Woken at 2am, plenty of noise on a nearby charter yacht, torches everywhere. Then the magic words "who tied the dinghy up?". Followed by silence, then somebody actually said "maybe the guy on the nearby yacht took it?". In the end they all went back to sleep and so did I in the back cabin. Woke at 8:45, quick cup of tea and get my stuff ready for a row ashore. Then I notice a large rib towing a dinghy, it's from the yachts charter company and either they found the original or had brought them a replacement? Nice 25min row ashore and a trip to the bakers and supermarket, spend 20 euros all together on food and drink, which should last me till Friday, must be honest and say 6 euros went on mythos. Row back and have the cold fresh milk on some cereal and a frappee,absolutely gorgeous. Theres plenty of activity about, check my Navtex and they are forecasting a force 7 to 8 for later, that explains all the yachts coming into the bay and anchoring. I put out another 10mtrs of chain, thinking here we go again? Make a start on polishing the cockpit, do the port side and decide it's time for lunch, have my spinach pie and a lemonade. Read my book and the winds starting to pick up, take the sun awning down at 17:45, the bays starting to get busy as yachts come here for shelter, have two more anchored near me now. Go for my swim, but the choppy waves mean I'm hardly making any headway trying to swim into them,spend 45mins just swimming around. Dinners a piece of pizza bought at the bakers and a mythos, winds are gusting but nowhere as bad as the day I dragged. Slept in the cockpit.
Woke at 3am in the cockpit, winds are howling and the wind generators pumping electric into the batteries. Nobody dragging anchor,so go to sleep in the stern cabin. Up at 9, cup of tea and bread and jam. The Navtex is forecasting,gale 7 to 8 for North Ionian, but dropping down to a 5 to 6 for the South. Pretty much gale force winds everywhere else though. It's a gorgeous sunny day with not a cloud anywhere. Put my sun awning back up,get out my book and just relax! Salad for lunch,go for a swim,work on my all over tan,read my book, and before I know whats happened it's time for my evening swim and cook dinner. Throw 4 ingredients together in a saucepan,add some ground pepper, a couple of slices of bread and of course a mythos, ten minutes later and I'm sitting in the cockpit scoffing dinner. Take down the sun awning as it's a gorgeous evening, read my book and fall asleep in the cockpit. You can tell that I'm trying to lead a simple stress free life out here?
Went below at 1am,slept soundly and woke at 09:30 the sun gleaming through the cabin window. Usual breakfast eaten in the cockpit, quick look around to see who has left and who might have arrived. Do the washing up and give the cabin a clean and brush up. Sun awning back up as it's now 10:30 and 35 degrees with 60% humidity, going to be another gorgeous day in paradise, I can see another busy day ahead like yesterdays? Decide to polish the stbd cockpit side, turns out better than expected. Simple lunch,read my new book and have a nap. Woke at 19:30 and went for my swim, managed 22 laps and it took 45mins, the sun had gone down by then. Packet pasta for dinner with a mythos and just chilled in the cockpit. Fell asleep easily.
Up at 09:30 the sun beaming through my cabin window. Brekkie in the cockpit and it's another gorgeous day. Not sure what happened, but I seem to have done absolutely nothing all day,swam,read,swam,eat,swam,slept,read,swam,eat,read,slept that just about sums it all up? Maybe the deeaded "Anchor Rot" has set in? Had my sweet and sour Uncle Bens for dinner, book then bedtime. It must be time for me to up anchor and do something? Slept in the cockpit.
Woke at 2am and felt cold, looked at the temp and it was 30 degrees? Went below and wrapped myself in a sheet to get warm, strewth, if i am feeling cold at 30 degrees no wonder everybody was saying it will feel like the Arctic when it hits 20? Should be fun going back to the UK in March and probably a minus temp. Slept really well and woke at 09:30, quick brekkie and of in the dinghy to Vlikho and a walk into Nidri for some money,postcards and some food. Actually had some Greeks stop in there car and ask me for directions, I must be looking more like a local every day? Even managed to walk in and out again at a slow enough speed to not sweat, but Oh Boy, it soon starts when you stop, always good to carry a t-shirt for entering shops. Picked up my stores,and had a gorgeous cold litre of milk once back on board, half straight from the bottle and half as a frappee, milk never tasted so good. Spent the rest of the day reading and chilling. Had a scare on my evening swim, just swiming around Nanjo when a bloody great big brown head pops out of the water 5 yards away, looks at me and then dives back under, a big sea turtle. I'm skinny dipping, and just kept telling myself they are vegatarians, the waters pretty clear here and I kept looking down expecting a round shape to be coming up for me. Would have made an interesting tale at the hospital if the bugger had fancied a sausage? Fetta cheese and tomato sarnies for dinner, delish. Fell asleep in the cockpit as usual.
Went below at 3am and slept till 9. Tea and bread/jam for brekkie. Rowed ashore at 11.30 to the yacht club, changed 6 books and had a gorgeous cooked full English breakfast. Caught up with my e-mails and blog. I've not seen or heard any news for 2 weeks now, and the tv was just full of the war in Syria,shooting in USA and other problems around the world. There was nothing good to report at all? Apparently they have now put anti-aircraft missle launchers in all the parks in London,most of the army is going to be deployed as well, it's not war, it's the blooming Olympics? I can't seriously imagine an anti-aircraft missle shooting down a plane over central London? I'm in the country that gave the world the Olympic games, and people here just can't understand what the UK is playing at. I really hope that it all goes well and we even win a few medals. I feel cocooned being on my own little 31ft world, they say ignorance is bliss, I guess they are right. I have no fears or am scared to walk anywhere day or night,I don't feel threatened by the Greek people or any other nation I have come into contact with. All the working class people I've met have just been the kindest and friendliest I've ever met, they are in the crapper in Greece and for a long time to come as well. Well, thats my rant over, think everybody should buy a yacht,live basically and get to meet the rest of the population of this planet? Baked beans for dinner and just chilled in the cockpit.
Slept in the cockpit until 2am, then went below. Up at 8:30 the priests were singing and calling people to prayers, I thought all priests had to have a good singing voice? The guy here is pure crap, tone flat and keeps changing key. Michael Buble he is not! Ashore for some bread,popeye pie and to have a gorgeous bacon butty at the yacht club and finish my e-mails. It's a really gorgeous day here. Back on board and just relax! Gave the dinghy a clean after my evening swim, it's been in the water for a few weeks and the bottom was starting to get barnacles, they soon came off with some hot fresh water. Simple dinner and just some water, finished my book. A very good murder mystery "Blindsighted". Navtex had an emergency message about an overturned catamaran,luckily the people got off ok, it was just a danger to navigation. Fell asleep in the cockpit.
