Monday 5th November
Slept really well, it was another cold damp night, so was wrapped in my sleeping bag and "Love" blanket. Awoke at 09:00 and it's pretty murky outside, brekkie in the cockpit and there are plenty of grey clouds about. Forecast is for force 4 to 5 Sw and possible thunderstorms? I was planning a run into Nidri, just for a walk, as I've not been swimming much (spotted the jelly fish back). Sitting around and wondered what to do? I suddenly decided it was time to sort out the damaged mirror on the back of the heads door. I had attempted to get it off before with a pallet knife, but it was well masticed on. So I cover the mirror with duct tape, take the door off, and not being superstitious at all,take it out into the cockpit and hit the mirror with my hammer. The pieces are disposed of safely, and to my utter amazement I don't cut myself (I reckon theres a piece of mirror lurking somewhere, that will cut me later though). Spend a fair bit of time scraping the mastic off the door, if they did this at the factory in 1987, somebody really got carried away? I could see the rain approaching now, so down below and carry on scraping, sanding and then a coat of mahogony varnish. It's then I have to close all the hatches as the rains hammering down, just hope the varnish fumes are healthy? I soon discover that varnishing inside with the cabin battened down is not good for your breathing, so open the main hatch, before I pass out! The good news is that it's soon dry though, and for a very brief moment, I was even contemplating putting a 2nd coat on. Spent the afternoon, up and down in the cockpit in between the rain, my window leaks seem to have slowed down a bit as well. Have a nap in my back cabin for a couple of hours. Wake up and it's nearly dark, I decide to make a large spag bol for dinner. I'm getting better with the soya mince and it's slowly loosing it's wall paper paste consistency. Enjoy the spag with a can of Fix, and have enough for tomorrows dinner. Spent the evening playing on my lap top and listening to radio Lefkada. It's been a busy day? Turn in at 23:00
Tuesday 6th November
Slept really well, and woke to a gorgeous morning, blue skys and all calm, the suns out and warming every where up. Brekkie in the cockpit, with the last of my bread. I need some exercise as I'm not swimming much now, so load the dinghy and row ashore. A lovely 25min slow row in calm water. I'm soon heading out of Nidri in just my shorts and flip flops, strange seeing the locals driving past all wrapped up, the temp when I left Nanjo was 24degs. It's a gorgeous walk into town, and I see nobody else walking at all. Into Nidri and although it's 11:30 there is virtually nowhere open and very few people about, and I definately stand out now,without a t-shirt on? Down to the harbour front, and there are only 2 liveaboard yachts there, Neillsons semed to have taken over a fair bit. There yachts are pulled of about 10ft from the quayside, so here for the winter I reckon? It's quite earie really, just a few fishermen about, what a difference a few weeks make. I will come back for a last look before I set of for Messolonghi in a few weeks. The walk back to Vlicho is just as busy, I see nobody walking and only a few cars pass by. Stop at the bakers in Vlicho for some bread and popeye pie, it's really hot and sunny now, so I have a sit down and eat the pie, just watching the world go by, magic! Row back to Nanjo easily, first job is to put another coat of varnish on my loo door. Then pack the guest bed sheets up, load the dinghy and row back to the yacht club. Tiffanys on and luckily she can wash the sheets while I wait, so I better have a cold beer to pass the time? Read a couple of magazines while I'm waiting, and 1 hour later, the sheets are done and I'm rowing back to Nanjo. Out with the washing line and they are soon drying in a nice breeze. The varnish is dry as well, so put on another coat, and sit in the cockpit reading my book with a large fetta/cucumber sarnie and coke for lunch. My temp gauge is reading 30degs now, and it's a gorgeous afternoon. Just wish the jelly fish would leave so I could go for a swim. The sheets are soon dry and folded away,and the varnished door is nearly dry as well. It certainly looks a lot better than all the other varnished woodwork now, theres plenty of wood below, so hopefully it will all get treated one day to a rub down and new varnish? Am absolutely shattered, so time for a nap? Woke at 18:30 and it's still lovely out, no big fuss over dinner as it's yesterdays left over spag bol, washed down with a Fix. Read my book and just relax in the cabin, the varnish fumes are slowly going as well. 23:00 and it's supper time, a mug of tea and some toast/jam eaten in the cockpit, under a glourious clear sky, just millions of stars about, a magic evening to be in Vlicho. Turned in and fell asleep very easily.
Wednesday 7th November
Slept really well, it was a warm night, up at 08:30. First look outside and it's pretty cloudy but dry, my usual brekkie in the cockpit, and the old fisherman I see is bringing his nets in just behind Nanjo. A wave and a good morning to him, and I watch him pull in 100mtrs of net and not one fish! Maybe he should find some way of cooking the jelly fish as those buggers seem to have come back with a vengence today? My navtex is showing a gale for here in the next 12hrs of N Nw winds 7 to 8 with thunderstorms, oh well, here we go again? Luckily I got bread yesterday, so am stocked up with food. The loo door is looking great, just have to stick the new mirror on with double sided pads, then some silicon seal around the edges, re-hang it and it's job done, and I'm really chuffed with the result. Because of the very light winds the last few days I've been watching my battery monitor slowly going down, it was reading 11:7 volts for the main battery bank this morning, so went to start the engine and nothing on position 2, luckily the starter battery has not been drained of power, and a switch to position 1&2 and the trusty Yanmar fires up instantly. I leave it running at 1500 revs for 60mins to put some juice back into my batteries. Maybe it's time I went out for a motor around a bit, and looked at buying those solar panels I've been thinking about as well? Did my accounts this morning, and I only spent 47 euros last week, just over £5 a day. What a cheapskate? It's pretty easy when your at anchor here or I suppose any anchorage really, as long as you don't go ashore? I certainly feel I've eaten enough, and think I've put weight on? They are forecasting strong winds for the evening on the navtex, so better expect the worst? As it's all over Helenic seas and coming from Italy for me. Spent the afternoon having a nap, woke at 18:30 and it's starting to pick up, the wind and waves. Have plum peeled tomatos on toast for dinner, yummy. Spent my evening on my laptop playing games and listening to radio Lefkada on my wind up radio, which is now making a loud grunching noise when I wind it up? Turned in at 23:00.
Thursday 8th November
Slept really well, the expected strong winds did not arrive. It just got a bit choppy for a while. Brekkie in my cockpit as usual. Did a couple of small tidy up jobs in the morning. The afternoon was absolutely gorgeous, with light winds and clear blue sky. It was just to tempting, so jumped in the dinghy and rowed over to the Sail Ionion pontoon,as soon as there yachts had left to go ashore, there was a rush of others to take there places, now rafted 4 deep and obviously here now for the winter. Tied up to the jetty and went to the new bakers for a loaf,popeye pie and then I spotted a large Danish, so bought that as well. An easy row back to Nanjo and I'm soon in the cockpit with a can of coke and the Danish, for lunch. It's a beautiful afternoon, I can see the Neilsons yachts that I had thought were parked up in the mud for the winter, now being taken ashore and propped up, all done on a sledge and very efficient to watch as well. I really fancied a swim, but the jelly fish have returned again, and the thought of being stung by one of them does not appeal. Finished my book, a really cracking sea tale at the time of Francis Drake, very descriptive. Time for a nap already. Woke at 19:00 and the suns gone down already.The wind up radio is really grunching now, so out with the screwdrivers and soon have the back off and the dynamo apart, pretty obvious the problem, the main cog for the dynamo is plastic and it's stripped most of it's teeth. I only paid a few pounds for the radio, probably 10 yrs ago and it got used a lot on my last yacht as well. Luckily it also takes batteries, so I can still use it, as it's the ideal size for the cockpit or below. Dinner was the last of my fetta and cucumber in a sarnie and the last of my olive oil, washed down with a Alfa beer. My usual evening spent on the lap top and listening to the radio, nice and warm below, so no need to be sitting in my sleepng bag! Turned in at 22:30
Friday 9th November
Had a great sleep, everything dead still and quiet. Bliss. Woke at 08:30 with the sun streaming through my windows, and it's a beautiful day outside alreeady. Time for a hot water shower,wash my hair and all clean clothes and a quick brekkie. By 09:20 I'm in the dinghy and rowing ashore for my 10am bus to Lefkada. It's the usual driver and no conductor, the next passenger we pick up is not until we are well out of Nidri. How things have changed, or maybe it's just the Friday bus? By the time we reach Lefkada there are 4 of us on board, and we pick the conductor up on the way as usual. I get of at the top of town and it's just as busy as normal, it's only when I walk along the town quay the difference is obvious, there are hardly any yachts here. Only 4 along the usual visitors spots and they are moored side on as well, maybe I should have sailed up? Pop into CYS for an inline diesel fuel filter and some fuses for the macerator, they have the filter in stock and with 6 fuses it only comes to 4e 70cents a great result. The filters for next year if I come out and will give the fuel system a complete clean out. Have a lovely walk around town, and notice only one other guy in shorts and t-shirt walking a dog, he must be a Brit of a yacht? Wandering around I find a bike shop,I'm still on the look out for one before I get to Messolonghi. He has no used bikes as expected, and the cheapest new one is 137 euros, for a very brief few seconds, I actually thought of buying it and riding back to Vlicho, but that soon passed as my budgets a bit tight at the moment. I did pick up a barrel bolt though, and of course my trip to Carrefour for supplies. Which seem to be mainly beers,cheap cokes (really good) jars of there cheap jam (very good) and some biscuits (my staple diet?). Back at the bus garage and I'm in luck a bus is waiting, a quick look at his clock and it's still showing a hour out compared to mine? Stow my bags in the hold and step onboard, and the clock on the bus is showing the same time as the bus garage clock? Confusing or what? This time the bus is fully packed and standing room only by the second stop, every woman loaded down with shopping bags. Must be the big shop for the weekend? I'm soon back in Vlicho and have a very easy row back to Nanjo, stow all my goodies, and open a tin of spam and have spam/hellmans sarnies with a coke for lunch. Eaten in the cockpit in glourious sunshine, it really is lovely and warm. Feeling I'm on a roll, I have a look at the barrel bolt and work out how to attach it to the cooker, it's to stop it gimballing when it's not needed, and lock it in place. Found some pieces of plywood in my bilge space, and some of the saloon infill stuff in the cockpit locker. Out with the tape measure,saw,sandpaper,screws,drill,drill bits,pencil,sanding block and I'm ready to make a start. A couple of very relaxing hours later and I'm quite chuffed with the result, just needs a bit of varnish and it will look like a factory option? The good news is it works a treat, and just to prove it I make some toast, which before was a wobbly experience as the cooker just wanted to keep moving, but now no problems. Have a good tidy up in the cockpit and get rid of all the sawdust and shavings. I'm thinking of going for a sail and swim tomorrow if the weathers like this again. Sat in the cockpit and started a new book, just soaking up the suns warmth.
Down below when the sun set as the temp drop is very sudden, did not fancy cooking, so used upo the rest of the tinned spam and made a couple more sarnies. My usual evening on the laptop and radio. Turned in at 23:00, and within 30mins I was having bad stomach cramps and not feeling at all well, I soon reckoned it was an overdose of spam and hellmans? Several visits to the loo later and I'm feeling a lot better, that will teach me?
Saturday 10th November
Slept really well in the end, once my stomach had settled down. Maybe the tin of spam had been to long sitting in my non working fridge, getting hot and cold during the summer months? Woke to a really gorgeous morning, even though my temp gauge was only reding 17degs?, brilliant blue sky and little breeze. Made a quick brekkie and I was soon rowing ashore for some bread,popeye pie and a danish pastry. Once back on board I started to stow stuff away, and get Nanjo ready for going out to sea, sounds pretty dramatic, but I was only going out for the day and not preparing for a trip around Cape Horn? Crank up the engine,plot a course for Scorpious and I'm soon ready to get the anchor up. 11:30 and the anchors brought on board, and as expected was covered in thick mud, nothing that a few buckets of water thrown over it does not get rid of. A nice slow motor out of the bay and pass the Neilson guys still putting yachts ashore, they are the only people I see on my way out. Nidri is pretty empty, and I turn right and put on the autopilot, which is making even louder grunching noises now, seems like it will be going back to the UK with me for a repair? The suns beating down and I'm just happy to be moving along again and sitting in the cockpit in just my shorts. There is only one small fishing boat about and a yacht motoring on the horizon by the mainland. 13:00 I drop the anchor in 4 mtrs of crystal clear water in Jackie O's bay, and it's all to myself, within minutes a small van drives down to the beach area and checks me out. He soon drives of when he see's me getting ready to go for a swim, the waters beautifully warm and clear, with not a manky jellyfish in sight anywhere? On with the goggles and snorkel, and a swim around, the anchors not dug in that well, but in the mild conditions and the few hours I will be here it's ok. The big suprise is the amount of growth around the prop and shaft, the engine intake is covered in weed as well. Out with my scraper and heavy duty glove, and I'm diving under to clear it all, the prop and shaft soon scrape off and look a whole lot better, the water intake goes the same way. I'm suprised to see some barnacles in a few places on the hull, the anti-fouling I used is meant to last 2 years, it's only in a couple of small spots, so can only assume it's places I only gave one coat to? They are soon scraped clean as well, the speed paddle wheel was well bunged up as expected, so I gave it a good clean. It's on my list of things to be taken out and glassed over, and replaced with a wind speed/direction indicator. The underneath is looking a whole lot healthier now, so time for a swim around Nanjo, my joints have been suffering through lack of use I reckon. 15 laps and I'm knackered and it's calm water as well, just shows how quickly my fitness level has dropped, by not swimming every day. A lovely cold water wash on the stern and I'm soon sitting down in the cockpit with a coke and my danish. I'm still amazed that there is nobody else out here, the only passing ship is the ferry from Nidri and I just think, what a great job that must be? Sit on the bow in the sunshine and read my new book for a bit, then at 16:00 I'm getting the anchor up and stowed. I head out for a motor about for a bit and give the holding tank a good flush out. As expected the macerator blows a fuse, even after I've given the shaft a couple of turns with my screwdriver. Only thing to do is to empty the cockpit locker, and give it a good turn and free of the vent valve. Luckily there is nobody about and no wind, so I can just drift about, a few minutes later,I pump some fairy liquid through the loo, it's in with a new fuse, and turn it on, and it's spinning away like a good un. Head back over to Lefkas and motor down back along the coast, looking at all the hotels that have obviously closed for the winter. I pass 2 fishing boats, no yachts or motorboats to be seen moving at all. Back into Nidri and I go and have a look at the new pontoon that's at the end of the quay, I've seen boats moored up there, so come alongside as close as I can without fenders and suprised to find 5mtrs of water there. Head on down to Vlicho and the Neilson guys are still putting yachts ashore, a slow motor around to find a spot and I anchor in 4 mtrs just of the Sail Ionion jetty at 18:00, with plenty of swinging room, put out 40mtrs of chain and dig it well in (Hopefully). Tidy Nanjo up and cover all the gauges and put her to bed. Time for my dinner, and it's the popeye pie and a beer, eaten in the still warm and light cockpit. I watch a large German catamaran approaching, a very nice looking one for a change, not one of the mobile condo's that are chartered out here. Now the bay is really empty, plenty of room to park wherever you like, in the summer there must have been 30 yachts near where I am now. This guy decides to anchor just of my stern, I'm just watching and listening to his anchor chain dropping, I reckoned he put out 20mtrs of chain, probably more than enough, but worries me just in case he drags? It's a bit noiseier here as I'm nearer the road than before, but once the sun goes down and I'm below with the hatches closed, I can't hear anything. Spent the evening my usual way, I've had a really great day today, just so glad that I'm out here and not back in the UK. Turned in at 22:00 knackered.
