Monday 6th August
Slept of and on, it was a hot night. Up at 08:30, quick wash and into town for some supplies. Stop at the kiosk and pay for two nights, it's a euro per metre plus 50 cents tax, so well worth it. Back on board and get everything ready, not even sure where I'm going? All let go and am backing out of my space at 09:45, motor out into the channel and a nice force 4 is blowing. Use my cold milk on wheaties and a frappee, a couple of slices of fresh crusty bread and thats me filled up. Decide to head back North, have a great time tacking up the Ithaca channel with Nanjo bowling along, only one other yacht about and he is motoring. Fiskardo comes up quicker than expected, with a very large super yacht called "Titan" anchored outside. I'm still having a great sail so give it a miss and head over on a beam reach to Lefkas, then suddenly no wind. Just like I've sailed into a big hole, sails slatting about and the mast head wind indicator just spinning around. In with the jib, tighten the main in and on with the motor, have a look around and just about every yacht I can see is doing the same thing. At 14:20 I have the entrance to Sivota on my port beam, but it's way to early to stop! The winds back now so jib out and sailing again, eat my spinach pie and a still cold bottle of fanta, tried the "auto-tack" feature on the autopilot for the first time. It's a bit to quick for my liking so don't think I will be using that again. It's a gorgeous afternoon, so just keep on sailing, and by now it's pretty obvious where I'm heading as I sail up the Stenon Meganisiou channel at 4.5 knots, turn left at the top and go along a bit then turn left again and Bingo, I'm taking the sails down and motoring past Nidri. I notice Star Chaser a Brit yacht behind me heading the same way. 16:20 and I'm anchored in Vlicho bay in 4mtrs of water, felt just like coming home, well I have been away a week? Notice some of the regulars around me as well, couple of waves to each other, I do love this place. Flake the mainsail, put the cover on,sun awning is up and on with my new trunks for a much needed dip in the sea, it's like warm bath water. Just superb. Make up a list of jobs to do (theres always a list of jobs to do), and settle down. Start a new book, baked beans from the tin for dinner, I've noticed my weight going back up after all those meals ashore and extra drinking, so back to a normal food/drink consumption for me. Plan on staying here a few days then of again. My water tanks are still about 80% full and I've still got enough diesel for 25 hours running without using the spare tank. The engine oil and filter need changing as they hit the 100 hour mark coming here. I will get the dinghy out tomorrow. I managed to get sun burnt on my face and forehead, lookin like a well done lobster? Slept in the cockpit.
Tues 7th August
Went below at 2am and slept like the dead. Much nicer at anchor as what little breeze there is finds it way down below. Up at 9:30 and had tea and toast. Get the dinghy pumped up and take off the tiller head, there has been a fair bit of play in the top bolt and it's just getting worse. Row ashore to the yacht club and have a word with Ruairi the boss, straight away he says no problem and leave it with him, and call back at 5pm. Walk down to the bakers for a loaf and a small pizza,pick up 4ltrs of diesel engine oil from the local garage, then back for some fresh milk at the supermarket. A lovely 35min row back to Nanjo and the litre of milk is soon on my wheaties and a frappee. Just gorgeous. It's going to be a hot one today, my temp gauge is already reading 42 and it's only 11:30, no wind about as well. Up with the sun awning and a swim, just to cool of. Just had an orange for lunch and a drink. I'm drinking water like it's going out of fashion, it's to hot to go below, when I do, I'm just sweating so much I'm leaving puddles on the floor. Read my book up in the cockpit, and try to avoid the sun, my heads still sufering from yesterdays sun burn. Try to have a nap, but it's just not going to happen, so jump in for another swim, my fourth so far today, glad I'm not in a manky harbour? Row ashore for 5:30 and Ruairi has my fixed tiller head, they have drilled it out and put in a sleeve,also removed the old top nut that had a big crack in it and welded on a new one, the whole thing had then been polished to look like new. It did look good and only 42 euros, result. It should be a few years now before it needs fixing again. I asked about getting my main sail repaired, and told to bring it in tomorrow. I had got a small rip, coming up the Ithaca channel on Monday, and some of the stitching had pulled through on the out haul strenghtening pad. It's an old sail, and now I'm using it, it's going to wear out. New sails are on my wish list for sure. Decided to have a mythos at the club and catch up on my e-mails, that lead to 3 mythos and a burger and chips, still not bad and all for 14 euros. I did end up rowing back to Nanjo in the dark though, and it was still blooming hot. On board and just relax in the cockpit, with my feet up. Fell asleep no problem.