21/07/2012, Vlikho, Lefkada
Monday 9th July
Went below at 1am, and slept really well in the stern cabin, bit of a breeze wafting through the boat. Woke at 9am,brekkie and finished reading my book "The Perfect Storm" a factual account of the storm that sank the Andrea Gail and all the other disasters that happened as well, worth a read for the description on rough weather and the medical description on drowning. Think I will choose some lighter reading next time? Ashore in the dinghy and found an excellant bakers 2mins out of town,crusty loaf and a Popeye pie,sorted. Go for a swim back on board and do 10 laps of Nanjo, it's a start and I will increase it each day at anchor. Scrub the muck of the fenders and I feel that I've earned lunch and a mythos? Evening and I'm watching a big Lagoon 440 catamaran looking for somewhere to anchor,after trying several spots he sees me, oh yea,the bugger drops his hook just 30mtrs past Nanjo then lets his chain out till he is 30ft away and alongside. Bunch of Brits on a charter boat, the generators running on board, they must have just picked it up. Watch them launch there rib and shoot of to Nidri, hour later they are rowing back,out of fuel. The wind changes and we are getting closer now, I was hoping they would pass me a cold beer? They up anchor and move of to a safer distance. Big salad dinner on board,a mythos and a new book and thats my evening sorted. Midnight and I'm asleep in the cockpit along with most people in the bay, and the Brits are back on the cat, they start there bloody generator up! The sound echos around Vliho in the still quiet air, after 20mins they turn it off to a raptourous applause from everybody in the bay, I have never seen a boat turn all it's lights off so quickly and the people on deck hide.
Slept in the cockpit until 4am,then went below. Up at 9 as usual, found the long life milk had gone off, but only after having a couple of mouthfulls,Yuk! Breakfast was tea and bread and jam. Cut a piece of plywood to make a backing plate for the macerator pump,feeling on a roll, I thought a trip to the local boat yard was in order. Loaded up the dinghy and set of, only to discover 30yds from the shore I had forgot to put my sandals in, I needed the exercise anyway so rowed back. I was hoping to find some 90 degree pre formed plastic pipe,but no luck, I ended up with some clear spiral wrap pipe, which the guy ashores me will do and is what they all use? Picked up a couple of cold mythos and a large chunk of fetta on my way back. Needless to say, I drank the mythos as soon as I got onboard. Lounged around reading my book and watching yachts come and go. Then thankfully the sun went down behind the mountain and a nice temperature with it, you can see people coming up from below and now sitting in there cockpits or doing odd jobs around there boat. I decided to get my watercolour paints out and try to mix some colours to match my cabin top,had a good try and found white,bit of yellow and just a hint of brown looked pretty close. Just got to find a B&Q with a paint colour matching machine and I'm laughing? Dinner was some weird sphaggetti I had bought, the thickest I have ever seen,chopped up tomato,pepper and a carton of tomato juice, dollop of sweet chilli dipping sauce and I could be winning master chef next year? Read my book and fell asleep in the cockpit.
Slept in the cockpit till 2am then went below. Fancied a walk so rowed ashore and went into Nidri,stopped at a diy shop and he had a paint mixing machine so got a ltr made up of my watercolour. Bought some stuff at Georges and Nidri marine, picked up a spinach pie to eat on the way back. Gorgeous afternoon, tried out my new paint, not a great match but will have to do. Wind started to pick up a bit about 18:00, then all hell let loose at 19:00, had a fight getting the sun awning down. Sun going down and it's now blowing 50mph in strong gusts, I notice my anchor is dragging even with 20mtrs of chain in 3mtrs of water. Let out another 10mtrs but still dragging, looking around me a lot of bigger yachts are in worse trouble, there owners ashore and they are dragging through the anchorage hitting other boats. I'm still moving backwards towards the shallow end of the bay, start the engine and put it ahead, go to the bow and let out another 20mtrs of chain. She seems to slow down,so I turn the engine off, big mistake as a strong gust comes rushing through, and I'm getting blown back again. Start the engine and have her at max revs going ahead, to take some of the weight of the anchor and to stop me drifting further back. At max revs I'm just holding ground? Notice a large schooner moving past, people have managed to get on board from a rib, and run her straight into the mud, they obviously can't start the engine or sort the anchor. Another large 50ft wooden yacht who was a good 300mtrs from me is now bearing down on the boat ahead, they hit and nobodies on board either. More guys in ribs are shooting around the anchorage trying to help out and re-arrange boats, I think they are the Yacht club and Horatios lads. I let out all my chain now 60mtrs worth, my echo sounder is reading 0.2 mtrs under my keel. It's now dark and all I'm doing is motoring into the wind and trying to keep some weight of the chain. After 2 hours the wind starts to die just as suddenly as it arrived, my chain is holding and I'm just afloat in 0.2 mtrs of water, apart from the runaground schooner I'm the nearest yacht to the end of the bay. Plenty of activity now as people are coming back from ashore in there dinghies, obviously they had to wait for the sea to calm down. I spend the night in the cockpit with the echo sounder on and the ignition key in ready to start the engine if I have to. They had a big storm here in Vliho last Sept, several yachts wrecked and one fatality. My little wind was nothing compared to that one, but certainly an eye opener for me. I did not have many options being on my own: I considered pulling up the anchor when it first started to drag, other yachts were making that decision and relocating. But I have to stow mine by hand as it comes inboard, and I reckoned the time it would take to bring it in, I would have very little chain out on the bottom I would have gone flying back to the shallows before I could get the anchor up. Two people could of done it no problem,one on the anchor and one on the motor/steering. Thinking about it now, I should have let all the chain out as soon as I started to drag, rather than bit by bit as things got worse. Running the engine was definately the best option,to take weight of the chain and keep my bow into the wind. I honestly thought Nanjo was going to end up on the beach,luckily she didn't and we live to sail on.