Sunday 11th November
Slept like the dead, it was all peace and quiet in the bay. Woken up by my singing priest and the sun shining through my porthole. No point in staying in bed, so got up and had a look around me. It's another gorgeous day here, brilliant blue sky, no wind, my barrometer is showing it's highest yet at 1030 and saying "set fair", even the navtex forecast backs it up with winds of N ne 3 to 4 and outlook of "a further decrease in winds". Sounds ok to me, maybe I should be setting of to Messolonghi this week and not next weekend? Brekkie in the cockpit and I'm just in my shorts and suprised to see my temp gauge showing just 19 degs, it certainly seems a lot warmer. The Sail Ionion jetty is full of guys fishing already, eat my toast while listening to the singing priest, and it dawns on me that this will probably be the last time I hear his voice until I return. Spent the morning writing this blog and downloading pics I've taken, It's a hard life? Went ashore to the yacht club in the afternoon, and had a gorgeous big burger and a couple of pints, all served by Belinda. I decided that I had better ask her the time, just to confirm the bus garage guys were out? To my amazement, it's been me thats out by being 1hr ahead of everybody else? I've been working on the time given to me by the girls at the bakery, two weeks ago now. So, I've been waking up far to early and going to bed to early as well. At least, this lets the bus guys of the hook, it could also explain why my 9am bus has been so empty and the shops have still been closed? So, what to do with my spare hour? I thought the best option is not to leave the yacht club, just incase something might happen, and have another beer to fill in the time? Just shows how important knowing the correct time has been to me the last few weeks, I'm so glad that my social callender was empty and I did not have to be anywhere on time. Had a lovely row back to Nanjo, and just sat in the cockpit reading my new book. Only trouble now is, it's pitch black at 6pm instead of 7pm? Went below once the sun had vanished and read somemore of my book and listened to radio Lefkada. I made sure that I drew my curtains before turning in, as that suns going to be streaming through my windows at 06:30 now!
Monday 29th October
I hardly slept at all. Was woken at 01:30 with the most spectacular thunderstorm and lightning show I have ever seen, it was all around me and bouncing of the mountains. Supprisingly there was very little wind, it was as if I was in the middle of a hurricane? I sat in the cockpit hatch watching it for 40mins, the town lights went out a couple of times which added to the grandeur of it all. The lightning was so bright sometimes, that it hurt my eyes to watch it, amazing the power of nature? Trying to describe it all is way beyond me, you just had to be here to see it all.Blooming amazing is all I can say. Went back to sleep and I must have slept, I guess there is a time when all our bodies say "enough" and just shut down, no matter what we are doing or where we are. I woke with the rain lashing down and Nanjos windows leaking, and water dripping onto my face. I just turned over and went back to sleep! Eventually woke at 08:30 to a sunny sky with some evil looking clouds about still and rain. The water was pretty calm though. My latest navtex forecast was for Westerly 6 very soon 7 and thunderstorms. The good news was from Tuesday 30th at 04:00 to 16:00 it was forecasting a "Gradual decrease of winds" now that would be nice? The sun was coming and going along with the wind strength, time to do something positive me thinks? So, I got the dinghy out and pumped it up quickly, and tied it up on the stern. 20mins later and it's all looking nice in the bay, some crappy clouds are still about, but the winds consistantly low. Instant decision time, throw my stuff in the dinghy, 3 bags of rubbish (just where does it all come from?), Tesco bag and flipflops. I'm soon rowing ashore and over to H's yacht to moor up. First thing I noticed is a lot of yachts on the quay have been turned around and are now rafted up, in some places 4 deep, must be a winter thing, I just pity the poor bugger who's yachts on the inside? The quay is also awash and underwater as well, I can put the dinghy on the pavement without lifting it up now. The roads pretty flooded in places and a lot of fallen branches about as well. I'm soon at my bakers and splash out on two loaves,milk, popeye pie and small pizza. I check the time as well on there clock. My watch is 1 hour out. Walking back to the dinghy, it occurs to me this is the first time I've been of Nanjo since last Monday, and the most exercise I've done in 6 days? I will be getting fat again at this rate? Typically the winds picked up and is now blowing up the bay, I actually jump in the dinghy while its still on the pavement and can row away. I decide that rowing out to the middle is the best bet then let the wind carry me down to Nanjo, sounds ok in print. Actually trying to row with a strong beam wind was not so easy, I would catch the oar in a wave every now and again and spin round, and just about stop dead. I reckon I was rowing at about 60 degrees instead of the planned 90, but at least I was getting nearer Nanjo. Turned to bring the wind on the stern of the dinghy and could see white horses approaching me as the wind was picking up,no need to row anymore as the wind strength was pushing me along fast enough now. I was soon down to Nanjo and managed to grab hold of the Port side rail, and pull myself around to the stern. The wind was trying to pull me away, but luckily I had a good grip of the stern ladder. Threw the oars on board and my shopping, and tied the dinghy up, first job was to get another piece of rope to attach to the dinghy just in case the painter broke. I had a gorgeous big breakfast, of cereal, cold milk, mug of coffee and 4 pieces of toast with peach jam. Absolutely delish and eaten in the cockpit, and well worth the risky row ashore. The winds been up and down all day, sudden violent gusts then calm, the dinghy nearly flipped once, along with rain showers then gorgeous sunshine. I adjusted all my time pieces so at least they are all showing the same time now. Sat in the cockpit reading my book and enjoying the view around me. Hopefully a trip to Nidri tomorrow as I'm running low on money and a look around to see whats left open. Had my popeye pie for dinner and the slice of pizza for supper, who said I lead such a glamourous lifestyle? Had a violent rain storm at 19:30 and all the windows are leaking bad, I imagined that the mastic might have settled in the grooves again once it got cold and sealed the windows, but no such luck. It's something I will have to have a serious look at when at Messolonghi. Hopefully the rain has washed some of the sand away, at least it's filled the dinghy up a bit, so hopefully it won't flip in the winds now? The winds and rain carried on for most of the night, so I climbed into my back cabin and tried to sleep.
Tuesday 30th October
A very cold night, even with my "Love" blanket on. Woke at 08:00 to a gorgeous blue sky, still some crappy clouds about, but what a difference. My temp gauge is reading 18 degs, the lowest I've seen for quite a while. Made a large brekkie and had it sitting in the cold cockpit, just admiring the views around me. Noticed the dinghy has about 3ins of rain water in it, so tipped it up. Only straight afterwards, I thought that I should have used the water for clothes washing? Never mind, I'm sure it will rain again? The forecast is now showing "No Gales" Yippeeee,and a force 5 to 6 Northerly for the North and South Ionion, with showers. With a moderate outlook for 12 hrs from 31st at 04:00. No time to waste.load up the dinghy and I'm rowing ashore for a walk into Nidri for some cash. Stop first at Stennos yard and have a look at Kit the yacht Les is interested in buying, it's not covered up, so either the windows and deck don't leak or somebody will be along later to pump it out? Lovely walk into Nidri, first thing I notice is the acute lack of traffic, all the hire cars and scooters are no more. The first cash machine is not working, in fact I try 4 others and all the same sign on them. Just about the last one in town and theres a small queue, at least it's got money in it? Having a chat with the guy behind me and he says that, they only normally fill up a couple of machines in the winter months, makes sense I guess? Nidri is slowly turning into a ghost town, a very large percentage of shops are now closed, and some even have signs in the windows saying "closed until May 2013". A walk along the front and there are a few liveaboard yachts and thats it, plenty of space if I wanted to park up here. Even looking across to Tranquil Bay, and it actually looks tranquil, probably 20 yachts at anchor. On my way back out of town I stop at the Armoria hotel and bump into Conn the owner, he showed me his winter project, it's a wooden 70 year old trading boat, apparently it used to carry goods around the nearby islands and under sail. Conns going to restore it and put sails back on. It's so well built and only a little rot in the timber, it should look great once finished. I have a chat about Nanjos leaking windows and he tells me what to do, so they will be looked at in Messalonghi. Walking back out of town, and I pass nobody all the way back to Vlicho, the winds nice and light so I have an easy row back to Nanjo. Have a nice lunch and a coke to go with it. I even manage to fit in a quick nap afterwards. Wake at 18:00 and have a shower, clean clothes on and I'm back in the dinghy and rowing ashore again, into the yacht club and order a beer and get on the internet. Sort out my e-mails and get the blog up to date. Putting on Kingys pics seems to take ages as usual, so I will go ashore at the weekend again and put them in the right order. Check out the long range weather and it's showing a storm again for wed night and through to Friday, then dry and sunny for next week? It's very cold and I'm sitting outside, dressed in my shorts and t-shirt with flip flops, my feet are the first to suffer, and I'm thinking that I'm underdressed? Order a burger and chips, and that makes me feel a whole lot better, just as my laptop battery packs up. Fill up my water container and it's a lovely row back to Nanjo in the dark with a calm sea. It's only 18 degrees on board and I'm hunting for a pair of socks to put on, make do with climbing into my sleeping bag and making a hot coffee. I'm soon warmed up so decide nows the time for sleep.
Wednesday 31st October
Up early, and I slept really well, as it was a very calm night. had some toast and coffee, and used up the last of my jam. It's shopping in Lefkada today, but a look at the Navtex is showing the storm in the next 12 hours approaching. So, my planned idea of having the day there will have to wait, I think straight in and out again to be on the safe side. An easy row ashore as there is no wind and calm sea, there are plenty of ugly clouds about though, so I'm rowing fast. Tie up just behind H's yacht and fill up my water container from the yacht club tap, and put it back in the dinghy. Wait for my usual bus at 10am, and it's empty, not even a bus conductor, so sit at the front? I'm told by the driver to pay later. A little old lady gets on and she looks at me and starts to chat, well I'm lost after the third word, she then starts laughing and chatting to the driver. He asks where I'm from, and said the lady thought I must be British as I'm still wearing shorts,flip flops and a t-shirt? By the time we get to Lefkada, we have 10 people on board and some are really well wrapped up in heavy coats and jumpers. The bus conductor gets on at the Liddl stop, maybe he was doing his shopping? and takes our fares. I just love the relaxed way of life out here. Driving through Lefkada, which is as busy as usual, I can't see anybody else in shorts. Of the bus and straight into Carrefour for supplies, 15mins later and 40 euros lighter I have enough food for a while. Back at the bus garage and go to get a ticket, the booking office is strangely empty, see the usual guy and ask for Vliho. He looks at his clock on the wall and says "you want the 10:15 bus No32", his wall clock is reading 09:40? Now, I'm confused, as I had gotten the 10am bus from Vlicho to here. I have a sit down and the computer screens showing all the buses and departure times is showing a time of 08:40 and is still showing the buses due at 09:00 as not arriving or departing yet? Even more confusing, so I go and ask him if his clock is saying the right time, he has another look and says "yes". Now, I'm thinking the lady in the bakers has given me the wrong time and I'm hours out, or maybe different parts of Greece have different times? Oh well, not a big problem, as long as the 10:15 bus arrives I guess. Which it did, on time as well. Theres a young girl waiting to board and I ask her the time, thankfully she says it's 11:15. The clocks went back on Sunday here, it's now Wednesday, I just couldn't imagine this happening back home, I think the ticket office guy was having a laugh, as he obviously saw I had no watch and I had no idea what time it was? We even pick up the little old lady again on the way back to Vlicho, who smiles when she sees me sitting there. I pick up some fetta and veg at Vlichos supermarket and have an easy row back to Nanjo, the suns out and it's gorgeous, and no sign of any storm. Stow all my goodies away and make a large fetta/tomato sarnie with a coke for lunch, and just sit in the cockpit enjoying the suns warmth. My navtex is still showing the storm, as I have enough food for some time, I decide to give the dinghy a wash in fresh water and deflate it and stow it on the cabin top. If the storm does come, I don't like it banging around of the stern. Start the engine and run it for 30mins, as it's not been started since I arrived here last Tuesday. Take down my Greek courtesy flag and stitch it back together again, hopefully it will last until I get to Messolonghi. Sit in the sunny cockpit and read my book for a bit, until I feel tired? So time for a nap. Wake at 18:00 and it's still all calm outside, navtex still showing the storm. Decide to give grilled fetta on toast a try for dinner, and I have to say it was a complete success, with just a twist of fresh pepper on top, it was delish and washed down with a can of Alfa beer. I was tempted to buy a bottle of jd, but it's out of my budget at the moment, maybe when I get to Messolonghi? Spent the evening listening to radio Lefkada on the wind up radio and reading my book. The storm soon arrived once it got really dark, winds and rain, think I've been here before somehow? Nothing I can do, as Nanjo never moved before, I'm sure she's ok now. Nanjos getting thrown around a bit and of course the windows start to leak. Dryest place is in my stern cabin, so thats where I go.
