We'd decided that Varko Bay would be our last stop before heading back to Cleopatra Marina near Preveza, where we would leave the boat for the month of August while we flew back to Canada. We enter the bay with the intention of anchoring on the west side, off Vathiavali Beach, but dozens of other boats had beaten us to it. As August approaches, the anchorages get fuller and fuller, and it will only get worse. But there is more room in the east end of the bay, and we anchor in almost the same place we'd been two weeks earlier. Our friends John and Jan on Brigantia are anchored closeby, but we don't even notice them until we get an email inviting us to drop over for a drink! We spend the next few days relaxing, swimming, socializing with John and Jan, and gradually depleting the contents of our freezer. Cooling off becomes our main concern, and Rick spends lots of time just floating around with his favourite new toy, a pool noodle. He's been wanting one ever since observing that Ni could drink a beer while keeping himself afloat with one of these!
Otherwise, our only real excitement comes from a fire on the mountainside behind the bay, which becomes large enough that the smoke wafts down and we begin to get worried. We're relieved when water bombers appear and extinguish the flames.
It turns out that Varko Bay is not our last stop after all. John and Jan sail off to Ligia, and we decide to follow them and have one more meal at the Seven Islands. Clearly, we have been more focused on eating than on sightseeing this month (and our waistlines reflect it) but it's really too hot for cooking. The evening is a lovely finale to our time together.
The next morning, we go back through the Levkas canal and tie up at Cleopatra marina. It's nice to see that Jim and Katie on Tenaya are just down the dock from us. We had met Jim and Katie in Almerimar in 2007, and although we hadn't seen them since then, we have followed their travels on their wonderful website, www.tenayatravels.com
. They have completed a circumnavigation during the eight years that we have remained in the Mediterranean. We meet for dinner at the restaurant Panos just down the lane from the marina that evening, and enjoy hearing their stories of the many exotic locations they have visited. The next night, we eat at the marina restaurant, joined by our Canadian friends Marcel and Gislaine (Magibourg III) whom we had met in Marina di Ragusa several years previously.
Finally, it is time to lock up Aisling and catch our share-a-cab to the Athens airport for our flight home. For me, the drive is a real nightmare, jammed in the middle of the back seat, fighting back waves of panic as the driver drives at breakneck speed, literally racing with other vehicles, bumpers just inches apart. You can imagine my astonishment when we unfold ourselves from the cab at the airport and Rick complements the driver on his skill! But then, he always has enjoyed following the F1 circuit.
And before we know it, we are back in Halifax, eating take-out pizza in our kitchen with our family. Need I say it...there's no place like home!