Wed 8th August
Finally went below at 3am, it had just started to get a bit chilly, even though my temp gauge was reading 30 degrees. Slept well and up for 09:30, made a cup of tea and some bread and jam. Sat in the cockpit, and decided I better take the mainsail off. Not a big job, just a bit fiddly. No wind about so hoisted it up the mast, undid the two reefing lines and the out-haul. Removed two bolts that hold the mast gate on and slowly dropped the sail so I could remove the battens and look for any more damage. It's looking a bit tatty in places but hopefully won't need repairing. Fold it up neatly and put it in the dinghy bag to make it easier to carry ashore. Remember my cup of tea, and unbelievably it's hotter now than when I left it, the sun just heats everything up. Maybe I can save on gas? Get everything ready, sail in the dinghy,a bag of rubbish, t-shirt and my bag and row the 35mins to the yacht club. Only when I'm tying the dinghy up, do I realise that I've left my flip flops behind on Nanjo, easy choice to make, spend another 70mins rowing there/back or walk the 100mtrs on loose gravel in my bare feet? The gravel won, I thought my feet had toughened up, being bare foot all the time on board. The first 3 mtrs told me otherwise, those little stone chips were like walking on glass, and carrying a heavy mainsail did nothing to help. I tried walking in the road on the tarmac, but that was too hot and just burnt. Got to the yacht club and found Ruairi, handed over the sail and told him what needed fixing. He said to call in tomorrow evening, and it shouldn't cost to much? Picked up a cold litre of milk then a slow walk back to the dinghy, trying to avoid all the little bits of sharp gravel. It's going to be another hot one, and the temp is rising as I row back. Up with the sun awning and a swim straight away, that cooled me down. Decide to give the fenders a good clean, it's amazing just how dirty they get after a week rubbing against other boats, nice job sitting on the stern with my feet in the water and a bottle of Cif and a cloth. Lunch was a lovely peach and a litre of water. Decided to clean the verdi gris of the rudder mount, so out with the wire brush, and scrub away. Got the rudder mount on my leg, and rubbing away I missed it, scraped the wire brush against my leg instead, it's amazing just how much that hurt and how much blood it produced? Decided the best course of First Aid was to jump in and go for a swim, to cleanse the wound, and also to give me more pain as the salty water got into the cuts? Not sure if buying a bottle of antiseptic might be a better idea for next time? It's hit 45 on my temp gauge, so another day of hiding from the sun. Spend the rest of the day reading in the cockpit and swimming. Spaghetti and tomato with onion for dinner and my last can of mythos. I will have to go ashore tomorrow for supplies and get some money to pay for my sail. Slept in the cockpit as a nice breeze was blowing, felt warm though. At 22:30 it was still 35 degrees.
Thurs 9th August
Went below at 3:30am was just beginning to feel chilly? Slept till 09:30, seems to be my normal waking time at anchor. Tea and toast and get my stuff ready for the dinghy, the flip flops are the first thing I throw in. Take my polished tiller head, think it needs some nice new stainless bolts to complete it? Lovely row ashore, it's baking already and no wind. On my way into Nidri, I stop at the local boat yard and pick up the new bolts 4 bolts,washers,nuts and all for 1 euro 60 cents. Have not walked into Nidri for a while now, and am suprised at just how much building works been done, you never see anybody doing anything. Maybe they all come out at mid-night? The first atm actually has money in it, into town and it's buzzing with tourists, really nice to see. Pick up a few things and a popeye pie to eat on the way back, at the boat yard they are hauling a large fishing boat up on the wooden sledge, just had to stop and watch and take pics. The whole thing just went so smoothly and with no fuss or panic, amazing to watch. It's been done this way for 100's of years and they have it down to the T now. Called into the yacht club, but my sail is not back yet, oh well, thought I might as well have a cold mythos while I was there, so not a wasted trip. Nice row back and the sun is baking, up with the sun awning straight away. Re-assemble my tiller and grease it all up, must admit it does look good and feels a whole lot more tighter. Money well spent. Was going to do a lot more, but it's so hot, just got my book out and had a swim every time I started sweating. Fell asleep till 6:30pm, then went for a long swim. Lovely cold water shower, to get the salt and sweat of. Suns gone down now and it feels a lot cooler. Decide to row to the yacht club, get my gear ready and it's a lot nicer rowing without the sun beating down. See Ruairi and my sails back and only cost 50 euros, a great result. I had expected 100+ so as a treat I decide to stop for a couple of cold mythos and a home made pizza. Gives me a chance to catch up on my e-mails and blog. Added bonus is the gorgeous waitress in the shorts is working, she tells me her name is Tiffany. Certainly one I won't forget? Finally leave the yacht club at 22:30, it's pitch black out on the water, but no wind and the sea is calm. A lovely row back, dodging all the unlit yachts. Actually found Nanjo first go as well in the dark, Oh Yes, I'm one of those unlit yachts as well. Stow the sail and my bag, then get the cockpit cushion out and just lay back and admire the millions of stars, it's a gorgeous night, and I'm just so lucky to be out here. A friend remarked that Nanjo was turning into a floating caravan, by not moving much? I'm happy with that, I had big ideas of rushing around and visiting every little harbour and bay I could find, when back in the UK. Out here and living on board, with hopefully another 20 years life left in me, there's no rush. If I died tomorrow I would be a very happy man and not think I should have seen more or done more.