Thursday 1st November
It's a bumpy, noisy night. Plenty of wind and rain to keep me awake. I wake up at 08:00 and it's dark outside, I've a splitting headache as well, not sure if it's the lack of sleep or all the fetta I'd eaten? Make a cup of tea and contemplate my next move, I'm really glad the dinghies tied down as the waves and wind are picking up. I decide that the best way to feel better is another pamper session, so boil a kettle for some hot water, have a shave and a gorgeous hot water shower, and all clean clothes again. Instantly I feel 100% better, so time for a big brekkie, cereal,toast,marmalade and tea. I'm so glad that I made it to Lefkada for the supplies. I've no need to go ashore until Sat/Sunday, and this storms meant to have blown over by then? Early navtex forecast is for North/South Ionion S/Se winds 7 to 8 and later severe gale force 9, thunderstorms?and apparently 42mm of rains going to fall? Spent the morning with my feet up on my day bed, sitting on the dry spot, reading my book and munching a biscuit every now and again, listening to radio Lefkada.Taking the occasional look outside when the rain stops or I'm suddenly knocked on my side by a strong wind. Who would like this lifestyle now? Well, I still would rather be here than anywhere else in the world. The afternoon was, torrential rain,strong winds,thunder,torrential rain,strong winds,thunder, just repeat over and over again, until your fed up reading it? The sky was a permenant dirty gray. It suddenly stopped at 18:00, just all went quiet and still, so I grabbed the oppourtunity and climbed into my stern cabin and went to sleep, just about instantly. Well, at least until 18:30 and the rain came back hammering down on Nanjo, no matter how I tried I could not get back to sleep. So up at 19:00 and decided to cook dinner, being really impressed with yesterdays fetta on toast, I thought I would make some more, so three bits of bread and large chunks of fetta. All washed down with an Alfa beer. Twenty minutes later I was thinking that maybe I've overdone it on the fetta the last two days, and really glad my heads is only 2 ft behind me?? Maybe a change of diet for tomorrow is in order? The rain and winds finally ended and it all went nice and quiet and calm. The latest forecast is for Nw winds force 5 with thunderstorms, outlook is gradual decrease of winds. Yippeee. I'm hoping to wake to a gorgeous sunshine day in the morning? It's to good a chance to miss as it was just so quiet outside, all calm and no wind. I climbed into my stern cabin just after 8pm and fell asleep pretty instantly.I'm knackered.
Friday 2nd November
Slept right through until 8am, completely zonked out. Got up and had a look around, the bay is full of rubbish, obviously washed down during the storms. But it's all peace and serenity around me. Only thing to do, go straight back to bed! Slept like the dead until just before 11am, they always say that in a storm the crew are the weakest part on most yachts. It's the lack of sleep and constant noise, along with the throwing about, that gradually wears you down. Forecast looks good, I can see the sun and blue sky again. Make a large brekkie and am really glad to sit in the sunshine in the cockpit and scoff the lot. My temp is showing 23degs but after the cold of the last few days it feels a lot warmer. I'm hoping the jellyfish have left, so I can go swimming again. Did a few jobs around Nanjo, gave all the windows another dose of "Captain Tolleys Creaping Crack Cure" sometimes it works ok, be good if it just stems the flow of water? Made a cover for my bread knife, did a bit of polishing, it was great sitting in the sun again. Lunch was a large jimbo salad, with a coke. By 16:00 I have not seen another yacht move in the bay, it must be winter? Had a lovely nap in my cabin, woke at 18:00, and it's a lovely evening, made a coffee and just sat in the cockpit. This is a great place when it's all peace and calm, but not so good when your stuck inside a 31ft yacht, but thats probably the same for any anchorage when you can't get of the boat? Spent the evening on my lap top, updating this blog and playing scrabble and my motorbike sim. Actually made it back to the V-Max and even completed a delivery, next go a bus indicates to turn left and the bugger turns right and shunts me into the barrier, you've guessed it, busted back down to the moped again. Wasn't hungry after my jimbo salad, so just had a beer for dinner, at least it makes the washing up easy? Got stuck into my book and radio Lefkada, just wish I knew what some of the adverts were. Theres one where a woman with a sexy voice rambles on and then says "sexy black stillettos", I have no idea what she is selling, maybe a shoe shop or a knocking shop? Another and the womans screaming as if she is in trouble, some guy telling Moira to hang on, is it an advert for the RAC, Police or Samaritans? Maybe it's best I don't know, more fun trying to guess. Felt peckish at midnight, so marmalade and toast, Yummy.
Saturday 3rd November
Slept really well, had some lovely dreams, so I must be back on form. Everything was just so quiet and still. Woke at 08:30 with the sun beaming through the windows and a brilliant blue sky all around me. Breakfast in the cockpit, and just can't think of a better place on this planet to be having it. It's only 18 degs, but feels great. Have a hot wash, get the dinghy pumped up, top up the diesel tank with my spare drum, and I'm of to the shore for some bread and popeye pie. Decide to row as far to the end of the bay as possible, less distance to carry the diesel drum then. See the miserable woman at the bakers,get my bread,pies & pizza slice (well it was calling to me!). next door to the garage and 20 ltrs of derv and a ltr of 30sae gearbox oil,total cost 35euros, so I'm well happy. It's a lovely morning so I'm whistling as I walk back to the dingy, place everything onboard and the bay is still dead calm, so go for a row around. The good news is, I see no jelly fish at all, so a swim is on the cards for later, methinks. Back on board and finish topping up the derv tank, I have enough now easily to get to Messolonghi, and have about 10ltrs still in the drum. Have some of the fresh bread with marmalade, what a treat. Trying to think of what to do next, and I just decide to get my book out and laze in the cockpit enjoying the warm sun, the temp hits 27 degs. Have the popeye pie for a late lunch with a coke, and feeling obviously worn out, I decide to have an hours nap and fall asleep instantly on my day bed. Wake at 16:15, and decide as the suns still up, it's swim time. A quick look around Nanjo and no sign of any jelly fish, but to be on the safe side I give the skinny dipping a miss and put my trunks on. I'm glad I lowered myself into the water slowly as it's blooming cold, just wait a few minutes on the bottom rung of the ladder to get aclimatised, then push of. I'm glad to say I had a great swim, no jelly fish at all, but after 15 laps I was starting to feel knumb, my fingers and feet were feeling the cold, so time to get out and have a cold water shower on the stern, that feels really warm after my swim. Hopefully the next few days will be good weather and the sea will warm up? Make a couple of fetta and cucumber sarnies and a beer for a snack, sit in the cockpit and start a new book, and sit there until the sun goes down and it starts to get cold. Batten down all the hatches and close the main cabin doors and hatch. Light up the grill and warm up my pizza slice, it does give of a fair amount of heat into the cabin. The pizzas washed down with a beer, you just can't beat these simple dinners? It's pretty cold still inside Nanjo so I decided to climb into my sleeping bag and sit on my day bed reading my book, with radio Lefkada playing in the background. I've now worked out that if I wind the radio up until my wrist gets sore, I get about 90mins of radio play time. I must have been tired (busy day?) as the next thing I know is I'm waking up at 4am Sunday??
Sunday 4th November
Big suprise waking up on my day bed at 4am, I must have knodded of while reading my book, I do remember sinking further and further down as I was reading it. Just shows that if your tired and comfortable, you can sleep easily enough? It's absolutely still and quiet outside at 4am, wash my teeth and straight into my stern cabin, to carry on sleeping. Woke up at 08:00 to clouds and sunshine, I figured that I've slept enough so it must be time to eat again? The milk has gone sour, so just tea and toast eaten in the cockpit. It's only 15 degs on my gauge, but feels warm, everywhere is very wet though. The navtex is forecasting North Ionion W/ SW 3 to 4 winds and a NW 3 for the South Ionion, so all looking good for today. I'm planning a lunch visit to the yacht club to get on line and treat myself to one of there huge cooked "Ulster" breakfasts.
Spend a lazy morning, reading my book and doing a bit of dusting, the maids not turned up again? 14:00 and I'm loading the dinghy and of ashore, it's dead calm so an easy row, and I'm soon walking into the yacht club. Meet Belinda and order the Ulster brekkie, only to be told they have no uk bacon or black pudding, Oh well, I have to settlle for a large UK breakfast instead and of course a pint of draught to go with it. It was delish, and I'm soon on my second pint while surfing the net and downloading my e-mails. Received one from Tom and Anne with plenty of good advice on my chosen route to Messolonghi, and one from Mr X and his Disco 3000, great to hear that he might be interested in it after a few glitchs are sorted out. I really fancied another pint, but it's a lovely afternoon and my laptop battery is going flat, so row back to Nanjo and just chill out in the cockpit, until the sun goes down and it starts to get chilly pretty quickly. Down below and I get comfy with the sleeping bag and another beer,book and the radio. I'm not hungr at all, so just a few biscuits at 10pm for supper. Turned in soon after.
Monday 22nd October
I slept really well, and woke to a quiet empty boat? It's always nice to have friends onboard, but also lovely when I get Nanjo back to myself. I reckon that one or two weeks is enough for me to have visitors at one time. The suns baking down as I made my tea and toast and had it in the cockpit. On my way into town I pop over and see George and pay my 18 euros for two nights stay. I'm on a mission in town, something I thought would take me 10mins, ended up taking 4 hours and costing me 60 euros? Oh well, hopefully I won't need to do it again. Tracking down a strong replacement bucket was not that easy either, plenty of cheap ones with plastic handles about. I try the last hardware store and explain what I want, the guy goes outside his shop and comes back with the perfect bucket covered in dust and only 5 euros. I ask for another one, only to be told thats the last one in stock and he has no idea when he will see them again? Pop into the supermarket and pick up 6 beers, on the way back get a loaf and a spinach pie and they all fit in the bucket perfectly. Back on Nanjo and it's wash my clothes day, while I have access to unlimited water. My t-shirts,shorts and pants are soon on the line drying happilly in the sunshine and light breeze. George calls over and I ask him if he knows of any cheap bicycles going up to 50 euros? He explains that I can buy a new one for 100 to 150 and all Greeks hand there bikes down in the family, also that he has never seen a bike dumped or in a landfill site? What a contrast with the UK, where we always want the latest bike and quickly discard the old one if it has a puncture or the paints chipped? Hopefully I will find one at Mesolonghi when I get there. Nanjos given a wash down and a deck scrub. Pretty soon my washings dry and it's all put away again. Time for a nap on my day bed, it's nice to get back to my routine again. Woke up and it was already dark, so a wash in the sink and into town with my laptop. A couple of beers and an hour on the computer, is enough for me and I'm soon heading back to Nanjo. Sit in the cockpit for a bit before turning in, it's a lovely night.
Tuesdat 23rd October
Slept like the dead, Nanjo was absolutely still and quiet. Breakfast in the cockpit, quickly followed by a trip into town with my two supermarket bags. I stock up on beers,cokes and cereal. I stop at the bakers on the way back and pick up two loaves and a popeye pie for lunch. Back on board and the supplies are stowed, then out with the hose and fill up the water tanks and containers. Have a quick chat with George, wish him a merry xmas and hope to see him again next year. At 10:50 I let Nanjos mooring lines go and push her of the jetty, nothing is moving apart from me. On with the autohelm, still behaving itself? and in with the fenders and mooring ropes. Theres no wind about at all, as I motor out of Preveza and towards Lefkada. I have to slow down or I will get there to early. On the way Greg and Jilly pass me in there yacht, I last saw them in Zaverda the first time I went there. I'm the only yacht waiting to go through the 13:00 bridge opening going South and there are only two others going North. All the way down the canal I don't see another yacht and at the exit when the Ionian opens up, there are no other yachts as far as I can see. Things are certainly slowing down. I motor round to Dan Bay for a swim, lunch and to clean the speedo which is bunged up again. I'm the only yacht there, and anchor in 3mtrs at 14:40. I'm soon skinny dipping with my goggles and snorkel. It's a great feeling and reccomend it to everybody. While swimming I notice two yachts coming around the headland, but they are motoring past without stopping. A gorgeous shower on the stern, and I'm about as clean as I can get. For some reason Nanjos swarmed by flies, so I'm soon getting the anchor up and heading for Vlicho. I only pass one other yacht all the way to Vlicho, and it's suprisingly empty when I get there. I normally anchor over by the tavernas for safety from anchor dragging yachts, but there is now plenty of room on the town side, so anchor a bit nearer in 5.3mtrs of water at 16:40. It's been a gorgeous day, the suns still up and the bays all quiet. I have no plans to get the dinghy out and go ashore. So just chill out in the cockpit. I climb into my bunk at 18:00 for an hours nap, and actually wake up at 23:00 I must have been knackered? A late supper of bread and jam and a mug of tea, goes down really well. Then back into my bunk.
Wednesday 24th October
Slept like the dead, and actually woke at 10am. It must have been all the running around last week with Pete thats worn me out? Breakie in the cockpit, and the suns up, no wind about and the bays really looking gorgeous. I was going to wash my bed linen, but to be honest, I fancy a lazy day. So, thats just what I did. Lazed around, started to write last weeks blog as Pete didn't want to, sunbathed trying to top up my all over tan and finished reading my book. Had a nap on my day bed for 90mins then cooked a soya,toms,sweetcorn and a vegetable cube dinner,to be honest, not one of my best throw togethers? But the beer helped take the edge of it. Spent the evening, typing the blog until my vision was getting blurred, then put on my wind up radio to radio Lefkada. 3mins of winding gives 30mins of radio and I for one like Greek music, just wish I understood what some of the adverts are getting all excited about. Went to my bunk early, and only then realised that I had not had a shower.