Stayed in the cockpit all night, slept on and of. Up at daylight and it's all calm,flat sea and no wind. The anchorage certainly looks different now, yachts every where. Have some tea and jam, and get my anchor in, it's covered in thick mud and my cqr is well dug in. Motor further up the bay and drop it again in 4 mtrs, I put out 40mtrs of chain and back it in real good and reckon that should be enough? All morning yachts are being moved and re-anchored. Typically, another bigger yacht comes and anchors just of my bow, We swing around with the gentle breeze and the nearest he gets to me is about 30ft, but to be honest, I don't think it's enough, all I can see is him dragging his anchor and only my boat length before he hits me? He goes ashore and I get my anchor up and motor over to the other side of the bay, near where I spent a week at anchor. 4.5mtrs of water nobody nearby, plenty of room before I hit the beach, I put out 40mtrs of chain and dig the cqr in deep. It's a 25min row ashore now instead of 5mins, but I feel a lot safer. Lessons learned from yesterday, having a look around me,all the yachts down the end are on moorings already laid into the sea bed, probably a heavy concrete block and chain, they were never going to move? I had left myself very little room to manouever and get out of a tight spot when I anchored there, being more intent on a short row ashore. Next time, I will think of the worse case scenario than the best and hopefully not put Nanjo in a dangerous spot again. Planned a lazy day, just swam a few times,eat and read. I did stitch my green garden cloth together and it makes an excellant "side" sun screen. Nobody anchored near me,so relaxed in the cockpit, fell asleep on a cushion till 1am. Then went below.
Slept really well. Up at 9 and it's flat calm. Ten minutes later I'm in the dinghy and rowing ashore, fresh bread,popeye pie,beers,fruit and veg but best of all fresh cold milk from the local shops. Have a quick chat with "H" and Orkide, I have to get the Sunshine Yellow sail cover material from the UK. Nice row back and I have cereal with cold milk and the rest of the milk makes a lovely frappee. It's the little things,like cold milk that I appreciate most when you have not had any for some time. Thought I should sort the holding tank out at last, fitted the new pipe and it worked a treat, only problem was when I disconnected the old pipe from the Henderson pump, it was under pressure, oh yes,youv'e guessed it. Sh-t everywhere, and I'm inside the cockpit locker on my knees with my face about 18ins from the pipe, not a nice smell but one consolation is, it's my Sh-t so can't complain? Quick wash and back into the locker again, put the rebuilt macerator pump back in line, flush through the tank with plenty of water, I should have waited until outside at sea,but nobody about and I figured most of it had already got thrown over me? Everything works ok and no leaks. Give the bilges a good wipe out and change the oil mat under the engine, not got any oil on it but soaked with water from the bilge. Because I've been so good I treat myself to the spinach pie and a lemonade for lunch. Fancied watching a dvd, rigged it all up, in with the dvd and nothing, it seems my laptop has not got a dvd decoder built in it? I've had it ages and this is the first time I've ever tried to watch a dvd, something to download when next in an internet cafe? Have my evening swim and up to 17 laps of Nanjo,takes me ages non stop,even the sun was going down! Dinner was baked beanz on toast and a mythos, finished of with my new book,fell asleep in the cockpit.
Went below at 2am, slept really well, nice cool breeze through the boat. Quick brekkie at 9, then a tidy up. It's amazing just how much dust collects and I'm on my own in a 30ft boat. Decide to give the mast tension one last go, I think I might have overtensioned it before as I've been hearing noises coming from the mast step? Luckily all the bottlescrews are free now to turn, after loosening it all and following the set up book again, this time it all looks a lot better, got a nice slight bend to the mast at the top and all the rigging under tension. My old faithful straw hat blew overboard, so a quick swim to get it back, and while in the water I had a swim around Nanjo to look at the mast. Put in all new split pins,tape them up and it's job done. Simple lunch and sit down and read my book. Swim 19 laps before dinner,rice and a mythos. Watch a 48ft Westerly Ocean Lord anchor nearby,I went on one back in the UK and it seemed huge, out here they just look normal? Fell asleep in the cockpit.
Woke at 3am in the cockpit and went below. Woke to the sounds of a priest singing in the local church, so just laid in bed until he had finished. Breakfast and a swim, then read my book, and all before lunch? Decided to give the decks a wash down, then give the coachroof some more paint, it's starting to look quite blotchy now. It will certainly need the whole cabin top painting soon, just looks bad rather than a structual problem. I'm beginning to think it was painted from new,rather than a coloured gel-coat? Bit more book reading, managed 20 laps of Nanjo on my evening swim, it's taking me so long that I'm coming out all wrinkled. Maybe I should start to speed up or just carry on and do more laps? Had the tinned meatballs with sphagetti for dinner, and not bad at 2e50c. A warm mythos and a bit more reading finished of my evening. Slept in the cockpit.
Mon 2nd July
Up early for a quick getaway, walked Nanjo back a few metres, let the bow line go from the shore, pushed off the bow and stepped aboard before the gap got to big, she fell back on the stern line, I let it go. Tiller to stbd and the bow came out nicely, enough to clear the catamaran in front, engine in gear and tiller hard to port, and we wafted out of the tight space beautifully. Bloody typical, nobody around to notce my expert seamanship? Bet theres a crowd the next time I screw up? All on my way for 06:40 and a beautiful sunrise over the mainland as well. Took my last photo of Benitses, not sure when I will be back to Corfu again, but it definately won't be this year. Absolutely no wind and no other yachts in site, beautiful clear blue sky and it's already 28 degrees. Made some brekkie and settled down for 5 hours of motoring. Nobody about so stripped of and made a start on my all over tan again! 09:45 and we are just of the Southern tip of Corfu, my log book reads: Wind-Nil, Weather- Very Hot, Speed- 5.6knts, Course-166 degs and Engine-On. The gap between Corfu and Paxos is very calm again, so I spend the time reading and dodging the fishing boats, who always seem to be in my way? Straight into Lakka bay and it's pretty empty, I anchored in virtually the same spot as last time, in 3.5mtrs of clear water, by 11:45 Nanjo is all sorted. Sun awning is up and I've already had my first swim, I inflate the blow up chair, attach the mooring line, throw in a bottle of lemonade and spend the next hour drifting about wearing my straw hat and sunglasses, waving to the holidaymakers who pass by. It must look the idylic life to them, and you know what, it blooming well is. My small gas cylinder finally runs out, after I make a cup of tea, no problem as I have a large full spare on board. No need to pump up the big dinghy as I'm not going ashore. Spend the rest of the day,swimming,napping and reading my book. Finally make some dinner at 10pm and have a warm mythos in the cockpit. I was planning to move on tomorrow, but no rush so will stay another day.