Fri 10th August
Went below at 02:30, it's really peacefull in the bay, just the occasional noisy moped going by on the main road to break the absolute silence. Just magic. Slept till 10am, think it would have been longer but the sun was shining through my port hole, and no matter how I tried to avoid it I couldn't! Quick brekkie, because I was out of bread and jam. Loaded the dinghy with rubbish bag and flip flops, rowed ashore and walked the 5mins to the bakers. Fresh crusty bread and buy one of the best popeye pies around, baked fresh everyday. Back to the yacht club and have a fruit juice and a bacon butty, I wasn't going to, but you know what it's like when you can smell bacon frying, just no way I was not going to have one? Pick up enough supplies for 4 days, peppers,oranges,mythos,tomatos,cucumber, pasta sauce and a big chunk of gorgeous fetta cheese. Row back to Nanjo and I'm having such a good time rowing, I forget to look over my shoulder to see where I'm going, and it's only when theres a big shadow over me I look round and to late, I crash into a big anchored steel ketch. Luckily, the dinghys just a big inflatable bag and I bounce of, no damage done, it's one of the yachts with nobody on board and just left here. Carry on my merry way, but look every few minutes now. Back on Nanjo, I was going to put the mainsail back on, but it's so hot, up with the sun awning and jump in for a swim. Get my recorder out and childrens music book, give it 30mins of intensive practice, and before I know where I am I'm playing "Caterpillar Bye-Bye" all two notes of it. This is more like it, that banjo's way to complicated to play? Long swim before dinner, manage 25 laps and I can feel my skin getting more and more wrinkled, look like a soggy prune when I climb out? Gorgeous shower on the stern, then have my popeye pie and a mythos for dinner. Getting to the best part of my book, and it's getting dark, so out with the head torch and another mythos. It's a beautiful clear night and the millions of stars are just superb.
Sat 11th August
Woke at 3am, then went below to sleep. Lovely gentle breeze blowing through Nanjo, and it's a cool temperature below. The singing priest woke me at 07:30 with his wailing, really wish he would take singing lessons? A lovely morning, absolute calm and even a bit of cloud about, tea and crusty bread for brekkie. Decide to do the mainsail, they have done a great job of the repairs, takes 10mins to put it all back on then another 10 sewing the sail battens in place, so they won't fall out. All hoisted and the reefing lines attached, then do one of my best sail flaking job so far, blooming shame to put the sail cover on and cover it up? The clouds are getting thicker and darker now, 20mins later the mountain over Vliho is covered with black angry clouds. The temperature suddenly drops, and we are hit with a strong wind, thunder and lightning and then the greatest thing happens, it RAINS! It was gorgeous, I'm sitting in the cockpit, and this wet stuff was falling from the sky, the thunder was reverberating around the mountains and fantastic streaks of lightning everywhere. I could see others sitting in there cockpits as well, it just felt so good, honestly I've forgotten how rain felt when it's on your skin. So, refreshing and invigourating, I just walked around Nanjo with nothing on, and really wasn't bothered. The thunder and lightning lasted for 20mins and the rain for 10mins, but the whole place felt like it had been washed clean. The sun was back out and everything went back to normal again, I went below and all my windows had leaked as expected, I can't see how any mastic/silicon can seal them long term. The alloy frames must get so hot during the day and expand, then contract at night,day after day in the summer months. Jumped in the dinghy and mopped it out with a sponge, amazing just how much water was in it, gave Nanjo a wipe over as well.
Stopped for some lunch, crusty bread,tomato,fetta and olive oil and that's job done. Spent the rest of the afternoon doing loads of little jobs around Nanjo, finally got round to painting the anchor chain, a tip I was given, was to lay the end of the chain out along your boat, then paint a metre of chain red, then when you see that coming up, you know exactly you have a boats lengths of chain to go, so if I'm reversing up on my own and see that, I can either carry on or go back out and try again. Simples! Had a great long swim, I think the hour swimming is enough, not that I can't carry on, it's just everything is crinkling up by then. Baked beans out of the tin and crusty bread for dinner with a mythos, yummy. Read my new book until it got dark, then just chilled in the cockpit, listening to the sounds in the bay.
Sun 12th August
Went below at 2am, lovely breeze blowing and it's cool below. Awake at 07:30 and the wailing priest is in full song, amazingly I just turn over and fall asleep again, I must have over worked yesterday? Up at 09:30 and tea and toast, that's the last of the fresh bread, so it's a row ashore to get another loaf, it's a gorgeous morning with just a few puffy white clouds around and no wind. My weather station is showing at 10am, 30 deg, 67% humidity and rain? A nice row ashore, pick up a fresh crusty loaf and a pop eye pie, naturally I stop at the yacht club and have a bacon butty and fresh orange juice, Belinda gives me the times of the bus's to Lefkada and reckons they run on time, the 10am one sounds ideal. Pick up a litre of cold milk and row back to Nanjo, make a lovely frappee and have the rest of the litre raw and straight from the bottle, it's a tough life being a yachtie? Sun awning goes up and my day is starting to unfold nicely, read my book, swim,sleep and just poodle about doing little jobs around Nanjo. Have my long swim and the waters so warm, I actually start to wrinkle up early? Have the pop eye pie for dinner along with a warm mythos. Just laze around in the cockpit reading my book until it gets dark, it's been a lovely simple day. No hassles, no Jehova's witnesses banging on my hull, no problem.