Thursday 25th October
Slept really well, absolute still and quiet all night. Woke at 09:00 and it's a beautiful day already, marvelous blue sky and calm sea, still plenty of large jelly fish about, which is curbing my urge to go for a swim. I washed my bed linen and its all on the line drying by 10:30, the guest bed linen will go to the yacht club to be cleaned. Finish of typing Petes blog week and make a start on a new book. The washings all dry now, so I'm up on the bow with my comfy cushion and working on my tan. Which for me means sitting around reading a book? Lunch is a tin of pork luncheon meat eaten straight from the tin and a can of zero coke, yummy. I managed to squeeze in an afternoon nap as well into my busy schedule. Tea time and I'm feeling peckish, the milk I bought in Preveza is still fresh, which just goes to show the temperature change, so I have a bowl of bran flakes. Sit about in the cockpit reading my book, and watch the Neilson guys bringing there yachts round and parking them in the mud for the winter. It seems thats what everybody does around here, stern anchor out-go ahead until your keels stuck in the mud- go ashore and put a couple of bow lines around a tree- job done- cost: absolutely zero? Maybe I will try it one year when my budgets really tight? Go below once the suns gone down, as the temp does drop a fair bit now, and close all my hatches. It's dinner time and I don't really fancy cooking, so I have another bowl of bran flakes and a beer, probably not the best combination to eat? I have Lefkada radio on my wind up, playing some lovely Greek music and before I know whats happened I'm asleep on my day bed?
Friday 26th October
I woke up on my day bed at 01:30 and at first wondered just where I was? A quick wash and teeth clean and I'm climbing into my stern cabin. I really must have over worked myself on Thursday to be so tired? Slept really well, until I could hear a loud motor boat approaching and instantly I could tell he was coming my way and fast, out of bed quickly and open the hatch, my two solar lights are still burning brightly, and coming up fast is a large fishing boat of my stern. He passes me by a metre, sees me and gives me a wave, as Nanjos bumped all over the place up and down in his wash. I think the bas- -rd was having a laugh and wanted to wake me up, as the visibility in the bay was excellant, I suppose that it must get boring fishing at night, so any sort of entertainment must be good? I'm soon asleep again though, and eventually wake up at 10am to a lovely day. The forecast is not good though, I have been expecting a storm for Sat/Sun but it seems to be moving faster. Todays forecast is for 6 to 7 winds and the outlook is for a further increase in wind strength over the next 12 hours? I was hoping to go over to Spartakhori for the night, but will wait and see what happens in the afternoon now? The winds came and went all afternoon along with some evil looking clouds, I decided to stay here in Vlicho, where I know I should be safe? The Navtex was giving out gale warnings for the whole of the Ionian of force 7 to 8 now and thunderstorms. Read my book in the cockpit and just watched the clouds racing by. Dinner was a soya spag bol and sphagetti, I made enough for tomorrow as well. I only have 3 ins of bread left, so will save that for breakfast tomorrow. The bay is a bit rough for me to get the dinghy out and row ashore now. The temperature dropped quickly once the sun had gone down, hitting a low of 17 degs. I actually dug out my fleece, last seen in April? Spent the evening listening to Lefkada radio and reading my book. Turned in at 23:00.
Saturday 27th October
I was sleeping well, probably going to sleep wearing my fleece kept me warm, I think a set of blankets are on my shopping list next? Woken at 04:15 and a strong wind outside with rain, Nanjo getting blown about a fair bit and plenty of noise, but she's not moving and nothing has worked loose on deck, so I'm soon back to sleep. Up again for the loo and it's black outside, really suprised to find it's 08:00, which is normally daylight. The storm clouds are everywhere now, but the winds not to bad here, decide to make a cup of coffee and slice up the last of my bread for some toast. It's delish and eaten sitting in the hatchway, winds are picking up every few minutes and some rain but nothing to worry about. Get a new navtex forecast and it's warning of gale force 7 to 8 winds with force 9 West of 19.30 degs, for the North and South Ionion. Outlook for tomorrow is for a further increase of Southerly winds? Oh well, winters coming so it's to be expected. I reckon I'm in the safest place and Nanjo has enough food on board so no problems? Settle down to read my book and even get the banjo out of it's case for a twang. Spent the day doing little jobs, actually stitched a canvas cover for my kitchen scissors, if only my junior school "Needlework" teacher could see me now? The winds keep of and on, my ventmeter recorded a top speed of 50mph in one gust, I'm glad to say that there is plenty of room around me and so far nobody has dragged there anchor? Had the remains of my spag bol for dinner washed down with a Alpha beer. The storm seems to pick up in the dark, and Nanjos bouncing around a bit, going through 100 degree swings from left to right. My battery monitor is showing 13.7 volts in my main battery bank, the wind generators really pumping it in. Settle down to listen to Lefkada radio and try to get some sleep, I'm wrapped up in my sleeping bag on my day bed, so lovely and warm and comfortable. I just need someboody to stop throwing Nanjo around and the anchor chain to stop banging in the roller, I've tried the piece or rope with a rolling hitch to take the strain of it, but it's made no difference to the noise.
Sunday 28th October
Hardly slept at all, I seemed to be awake every 30mins with a new noise waking me up. Went out on deck a couple of times in the night, just to make sure everythings still lashed down. Up at 8am and feel like shite, my heads banging so take a couple of anadin. It's black outside and not a nice view at all, the waves are picking up and there are white horses everywhere. My Navtex forecast is still showing force 7 to 8 for the Ionion and a slight decrease for tomorrow down to a force 6 all Southerly winds. I'm out of bread and milk, so brekkie is a mug of tea and a couple of spoonfulls of jam straight out of the jar, it was delish. I was contemplating opening a dozen of my little milk cartons and having a couple of spoon fulls of cereal, but decided that I might not be rowing ashore for a few days yet so best to hang onto them. One good thing this morning is, because of the strong winds I could not hear the singing priest, I heard his bells ringing ok, but the wind drowned him out! In the daylight I can see Nanjos covered in sand, obviously blown from somewhere and brought in the wind and rain, at least I know what one of my jobs is once the sun returns. Spotted my Greek flag at the starboard crosstree looking a bit frayed and my Red Ensign on the stern is torn as well,all down to the flapping in the strong winds, I will put them on my list of jobs to do as well. Had a pampering session, boiled a kettle of water and had a hot water shower, shave and gave my toe nails a clip, followed by all new clean clothes and I immeadiately felt 1000% better. Spent the day reading my book, trying to sit in the cockpit between the showers. It just occured to me that I've not seen the sun or the blue sky since this storm started, just a sky full of clouds. It's been bright but where's my golden orb? Had a can of sweetcorn straight out of the tin for lunch, with a coke, tasted ok. Dinners going to be a tin of meatballs I've found and some rice, with a beer. The navtex has changed and now saying force 7 to 8 winds and rain again, so looks like a bumpy night again. That forecast will take me up to 10am tomorrow. Can't wait to get the dinghy out and row ashore for supplies, and to confirm the correct time? It's clocks back day I think today, my computer went automatically to one time, my gps went to another, so it's anybodies guess? It's been a miserable day here in Vlicho weather wise, hopefully it can't keep on for much longer, or can it? The meatballs and rice were superb, will defo buy some more cans of them. Spent the evening reading my book and looking out of the hatch every now and again. The 10pm Navtex forecast is not good, apparently Force 9 westerly winds for tonight, and they are now saying a slight increase of wind strength from 10am tomorrow. I guess it's pay back time for all those lovely sunny calm days I've enjoyed in the summer? Spent another night trying to sleep on my daybed!
Monday 15th October
We both slept well, but the wind and rain had returned and as expected Nanjos windows had leaked, Pete soon realised where to sleep to avoid getting wet? After a quick cup of tea and the sun coming out, I took Pete into town so we could pick up some bread and pies and show him around Preveza. The town was bustling as usual and is a really lively place, we walked along the town quay and quite a few big yachts were tied up. Back in the UK a 36ft yacht is a rarity, here you soon get used to looking at 50ft yachts and it's only the exceptional ones or anything over 50ft that stands out. The sun had come out and it was a dry walk around,and pretty soon Pete was feeling the heat, so time for a mythos. Back on board and the forecast had gone down a bit, although the clouds still looked bad, we had to decide wheather to stay another night or go? I reckoned it had steadied down enough for us to leave and make a break for Lefkada. So, at 15:10 we slipped our lines and Nanjo was on her way. I put Pete through man over board drill at the entrance to the inland sea, and he picked up my fenders first time, which was good news for the pair of us. Pete steered us out of Preveza and we headed for Lefkada once clear of the channel, and put the autohelm on. The winds started to pick up about half way across, and typically on the nose, Nanjos speed dropped to 3knots. But we had allowed plenty of time to catch the 17:00 bridge opening at Lefkas, Nanjo was being bounced about a fair bit in the swell and choppy sea, no sign of Pete throwing up his pie and beers though? We arrived in plenty of time and I showed Pete the spot where Sea Dragon went aground, he agreed it's a tight place to be in. We anchored in the basin for 15mins rather than jostle about, which gave him some anchor whinch practice. A large cat anchored as well near us. 16:55 and Pete got the anchor up no problem and we were the first yacht through the swing bridge. The weather had cleared up a bit now, so we decided to carry on and head for Spartakhori, I reckoned we would have enough day light left to get there. Pete took the tiller and steered us down the narrow channel and out into my favourite part of the Ionian. I got the main sail up and jib out and we could actually make our course to Spartakhori. The sailing was pretty good and we settled in for an easy time, until the wind dropped and it was engine time again. The sun was going down fast and we still had a couple of miles to go, and as normal out here it gets dark very quickly. For the first time since sailing here this year, I had to put my navigation lights on! We were only a mile away but I was glad that I knew the way to Georges jetty. Pete got the fenders ready and two bow ropes, as I explained what to do. The biggest shock was that the place was absolutely packed, I've never seen it so busy. I was just bobbing up and down when Pete spotted my man waving to him. He led me over to the small floating jetty with the light on the end of it, as we were now going alongside, Pete quickly lowered the fenders and I got out a stern rope. We came along side perfectly and George took the bow line then my stern line. His first words were, "Why are you so late? and "Where are the beautiful ladies"? We were all secure and Nanjo was put to bed for 19:40, we had covered 21.2 miles at an average speed of 4.1 knots. More than originally planned but I was glad we were here. A quick wash in the sink and we were ashore for some grub. There were 3 flotillas in, which explained the yachts and George said the Tuesday forecast was for force 6 to 7 winds in the morning. We found a table and eat and drank. Pete liked the atmosphere and the place, I did tell him that it's a lot better in the daylight, so wait until the morning? Babck on board Nanjo for a nightcap and a sit in the cockpit, plenty of black clouds about but little wind. We both slept very well.
Tuesday 16th October
Up early and I put the kettle on and make some bread and jam, and open the hatch to a stormy looking day but it's dry and little wind. We go ashore for breakfast and decide what to do. Pete does not fancy the walk up to the town, I told him that Debbie and Andrea enjoyed it once they were up there? George still reckons it will be a 6 to 7 today, all the flotilla boats are leaving as soon as possible, we found out that most are going to Lefkada so not to far. Back on Nanjo we decide that Zaverda/Paleros is a good option as we have a southerly wind. It's looking good over our side and the storm clouds are over Lefkas, we are out of Spartakhori at 13:45 and pretty soon under full sail. Nanjo is bowling along as Pete takes the helm and I trim the sails, it's not long before we are consistantly hitting 7knots plus, with the wind just of the beam. The seas are picking up and the winds getting stronger, but still bright skys above us. Pete manages to break Les's record of 8.2 knots several times, and I have to let Nanjos main out a few times as she is getting over powered in some of the gusts. Pete gives me the helm and he looks after sail trim, Nanjo is really cranked over and I'm sure she is thoroughly enjoying herself, the lee rail is under water a fair bit now. A couple of strong gusts and I hit 9.2 knots the top speed and to be honest I should think as fast as she is designed to go, Pete is feathering the mainsail and dumping the wind in the stronger gusts now, the waves have picked up a fair bit and she is getting over powered now to often. I start the engine and give Pete the tiller, and tell him to head us into the wind. The jib is quickly pulled away and I'm up at the mast dropping the mainsail quickly, as Nanjo bounces up and down in the sea. In my rush I forgot to take some sail ties with me, but manage to use the tail end of the main sheet to wrap around the bagged mainsail. Something to remember for next time? Pete turns us around and we have the sea and the wind dead astern now, everything settles down as the apparent wind speed drops dramatically. We are still doing 6.5 knots most of the time though. We have the option of going into the Sunsail base at Vounaki, so go close by and have a look. It all looks calm once inside, so I decide that we should push on to Zaverda as the harbour will give us plenty of shelter once inside. But as we are getting nearer it's pretty obvious that the harbours very full, once inside it's all calm for us. But after a slow motor up and down there is no space, there are yachts rafted 5 deep, which I've never seen before. Plugging back to Vounaki in a headwind does not appeal, so we drop anchor just outside the harbour and get some protection from the breakwater. We are in 3mtrs of water and I get Pete to put out 60mtrs of anchor chain, we are just anchored of a couple of other Disco 3000 with nobody onboard. All secure for 16:00. The storm seems to be passing us by and the clouds over Lefkas really look menacing, we both reckon that we might just get the tail end of it? Little did we know!!!