Tues 3rd July
Woke when I wanted to, cereal and bread and jam for brekkie and a lovely swim in warm clear water. The whole day ahead of me and nothing on my schedule to do, people spend there whole lives wishing they could be this free of the daily grind and hassles, I find it very hard sometimes to realise that at this moment in time I have achieved it. Spent the day swimming,reading and watching yachts come and go,had lunch when I felt hungry and dinner the same, much better letting my body clock dictate when it needs feeding, rather than the opening times of a taverna? Watched a large Italian yacht trying to find a spot to anchor, plenty of people shouting at him to go away as he was to close to them. Guess what, he came and dropped his hook just in front of me and by the time he had let out enough chain, and dropped back we could shake hands. I just smiled and said "Your close!". It all went well for a few hours until the wind shifted and everybody started to swing to there anchors, Nanjo being half his size and about a third of the weight started to swing before he did, and sure enough we were on a collision course, I got fenders out,all the Italians arrived on deck and started to run around. My stern was alongside his cockpit now, and one of them said to me "Captain, I think your anchor is dragging?". With my best English, I politely told him I had been anchored in the same spot for a few days and not moved at all, and it was his stupidity that put us in this situation. I then got a "very sorry Captain,we will move". No harm done, but I just wondered if we had both been ashore, how it would have worked out? As a side line, I do like it when I'm called Captain, either by other Captains or Greek officials, everytime I hear it I have to look over my shoulder incase they are talking to somebody else, does make me feel as if I should be in charge of a yacht bigger than 31ft. Checked the engine oils and belts before going to sleep, got a long day ahead tomorrow.
Wed 4th July
Slept really well, a nice breeze blowing through the boat all night. Up early, and anchor up and I'm out of Lakka for 06:40. It's a beautiful morning again, motor going of course, and I have set a course for "Two Rock Bay" just to go and have a look see. Settle down for a long day on the engine, book out,sun hat on,all over tan,and dodging fishing boats. Motor into Two Rock Bay at 10:05 and it's chocker with Sunsail yachts and I notice Gill and Dougs catamaran tucked up in the corner. The pilot book describes it as "an idylic spot, where you will probably be the only yacht enjoying the crystal clear waters, suitable for an overnight stay" good old Rod Heikell, it probably was before he put that description in his pilot book, which every yacht in the Ionian has on board now. Carried on motoring towards Preveza, actually managed to get the jib up for a few hours which gave me an extra half a knot. I had decided to anchor for the night, just of the funfair at a place John had pointed out to me, but instead I went further up the channel and anchored at Ormos Vathi, just past the boatyard and in 8mtrs. Only two other yachts here and Nanjo is all tidied up by 15:00. We have covered 41 miles at an average speed of 5knts and took 8hrs 20mins, hardly going to break the sound barrier, but fast enough for me. It always makes me laugh when friends e-mail me and say they will be in Crete or Kos and could I come down and see them, only if I wanted to take two weeks to get there, I reply! Dinner on board and I've discovered a very simple meal, tin of sweetcorn and some Blue Lagoon Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce, the same sauce I love back in the Uk, and thats it? Couple of pieces of 3 day old bread and a mythos and it's superb. Finished reading my book, The Dead Sea Deception. A pretty good story. Sat in the cockpit till midnight watching the world go by.
Woke at 8am and a quick cup of tea, all my bread has gone,water tanks nearly empty, but worse than that, down to my last mythos. It's time to get ashore again methinks. I must be honest, I was really tempted to spend another day at Ormos Vathi, just to see if I could survive, as it's a lovely spot. Winch up 30mtrs of chain,(really glad it's the winch doing the hard work) and I'm on my way for 09:15. Motor round to Preveza marina, on the way I put fenders on both sides, mooring ropes both sides bow and stern, chug into Preveza marina and find a nice spot at the head of a pontoon, nobody about, so step ashore with both lines and secure Nanjo myself. All textbook stuff, and you guessed it, nobody around to applaud. Somehow I think I'm heading for a major cockup soon, all this textbook coming and going just can't last? Nanjo all sorted by 10:00, sun awning is up and I'm filling up the water tanks with my hose. Of to pay the man, and I'm staying for two days, he says "ok,you leave Sat morning" I say "no, I leave Fri morning" he says "that's one day", I say"no two days". He then shows me his callender, and he is right, I have lost a day somehow, oh the joys of not wearing a watch and not having a timetable. Gladly hand over my 18 euros and naturally get no receipt,don't you just love the Greeks there finance system, somehow I don't think the Government will be getting there share of my mooring fee? Back on board and wash a load of clothes, help a nice French couple moor up a huge motor boat and have a wash. Of ashore with the empty small gas canister, and the French couple offer me the use of one of there pushbikes, it's only a 10min walk so I decline. My gas cylinder is looking the worse for wear and is pretty rusty, but they exchange it at the supermarket without batting an eye, 5.99e and I have a nice new full cylinder in exchange. Pick up an ice cream, loaf of bread,spinach pie and because I've been good, I stop at a bar on the way back and treat myself to a large ice cold mythos. The warm ones on Nanjo are ok, but no substitute for an ice cold one, it goes down way to quickly. Back on board and sit under the sun awning and type up last weeks blog, my guest wants to see a copy of what I've written before it goes to the site. Have my afternoon nap, and wake at 7pm. Time for a bit more typing, a lovely cold shower, clean clothes and of to an internet bar with my laptop for a cold mythos and to catch up on e-mails. Leave the bar at midnight after watching the sidecar racing from Knockhill on there tv. Stop for a pitta giros and a sweetcorn from a street seller on the way back to Nanjo, all great grub.