30/07/2012, Southern Ionian
Away at last.
Monday 30th July
Up early and a row ashore for some bread and supplies. A gorgeous morning with no wind. Stopped at the yacht club for a bacon butty and to catch up on my e-mails. Had a big smile on my face when the gorgeous waitress wearing a tight pair of shorts bent over just in front of me, as she got up she saw me smiling and gave a wave. Then came over and asked why the big smile? I refused to say on the grounds I might get a slap! As I keep saying, it's the simple things in life that really count. Row back to Nanjo and have the cold milk with some wheaties and a frappee. Get the dinghy onboard and give it a good wipe down to remove the salt, then deflating it and trying to roll it back into it's bag, I'm sure that Avon make the bags just half an inch to small on purpose? Everything stowed away and the decks washed down, engine started 2nd push of the button and settled down to a steady 800rpm tickover. The anchor came up covered in gooey mud, so was well dug in, nothing that throwing a few buckets of water over it didn't cure though. Motored past the Activity holiday pontoon and it was packed, all of Allans yachts out, so good for him. Not much wind so motored out past Sparticus far enough to empty the holding tank. Wind came up, so motor off and out with the sails. Nanjo leaning into the gentle breeze and the speed picking up, just a couple of crashes from below to let me know everythings settled down ok. Turned out to be, a set of diving goggles and a plastic tub, so not bad. I notice the forestay is looking a bit slacker than I like, something to adjust later. Just sail around for a few hours and head to Ligia harbour for 4pm a new one on me, just South of the Lefkas canal entrance. Easy approach so get fenders and lines ready for a bow on approach, enter the harbour and it's pretty small. Am just deciding what to do as parking spaces were a bit tight, when I get a wave from a taverna guy, theres a space between two little speed boats. Go straight in, throw the kedge out the back, he takes my lines and it's job done. Just to show the nice man how much I appreciated his help, I head straight for his bar and order a cold mythos. Go for a swim in the harbour, probably not a good idea as it was a bit manky. Shower on board, then a home made pizza and a few more mythos from the very nice taverna only 2mtrs from Nanjos bow. Weird trying to sleep as I'm used to being at anchor now, and you do get bounced about a lot more in harbour.
Slept really well, his place closed about midnight and no noise, plenty of traffic noise though. Woke at 10am, a gorgeous day and set of at 10:30 for Spartakhori, in a straight line 5 miles, the wind was up and I was in no hurry to get there, I ended up sailing 34.1 miles, average speed of 3.7knots, top speed of 6.8knots. Had a gorgeous days sailing. Bow on at Spartakhori for 17:00,the old boy taking my lines. Went for a swim and cleaned the prop, this time wearing my thick anchoring gloves, see I do learn from my earlier mistake, well sometimes anyway? Got chatting to the Scottish single hander next to me and another Jim, arranged to meet up for beers and dinner later. Lovely shower and used up most of my remaining water, will fill the tanks tomorrow. Ashore at 8pm lovely meal, and Jims a real character, great bloke, classic is the young waiter was also a Jim. I mention that I owe for 4 beers from April, the old boy comes over shakes my hand and said he remembered me, but because I remembered him and offered to pay, they were on the house. Just love the Greek people, it would never happen in the UK? Turned in at midnight.
Wed 1st August
Up at 09:00, went and had a coffee and got on the internet. Filled up both water tanks and all my water cans, total coast 3 euros well worth it for about 120 gallons. Said my goodbyes to Jim and left at 11:30. Not sure where to go, so got out of the bay, and the wind was blowing towards Vlikho, headed there and the wind changed, so tacked down the Stenon Meganisiou channel. The wind was perfect, probably a good 4 with gusts to a 5, I was having a tacking duel with a badly sailed big Sunsail yacht, and making ground on him with every tack. We crossed each others paths all afternoon, the wind picked up a bit more, just the odd gust, and he pulled his sails in? Turned right at the bottom and headed for Sivota a new harbour for me. Managed to sail, within a mile of the entrance, then no wind. Got fenders,ropes all ready, it's an easy approach into a big bay, yachts everywhere. I spotted a space between a small yacht and a big Italian, got a wave from Paul the Norwegian of the little yacht and headed in, the Italian starts waving and saying the space is reserved for his friend? I politely explain that he cannot reserve spaces and his friend is to late! Needless to say, only Paul helped me tigh up, everything went perfectly and I'm only 2mtrs from a very nice looking bar. Up with the sun awning as it was toast, I could feel myself burning most of the afternoon, but just did not want to leave the tiller. Chatting with Paul, he's another singlehander, bought his 36ft yacht last year and had never sailed or been on a yacht before? He must have been early 20's, now that takes guts. We arranged to meet for beers later. Had a gorgeous swim after watching a stack more yachts arrive and find spaces,had a long shower now my tanks are full. Ashore at 9pm for a walk around and it's a great place, one for my list of returns to. Found a little taverna on the front and had the best Tzatziki ever, followed by her Greek chicken curry that was just delish. Ended up chatting to a Brit couple on the next table who were renting a villa, back on Nanjo for midnight. Meet Paul and back into town for some beers, meet up his friends Yanni and his girlfriend Karen, we now have a Brit,Norwegian,Greek and Karen from Russia. Spent the early hours swapping stories. Karens an English teacher, and just kept asking about the Royal Family as if I might know them personally?