It all went quiet for a while, and we even contemplated getting the dinghy pumped up and going ashore for some beers and grub. We could see the rain clouds approaching and still thought we might just get a little bit wet. Then we were suddenly hit by the rain and wind, the flotilla yachts on the Odysseus pontoon in front suddenly leant over about 30 degrees under the wind pressure. We were hit seconds later and Nanjo was over on her side with howling winds and sheet rain, the anchor was holding but I started the engine to motor ahead into the wind to keep the pressure of the chain. The visibility had gone down to yards now, I was just glad that there were no boats anchored ahead of us to drag and hit us. The winds and rain kept up, on and of for 40mins, Pete had to pass me a t-shirt to wear as I was only in my shorts and starting to feel very cold with the wind and rain. Nanjo did brilliantly, and never dragged. We were thrown about a fair bit and a dinner plate got smashed but that was all the damage we had. Looking into the harbour a Neillson flotilla lead yacht had shredded it's long banner and another had just escaped having its mainsail ripped out of an unsecure sail bag. I think those in the harbour tied up were in more danger than us, and I think that Pete and I were lucky to be at anchor. I have a 35lb cqr anchor on the bow, and I'm being told that they are no good and it should be replaced with the latest design? Well, it's only dragged once on me so far, and that was all my fault for not putting out enough chain, I reckon it's earned its place on Nanjo. Amazingly it all went peaceful again pretty quickly, apart from a swell coming past us every now and again and bouncing us up and down. Going ashore in the dinghy came up in conversation again, but I convinced Pete that he would really rather have one of my soya mince spag bols cooked onboard? Which turned out to be funny, as I had only ever cooked it for me, I over calculated just how much soya to use, and the stuff was climbing out of the saucepan? Pete had a large bowl, washed down with a couple of beers, but refused to eat seconds! I managed to put away thirds, and we still had enough left to feed the town? I just hope the fish there enjoyed it, or maybe I could have left it to go solid and used it as an anchor weight? We both spent time sitting in the cockpit, up and down as the rain came and went, until I decided that we were finally ok for the night and we turned in, after a couple of large j/d's.
Wednesday 17th October
I slept really well, only woke up once when I heard a strange noise, a quick look out of the hatch and everything looked ok, so back to bed. We were both up at 08:30 and the tea and toast was on within minutes. It was a lovely day outside, a bit of cloud about but the sun was out again, so we had brekkie in the cockpit and decided where to go next. The Northerly wind had returned, so Pete plotted us a course for Sivota and we got Nanjo ready to leave. The anchor came up pretty well, just the last few metres of digging it out put the winch under any strain, and we were soon saying goodbye to Zaverda and sailing towards the Meganissi channel. It was going to be a fickle wind day, the mainsail stayed up but the jib was in and out most of the morning. Pete was enjoying himself, as his navigation was just a little bit out as we entered the channel. We had decided on a lunch/swim stop at Ormos Rouda, a new bay for me. I had seen it full of boats every time I had passed by, so had to stop this time. It's a large bay and very deep, there were only 4 other yachts already at anchor so plenty of space. Pete got the anchor ready as I motored around to get an idea of where the deep spots were. At 13:30 Pete let the anchor go in 5.4mtrs of crystal clear water and let out 30mtrs of chain, Nanjo settled down nicely and the goggles and snorkel were soon on and I was over the side, followed by Pete. Pete had spotted a bar which looked to be open, and as we were only 50mtrs of the beach we decided that a cold beer would go down nicely. I wrapped a note in a plastic bag and stuffed in in my beach shoe, 5 mins later we were climbing up an empty pebbly beach and soon ordering a large beer and a toasted sarnie. What a contrast from the day before, the clouds had all gone and the sun was out in strength, temp was 32 degs. A race back to Nanjo and Pete just pipped me, but he had to go and have a lay down straight away afterwards? A gorgeous shower of the stern to save having one later. It was up anchor at 15:15 and we motored round the point to Sivota, a place that I really like. There was plenty of space to choose from, so Pete got out the fenders and I did the stern lines, I explained what he had to do with the anchor and we backed into a space between a liveaboard Westerly and a Neilsson yacht, all perfectly under control, and only yards from my favourite "Family Taverna" where I had taken Andrea and Debbie.Nanjo was secure and put to bed by 16:30. We had a quick chat with the couple on the Neillson yacht, they were in Nidri at the Neillson base, and were all told to put on life jackets and get of there yachts, they were then put up in the Neillson hotel, at the time of the storm. They said it had been officially classed as a force 9 storm! Out with the plank and it's time to show Pete around, I was only here the other week with Les,Tom and Anne and the number of places already closed was amazing. We walked round to Yannis bar and I introduced him to Pete, he was closing at the end of the week. We stopped and had a couple of beers, before heading to the Family Taverna for dinner, luckily she was cooking a chicken curry which I had tried once before and was delish. A gorgeous tzatziki to start and two large plates of chicken curry, all washed down with beer and a free large ouzo, and we were feeling pretty stuffed? The owner said that the storm did little damage at Sivota as it came over the hill, but at Vasilliki which is exposed to Southerly winds, trees had been uprooted and there were roofs torn off. We stopped at a bar for another drink on the way back to Nanjo, then a couple of large jd's in the cockpit later. I think Petes getting used to my lifestyle now and starting to relax, the internet forecast is for normal winds and no rain for the rest of his stay.
Thursday 18th October
We both slept really well, Nanjo was really quiet and no bobbing up and down at all. We woke to a really gorgeous morning with the sun already hot and a very clear blue sky. Breakfast on board after I went for some fresh bread and cold milk, the supermarket owner said he stays open all year, but there are only 15 people who stay on in the winter?. The Neilson couple had gone to there 09:30 briefing and were heading over to Frikes on Ithaca, they confirmed the winds were going to be light all day. Pete fancied another look around the harbour, and we ended up at Yannis for a couple of frappes, which he gave us on the house. He will go to Athens for the winter after he closes down and return next May, I hope that he had made enough money in his short season? Back on board and we decide to head for Little Vathi on Megannissi, and take the long way round the southern tip of the island, another first for me. We leave at 11:30 and the anchor comes up no problem, fenders and ropes stowed and Petes taking us out to open sea, the mainsail is soon up. The wind comes around so it's engine of and out with the jib, Nanjo is soon doing 5knots in the gentle breeze, but it's not to last as the winds are being fickle again. We end up motor/sailing the rest of the morning, sitting in the cockpit enjoying the sun and fantastic sceneary. On our way up the western side, there is a loan yacht heading our way of my port bow. As we start to approach, he should be giving way to me as we are both motoring and I am on his stbd bow. So I hold my course and speed, I can see it's a Sunsail yacht, so straight away I'm expecting the worst. This guy does not dissapoint me, I end up throttling back to let him pass yards in front of me or we would have collided. I shout across that "I had right of way" which does not elicite much response, so I give him some Jimbo verbal to help him on his way! They are fondly referred to as "Scumsail" in the Uk and I still have visions of "Sunsail 13" nearly ploughing into me not once but twice in the Solent, and both times the skipper onboard shouted across "Sorry, I'm new at this??". It's the Sunsail yachts this year I really try to avoid, as they seem to rent them out to anybody with the cash? I have wanted to explore the bays at the top so we motor into a couple of them for a look, a few yachts about and all with stern lines taken around nearby trees as there is no room to swing at anchor, very picturesque but a lot of hassle for me on my own? We do go into Ormos Kapali and decide to drop the hook for a swim in one of it's sheltered bays, they are very deep, so you end up going well into the shore. Pete puts out 30mtrs of chain in 6mtrs of water at 15:30, time for a swim and a snorkel again. Followed by a shower of the stern and a beer in the cockpit. The winds picking up a bit as we get the anchor up at 16:40 and Pete takes us round to Little Vathi. The winds blowing a fair bit now and I'm worried about going stern to the jetty as the winds blowing straight into the harbour. We get lines rigged bow and stern and Pete gets the fenders put on. But once past the breakwater it's all calm, there are only 4 other yachts here, so I choose a spot as far over behind the breakwater as I can. Pete drops the hook and Nanjo backs up perfectly, a very nice man takes my stern lines and we are all secure at 17:15. Far enough off the jetty to jump ashore, so saving the plank. Pete gives me a pressie of a top quality Musto t-shirt in a very bright red, which I put on straight away, (nothing like new clean clothes?). Time to show Pete the delights of Little Vathi, we walk around to the new marina and look at some of the yachts that are obviously there for the winter, including a gorgeous Contest 55ft one. We stop for some dinner at the first taverna and are the only people to eat there, and we are very soon surrounded by cats, and one seems to have taken a shine to me, no matter how many times I pull him of me and drop him to the floor, I'm sure that Pete has sprayed the t-shirt with cat nip? We have a nice dinner, and because the little buggers been persistant he gets my left over bone. Go for a walk around town and stop for a couple of beers then back on Nanjo for another beer and a couple of jd's. We are just thinking it must be time to turn in, when one of the bars starts to play music very loudly, it seems just as the other bars are closing down? Sitting in the cockpit and listening to it banging out, it's soon pretty obvious that we won't get any sleep. So, Pete decides that we had better go and see what all the noise is about and join in? It's coming from a small bar, and there are plenty of people outside and inside, so in we go to get a drink. There is an old boy in a Captains jacket, several sizes to large and a Captains hat? Several others look like they don't belong either, an old boy trying to dance (I know how he feels?) and some youngsters, but everybody laughing and having a good time. We order two large beers and sit in the corner and watch, we are soon convinced it's a gay/lesbian bar as people seem very,very friendly. There are a few wearing bright red t-shirts and I'm begining to think I fit in? We get another beer and decide that going outside and sitting down is the safest option, as we are two blokes on our own! It's not long before one of the youngsters sitting next to us comes over and introduces himself, Frank asks where we come from, and I recognise his Dutch accent straight away. He then goes onto explain that they are all from the same family and all related, every two years they charter yachts and have a family holiday. They were on four large yachts, and the old boy in the Captains outfit was there "Captain of the Day", he had to decide where they all went and organise things. They choose a new Captain every day and he had to wear the jacket and cap. A brilliant idea I thought, Frank introduced us to the captain who bought us a beer, then his sister and girlfriend. They all thought it was funny that we thought we had stumbled into a gay/lesbian bar? We ended up joining in the family dance, which seemed more like just waving your hands in the air and swaying, well within mine and Petes dancing abilities. The party was breaking up, so after another beer we said our goodbyes to them all. By the time we had walked back to Nanjo, the town was all quiet again. You can't blame the bar owner, he must have made a fortune in those few hours, as the Dutch can certainly drink?
Friday 19th October
We both slept really well, as it was a calm night. I went and picked up a loaf and some milk from the nearby supermarket for brekkie. All eaten in the cockpit again as the sun was up and gorgeous blue skys again. A couple of Brits came by and asked about Nanjo, saying she had lovely lines and a great looking yacht. It always makes me chuffed to hear that, and it's a compliment Nanjo gets often. Along with having to explain how she was named, which always makes people smile. The other yachts were all leaving, and pretty soon we were the last yacht on the quay. Time for us to leave and for Pete to practice going astern and backing up to a quayside. We let go at 11:30 and then spent a while practicing, pretty soon Pete got the hang of it and was reversing up at the spot he chose. We headed out of the harbour and for a change Pete had to find his way to Vlicho just using the pilot book and a ruler. He only made one small mistake but soon corrected it, and before long we were motoring past Nidri, a gorgeous sunny day with very little wind about. Pete took us into my "Home port" of Vlicho and he motored around having a look at the boat yards, before finding us a spot to anchor in 3.5mtrs of green water, with quite a few jelly fish swimming about now, maybe it's there winter home? Nanjos put to bed and all squared away for 13:30. Petes next job is to inflate the dinghy, one of the joys of being skipper is to pass these jobs onto my willing crew? He soon has it inflated and over the side, we are going to Stennos yard to have a look at the yacht Les plans to buy. It's down as a 3 man dinghy, but thats probably if it has an outboard fitted, it's a tight dinghy for two men if your rowing? We are soon tied up behind "H's" yacht and head straight to the Yacht Club for a cold beer, quickly followed by a large and delicious BLT stick.It's a short walk to Stennos yard and Petes glad it is as it's a hot afternoon, and only nutty Brits are out walking about in it? Petes impressed with Les's Dufour, it's the sheer size of it that grabs you when you first look up at it, and the thought of that bow coming at you would make anybody run. The yards a lot fuller now, and quite a few are for sale. A slow walk back to the dinghy and suddenly someone is calling out to me, and coming across from the nearby bar waving. He introduces himself as Mr X and explains that he has been following my blog and is thinking of buying a Disco 3000. He came to Vlicho looking for me and Nanjo and was anchored just behind me. The offer of a beer is quickly accepted and me and Pete are introduced to Mr X's mate Martin, who is the skipper of the yacht. We all have a great chat and over a couple of beers, discuss Dromors,my blog, our jobs and the problems Mr X has delivering "Chocolates to Ladies on there own in out of the way places"?. I invite them back to Nanjo for a look around, Mr X and Martin have a dinghy with an outboard so are quickly heading of to there yacht. As for me I have to row back with Pete sitting on the stern seat, and I'm sure he has got heavier since we came ashore earlier? Mr X drops of Martin and then comes over to give us a push with his dinghy, as we are going so slow, it almost works. Back on Nanjo a quick tidy up and she's ready for her fans. Martin and Mr X are soon over and I'm showing them around and explaining what goes where, I'm sure they are both impressed, she certainly packs a lot of accomodation into a 31ft yacht. I show Mr X some of the Dromors I've seen in my travels on my lap top and one of them is the one he is interested in buying, and I've seen her and she is a beauty. Over a beer, Pete chats with Martin while me and Mr X discuss forming the Dromor Discovery 3000 fan club in the cockpit, I tell him that if he buys his then he will obviously become President as his is the "Deluxe Ghia" model. I reckon that I have made another convert to my yacht and lifestyle? We decide to meet up at the yacht club later for a meal and some more beers. 40 mins later we are washed and rowing ashore again, and can just make out Martin and Mr X in the failing light, I'm impressed as they seem to have nav lights on there dinghy? Into the yacht club and the lovely Belinda is serving, beers to start then something from the menu for dinner. Belinda asks what they are doing with me and she does not normally see me there after dark, and Martin explains it's because of my web site? I think I will have to see Belinda later and explain all. Over dinner we carry on chatting about Discos, while Pete and Martin start to yawn! Martin and Mr X have done a lot of sailing and racing as the company they work for has a very good social club and they get the chance to race all over the country. They are both looking forward to retirement soon. Me and Pete are pumping Mr X about his job, but he only says he will loose his contract with Cadbury if he tells us how the chocolates are made and how the lucky ladies are chosen, all we can do is look on enviously and think "Lucky Bugger". We all had a great time and said our goodbyes, as they were setting of early to Paxos and Gaios in the morning. It was great to meet some of Nanjos fans and blog readers.( Hope you both had a great trip lads, and if you do buy the Disco Mr X, then get in touch.) It was a slow row back to Nanjo in the dark, not helped by Pete putting on more weight and then not being able to find Nanjo in the dark. He had me rowing right past her towards a yacht a 100 mtrs away? Once safely on board, it was time for a JD in the cockpit, and a look at all the millions of stars around us. Pete agreed that surely we can't be the only planet with life?