Up early, and into town to the supermarket before it gets to hot.Pick up a spinach pie for later, at this rate I will be going home looking like Popeye? Back on board and finish of my clothes washing, it's 10am and 33degs. I had plenty of good intentions of going back into town and doing another shop, but made brekkie with the cold milk and used the rest of the pint to make a gorgeous Jimbo frappee, and after that I just did not feel like doing much. So, just read my book. I noticed Ed's yacht moored across at another pontoon, he was the guy who recommended the South Pacific anchor winch, so went over for a chat. Like me he had been sailing with a guest, but he was in the Gulf for a week, he mentioned cold beer and would I like one, I couldn't step on board quick enough. His mate Mike drove down from Plateria for a chat, he owns a charter fleet and the pair of them were swapping stories about the good old days when they both worked out of Gouvia, before the marina was built. Mike said the Yanks put up the money for Gouvia marina, apparently it was designed so it could be transformed over to a military base to take USA warships if needed? After a few more beers they invited me out for dinner, we went in Ed's car to a nice pizza place, then onto a bar out of town, in fact about 100mtrs from where I was anchored the night before. More beers and the waiter brought a large bowl of free mussels,then a large plate of fried small fish, I think the chef was having a clearout? Had a great night chatting to the pair of them and certainly learned a lot about the hay day of life in Corfu and the charter bussiness, before it all started getting cut throat with to many operators and to many boats. Mike was saying just how many firms have boats laid up because of lack of customers, it's going to be a tough season out here for everybody trying to make a living. They were a great laugh and the kind of people worth knowing if you need something doing or sorted in Greece. Finally got back to Nanjo at midnight, it's very hot and no wind at all. Crash out straight away.
Woke at 2am with no air in the back cabin, so put the cockpit cushion up and had a nap in the cockpit to cool of for a few hours. Then went back below and slept on the stbd settee bunk, think this going to be the way of things when it gets really hot? Up at 8am, felt like I hadn't slept at all, I was going to leave today and head South, but will pay for another day here. The 10 day weather forecast is for slight increase in the wind but getting hotter, I can see me heading for Vliho so I can swim when I like and keep cool.Pay another 9 euros for tonight then into town and pick up a small 12 ltr water container,some cream paint and 3mtrs of the green netting I have seen other yachts use to keep the sun out,at only 3 euros a metre it's worth a try.Pick up some fresh veg,all ready to make a Jimbo alad later. Back on board,it's sun shade up and get my book out and relax. The wind picks up and the awnings blowing about a bit, so take it down. Now what to do? Suddenly I have the laptop under my arm and am heading for an inrernet bar with air con and big fans, a cold frappee and a bottle of water and thats me sorted for the next few hours. Seems to be more rain in the UK, they are having a crap summer so far. Shower on board and clean clothes and of into town once the sun goes down. Discover a drag racing Honda C90 in a shop window, these Greeks have a great sense of humour. Stop for a special crepe and a mythos at a new fast food place, and the crepe is as big as a dustbin lid and full.It was hard going but I won in the end. Some folk singing on the town quay, with some really lovely voices. Back on board and it's going to be another hot night. Gauge reads 32 degs and 74% humidity at midnight.Strewth.
Did not get much sleep, to hot below again so slept on deck. Maybe being at anchor is the way to go? Up early and filled the water tanks,washed Nanjo and dumped rubbish. Cast of the lines and away for 07:55, nice morning and no wind. While waiting for the 10:00 bridge opening at Lefkas, got chatting to a guy on a large Odysseuss charter yacht, had a good few minutes chatting about Dromors and how strong they are, the bridge klaxon sounds to say it's about to open, and he then tells me he own Odysseuss and has several Dromors on his fleet, wishes me happy sailing and motors ahead. One thing I've learned already is the Greeks love these yachts. Filled up the diesel tank at the marina,down thru the canal all by 11:00. Bit of a breeze behind me so out with the sails and I managed my best speed on a run of 6.7knots. Am anchored down at Vliho not far from the yacht club by 12:30, really hot, so first priority is a swim and the water is as warm as a bath at home, really weird at first. Pump up the dinghy, make a huge Jimbo salad with a mythos for lunch. Crash out for a bit then row ashore to the yacht club and watch the grand Prix, well done Webber, nice to sit under a fan with a cold beer, the place is packed. As soon as the F1 is finished they put on Wimbledon final, didn't realise Murray was in it till then, it bores me to tears, so only stayed a while. Very slow row back to Nanjo, up with the sun awning and try to keep out of the sun. Read my book until it got to dark, then fell asleep in the cockpit, woke at 1am, I must have been knackered?
07/07/2012, Benitses,Corfu Town,Gouvia,Sayaidha,Mourtos Sivota.Lakka Paxos,Benitses.
Had a friend on board, blog will be updated later.
Nanjos the small yacht in the middle with the blue sun awning, picture taken from the Venitian fort overlooking Mandraki harbour,Corfu town.
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 on "Yes M'lady". They both surfaced at 2am, Rachel was having a laugh as she had put felt tip marks on Nick's face while he slept and he had not realised, a nice easy drive to the airport, dropped them off and looked for somewhere to park. My guest's plane was showing on time so I did not have long to wait, it actually arrived 15mins early. She took another 20mins to get through the terminal, and we had a hug when she finally came out. I think the heat was a bit of a shock, and seeing me brown and with my weight loss. Last time we had seen each other was back in March. Got back to Nanjo no problems in the car. I had backed Nanjo on but even so, for someone getting on board for the first time and in the dark it must have been a daunting prospect. I showed her around Nanjo, which did not take long, and made up the bed in the bow cabin, plenty of room on board so she could keep her suitcase in the saloon. Must have been 05:30 before we both went to sleep. Up at 10:30 and I went for some cold milk and a spinach and cheese pie. A quick brekkie and I went over a few safety things on Nanjo, got her life jacket adjusted and safety harness, all just in case. We were away from Benitses for 12:00 and no problems, the sun was baking already and there was no wind. Once far enough offshore I showed her the man overboard drill, how to start the engine, steer Nanjo, make an emergency call on the vhf and a couple of other things. I tied a couple of fenders together, threw them in the sea and had her bring Nanjo round and pick them up again. All for both our benefits, her so she knows how to control the boat, and me to know that if I fall overboard, she can come back and get me? We motored around off Corfu town, then had a bit of wind so I pulled the jib out and we had a little sail with the engine off. I contacted Mandraki marina at 16:30 and we were all tied up bow on at 17:00, my first time here and the harbour wall is rough rock, so you have to go bow in, and stay a fair way of of the rocks. I had to use the plank and at a steep angle so we could get off. Quickly put up the sun shade and went to pay my 24 euros. A nice bar in the shade and a very nice restaurant all run by the yacht club. I then explained how she would have to get off Nanjo, and I saw a look of suprise and shock! I also explained that if she did not want to attempt the plank and climb over the bow then she would have to stay onboard and I will bring her a dinner? Really glad to say that she soon overcame her fears and shimmied over the bow onto the rocks, and went for a shower, meanwhile I took the oppourtunity to have a cold Mythos at the bar. Back on board, I used Nanjos shower, it's the best? Climbing back over was a lot easier the second time for her and we made our way into town through the old fort, it brought us out just of the main square. Plenty to see in Corfu town in the evening so we spent the time just wandering around the shops, and eventually ended up at a lovely little taverna up a side street which opened into a small square. My friend immediately took a shine to the waiter, and I had visions of going back to Nanjo on my own! The meal was delish, and I'm sure she made every attempt to keep getting the waiter over to our table at every opourtunity. A leisurely stroll back to Mandraki, took us past the main square, where we had a chat with a young English guy watching the tv, only then did we both realise it was the England match and both teams were about to take penalties. In typical fashion we got knocked out, must be honest I have absolutely zero interest in football and always have, but my friend suprised me with her knowledge of the game and the team. We left the fan dejected, soon reached the harbour, and I realised that a torch would have been handy, as I stepped into a Venitian built ditch, probably just like thousands of others before me over the years? The plank was climbed a lot quicker this time, now she has the hang of it. A long day and my guest was soon asleep.