Thurs 2nd Aug
Got back to Nanjo for 3am, slightly the worse for wear and absolutely shattered, it's been a long day. Fell into a "Can't remember sleep" till 9am. Into town for some supplies and to take some pics. Say goodbye to Paul and back Nanjo out for 10:15, the anchor was a bitch to pull up and was well dug in. Motor out and head for Kefalonia, hour later and the winds up, turn the engine off and my head feels better instantly, take 2 panadol as my backs playing up after getting that anchor up. Sails up and wind on the beam, I can just clear Ak Oxoi headland on Ithaca and am heading for Fiskardho. I'm having a great sail and a few other yachts about to aim for. 13:00 and I've got Fiskardho on the starboard beam, the winds moved around a bit and I can head on down the Ithaca channel, tacking downwind. It's to early to stop sailing so, punch in a course for Sami on the gps. Every other yacht has headed for Fiskardho and I have the channel to myself. Can feel myself starting to burn, so better put some clothes on! A cracking sail all the way to the entrance of Sami, take the sails down outside, and get ropes and fenders ready. Motor in and pick a space between a Brit and Swedish yacht, drop the kedge and motor ahead, the Brit takes my bow lines and I'm tied up by 16:30 and covered 28 miles. Sun shade up and a well deserved warm mythos. Just settling down when some angry storm clouds appear over the back mountains, suddenly we have 40mph winds howling through the harbour, Nanjo is hitting her bow on the jetty, so I put out two fenders to save her from damage. My stern anchor is bar tight, but the springiness of the rope is stretching just enough for me to hit the jetty. The very nice Swedish guy offers to come on board and help me go out and back in using the bow anchor, but to be honest, I really did not want to pull up my kedge the way my back was feeling. Luckily after 40mins peace returned again, we all looked at each other and went back to enjoying the sun. Gorgeous shower onboard, clean clothes and the suns gone down. Into town for a look and find two car hire firms, get a good price on a days car hire for later. Stop at Capt Corellis taverna and have a very cold mythos and a large pizza while catching up with my e-mails. Noticed a quote in there menu from the Capt Corelli movie on love, I can remember John Hurt (the Doctor) saying it. Makes me think for quite a while, about the women I've known?
Fri 3rd Aug
Up early and all ready to leave, got chatting to Jim on the yacht next to me, a retired police chief inspector, really nice bloke. He's ben cruising for years and owns a gorgeous Jeanneau 50ft yacht. Gave me plenty of advice and suggested some places to visit. Spent that long chatting, and he suggested a drink later if I'm still around, I thought,what the hell, another day in Sami, picked up some brekkie stuff and then went for a walk along the beach front. A gorgeous morning, stopped at a yacht chandlers, always fatal and spent 24 euros on essential bits. Had a stroll around the harbour admiring the super yacht called Wicked Lotus from Malta, a real beauty with gleaming woodwork and paint. Towering masts, she must have cost millions. Jim later told me it's new built and owned by a jewish jeweller. He has good taste. Enjoyed a couple of cold beers and back on Nanjo for a bit of rope splicing, Jim suggested changing the multi-plait rope I have on the kedge as it's too springy to some braid line, luckily I already have 30mtrs of it new and spare on board. Spliced a hard eye thimble into one end, I will swap ropes when I leave. Had a nap and woke to find the harbour was packed out, the super yacht O'Pari moored opposite me, with it's crew cleaning away. I had a look on the internet and it's 105,000 euros + 23% vat a week to hire, amazing price. I recommend people look it up? Ashore at 10pm and go for a stroll around town, end up at Capt Correllis, for a mythos and a gorgeous chicken burger. Sittin on my own and on my lap top, I notice this thing looking at me. 5mins later a bloke in a badly fitting dress is standing in front of me and asking would I like a drink? I'm 100% sure it was a bloke, or the ugliest woman on the planet. It took me 0.5 of a second to say "NO". It toddled off on a pair of high heels somewhere else. It's great to know that the old Andrews pulling power has not gone, even though it was a bloke!! It's been suggested that 0.5 of a second meant I thought about it? Well, I reckon he would have only offered a small mythos, and I'm not that cheap? Maybe a large mythos and a pitta giros, well, you only live once? A live band were playing in the street and the atmosphere in town was magic. Walked back to Nanjo, passed the security guards on O'Pari. They had a bloody generator running all night.