Saturday 20th October
It was a really calm night and we slept well. Up early to a gorgeous morning, brilliant blue skys and little wind, the sea was dead calm.As expected there was no sign of Martins yacht. I'm soon in the dinghy and rowing ashore for the milk and bread from my favourite shop, Pete decided to stay on board and chill out. I think that he is really getting the hang of my lifestyle now, once he throws his watch away he will be there. I expected him to move Nanjo, but she was just where I left her. Back on board and breakfast in the cockpit as usual, and Pete agrees with me that this is really a beautiful place to be at anchor. He jumps in the dinghy and has a long row around while I do the washing up, he agrees that it's really a one man row boat. Back on board and the dinghys pulled up on the bow and washed with fresh water and left to dry, before being packed away in its bag. It's a short trip today and no need for any navigation, we are headed for Dan Bay for a swim and then to Lefkada marina for the night. At 12:20 I get Nanjos anchor up and Pete takes us out of the bay, while I'm sloshing salt water over the chain to get the mud off, the bucket comes of the hook, a quick attempt at "bucket overboard" and Petes bringing us alongside it and I have the boat hook ready. As I reach down for it, I miss and tip the bucket up, it quickly fills and starts to sink to the bottom. Oh well, my fault, I should have got Pete to stop alongside the bucket instead of trying to pick it up while we were doing 3 knots ahead? Pete is soon taking us out of Vlicho and over towards Dan Bay, the autohelm is put on and for some strange reason, it's compass is reading 20 degrees out? I think that maybe he has pushed a sequence of buttons by mistake and it needs re-calibrating again? But just as I'm getting the instruction book out and getting ready to recalibrate it, it goes back to normal and reads the correct heading? Confusing or what? Typically there are no other yachts at Dan Bay so we anchor in the middle in 4.5mtrs of clear water at 12:20. Once I see we are secure, it's over the side with the goggles and snorkel, Petes soon joining me. The waters so clear and I head over to the rocks where I last saw some big fish, but this time it's only full of small ones. Another yacht approaches as I'm swimming back and anchors at the end of the bay. Back on board I have a lovely shower on the stern and Pete does the same. Lunch is a couple of beers with the popeye pies and a large ham and cheese pie, absolutely delish. It's another gorgeous afternoon and the suns really hot. Don't think Petes looking forward to going back to the UK weather after a week out here and back to work. We get the anchor up at 15:30 and are soon motoring towards the bouyed channel to Lefkada. Pete takes us up and we only pass a couple of yachts on the way, the winds picked up and I get Nanjo ready for a bow or stern mooring, depending on where we are put. The marina guy picks us up just as we pass the fuel berth and leads me to a vacant spot on the end of a jetty, just perfect for me, and the wind drops a bit as well, so I practice my reversing again and back Nanjo up. It all goes well and Pete takes the bow line as I make the stern lines fast, just leaving enough room for us to step ashore again and no plank. Nanjos all secure at 16:45. We have to pay up front as we are leaving Sunday morning and the office will be closed, it's winter rate now so only 22 euros. Time to show Pete marina life and we go for a walk around, to see the big boats we passed on the way in. Lady Fi stands out for both of us as the one to own if money was no object. But there are plenty of large gorgeous yachts to choose from, including a racing yacht with 11 winches on each side, christ knows why it needs so many? A stop at the bar for a large mythos and we settle down to watch the world go by for a bit. Back on board and a quick wash and change of clothes and we are heading into town. A stop at Buranos for dinner has us laughing, as we order tzatziki for starters and a chicken giros plate for main course. The beers arrive along with the bread basket and a very small tub of a white paste, we assume that it's the tzatziki and they are being tight with it or it's very good stuff? We just about manage to make it last and spread it on our bread, when the waiter brings over a large plate of tzatziki to our suprise? We ask what the other thing was and he just laughs saying it was just a spread, with no flavouring at all in it. So we order more bread to go with our tzatziki, after a few minutes the breads still not arrived so I take the bread basket and cross the road to get some. I'm then told by the waiter it's his job to bring the bread and I should go back to my table! I'm glad to say the extra bread and the chicken giros portion arrived and it was massive. We both struggled to finishh our meals and we were both well stuffed. Time to show Pete around Lefkada and I took him along the harbour front and up the main street and around the top. I'm glad to say that the place was buzzing and there were plenty of people about, on the way back we managed to find a shop open and bought a litre of local white wine and I got some dark chocolate coated almonds, which were absolutely the best ever, and were to last me 5 days. Back at the marina we stopped at the bar I had my picture taken with Debbie and Andrea, even sitting in the same seat, funny to think that I was sitting there with them just over 5 weeks ago? Back on board and all the jd's gone so it's a can of beer for a nightcap. Petes last night on board, and I think I might have to drag him to the airport?
Sunday 21st October
We are both up early and Pete goes to get some bread and milk at the supermarket. We have a chat with the Brit couple of the yacht next to us, another syndicate yacht. They are flying back home at 12:00 and are just tidying up before the next owners come out. We let the lines go at 09:35 and are soon motoring towards the 10am bridge opening. Another 4 yachts are jostling about as we all head for the bridge, bang on time it opens and we are soon out into the narrow channel, keeping the small red bouys a fair distance of my starboard side, the depth goes down to 3mtrs and we are soon out into deep water and heading towards the outer bouys for Preveza. We get the jib out and motor sail for a bit, but as the wind changes we are heading further away from our destination to keep it filled, so it's rolled away and we motor direct to the bouy. Pete takes us up the Preveza channel and I get the fenders and ropes ready on both sides, as we approach the town quay, it's obvious that something big is going on as there are a large number of people about and bands marching along the front? We are soon motoring to Preveza marina and I already know that George will not be around to tell us where to go, I pick an end spot on the first pontoon and come alongside on the starboard side, making it easy for me to leave later. Pete steps ashore with the bow rope and I do the stern line. By 12:00 Nanjo is all tied up and secure, and Pete is already stripping his bed and packing his bag. We go ashore for a farewell lunch and to have a look around. There is a lot of traditional dancing going on and large crowds, most of the bars are packed out. We head for the fast food outlet I first took Pete to a week ago, order a beer and some food. Pete goes for the burger which is huge, and I go for the club sandwich which is massive, so much for a light snack. A quick walk back along the main street and back to Nanjo. We are walking back to the taxi rank soon afterwards and luckily for Pete there is a taxi at the rank, a quick hand shake goodbye and Petes of to the airport, saying that he had a good time on Nanjo. He is going to see the lads at work on Monday and I told him not to let them know just how much fun I'm having? Hopefully he will come out next year with his wife and do a flotilla holiday, and if I'm around then I can cruise around with them? It's been a great week with Kingy on board, and I'm glad that he was there when I hit the 9.2 knots and to help out in the storm, we certainly covered some ground. We had covered 117.6 miles in his week. Back on Nanjo I have a quick tidy up and then a nap, as I'm knackered?? 90mins later I wake from a lovely sleep, a gorgeous hot shower and clean clothes and I'm heading ashore with my lap top, to my favourite internet bar. Have a couple of mythos, then leave and pick up a takeaway giros, to eat back on board. I've got a quiet boat again, so just relax in the cockpit, before turning in.
Monday 8th October
Slept really well, with a lovely dream to keep me there. My alarm went of at 08:00 though to shatter the piece. Tea and bread and jam, lovely shower with some hot water and I'm soon loading the dinghy. It's a gorgeous morning, abbsolute flat sea, so I'm tying up next to "H's" yacht quickly. A nice walk into town looking for the Doctors above "Flivos" taverna, I walk straight thru town and don't spot it? Back in again and it's right near a scooter hire place where a guy offered me a bike, go upstairs and no sign of any Docs. Into the taverna and apparently they are closed now it's winter, but the lovely owner points me to another place not far away. Plenty of signs outside saying they take all kinds of medical insurance, which is handy as I don't have any? I did get quotes when in the UK, and those that would actually quote me, wanted over £1,000 for the year. With the sailing and my age. Go up stairs and I'm gretted by the young Doc who is a spitting image of Phillipe Massa, I explain I have no insurance and will pay cash. Into the surgery, and his first question is "What's going on with your forehead?", now straight away I'm impressed as he has spotted why I've come to see him. Sit on his table, and the bugger squeezes my bump so hard I had tears in my eyes, he reckoned it's not an insect bite but some kind of abcess? He writes me out a prescription for cream and antibiotics, I tell him I'm on a yacht in Vlicho and out here until March. I'm told to come back Thursday morning, to see if it's going down, and he will then work out my bill? A really nice Doc, fingers X the meds sort it out? Stop at the first pharmacy and pick up some Zinadol tablets and Fucidin cream, for 15 euros. I pick up a popeye pie to eat on the way back to Vlicho, pop one of my pills and slap on some of the cream. An easy row back home and I'm on board for 11am. Not long after Tom and Anne come alongside in there dinghy, they have bought some last minute stuff in Vlicho. They are leaving for Mitika soon, it's there first stop on there way back to Messalonghi marina for the winter, and a place I will visit on my way back as well. We say our goodbyes and see you agains, they have been fantastic friends to have met and helped me out so much in planning my future, with plenty of good sound advice. Anne has to fly back to the UK in November and won't be back before I leave in March, so we have no idea when we will see each other again, I will catch up with Tom at Messalonghi. I watched them pull up there anchor and one last wave goodbye and Anne was steering Alba Voyager out towards Nidri. I settled down to a cheese sarnie and a coke for lunch, in the cockpit as it's a lovely 28degs, and read my book for a while. I'm soon feeling knackered and go below and have a nap on my day bed, I'm soon fast asleep. I woke at 7pm, and it's getting dark already, so no swim tonight, I've been noticing the jelly fish population has increased lately, so will have to be careful when swiming. Mix up some soya mince with some pasta sauce, a can of beer and thats soon dinner sorted, pop a pill afterwards. Down below I relax and work my way through one of my big band compilation cd's. I end up having a really suprising evening?
Tuesday 9th October
Slept really well, once I had cooled down. Up at 8am and tea and toast in the cockpit. A hot wash and I'm loading up the dinghy for a row ashore and the bus to Lefkada, I'm the first person onboard and by the time we hit Lefkada we have only 10 people, and I reckon that I'm the only tourist? The small harbours I drive past have all been reclaimed by the fishing boats, they have spread themselves out along the harbour walls. Seems that the season is coming to an end? I'm in and out of Carrefours in minutes and catch the 11am bus straight back to Vlicho, with my bags full of goodies. Am tempted to get a popeye pie, but resist and row straight back home. Unpack my stuff and settle down to a easy day in the cockpit, just reading my book and admiring the view. Ease myself down below at 2pm for some lunch, and suprisingly I'm feeling worn out? I'm thinking it must be the pills as I've done nothing? Nap time and I slept till 6pm, plenty of cloud about now but the temps still a lovely 27 degs. Cook a throw together, using a stock cube for the first time, it certainly made a difference, I will do that again. Have a can of Fix as they were on special offer. The bays getting a lot less full now as yachts are being taken ashore for the winter, wonder what it will be like next month? Have a music night down below, Adele,Jem,Sade and Eva Cassidy seems a ladies night on the cd player.Turned in at 11pm, as I kept falling asleep?
Wednesday 10th October
Woken at 04:30 to rain banging on the cabin top, lept out of bed and closed all the hatches, and soon climbed back into it again. Slept like the dead until 9am, I really hope it's the pills making me so tired, as I'm not doing much? Lovely hot wash and tea and toast in the cockpit, storm clouds all around me and the barrometers fallen a fair bit. A look at the Navtex and it's forecasting Thunderstorms for all the Ionion Sea, and I was going to wash some clothes today? I quickly load the dinghy and a row ashore, first to the petrol station for some diesel engine oil, then bakers for bread and pies. The weathers changed by the time I row back, so I wash all my dirty clothes and hang them on the line. Start the engine and run it for 30mins, partly to put some charge in the batteries (not much wind the last few days) and warm the oil up. Let it cool for 10mins while I'm getting my oil change pump and bits ready. I just love using my oil extractor, it sucks the 2 ltrs of dirty oil up in minutes and absolutely no mess. I'm getting better at removing the old filter and only get a few drips now. Pre fill the new filter and screw it on, pour 1.9 ltrs of new oil in. Run the engine for 5 mins and check for leaks (none found) then let it stand and top it up to the fill mark. Takes about 15 mins to do it all, and thats it for the next 100 hours. Which should easily see me down to Messalonghi, where the oil will be changed when Nanjo goes ashore. Am feeling pretty smug with myself, then we get 2 mins of rain and my nicely drying clothes are all wet again! Oh well, can't complain, it's 28 degs and everythings soon starting to dry again. So, time for cheese sarnies and a can of coke for lunch, eaten in the cockpit with blue skys around me. Decide to have a relaxing afternoon after all my hard work, read my book then have a nap until 5pm. Then a easy row ashore to the yacht club, a couple of pints of mythos and one of there delish burger and chips, spent some time on the web looking up the pills I've been given and the symptoms of shingles (hope I have not got that). Have a chat with Tiffany and am rowing back home in the dark at 8pm, only once on board do I remember the spinach pie I bought earlier, so it had to be eaten? Along with a beer and a couple of J/Ds I'm feeling pretty stuffed, I spent the rest of the evening listening to a jazz compilation cd I bought years ago and have never played. Well to be honest it's not my kind of music, so after one cd, it's going back on the shelf and right at the back. Turned in early at 10pm, feeling tired?