Up early as we intended exploring Corfu town and my friend needed to look for some things. The place was heaving with tourists all jostling about in the small side streets, picking up that essential souvenir. My friend was looking for shorts and a different cossie, we tried most of the shops but after a few hours she had to admit defeat and give up. We got lost couple of times just wandering around. Stopped for a frappee and a fruit juice in the main square, then back to Nanjo. We were soon ready and I backed her out of Mandraki and we went for a sail around the islands, a short run upto Gouvia marina, so no need to rush. We did get a bit of wind and managed the jib again, I suppose thats the way it is out here in the summer, even the afternoon breeze amounts to nothing sometimes. But as I explained to her, I would rather we can motor in calm seas and go places than be harbour bound because of a storm! I filled up the diesel tank at Gouvia, the usual 1 ltr per hour of running time, cost 38 euros and was 25 ltrs. Gave the marina a call on the vhf and we were soon following a rib to our berth for the night. A new one on me over by the new floating pontoon. Backed on and all secure by 16:00, the heat was horrendous, so up with the sun awning, and I took my friend to the swimming pool, for a cold drink and a swim. We both sat there for a few hours in the shade, I paid the marina bill, glad that it's only one day this time. The temp went up to 36, hot for me, but for someone just arrived from the UK it must have felt burning. She went ashore for a shower as they seemed quite luxurious compaired to mine, while I had mine onboard. The sun was down as we walked the 10mins into Gouvia town, it was a lot livelier than my last visit.I took her down a side street to a noisy place I had seen on all my trips, and sure enough they do have theme nights,Elvis,Greek dancing etc, but typically nothing on a Monday. The Saturday entertainment looked good tho, and we agreed to come back then in the hire car and then go straight to the airport for her flight. After checking a few tavernas, she found one she liked, I think the looks of the waiters had a lot to do with her choices rather than the food and prices? A lovely meal, all followed by a free cocktail and dessert. On the way back to Nanjo, we stopped at a Mexican bar, she had a pina colada and I the usual mythos. When her drink arrived it was huge, with all the usual cocktail extras, umbrellas,swizzle stick,fan etc. She even said it was the best one she had ever tasted, so I told the waiter and we got free nachos and a dip. The temp had dropped nicely now as it was past midnight, a slow walk back to Nanjo, and asleep with all the hatches open.
I was up early, as I wanted to get the impellor for the macerator pump, my first port of call actually had the part in and at 20 euros, then she tells me that they break on a regular basis and would I like a spare? Picked up some fresh milk,bread and some veg at the supermarket. Brekkie on board and we were all ready to leave at 11am, no problems getting out and I pointed out the multi-million pound motor boats in the marina. I think that she had already realised that Nanjo was the smallest yacht she had seen so far. I motored out past the liner terminal, then a bit of breeze and both sails up and the engine off. We headed across to the mainland under full sail and in the gentle breeze reached a max of 2.7 knots, luckily we were only going 17 miles and had all day? I made a Jimbo salad on board for lunch, and only after we had finnished, did I realise I had left out the onions. Approaching Sayaidah, I had decided on trying out my new anchor winch and long control cable and would reverse back to the jetty, so got everything ready. My friend had already said she would rather keep out of the way when berthing or letting go, which made things easier for me as I did not have to worry about her then. Got through the entrance all ok, turned Nanjo and lined her up, started to drop the anchor from the cockpit while going astern, then it started to go tits up. I could see the chain paying out, but had no idea how much had gone out, Nanjo started to veer off towards a fishing boat and no matter what i tried she would not correct herself. So, I started to motor forward and bring the chain up again, of course with nobody to flake it in the locker it soon jammed! So, I tried to reverse again and let the chain out, same thing happened, I think the fishing boat had a secret weapon attracting me to it. Tried to go forward again and bring up the chain but the winch tripped, so I'm now stuck in a very small harbour, held by my anchor. I told my friend she had to hit the trip switch then go to the bow and let me know what the anchor was doing, I assumed it had got stuck on something? It turned out to be the chain piling up in the well,and not allowing any more chain to fall down. Once she explained that to me, I motored very slowly out of the harbour with the chain hanging down, gave her the tiller and told her where to head to, it's very shallow of the entrance, and the last thing I wanted now was to run aground as well. Luckily all the helming she had done the previous day now came in handy. I quickly restowed the chain, re-arranged the fenders and got the stern anchor ready for a bow on approach. I should have done this the first time but in trying to be flash and clever, I ended up being neither and made a right pigs ear of mooring. Luckily for me apart from the fishing boat the harbour was empty, so back in again and everything goes to plan, Simples? The taverna customers must have had something to talk about tho. Put the sun awning up straight away, it was hot. Just finished helping an Austrian yacht to moor up and sat down with a mythos, when the port police come knocking, we all have to take our papers to the office for inspection. I join the queue behind the Austrian who is getting a bad time about his crew manifest being out of date,and not being able to prove where he's been? I watch him hand over some money, he looks at me and shrugs his shoulders and walks out. My turn and I have to hand over my folder with all my yacht paperwork in it, he checks my vat receipt,Cleopatra bill, just goes through the whole lot, and pulls bits out and asks about them. Then about my crew, I explain I don't have any but a guest on board, no point in denying it as I'm sure he must have seen her bra hanging on the guardrails? I then have to fill out an official guest form, which includes some of her personal details, rather than go back to Nanjo I made them up! Next, I'm questioned about where I have been since the launch in April and why I only have 3 port authority receipts for payment, give him some old story about being at anchor a lot. I then get lectured about attending the port office everytime I am in a new port, he gets out a receipt book and starts to fill it in, all Greek to me, bottom line is I have to pay 14.95 euros for my stay. I gladly pay up and walk away, chatting with the Austrian later, he got stung for 50 euros, so I reckon I got of light? Told my guest about inventing her passport,birth date,address and other details and she was not amused. She wonders if he does a check and comes back and arrests her? She has her first shower on board, while I lounge in the cockpit, not sure if she was impressed or not? My turn for a shower and she sits in the cockpit. Off ashore and I quickly show her the town, she then chooses the first taverna, where she orders a prawn/pasta dish, and it arrives absolutely huge compared to my souvlaki. The very nice man even brings us two free ouzo's, which I end up drinking as she hates the stuff as well,best not to offend the locals? Back on board and I fall asleep quickly.
