went into Corfu town for some groceries, was great to be back behind a steering wheel again. Had a final meal with Nick and Rachael at the Argo taverna, place was really nice but buzzing with mossies. Nick had helped build a water feature he was proud to show off. Back on board for 10pm and alarm set for 1am.
Up at 1am and had a gorgeous shower, it's still warm. Was all ready at the agreed time, and I could hear Nick and Rachael mucking about. They both surfaced at 2am,Rachael was having a laugh as she had put felt tip marks on Nicks face while he slept and he had not realised, nice easy drive to the airport, dropped them off and looked for somewhere to park. My guests plane was showing on time so I did not have long to wait, it actually arrived 15mins early. TO BE UPDATED AFTER MY GUEST HAS READ MY BLOG.
17/06/2012, Vliho, Lefkada
Monday 11 June
Had a fantastic sleep, no noise and dead calm. Woke up really refreshed to a gorgeous morning, blue sky and at 9am it's already 28deg. Cornflakes,bread/jam and a mug of tea for starters in the cockpit, and I just look around at the beautiful view, I have all around me. Back home you would have to be a multi-millionaire to have these views when you wake? I still find it hard to realise I'm here and have a long time to go, before I'm back at work. First job on my list was to fill in the hole left by the old anchor winch, found some plywood, 5mins with my saw and some sandpaper and a perfect fit, cut up an old coke can,mix some west epoxy with a spoonful of micro balloons, and epoxy it in place, job done. I will get some non slip paint and repaint the foredeck and it will look as good as new.With some left over epoxy, I blocked off a hole that had been drilled in the anchor locker at some time and served no purpose,it,just seemed another way of letting water get below. It's now 35 degrees and time for a rest, it's suprising just how knackered you feel in the heat. Early lunch of a fresh Jimbo Greek salad and some crusty bread,delish. Read my book and time for my siesta. Up at 6pm and sort out the anchor locker drain pipes, that gave me so much trouble when I first got out to Nanjo. I noticed they were full of swarf and muck,my good plan of using clear pipe,meant it was easy to spot after taking of the bow locker lid. Another 10mins undoing the hose clips,after lying on my back upside down, with my head through the hatch and they were cleared of muck. I'm on a role now, so go round Nanjos deck and tighten all the stanchion bases that hold the lifelines, then below and replace my dodgy fuse markings with some proffesional stickers. Finally get a phone call fron Nikos about my liferaft, it's been condemed, no surprise there really? Apparently it had been opened by somebody and not packed back correctly, the gas cylinder that inflates the raft was completely corroded, they managed to inflate it, but most of the seals leaked and it did not stay up for long. He has destroyed it in case somebody takes it out of his trash bin. The good news is I owe him nothing, it should have been 120 euros for there inspection, but because it's been so long and I have been so patient, no charge. A replacement new one would be 1,800 euros, oh well, I will just have to make sure I sail near enough to land that I can swim ashore,or better still, make sure Nanjo does not sink to start with! Dinner on board and it's Greek baked beans,fried onion and pepper with crusty bread and a mythos, Yummy. All eaten straight out of the saucepan, saves on washing up ans stays warm longer. Read my book and make a coffee, sit on deck until 11pm, it's a beautiful evening and warm,just wearing my shorts. Down below, I put disc No3 of my opera set on the cd, I recognise the song from the film "Shawshank Redemption" the one he plays over the prison stereo and locks himself in. I'm not sure if it's the same singer, but what an amazing voice, am tempted to open the hatches and blast it out over the quiet anchorage, but resist this time?