Thursday 11th October
Slept really well and my alarm woke me at 8am, I soon adjusted it for another 15mins sleep time. Which came around suprisingly quickly, up and kettle is on, have a lovely hot wash, then tea and toast in the cockpit. Get ready for 9am and my row ashore to see the Doc, load the dinghy and just about to cast of, when I notice a lack of flip flops. I've done that before, luckily I spotted the error before reaching the shore. It's a gorgeous morning but some stormy clouds over the mountains and above Nidri. Lovely row ashore and tigh up behind "H's" yacht. Just shorts on for my walk to town, a few spots of rain on the way but thats it. Pick up some money at the first atm, as I've got to pay my Doc's bill today. Well "Philleppe Massa" must be out testing his Ferrari today as I'm seen by a very nice female Doc in poured on jeans and skin tight top. After 20 questions and a quick prod of my lump, which has gone down a fair bit, she proclaims me fit and to just carry on with the meds until they run out. She is 99% sure it's an insect bite of some sort and not shingles, which is a great relief. The Doc's bill came to 30euros, which I'm happy with. A slow walk around Nidri and the town quay only has 3 yachts on it, the locals easily out number the tourists now, and there are signs up at tavernas with there closing dates. I reckon by the end of October Nidri will be pretty well closed down? Lovely walk back to Vlicho and the suns baking down now, the grotty clouds have gone. Stop at the little supermarket for fruit,fetta and some veg. I fancy a large salad for later. Row back home and start getting ready for leaving tomorrow. Give the dinghy a good wash in fresh water and let it dry on deck before stowing it away in its bag. Make some gorgeous fetta cheese and olive oil sarnies for lunch. Then it's time for a nap. Woken at 5pm by the sun beaming through the middle hatch, so it must be time to get up. It's a lovely afternoon, so jump over the side and have a swim, a quick look underneth and I see something above the prop tube, looks like weed? Dive back under to move it and it's a blooming big fish, he must have been eating the weed? Not sure who is more startled me or him. Do my 20 lap swim, I've not been swimming lately because of the lump, but now I know it's nothing, time to get back into my daily routine. Back on board and have a gorgeous hot water shower, just like Andrea showed me how to, it does feel better compared to just cold water. Make a big Greek salad for starters and followed by my slice of pizza from yesterday, all washed down with a couple of beers. What an easy life I lead? Fell asleep listening to my cd's.
Friday 12th October
Up at 8am, and slept really well. It don't look nice outside, the forecast is for rain/thunderstorms for the next week? My large gas bottle has finally run out so first job is to hook up the small spare one. Tea and toast in the cockpit, as I watch the old fisherman pull his nets back in, this guy puts them out at 7pm and now 13 hours later, I only see him pull up 3 small fish. Maybe he only fishes to feed himself? A few small jobs to do first, mainly stowing stuff away in case the crossing from Lefkas to Preveza is choppy, then get ready to move out at 10am. I'm hoping to catch the 12am bridge? Up anchor at 10am as planned and no problems, wash the mud of with a few buckets of water. Motor out of Nidri and get the sails up, it's actually a good wind and just aft of the beam, Nanjos soon doing 5.6 knots. I had passed a gorgeous Uk large yacht in Vlicho called Sea Dragon and it's now coming up astern of me fast with it's huge jib out. She must be 90ft long at least, and is a classic yacht. I follow her into the Lefkas channel and he still has his jib out the same as me. I'm in time for the 12am bridge opening, Sea Dragon is the lead yacht and is just milling around of the bridge with two other yachts in front of me. We all motor through and Sea Dragon seems to be going a bit fast in the narrow and shallow exit, sure enough, there is a really loud crashing sound and he has ran aground where the rocks are. The noise was horrendous, the other two yachts in front immeadiately start to slow down. Sea Dragons giving his engine full astern and his bow thrusters full power, but he's stuck fast. The first two yachts manage to squeeze past her, a large fishing boat turns up and trys to tow her of but no good, then two ribs with large outboards arrive and they are getting nowhere. I decide to squeeze past, and I've got 3.8 mtrs of water 10ft away from Sea Dragons side, the skipper is not a happy looking man, he is well out of the channel? I take a few pics as I leave her stuck there. As I enter the Preveza channel, I can still see her masts through the binoculars, so she has not moved at all. It's normally a proffesional skipper on board and crew on ayacht like that. I think his job might be on the line depending on the damage done to the yacht. I make straight for Preveza marina, and there are plenty of spaces available, get told where to go by a guy on a bike, who gives me a hand to tigh up. Nanjo is all secure for 2pm, pay my 27 euros for 3 nights. Back on board, I plug in the electric and make myself a large Greek salad and a beer. Even manage to fill up the diesel tank when a small tanker goes by, 40 ltrs and cost 79euros, not the cheapest diesel I've ever bought for sure? I suppose the convieneance costs a bit? Nanjo just needs a scrub down and a polish and she is all ready for her next guest Pete arriving on Sunday. Walked up to the supermarket and got a new large gas bottle, not bad for 7e20. Then chilled out in the cockpit for a bit, then had a gorgeous shower and clean clothes. I'm soon on my way into town with my lap top, stop at a corn on the cob seller, well worth 1e50cents and was delish. Went to my favorite internet bar and ordered a mythos which ended up being 2 mythos while I got on line and sorted out stuff. To round of a lovely day, I got a gyros and the guy also threw in a tub of strawberry jelly, result. Scoffed those back on board, while sitting in the cockpit watching a spectacular lightning show from up North. Turned in at 23:00 I was knackered.
Saturday 13th October
Rudely woken at 2am by thunder, lightening,torrential rain and strong winds. The storm I was watching earlier has caught up with us, check Nanjo over and try to get back to sleep, she's getting tossed about a fair bit, but she's well secure. It's more the noise from outside that keeps me awake. Woke at 8am to a lovely day, so went back to sleep until 09:30, tea and toast in the cockpit. The toilet bulb had blown and it's a very small bulb as well. Of into town and luckily the second chandlers as them in stock, so I get 2 bulbs for 1 euro, very cheap I think? Next I'm of to the bakers at the top of town for a crusty loaf and a popeye pie, pick up a couple of tomatoes as well on the way back to the town quay. It's a gorgeous morning now, so sit on a bench and have my pie while watching the world go by. How can I give this lifestyle up and go back to work? First job back on board is to put the new bulb in, then have some crusty bread with balsamic vineagar and olive oil for lunch, yummy. Have a long chat with George the marina guy, turns out he was a postman for years as well and loved the job. He did say that Greek postmen have one of the best pensions in Greece and one of the easiest jobs as well. He gave me details of a Carrefour just out of town that had cheap electric fires for 20e, which would be handy in the winter. We chatted a lot about Nanjo and he asked about Messalonghi and how much I'm paying, he said that I could stay here at the same price and the electric and water is free and pick my own spot. There are no toilets or showers here, but the offer was tempting. If I had not already paid a deposit at Messalonghi and had made plans to meet people. Maybe next year??
Did the 4km walk to the Carrefour George mentioned, and typically they had sold out of heaters, so jus bought some light weight stuff to carry back. It was a lovely walk though and killed 90mins. I looked up "Sea Dragon" on line and it's currently for sale at 4,900,000 euros just under 5 million euros? And it's 100 ft long as well, I just hope that the skipper who ran her aground was not trying to impress potential customers? George reckoned she was lifted of this morning and being taken to a marina to be lifted out for inspection, he has heard a bill of £50,000 for repairs, news travels fast in Greece. Stayed on board and cooked dinner, a lovely evening and just sat back and relaxed. Felt tired after my 3rd beer so went below and turned in at 23:00.
Sunday 14th October
A repeat performance of yesterday morning as the winds and rain and thunder made there appearence, woken up by Nanjo being thrown around and torrential rain again. A quick look around me and everythings ok, so tried to go back to sleep again. Woke at 08:00 to the sounds of church bells, but no squawking priest, to be honest I almost missed his dulcet tones? It could have drowned out the rain, which was falling at a consistant rate. Had a lovely tea and toast brekkie eaten at my table, now theres something new? Made a start on giving Nanjo a good clean below, checked the engine and bilges over and all seemed ok. The gearbox needed a couple of capfulls of oil to top it up. Filled the water tanks and plastic containers, then a spot of lunch, while the rain eased of for a bit. It was not to last long though, and carried on all afternoon. The long range forecast is for rain and storms up until Wednesday, which does not look good for Petes week out here, but things easily change on a hourly basis here?
The weather finally decided that it had had enough about 6pm, just in time for Pete to have a dry landing. I was expecting him about 7pm as his plane was due to land at 18:25. The evening went on and on, it was getting darker and no sign of Pete. I decided to go below and do some computing at the chart table, when I suddenly heard my name being called out, it was Pete and well late. He did look shattered poor old boy, but bat least he was dry? He explained the delay, he was first taken to "Preveza Marine"boat yard at Aktio on the other side of the water, after asking some Brits who were waiting for a taxi, he convinced the taxi driver to take him over to Preveza. Where he apparently had a bit of a tour around, before finally being dropped at "Preveza Marina" in the pitch black. He wondered around for a bit lugging his large full holdall, before speaking to a couple of the solar powered catamaran. They pointed him to the small unfinished marina across the road mainly used by small fishing boats, so he had a walk around there, no sign of me! He came back to Preveza Marina and walked around a bit and was just contemplating climbing into the cockpit of a empty yacht for the night, when he spotted Nanjo on her pontoon. He had been walking around for hours, and luckily it had stayed dry. Once on board he put his shorts on and we went into town for a well deserved mythos and something to eat. I took Pete to my favorite giros/fast food place and we both had large plates of grub, washed down with several beers, then onto my favourite bar and some more beers. We had a lot to catch up on, and everything he told me about work confirmed that I really should stay out here for as long as possible. Back on board and Petes on the saloon double bed and after a nightcap is soon asleep. I very soon followed him and climbed into my stern cabin, glad that he had made it here safely.
Monday 1st October
Slept of and on, not sure why, just seemed to be having some vivid dreams that kept waking me up, nothing weird or nasty though, in fact some were that good I wanted to get back into them but alas I never managed it. My alarm sounded at 08:30 and I'm out of bed and making brekkie, and looking forward to my trip to Lefkada on the bus. Bags are packed, got the dinghy ready and I'm soon rowing to the shore, it's another gorgeous morning and the seas dead flat. I'm sitting in the bus shelter at 09:45 and waiting for my usual 10 am bus. I'm amazed to see a small quad bike go by towing a 20ft speedboat behind it at about 15mph, then a man holding a 2 year old baby in one hand and driving his scooter with the other, it can only happen here? My bus is bang on time and only one other person on board, it's amazing to see just how many hotels have closed and bolted there gates, the last time I was on this bus, it was standing room only by the time we were half way through Nidri. This trip the bus never got half full all the way to Lefkada, the change was really quite dramatic, all the beaches were virtually empty, I just wonder what it will be like in a few more weeks? Got of at the top of town and went for a walk, the quayside was pretty empty, it seemed that a charter company had comandered part of the quay for it's fleet of yachts, I wondered if they will be there all winter? I pop into CYS to see about an engine oil filter, a very nice woman says I can have a pattern part or genuine Yanmar. So, I opt for the genuine, it works out at 9e 30 cents, I tell her that I've been paying 10 euros for a Mann patern filter, she then tells me they sell those for 5 euros? I've been getting ripped of at the place I always thought was ok. Now I know where to shop in future. A nice stroll around town, and even Lefkada seems quiet, pop into the little cafe by the hospital and get a frappee and spinach pie. I spend a pleasant 45mins just watching the world go by, then head back to Carrefour supermarket. I pop into a pharmacy that has a weighing machine inside, step on and am suprised to see I'm just under 15st come up, that means I've lost 4st since I came out here in March? I figured I would let me weight go down to 14st and then kep an eye on it, looks like I'm nearly there? I just feel so much fitter, all the swimming,rowing and walking and I'm not eating chocolate or junk food anymore. At the supermarket I soon stock up on some essentials and buy enough for a couple of weeks, total cost 38 euros, well within budget. I was badly tempted to buy another bottle of JD but decided to leave it for a few weeks. I catch the next bus back to Vlicho, which turns out to be the school special, even the schoolkids seem happier than those in the UK? Of the bus and I'm in the breadshop picking up a couple of crusty loaves,popeye pie and a slice of pizza. That lot just about fills the dinghy up and I have a nice row home. It's all soon stowed away onboard, the temps up to 36degs, so up with the sun awning straight away, get out a can of beer and my book, and just chill out. Tom and Anne row over for a chat and ask me over for a sundowner later at 5pm as they have something to ask me? A quick tidy up and a wash and it's soon 5pm and I'm rowing over. They met a British guy in the yacht club who is out here to look at a yacht to liveaboard on and take up the lifestyle, he was due to look at a 45ft Doufour that afternoon. They mentioned having a chat with me as all his questions are just what I'm finding out in my first months, and they can help him with the long term stuff, they also mentioned he owned a yacht back in the UK and was hoping to go sailing out here for a couple of days, and maybe I could take him out, if we hit it of. He's a truck driver at Brize Norton. I said that I'm up for it, so we are all going to the yacht club for lunch on Tuesday to meet up. After a couple of beers, Tom gave me the grand tour of there yacht and showed me all the fine details and extra refinements they have made over the years. Most of his systems are doubled up or trebled up and all work independently of each other if one was to go down. He had a brilliant idea for hot water showers which I will fit on Nanjo for sure, and some of the Ikea storage boxs I can use as well. They also gave me a copy of Alba Voyagers previous life to read about, from it's dissmasting of the Falkland Islands to travelling down through the French canals. I'm still not certain about going back to the UK and we discuss a few of my options. I rowed back to Nanjo in the dark, had my slice of pizza and popeye pie for dinner. I did my accounts today, and on my own I'm getting through 80 euros a week, and living happily on that, which I've factored in a bit for diesel and running costs.Which is just 5 euros a week over my pension at the moment? So, no spare money left really, but my savings can easily cover that, and even allow for the odd small breakage. If I have 126 weeks left before my extra pension kicks in I can just about do it. I've had a fantastic day today, wondering around Lefkada, chatting to people and just enjoying the freedom to do what I want and take how long I want over it as well. The thought of being regimented back in the UK does not appeal at all, and back to working a 50 hour week and probably 30 hrs of that goes on just living, the Government will take another 10 hrs at least and I'm left with 10 hrs saving/money. Mayber as the winter goes on and things start to change out here, I might even want to go back to the UK???? But I can't really see that happening. I just don't miss anything about my previous lifestyle there at all. Even the biking roads are great out here, and more than enough fun on a 125cc scooter for 10 euros a day.