I'm up early as we need to get to Mourtos Sivota at a reasonable time, to get a space. My friend has a lay in as I fill up the water tanks then back Nanjo out of the harbour. It's another gorgeous day and absolutely no wind again. She wakes and makes a quick breakfast for us both, I point out the fish farms on the way and other things of interest, but I think the sun is taking it's toll and she is trying to stay out of it by keeping below. It's a 5 hour motor to Mourtos Sivota, and my friend makes us her version of a Greek salad for lunch, and she even remembers the onions, tasted just as good as one of mine? Approaching the harbour a guy on a scooter waves to me to follow him, he directs me to a small space in between the small local motor boats, I go in bow first and drop the kedge no problem, he takes my bow lines and Nanjo is all tied up in a few minutes. Up with the sun awning straight away, and I go to the local supermarket and bring back a couple of ice creams and some cold drinks, I'm certainly missing that fridge. Up in the cockpit, and my friends suddenly getting interested as four young Greek lads turn up and start loading the speedboat next to us, two of them even look like the young George Michael complete with day old stubble and hair, needless to say all four are only wearing shorts. We spent the afternoon trying to stay cool and out of the sun and watching the newcomers moor up. My friend had another shower on Nanjo, think she is getting used to the idea? While I'm having mine I tell her to go and stand on the harbour wall and photograph the magical sunset, one of the best I've seen. Off ashore now its dark and the temperature is a lot better, a quick walk around the streets and we end up at a lovely taverna overlooking the bay. More good looking waiters for her to look at. The place really looks posh and the food was lovely, even getting a free melon dessert. On the way back we pop into the Bamboo taverna for a drink. Get back to Nanjo at midnight.
I'm up early again, leave my friend asleep and head of to the supermarket, and they are still closed. Go back an hour later, and join the queue behind the guys from the multi-million pound boat in the bay, who seem to be buying up everything. Luckily I only want fresh milk,bread and some cold drinks. Finally get away no problems and pull the kedge in ok. I take the short cut between the islands, wake my friend to have a look but I don't think she was really that bothered. The suns up and it's baking already, as usual no wind so another day of the engine. It's a bumpy crossing to Lakka on Paxos, which causes her some concern until I explain that it's nothing and Nanjo is built to take a whole lot worse. I think the thought of a 3 hour roller coaster ride was not on her holiday plans. But we are soon into Lakka bay and everything goes calm very quickly, plus the sea turns an amazing clear blue, which impresses her no end. I find a vacant spot up the far end as near to the tavernas as possible and drop the anchor in 3 metres. Put up the sun shade,pump up the dinghy and then blow up my inflatable chair, and time for a swim. The waters gorgeous, I check under Nanjo and make sure the anchor is dug in. Back on board, I explain how to get into the dinghy and take her for a row around the bottom of the bay, then she fancies a go, so I help her in and shout instructions as I cast her off. She manages beautifully and makes it back safely after her row, it's only then that she tells me that she thought I was going to come with her incase of trouble? Time for a float in my new chair and it works a treat, attached to a 12mtr mooring line and even space for a can of drink. We watch the bay slowly start to fill up with newcomers all trying to find a space to anchor & some newcomers bathing naked which we both noticed. Once the sun goes down, it's time for a shower on board, think she is getting used to the cold water and cramped space now? Then a 50mtr row to the small beach and pull the dinghy ashore. A 3 minute walk and we are in Lakka town, stop at the first bar for a couple of cold drinks and admire the view. Then off for a look around the back streets and she finds a taverna she likes the look of, looks like somebodies back garden, but really nice and simple layout. A very bubbly waitress shows us to a table in the corner & quite a romantic atmosphere. We both went for the home made mousakka, which was delish, and followed with a free melon desert. Pitch black on the way back to the beach and I'd forgotten to bring a torch, luckily neither of us stumbled so no harm done. The dinghy is just where we left it, much to her suprise, she seemed concerned that I would just pull it up the beach and not padlock it in anyway? I always reckon there are better dinghies than mine with outboards to nick, and thankfully most yachties are honest and most Greeks as well. Have a drink on board, she has her Archers and lemonade and typically I open another mythos, both drinks served slightly warm!
Another early start, i pack the dinghy away along with the chair. And bring up the anchor all with no problems, and we are away for 07:50. My friends still fast asleep in the bow cabin, really think she is missing the best bits with the cool early morning. By 10am it's starting to toast. No wind as usual, and the crossing back to Corfu is one of the smoothest I have ever had. She surfaces just as we are going past the Corfu headland and I tell her the worst is over now. She makes breakfast for us both, wheatties and a cup of tea, you do get used to the taste of long life milk, but it's no substitute for fresh. Approaching Benitses and the place looks full, I get Nanjo ready with fenders all round,mooring lines bow and stern and both anchors ready to drop. Going through the entrance, it's chocker,as I motor up slowly to the end all the obvious places are taken. So, I motor very slowly over to the side with all the small local boats, and suprised to find 3mtrs of water, very slowly come around and go port side to the quay, I pull Nanjo up as far as I can get her, so her bow is just feet of an old catamaran that looks like it's not moved in years. Nobody to help, and it all goes very sweetly, even my friends impressed as she can just step over the guardrails to get ashore. Just to prove how much she likes it she gives me a demonstration, and asks why we did not always moor up this way so she would not have to use the plank? Get the sun shade up straight away, and go and book a car for tomorrow. All the small ones are out so I end up with a Kia Rio,for the same price. I take my friend to meet Dimitri and Spiros for an afternoon drink, they are both on form and make her feel at home instantly. Think she would have taken Dimitri home given the chance? A couple of drinks and some laughs and I take her to the bakers for a couple of pies, then round to Argos to confirm she can use there shower. On our way back I notice a large UK catamaran has taken the spot behind us, I was hoping it would stay clear for the local fishing boats that were out. Oh well, maybe we will have to move later? My friend starts chatting to the owners Gill and Doug, a lovely couple who have been sailing in Greece for years, she explains that they just moor wherever they like now and the fishing boats have to find somewhere else. As far as they were concerned, no harbour has a reserved space,we paid for them with our UK taxes and the Greeks didn't, seemed a fair assumption to me. I was just worried incase a 40ft trawler decided to test her assumption? We both showered on board, her for the last time as she had promised herself a pampering at Argos for her last night. Dinner at Dimitris and Spiros taverna,and all served with there usual flair. Plenty of free drinks, for me the siprou in its little jug and my friend got some orange thing, which she liked. A stroll around town after and it was time for bed.