Sat 4th Aug
Up early, and into town for ba few bits. Have a quick chat with Jim, who has hired a car for the day, for a good price. So, I pop into the office and mention his name and get one at his price for later. Sort out everything on board, start the engine and I'm letting ropes go and pulling myself out on the kedge by 10:30, it all goes really well. Chug out the harbour entrance and head for Ay Eufimia only a few miles away and a new one for me. Change the kedge rope over, no need to remove the fenders or bow ropes, just pull them on board. Arrive at Ay Eufimia and call them on my vhf, as it says in the pilot book, it also says you won't get a reply? Notice a guy waving and head straight for him, kedge out the back, bow in and pass him my lines. All secure by 11:40. It's really hot, tidy Nanjo up and go for a quick walk around town, nice place, plenty of tavernas. Back on board and a Swedish couple come alongside in a yacht smaller than mine. I notice Wicked Lotus arriving from Sami, the skipper backs her up superbly, and she must be over a 100ft long. 20 mins later all hell is breaking loose as a strong winds coming down off the mountain and pushing me and the Swedish guy round and onto the quay. Nanjos bow is hitting the stone quay, but luckily I had put the bow fenders out already. My neighbour is not so lucky. He decides to pull off and come back in again, a Greek fisherman has been noticing our plight and offers us the use of his berth and trailing lines. The Swedish guy comes in and we tigh his boat up, he is now a lot safer. The Greek fisherman jumps on Nanjo and we move her up to his other space, he has a trailing line secured to the sea bed. She is well secure now and the wind gets worse, he reckons it's the same every day and dies down by 8pm? I thank him for his help and he points out I've a deep cut in my arm and bleeding from something I've touched. Settle down and watch the other yachts in trouble. Suddenly Wicked Lotus is being blown sideways, and starting to drag. We are all watching as the skipper gets her away from the jetty, pulls up his anchor and goes further out into the bay. Drops one anchor then a while later drops the other, he is having a right job backing up and we can all hear his thrusters working overtime. 15mins later and he is secure again, a job well done and with just about everybody taking pictures of him, even some yanks of a yacht with a movie camera. I really thought that we should have all stood and clapped once he was safe?
Had a gorgeous shower at 9pm, it was lovely and cool by then, people everywhere. Quite a few Sunsail yachts had arrived. Found another Captain Correllis taverna, turns out to be owned by the daughter of Sami's Correllis. Had a laugh when they had to send someone to the supermarket after I ordered tzatziki, I did get a free small mythos for having to wait. Back in the Uk they would have just said "Sold Out". They did not make much on the deal,small mythos 2 euros the tzatziki 3.50 euros? Had a gorgeous pork souvlaki to follow. And thankfully no sign of my cross dressing chum? Actually watched some of the olympics, all swimming. I reckon I've been doing a max of 540mtrs around Nanjo, takes 45mins these guys were doing 1,500mtrs in 13mins. Human dolphins, also decided that what I'm swimming is not the breast stroke Olympic style, that's far to energetic! Got back to Nanjo for 00:30 and just chilled in the cockpit, watching people go by.
Sun 5th Aug
Eventually went below at 2am, still plenty of people around. Woke at 09:30 to brilliant sun and no wind, have decided to stay another day, after seeing signs for a Greek music night Sunday. Checked with the harbour master and he said I can stay a month if wanted. He will ask the fisherman if it's alright if I don't see him, if not I will go out and come back in again. Went to the small bakers and got a spinach pie, walked around to the far end of the bay and sat under a tree, overlooking the harbour and bay. A gorgeous spot Stayed there for 2 hours, it's great to just do what I like. Short walk back into town, stop for a cold beer and to buy some trunks, not been using any, but there have been times when I wished I had! Give Nanjo a quick tidy and have a nap, woken by shouting and engine noise, come up on deck and a large Azimuth 65ft motor boat is coming alongside, the skipper and crew do a great job, this guy has fenders so thick and covered in nice wooly covers. Got chatting to the stewardess holding the fender,she is absolutely gorgeous and a Brit as well, they are on a weeks charter with some French passengers and just belted down from Fiskardo. She was saying it's all rush/rush every time they come into a harbour, luckily they had a Malasian crew member who was on the ball.The pictures on the blog show it all, certainly makes Nanjo look very small? Spot my friendly fisherman, and have a long chat, it's ok for me to stay where I am, he said he saw me come up from my cabin and the look of shock on my face was brilliant. Sat in the cockpit reading and hoping they were going to throw me a cold beer as there generator was running off and on. Great shower and ashore for the Greek night, to be honest it wasn't that great, I think we all soon got used to the bazouki players 4 chords and the guy singing seemed to be in pain? No sign of any dancers. Luckily I had just ordered a beer, so soon left and went to a little taverna on the corner, cheap prices and looked good. Ordered the tzatziki and giros portiion, it's not happened for a long time but both dishes arrived at the same time and were huge, all tasted gorgeous but was way to much for me. Felt sorry when the waitress asked if it was all ok. The Azimuth is now lit up like a christmas tree and even has under water lights illuminating the sea around it and Nanjo, it