Tuesday 2nd October
Slept really well, considering my brain was working overtime when I finally climbed into my bunk. Woke up at 9am and had brekkie in the cockpit, I noticed the decks were looking a bit dirty in the morning light, so gave them a good scrub and a wash down, and all this before I've really woken up? I was just having a read about Toms yacht and how it was dissmasted of the Falkland Islands, when they rowed over and banged on my hull. They were of to the yacht club, to meet Les. I jumped into my dinghy and soon followed them, met Les at the yacht club. Really nice bloke, and a truck driver as well, we had a beer and Anne invited us back to there yacht for lunch as Les had arranged to view the Dufour ketch he was interested in again at 4pm. Had a lovely lunch, all prepared by Anne and plenty of chatting about the liveaboard lifestyle. Rowed back ashore and Les took me and Tom in his hire car to the boat yard just on the bend just outside Vlicho. The yacht he's interested in is 45 ft long and a ketch rig, Dufour, to be honest she was a lovely big yacht from the outside, when Rachael and Steve arrived to show us around inside, you could tell she was a very expensive yacht when first built. The interior joinery was first class, with so many rounded cabin doors, she actually had 3 cabins in the bow section and an interior steering position, the owners cabin aft had a full size double bed with a proper mattress. I was very impressed and on deck she had electric jib furling, electric winches, bow thruster in fact all the toys you need out here. Plus a diesel generator in the stern locker to keep the batteries charged. The only problem Tom spotted was some seeping at the keel joint, so he has suggested getting a couple of keel bolts drawn to look for any corrosion, and the teak decking is very worn. Back at the yacht club we had a few beers and met up with Anne again, who had been waiting patiently for us, it was now 7pm! Les now has a few days spare and I've offered to take him sailing for a few days.Arranged to meet Les at 10am by "H's" old yacht. Rowed back to Nanjo in the dark and just made a sarnie.Had a drink in the coickpit and just relaxed.
Wednesday 3rd October
I slept really well, a quiet night in the anchorage and very little wind. Got up early at 7am to give Nanjo a good check over, just to make sure her first charter goes ok. Found no problems on board and had my usual brekkie. Rowed ashore at 09:40 and Les was waiting for me on the quay, with a couple of bottles of wine for my drinks locker. I took him to the bakers and we got a couple of popeye pies for lunch later. Back on Nanjo I soon had the dinghy deflated and lashed down on deck. Gave Les the grand tour and went through some safety stuff, I said the plan was to head out of Nidri and see where we end up? I put Les in charge of the tiller and engine while I got the anchor up, he was soon steering us out of Vlicho and Nidri. On the way out we spotted another Dufour ketch identical to the one Les is interested in buying on the Sailionian pontoon and Dutch flagged, it's meant to be a rare yacht and this was a shock. Once inside the bay, I got the sails up and we turned the engine off, I must be honest I've never seen a happier bloke. Les owns a Rival 32ft in the UK and was suprised just how big Nanjo is inside and how well she handles, the winds were a bit fickle, so we had the jib in and out a fair bit. I decided to take Les to Little Vathi just to show him the harbour, and was explaining how to go bow or stern to the quay, when I thought he would get more out of it by having a go, so showed him how to steer in reverse and let him bring us back to the quay. Nanjo steered as if on rails and he was well impressed. Then back out and we sailed over to Scorpious island and a swim in Jackie O's bay, another big suprise for him was how clear the water was and how warm, nobody goes swimming of there yacht in the UK at any time of the year! Had a couple of beers and the pies for lunch. The wind started to pick up about 5pm to a nice force 5 to 6, so up with the anchor and Nanjos soon sailing again and hard on the wind, barreling along at 7knots, and we are just heading across to the mainland. The wind started to pick up but Les knew what he was doing on the tiller and I tended the sails, he pointed out 8.2 knots on the speedo but I missed it and said it did not count. Nanjo had spray flying over the bow and the stbd rail under by now, anything that was going to fall out of a locker was now on the floor. Coming about and we headed back to Spartakhori, a further slight increase in wind and Nanjo hit 8.2 knots again for a fair bit. So, I had to hand over my best of 7.9 top speed, achieved months ago. Not to worry, I will take my record back between now and December? A cracking sail back and I dropped all sail half a mile from the entrance to the harbour. Then got all the lines and fenders ready, I explained to Les what was going to happen and George waved me into a spot at 7pm and only 4 other yachts there. He asks about the girls straight away, I think I better bring them back here one day. We were all secure in minutes, I'm sure George wonders whats going on after I had Debbie and Andrea on board? Had a beer and a tidy up and ashore for dinner, Les agreed to pay so we had all three courses plus beer and wine, I was well stuffed, and we were the last to leave. Back on board it was some more beer and one of the bottles of wine, I had made up the double bunk in the saloon for him, and it's something his own yacht has not got the room for. Les finally said he was knackered at 1am, but I stayed in the cockpit for another hour, before going below.
Thursday 4th October
Slept really well and had some very vivid dreams, and they were all good? I must get myself one of those dream explanation books? Woke at 08:30 and it's a gorgeous day outside, blue skies and a light breeze. We decided that a breakfast ashore was the way to go, and discussed where to go today. My plan was Sivota, but I could tell Les was interested in chatting to the owners of the Dutch Dufour at Nidri. So we decided to motor straight back to Nidri and have a chat if they were there, but if gone go back out for a sail. Had a chat with George, and he reckons he might close earlier now, unless things pick up. I explained to Les what to do and let the bow lines go as I released the stern line and backed us out easily. We were soon at Nidri, and as luck would have it the Dufour was still there, I motored over to them and we had a quick chat and they agreed to have a chat with Les. So. straight into Vlicho and we anchored virtually in the same spot we had left. Got the dinghy pumped up just as Tom and Anne came alongside and we told them where we were going. A quick row ashore and in Les's car and we are soon walking down the Sailionian pontoon. A really lovely couple invite us on board there yacht and they have owned her for 14 years, plenty of questions, but they have never experienced the keel weeping problem, but they have just had to pay out £25,000 to have all new teak decking done, as when it wears it starts to leak and as the deck is balsa cored it soaks up the water. Not news Les really wanted to hear, we were told that they made 80 of that model and it was the top of Dufours range and in 1980 it cost £220,000 a very expensive yacht back then. Robert the owner, told Les he was really looking at an £80,000 yacht and the fact it was on for £50,000 allowed money to fix the keel and deck? We spent an hour with them and they gave us so much detailed information of the problems they have had with theres. Not sure if Les was getting put of buying the one he looked at. Back in his car and he wanted to go to the three boat yards at Preveza, so I showed him how to get there. We had a look around Actio and there are a lot of boats for sale. Then went to the bar at Cleopatras for a beer and a club sandwich, where I met the Greek lady who was teaching me Greek when Nanjo was there, we had a chat about where I've been. When I went to pay, she started to speak to me in Greek, when I explained I had no idea what she was saying, she said that I should be up to that level by now if I had carried on learning Greek, I did make her laugh when I said that I've not got passed Kalinihta which were the last words she taught me? Back in the car and Les takes me to Carrefour and I get some beers, then back to Nidri and a chat at IBA but they have no other yachts for sale that Les is interested in. He drops me back at Vlicho and row out to Tom and Anne to tell them all about our last few days and the Dutch yacht. Les is picking us up tomorrow and we are all driving to Sivota for lunch. It's dark when I get back on board so just make a sandwich and have a beer. It's been an enjoyable last couple of days, and got me out of Vlicho for some sailing.
Friday 5th October
I'm sleeping really well, the temperature has probably gone down to 22 at night now, and I'm getting used to the drop. Up at 09:00 and had a lovely brekkie in the cockpit, it's another gorgeous morning, and I just sit having my toast and mug of tea admiring the view, look over to Alba Voyager and notice Anne doing the same. I can never tire of this bay, and still have trouble believing that I'm actually here, and not the UK? Did a small clothes wash and all on the line in 20mins. Gave Nanjo a tidy up, then had a lovely shower, all clean clothes on. Found a pair of 36in waist shorts I had packed and they fitted with room to spare? I can't believe I gave away all my 36in stuff to a charity shop, never thinking I would be that size again? Rowed ashore for 11:45 and Tom and Anne soon arrived at the quay as well, we all wondered how Les slept thinking about the Dufour? Les soon arrived and he was all smiles, he had gone back to the boat yard this morning and met the guy who has been maintaining the yacht for 10 years now. He gave Les a run down on how she has been used and looked after, he did not think the keel was a problem? and at the moment the deck does not leak? Les drove us all to Sivota, I've only sailed there and it's a much nicer view seeing it from the sea, rather than coming over the mountains. I was suprised to see only about 12 yachts there, it looked really deserted, compared when I was last there with Debbie and Andrea. The tavernas were open, but I would not think for long? Les liked the harbour, as much as we all do. Back in the car and onto Vasiliki a new harbour for me, and according to the pilot book the mecca for wind surfers because of the wind? It was another gorgeous harbour, with a nice new jetty, and plenty of tavernas. It was virtually empty as well, we had some lunch and watched a flotilla of Sailing Holidays yachts come in, the lead yacht had there work cut out for them as there was a cross wind blowing by now. Back in the car and we decide to drive around the West side of Lefkas and back to Lefkada, the views as you go over the mountains are truly spectacular and some of the small villages we drove through, looked like they had not changed in 30 years, it was a view of old Greece living, you do not see. The road was spectacular and well surfaced, would be superb on a bike, but some terrifying drops on some of the bends, and as Tom said they are "Kiss your Arse Goodbye Bends". We completed the round trip by stopping at Nidri and managing to find a replacement full gas bottle for Tom, he uses the large household size gas bottles. Then a quick look at the Dufour again so Anne could see it and Tom could have another look at the keel weeping, she is a very impressive yacht, but would be a nightmare if you were ever singlehanded coming into a small harbour. And of course the running costs alone, would be large. Chatting to Anne, we both agreed it's a tough decision to make and you will have to have a sizeable amount of spare cash if things go wrong. I'm so glad I found Nanjo and can afford to run her, relatively easily.Back at Vlicho and Les and me are invited onto Alba Voyager for dinner which Annes cooked. It was a really great evening with fantastic company and Annes spag bol and Toms bread were just delish, the conversation was brilliant and Alba Voyager has such a great atmosphere at the table. I rowed back to Nanjo at 23:30 and Tom took Les back ashore. Just a magic day out. I think that Les will buy the Dufour?
Saturday 6th October
Slept really well, my dreams are actually getting better. Maybe I've been at sea to long, or I'm reading the wrong books? Happy Birthday for today Andrea X X. It's a gorgeous morning, tea and toast in the cockpit to admire the view. Then of in the dinghy to the bakers shop for bread,popeye pie,slice of pizza and some cold milk. Easy row back to Nanjo and straight away I'm making a cold frappee and a large bowl of cereal, eaten outside in the 28 deg sunshine. Breakfast in the UK is never going to be this good? We are all meeting up in the yacht club for a farewell lunch, as Les is flying home tomorrow and Tom and Anne are of to Messalonghi on Monday. I will next see them when I get there in December. Washed some more clothes and had a relaxing morning. Rowed over to the yacht club and met Tom and Anne, they were on the internet looking at flights. Anne has to fly home suddenly and the cheapest flight one way is £180, strewth. Les finally appeared at 6pm but only after Tom and Andrea went looking for him, and found him looking at the Dufour. He took us all out to dinner at a gorgeous taverna up on the hills overlooking Nidri, the food was delish and the view breathtaking. It must be packed in the summer months up there, but without transport it's to far of the beaten track. I finally got back onboard Nanjo at 11pm, a nice row out in the dark on a smooth sea. We are all meeting at the yacht club for brekkie as they are opening early for the Grand Prix. Decided to scoff my popeye pie as a late night supper along with a beer.
Sunday 7th October
Slept really well, until my favorite priest started wailing, but he was only minutes in front of the alarm clock. Quick cuppa tea and I'm loading the dinghy and soon rowing ashore. Tom and Anne have already grabbed he best seats in front of the telly, we have decided to order the "Ulster" breakfast, but Anne reckons it's a whopper so we will have it after the GP. Plenty to chat about before the race starts and then silence, it's not a bad race and I'm glad that Massa and Kobiashi got on the podium at last. Les turned up late as expected, been looking at the Dufour again, it is a hell of a lot of money (well for me anyway) and a very big decision, as we told him it's not a singlehanders yacht. And where George is reasonably happy to stand in front of my bow and hold me of if I'm coming in to fast, he would run a mile if 14 tons is coming at him as we all would! I've been getting a small lump coming up on my forehead over the last 5 days, it's been getting gradually bigger. I thought it was from an insect bite, but Anne had a look and she reckoned it could be "shingles"? As she gets it every now and again, she reckoned it was due to stress, the only stress I've had lately is thinking about going back to the UK?? There is a Doctors in Nidri, and she advised I go and get it looked at on Monday, so, that's my first port of call then. We ordered the "Ulster" and it was huge, enough to keep me going all day. After a few drinks and taking Les to see "H" about a survey, it was time for Les to leave. He's a great bloke and we all wished him well with buying "Kit" and to keep in touch and let us know how it goes, and to put us down as crew. I'm sure he will buy Kit unless the surveys really bad. Spent a few hours on the internet looking at stuff, and talking to Tom and Anne about sailing to Turkey. It can all be done as "day hops" the longest is 63 miles and is a great trip down through the Aegean Islands, then over to Turkey, certainly gave me loads to think about. A lovely row back to Nanjo and I was knackered, it's been a long day, so I made up my day bed and crashed out, and slept really well, waking up in the dark at 19:30. Scoffed my pizza from yesterday and had a cup of tea, I've had to much booze the last few nights? Oh my God, I hope I'm not turning into a "Lightweight"?