On referendum day in Greece, we talk about finding a little taverna where we can hear what the locals have to say. But neither of us wants to leave our little paradise in Two-Rock Bay, where there is nothing on shore other than Christos' cantina. As a compromise, we take the dinghy to the neighbouring bay to the north, where Onassis had told us we would find a taverna. The bay turns out to be camper-van heaven, and not as pretty as Two-Rock Bay, but we go ashore to have a beer at the "taverna".
The taverna is a pretty simple place, with rough tables and benches stuck in the earth floor and green gardening plastic strung overhead as shade. It has a warm, sort of camping ambience with a nice view of the beach.
There is a separate grill "shed" out back, where two young men are grilling something that smells delicious. We are warmly welcomed by Lakis, a burley, handsome man made even taller by his huge head of hair. His handshake is so strong I almost wince. He sits down next to us, and tells us that his family has been running the taverna for over 25 years. He shouts to his nephew to give us a plate of mezzes, and we are brought a plate of vegetables in olive oil with chunks of bread. It goes well with the ice cold Mythos. The few other guests all seem to be Greek, and everyone is relaxing and enjoying leisurely Sunday lunches. We decide not to ask about the referendum after all. The results will not be available until after 8 p.m. local time, so like everyone else we will just have to wait and see what happens. The next morning, we wake to the news that the result is "Ochi" (No) by a large margin. We don't really blame them. They have a tough road ahead regardless of which path they take.
The next morning, we decide it's time to leave Two-Rock Bay. We are running out of fresh fruit and vegetables and even worse, we have somehow exhausted the entire 5 GB allotment of our internet plan. How this could have happened in less than a week remains a mystery, but being without internet is something the skipper can deal with for only short periods. We can't even connect to the Cosmote website to top up the plan, so we will have to find a dealer. We decide to go back to Preveza, where we can also catch up with Finalmente and return a beautiful earring of Krissy's that we have found at the foot of our companionway.
We find Ni and Krissy in a waterfront café, having waffles and iced coffee with their friends Paul and Marion, who have just arrived from Athens. They report that things are still quiet in Athens, even though we have read reports about grocery store shelves becoming empty as households stock up to prepare for tough times. Certainly nothing seems amiss in Preveza, where the supermarkets are still well stocked and the cafés still have clients. By 2.15 we have finished our errands, stowed our groceries and are steaming at up to 7.5 knots toward the Lefkas canal , where we hope to catch the 3 p.m. opening of the bridge. We miss it by 10 minutes. This is a big nuisance, since we now have to jostle around the entrance to the canal for 50 minutes. It is not a good place to jostle, and we are happy when the siren finally sounds and we motor through.
Finalmente has made it through on the 2 o'clock opening, so now we are an hour behind them, but by cheating and using our engine we catch them just off Meganisi. Let's face it, Aisling was not built for light wind sailing, but Finalmente definitely was.
We enter Porto Antheni in the "fingers" of the island of Meganisi, just ahead of Finalmente. This is perhaps not so smart, since they are the ones who know where to anchor. As we motor slowly toward the head of the bay, our friends Rick and Barbara (Far Out) pass us on a paddle board. We will all have dinner ashore at Niagas taverna that evening. After setting our anchor, we jump overboard to cool off. With each passing day, the temperatures have soared higher and higher. With no air conditioning, swimming provides our only relief from the heat.
Our night ashore is one to remember, although not for the meals, which are good for some but not at all good for others. The taverna is a family-run operation, and after dinner three of the men step forward and perform a Greek dance, complete with shouts of "Opa!" Although we are well aware that this is mainly being done for the benefit of a large charter group of 30-40 people, it is still a nice surprise. Then the music changes to a medley of dance tunes, and we spend some time on the dance floor before retiring to the dinghies. Normally we avoid places where the charter flotillas have landed, but maybe that's been an error in judgement!
This handsome guy dropped in at our table for a while, and eventually hopped into the bread basket.
The next morning, we must say goodbye to Finalmente and crew, who are sailing to Ithaca and on to the Gulf of Patras. Then we go ashore and walk through olive groves and orchards to the small village of Katomeri.
It's so hot that the goats are as motionless as statues, standing in any patch of shade they can find. The amount of garbage strewn along the road detracts somewhat from the charm, but when we reach the village everything is tidy and clean. And utterly quiet. I wonder what it would be like to live in such a place. Rick thinks you could hide out here forever and no one would ever find you. It makes me wonder what it would be like to live in such a place.
By the time we get back to Porto Atheni, we are definitely ready for a cold drink at the "Yacht Club". Aisling sure looks pretty across the water!
When we realize that the Yacht Club has a wireless connection, we whip out our phones. Having gone to great effort and expense to top up our internet plan (30 euros for 5 GB compared to 25 euros for 20 GB in Italy) it is a disappointment to discover that we cannot connect to it from the anchorage. In many respects this is actually a positive development: we are interacting with each other more, reading our books, swimming, napping or simply sitting and thinking. But not being able to use Skype to call home is problematic.
Before lifting our anchor the next morning, we visit Rick and Barbara on Far Out. The ambience onboard their boat mirrors their engaging personalities, and by the time we leave it is past noon. The visit has been both enjoyable and informative, and we decide to put the Fountaine Pajot back on the list of possibilities for our next boat.
Meanwhile, Aisling is still taking us to some wonderful places. Off to Varko Bay. We hear there's a good 4G connection there!