Up early and I go for some cold milk,cold drinks and bread and pies. Brekkie on board with fresh milk, gorgeous. I pick the car up at 10am, a rather nice Kia Rio with a great air con system. They had given me a road map yesterday and marked places to visit all up in the North of the island, Dimitri had mentioned others and Doug and Gill had warned us about going to Ipsos. Threw some things in my rucksack and we are off, the hire place said to only put in 10euros of petrol.The thing was on empty,so not even 2 gallons worth? My friend navigated us onto the road for Paleokastritsa,but only after I did the typical bloke thing and went straight ahead after she had said turn left. No problem, we got lost plenty more times. Paleokastritsa came up quick enough, very touristy. But I was interested in the harbour, so we parked up and I took plenty of pics, a nice place to moor up on the West coast. Onto Sidari next, and we got well lost, ended up virtually back at Corfu town. Before turning around and trying again. The fuel gauge was showing empty again, so this time I put 20 euros in, which at least gave me a 1/4 tank. Found Sidari in the end, very British, just about every bar and taverna advertising British beer and food. We found a sandy beach,parked up and had a drink at a lovely place, a bit off putting was the suckling pig turning slowly on the spit behind us,obviously just been put on and still looked alive?? We had a nice paddle and scoffed the pies. Next place was Roda, well, we could not find it? Neither of us saw any town signs, but we think it was a place we drove down to and passed a lot of shops and bars, we drove along the sea front and it was a dead end. Turned around and we got back on the main road again, by now my navigating friend has realised the map is only just someones impression of Corfu, it's not to any scale and the roads don't mean anything. We drive through large towns with no names shown, leading in or out. We are taking the coast road back to Benitses and there are some fantastic views. Next stop Kassiopi harbour, it's a small place and the yachts are all moored a fair way from the rough jetty, more pics for me just in case I bring Nanjo here. Driving through a large town, my friend fancies a drink, so I park up and we head for the nearest taverna on the sea front. It's only soft drinks for me as I'm driving, she has an Archers, I asked the waitress where we were, she looked suprised then said Ipsos. Well, the town we were warned against, seemed all ok to us, but maybe at night when the drunken Brits come out to play it's different? Ipsos harbour is full of local boats who have all built there own jetties for getting on and off. Heading back to Benitses now and we hit a dual carriageway, must be the only one on the island, the driving of the locals seems to get worse as they all jockey for position and race between the traffic lights. A guy and a girl on a scooter cut me up and pull in front, only for the clapped out scooter to have a top speed of 20km, we spend the next few kms swapping positions, it seemed to make them both happy? A quick stop at the supermarket for me to stock up on some essentials and then back to Nanjo.Doug and Gill have gone already in there catamaran. A relaxing time in the cockpit as the sun goes down, then walk my friend to Argos for her shower, while I sit and have a beer with the owner. She comes out looking refreshed and orders another drink, it cost her 4 euros and she was given a vacant room to use. Back on board I have a shower and get ready for our last meal together, we were originally going to drive back to Gouvia for dinner, but she prefers to stay in Benitses, so I take her to Femias taverna for some simple food. It's great to see them again, my friend orders the chops and she gets a huge plate full, all week her dinners have been bigger than mine, no wonder I'm loosing weight? While she is eating I buy her a going away pressie, the same one that Nicks mates bought for him, I get it well wrapped and tell her to open it when she gets home. After a lovely meal we go for a stroll, and she suprises me by buying me a new straw hat, mine is starting to fall apart badly,so I'm well pleased. Walking back to Nanjo I notice a huge steel ketch moored in the space behind me,how he managed it I don't know, but there is no damage to Nanjo, his bowsprit is only feet away from my A frame. Back on board and we have time for a quick nap.
Sun 1st July
Up very early, 01:30 to be precise. She is already packed and ready to go. It's still hot, but I hate to think what the temp is in the UK. In the car and she gives Nanjo a last look,I'm really glad she had a good time, think she would have liked to sail more and a bigger boat? No traffic about, so we are at the airport for 02:15,drop her off and park the car. Inside she has already checked in her bag, so we go for a farewell drink upstairs. Soon time to say goodbye, and I give her a hug as she goes through to departures. It's been a lovely week, and it was great to have some company. Shame she did not manage to pull any young Greeks though. A slow drive back to Benitses and park the car as instructed, leave the keys under the drivers floor mat! I'm asleep in minutes once back on board. I got a text from my friend saying she had arrived in the Uk ok and her daughter was picking her up, she also mentioned it was only 9 degrees,Ouch!! Nights here never went below 27 for her stay. Slept really well and woke up at 10am, off to the shop for some milk and a pie,I notice the cars gone, hope it's the car firm picked it up?I visit Argos and swap some paperbacks I have read for some new ones. Brekkie on board and a lazy day is planned, and a quick tidy up. I watch the ketch pull out, he has a bow thruster and makes it look just so easy, he must be 50ft and about 30tons. Thats a guy who knows what he is doing? Rather him than me tho. Spend most of the day reading my new book and keeping out of the sun. Shower once the sun goes down and a farewell dinner at Femias, say goodbye to everybody. I will miss seeing the really cute waitress. I won't be back to Corfu again this year. Final mythos in the cockpit and off to sleep.
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.