did look pretty. Back on board and open a mythos, sit in the cockpit and relaxed. There generator is cutting in and out every 10mins, and is a bit noisy. The couple on the next motor boat to me are not happy at all, the husband had to weigh 20stone and was huge, it's midnight now and he storms over to the Azimuth and asks to see the Captain. Plenty of loud voices and gestures and I'm feeling sorry for the Greek skipper trying to calm him down, he does not have much choice as I'm sure he does not have enough batteries to run his lights. Seems he has talked the big guy round when a little Italian woman of the yacht on the other side steps ashore and really lets rip, first in Italian then perfect English. They always say don't mess with an Italian mama! and this skipper is finding out big time. I'm still sitting in the cockpit as a large crowd gathers, the French charterers are dumbfounded and just sitting down. After 5 minutes of abuse, it's all quiet and people are moving on, then the gorgeous stewardess comes and tells me they are leaving in 5minutes and would I help with the shore lines? It's about 00:30 and pitch black in the bay, with plenty of anchored yachts with no lights, and this guy must have dropped his anchor chain a good 100 mtrs out. I let there lines go as the skipper pulls her out, the stewardess placing fenders between him and Nanjo. Wish her luck, she does say they are never the most welcomed boat in a quiet harbour. As he is leaving people start to clap and applaud, just goes to show that a big £5,000,000 boat is not the way to impress people. I reckoned that the fenders he had on one side would buy Nanjo, let alone a weeks fuel bill. He pulled up his anchor and re-located in the bay. I then explained to the woman and her husband who started it all, that the bar opposite stayed open until 3am on Sat night, she just said that her husband would be ready for round two by then?
Slept until 10, I must have over worked yesterday? Wind howling in the rigging and navtex warning of thunderstorms later, not a cloud in the sky anywhere? Checked my water tanks,port side empty and stbd about half full. To windy to row ashore, so gave the cabin a clean up. Sitting in the cockpit and watched two Sunsail charter yachts arrive, at full speed, the woman on the bow dropped the anchor while the first one was doing 7 knots ahead, I thought it was going to rip the bow off when the anchor dug in, he slowed and let out about 30mtrs of chain and ended up just in front of the yacht next to me. His mate had obviously been trained in the same technique, dropped his anchor, came to a very sudden halt, slewed sideways and started to let out more chain while going sideways. Then they all went for a swim, yacht No2 is dragging his anchor badly now, because they realise they are having to swim after there yacht? My neighbour is looking worried! They get back on board and get all there chain back in and then go and do the same thing again, I reckon that as long as you have the money Sunsail will give anybody a yacht, just like in the UK? Had a gorgeous Jimbo salad and myhos for lunch.
Made one of my biggest cock ups so far, in the evening? I had a look under Nanjo and saw the prop and shaft were getting barnacles on them, back on board and get my wire brush,attach a loop round my wrist so I can't drop it, get a mask on and dive under. I grab the prop shaft tightly to hold me under then scrub the prop with the wire brush, and it works a treat. Back up for some air, and dive back under, hold the prop shaft tightly again and this time I grab the prop and turn it to get a new blade in front of me? I'm sure most of you can guess the consequences of doing this? My left hand holding the prop shaft was ripped by the barnacles, I've never surfaced so quickly, hand full of blood and after washing it under fresh water, dozens of small cuts and on evey joint, look like they had been done with a razor! Believe me I was throwing a few "F---s" around the cabin. Just can't imagine how bloody stupid I was doing that? Painfull, you bet. At least the bleeding stopped quickly, and I cleaned my hand up. Not sure if I did the right thing but bathed it in the sea again (salt water is meant to help?). Cooked a very simple dinner and had a couple of mythos. Slept in the cockpit.
Slept really well. Up at 9 and my hand looks like I've had a fight with a pack of razors? Have to row ashore today as I'm out of bread and supplies. Of course, Mr Stupid did not even give his cut hand a second thought. Load the dinghy and jump in, 15mins rowing and half way to the shore and my hand is giving me jip and some of the bigger cuts have opened up, no suprise really as I'm gripping a bloody oar and rowing. Get my bread,popeye pie and fresh milk,beers etc and contemplate the row back. Have a quick chat with Orkide and "H" who shows me his hands, makes me feel a bit of a wimp after looking at his. Back in the dinghy and row back ok. As a treat, I have the ltr of cold milk on some wheaties and as a frappee.Absolutely the best ever. Thinking I'm on a roll again, I decide to wash some clothes. Big mistake, hot water and liquid washing powder and scrunching clothes around in the sink, did nothing for the cuts in my hand, which seem to have opened up somehow? Finish my washing, lovely breeze so it should all dry quickly. Decide that the rest of the day will have nothing to do with my left hand! Enjoy my popeye pie for lunch, with a still cold coke. Try to watch a dvd, but the player I downloaded is not working, oh well back to the cd's then. Washing all dry and packed away. Have a gorgeous evening swim, 24 laps of Nanjo as the sun goes down. Baked beans,onion and a tomato for dinner along with a warm mythos. Read my new book, about a war tv camera man, really good. Slept in the cockpit.