Tues 12 June
Slept great, warm enough now to have the hatches open at night. Another gorgeous morning,take my time over breakfast in the cockpit. Do the washing up, and the water is calling me, so go for a 30min swim/float around Nanjo, I'm always impressed how good she looks at sea level. Got some oil to wipe off the stbd side on the waterline. Will be a dinghy job? Shower on the stern and start my first job of the day, painting the bow plate around the anchor winch and while I have the white paint out I give the anchor locker doors a coat as well. Give Orkide a ring and she has finished the hatch covers for Nicks boat, but does not know the price yet? So will ring her later. Time for lunch before I know it,salad and a fruit juice, all this healthy living? Really hot now at 36 degrees, so stay inside and read my book for a bit before my siesta. Up at 6pm and ring Orkide again, 50 euros for Nicks hatch covers. Get the dinghy out and pump it up on the bow, have not seen it out of its bag since last July, everythings ok and I launch it over the side and secure it to the stern. Will get up early tomorrow, row ashore,walk into Nidri to a cash machine,walk back get the covers and row back to Nanjo, sounds like Wednesdays going to be a busy day? Cook a packet pasta dish, tasted ok, but they do overdo it with the salt in those things, all washed down with a mythos,spent the evening sitting in the cockpit relaxing and watching the sun go down.
Wed 13 June
Up early at 07:30, and its flat calm, perfect. Quick cup of tea, pack my bag with a bottle of water, load the dinghy and I'm away at 08:00. A suprisingly easy row, only problem was as my hands started sweating they could not grip the painted alloy paddels. Made it across to the shore in 25mins, pulled the Avon up onto the quay,then a leisurely 35 min walk into Nidri, got some cash out of the nearest atm,picked up a fresh loaf and a spinach pasty to eat on the way back. Arrived back in Vliho, went into the boat yard and bought some non-slip paint for the bow,not bad at 4euros,popped into see Orkide and picked up Nicks hatch covers, next door then to the Vliho yacht club for a cold frappe and to put my name down for the Ionian Regatta in September, they will e-mail me when they are taking entries. Get some groceries and row back to Nanjo, am back on board for 11:30, and feel I have had a busy day? Time for one of those cold mythos I just bought,then have a gorgeous 30min swim to get rid of all that sweat?
It's really hot, so decide to put up the large sun canopy that covers from the mast to the bimini. Took me a while to work out how to put it up as it's been a year,but sorted it eventually. Even got out one of the foam cockpit cushions that Nancy made last year at last, still have not put on the new covers though. Laid in the shade reading my book until 5pm then had a nap. Woke at 6:30 and decided to tidy up my nav desk and do my accounts, my monies still going down to fast, but fingers X my big spending is now over? Cooked a packet pasta meal and a mythos for dinner, chilled out in the cockpit. Winds are picking up,so took sun shade down.
Thurs 14 June
Windy night, and Nanjo being blown around. Was up at 2am, somebody in the bay was playing the trumpet really badly, plenty of yachts with there lights on, so, not a popular bloke I think? Woke at 9am and the wind is howling of the mountains, my navtex did forecast force 6 to 7 winds today, even though its beautiful clear blue sky. Glad I rowed ashore yesterday, as it would have been a hard job today. Quick brekkie, and decide to paint the foredeck with my new anti-slip paint, I soon discovered why it was only 4 euros? Oh well, it will look ok later I hope. Dug out my shortwave radio and tried to get the BBC but no luck, it would pick up Chinese stations no problem though? Had a play for an hour with my uke and a bit of a clean up, I was hoping to get in the dinghy and clean the oil of the sides but would have a job as Nanjo is swinging wildly, along with all the other yachts in the bay. Good news is my wind generator is whizzing round charging my batteries. Had my usual nap for a few hours. Woke to more yachts at anchor and the wind gone, really lovely outside now. Time to spend 20mins on my tan. Cooked a sweet and sour for dinner with a mythos, all scoffed in the cockpit straight out of the saucepan. Put my opera cd on, up to disc 5 now, just loud enough to hear it in the cockpit. Was watching the fishermen trying to spear fish, next thing I realised it was 01:30? Time for bed.
Fri 15 June
Up at 9, quick brekkie and decide to row around Nanjo and clean the oil of the waterline, came off a lot easier than expected, also noticed that some of the white hull paint has come off as well around the bow. Maybe a touch up with some gloss enamel is called for. Sorted the galley light out, it's been flickering for ages, turned out to be a duff bulb, the filament had broken in half but they were still touching, all ok until Nanjo leaned then it would flicker. Next was having another go at loosening the mast cap shrouds, so they could be adjusted. I soaked them in wd40 before sleep last night, and unbeleiveably they both came undone with not to much effort and grunting on my part. Had another go at setting the mast up again, the caps are a lot tighter now after following Seldens recommendations on setting up your mast. Did half and it was getting really hot, so siesta time. Woke at 6pm and finnished of the rest, only sailing will tell if it's any better? Simple dinner, tin of beans,tin of sweetcorn and half an onion a bottle of mythos and thats dinner sorted. Sat in the cockpit till late and listened to the poor sod next to me trying to pull start his outboard engine, he had just got it back yesterday from being repaired? Sometimes I think I would like one, then think of the cost of buying one,stowing it,carrying petrol,on going maintenance and spare parts and getting an outboard bracket for the dinghy, and I think I will stick to rowing?
Sat 16 June
Up at 9, seems to be my wake up time, no matter when I go to sleep. Breakfast in the cockpit and watched the usual waterborne traffic, a Dutch and French yacht ferrying there dogs ashore for a crap, French guy next to me having a naked wash on the stern then walking around his yacht to dry off,the British couple on the Sadler 32 arguing on the phone (every day),yachts pulling up anchors and leaving,while others dropping theres and arriving, I just love this place. Had a really easy day,swimming and relaxing. Decided to get the rear seat I had sent out for the dinghy out of the bottom of the locker at last, and typically it did not fit? I bought one for my make and model, but either they sent the wrong one or my dinghy has been upgraded/downgraded as I have no idea how old it is. Caused a bit of headscratching at first, but came up with a way of mounting it with rope, all took ages to sort out but works fine, and easy to attach. If it will take my weight then job done.
My usual siesta was followed by a lovely evening swim and a pasta meal and a couple of mythos. Started my new book, so many choices. The copy of The Qur'an kindly given to me by Farouk at work was calling, but I think it will need my undivided attention once I start to read it? Had to laugh at midnight, all the outboards start up from the nearby tavernas to ferry people back to there boats, and there are always a couple that just don't want to play ball. I could hear one approaching close and could see it was full with 4 people in it and well loaded, they were using Nanjo as a reference to find there yacht, when suddenly the motor died. They had run out of fuel, nothing I could do to help as they struggled to attach the oars and then try to row, they dissapeared into the darkness, hopefully they arrived ok?
Sun 17 June
Disco ashore kept me awake till 2am, I wouldn't mind if they played some decent music, there was a flash of Pink Flloyd for 30 seconds, but obviously did not go down to well and soon got changed. Up at 7:30 and a quick cup of tea and into the dinghy for my row ashore. A gorgeous morning and flat calm, seemed to row a bit quicker this time, pulled it ashore and walked into Nidri. Picked up a gorgeous spinach pie and had that while sitting on the harbour front watching the yachts,really nice to see a lot more people about and the tripper boats were filling up nicely. Picked up some supplies and two loaves of bread, walked back to Vliho and popped into the Vliho Yacht club for my first full fried English breakfast in 3 months, I'm glad to say it was delish and with a mug of tea and some fruit juice made my morning. The news was full of the Greek elections today, it's to decide if they are in or out of the Euro, no Greeks I have spoken to seem bothered either way, as I'm sure there life will carry on regardless. The main people that are concerned seem to be the fat cats in bussiness,politics and people around the world with investments. I really hope the Greek people make the choice thats right for them and not the rest of Europe, they are a proud people who have been around civillised a lot longer than we have and I'm sure they will continue to do so.Picked up some cold mythos and rowed back, that did take me a lot longer, but the promise of a cold beer when I made it spurned me on. 30 mins later I was in my cockpit having that beer. Had a long swim and put the big sun cover up, it's already 36 and going to get hotter. Read my book for a couple of hours then siesta time. Woke up and decided to have a look at the Vetus engine control, lately the throttle lever has not been staying at the rpm position I choose, looked on the internet and apparently the newer ones have two screws behind the plastic cover which act as friction dampers. Took mine apart and as expected it's the older version, so a replacement at some time is on the cards, just under 200 euros. Another item on that wish list? Packet rice in the saucepan and a couple of mythos had dinner sorted. It's a beautiful evening, very still and quiet, stayed in the cockpit till midnight, was thinking of sleeping on deck,but started to chill.
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.