Slept off and on, my hand throbbing, all the cuts look clean enough? Up at 9.30, gorgeous day and no wind, give the wind generator a wipe over and check all its nuts and bolts. Usual brekkie, go for a swim and then relax. Fetta cheese and cucumber sarnies for lunch, taste as good as cheddar? Bit of book reading then a snooze. I give the engine a check over, wipe out the bilges and check all sea cocks are opening and closing ok. Am of to Spartakhori tomorrow. Have a lovely swim. Dinner is a tin of baked beans straight from the tin and they were delish. Read my book and slept in the cockpit.
Went below at 3am. Up at 09:00 and anchor up easily enough for 09:30. Sloshed the muddy chain off with plenty of water. Lovely morning as I motored out past Nidri, still wearing my pants, have given up wearing shorts on the boat now? Clear the islands and the winds picked up a fair bit, probably 20knots now. I'm towing the dinghy,never like doing it, but it's riding the waves ok. Far enough out and empty the holding tank fully, the macerator spinning away like a good un. Over to Spartakhori and the old boys not letting anybody stay, they are expecting force 7 winds later and they will be blowing straight in. Oh well, back to Vlicho, get the jib out for the last 40mins, must admit it's great to be on the move, I've forgotten how much Nanjo moves around. Anchor not far from my old spot in 4mtrs of water. Go ashore in the dinghy and notice two large shapes following me, slow down and they are the largest fish I've ever seen out here must be nearly 3ft, they swim under and dissapear, I start rowing again and they are back just behind the dinghy, really weird! Go to the yacht club for a cold myhos and get some supplies. Apparently the weathers turning bad for the weekend? Row back and just chill out, and have a nap. Wake up and it's nearly dark already, so no swim. Pasta and some spag bol sauce for dinner, Yummy. Read some more of my book written by a tv camera man who goes to all the wars, absolutely amazing. What that guy did to get pictures for us to see, he's filming bodies and everybody is telling him to go away, but he does not care "he's just after the shot", and he is only seeing everything in black and white through his viewfinder. Later he is watching it played on ITN and wonders if it was all real? Went below at 22:30 I'm knackered!
Slept really well, woke at 09:30 feeling cold, the sun has gone behind a cloud and it's still 31degs. Navtex forecasting NW 6 to 7 winds for today. Got in the dinghy and gave the hull a polish where it was starting to look yellow, don't think they used top quality paint when they re-sprayed it? Looked a lot better after tho. Next job give the top guardwire a clean, they both were looking yellow (sun bleached?) the top came up nice and white with some Ciff. Thats enough work for today, had a gorgeous swim, sat on the bow reading my book and topping up my tan. I was suprised to feel a little sun burn yesterday, I've spent the last few weeks under the sun awning, so had better get used to it again. Still not used to naked sunbathing, must be the Brit in me, all the other nations just don't care? Worked out some new harbours to visit from the pilot book, so time to go exploring again, methinks. Clocked up 26 laps around Nanjo, should have put myself down for the Olympics? Bought some Gnocci (filled pasta shapes) threw them in the pan with some tomato sauce and a chopped up pepper, heated up nicely. First bite and the pasta shapes are like concrete, maybe I should have boiled them first? Oh well, gave me something to chew on apart from the bread. Usual end to my evening, read my book and enjoyed my mythos. Stayed in the cockpit until 2am, just letting my mind wander, and remembering times from my past. I'm really exceptionally lucky to be here and enjoying this lifestyle.
Went below at 2am, couldn't sleep. So stayed up reading till 5:30, it's a beautiful night/morning here. Millions of stars and no light refraction to worry about, surely we can't be the only intelligent life form in this Universe? Slept till 9:30 then ashore in the dinghy, picked up some bread and supplies. Got side tracked and popped into the yacht club to catch up on my e-mails and would you believe it? Suddenly I'm drinking a lovely cold mythos or two and I've lost 3 hours out of my busy schedule. A wonky row back to Nanjo, and me wishing I had anchored nearer. It's a gorgeous day, went for a quick swim and lounged about. Read my book, swam 26 laps before dinner, and had the home made mini pizza I bought in the bakers for dinner. A still resonably cold mythos to chase it down after. It's been one of those magic days, have not done much, had some fantastic news in the evening which left me with a big smile on my face all night? Fell asleep in the cockpit.
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?