We're still in Vlicho and still "windlassless". A problem with the brushes in the motor has been diagnosed. The brushes are reportedly on the way-- they could have arrived today but didn't, they might arrive tomorrow, but perhaps not. You know how it goes. Our windlass is a 20 year old unit that was discontinued by the manufacturer long ago, so Rick is amazed that the brushes could even be ordered.
We're itching to move on, but trying to make the best of it. Vlicho is really not a bad place for a delay. We had a lovely long run yesterday, along a slightly different route. Lefkada island has a seemingly infinite number of olive trees- ancient, knarled, sometimes twined in pairs, with the new olives barely visible among the dusty green leaves. I have read that the proliferation of olive trees in Greece harks back to an ancient ecological disaster, when much of the country's forests were clear-cut to make way for the olive trees that provided the precious oil used for cooking, light and lubrication. In this part of Greece, the olive trees grow not only in cultivated groves but also on the hillsides among the pines, cypruses and poplars.
It is hot, but not terribly hot, with the temperatures ranging between high twenties in the morning and low thirties by midday. As we run along narrow country lanes, the chirping of the cicadas is almost deafening. A man in coveralls is cutting back growth along the road with a chain saw. "Kalimara" we say. "Much warm" he replies. "How do they know we speak English after only one word?" I ask Rick. "Accent" he replies. "But how do they know I'm not Italian?" "You don't look Italian". He's right, I don't, mores the pity.
The narrow street just behind the main road in Vlicho is a little piece of paradise. Oleander, bougainvillea and trumpet vines tumble over walls in a profusion of colour; every terrace is shaded by a grape arbour; every garden has at least one fruit tree. The elderly women in their black dresses and headscarves stare at my running shorts and ballcap with obvious disapproval. I am reminded of Martha and Louis, the elderly Greek couple who own the house behind ours at home, and suddenly realize that they have recreated the quintessential Greek garden in the middle of Halifax- complete with grape arbour, flowering shrubs and a small patch of vegetables.
On Sunday night we had dinner at the Vlicho Yacht Club, a little British enclave where you can order fish and chips with mushy peas, steak and kidney pie and various other comfort food items. It seemed strange to be eating the roast beef special on a beautiful warm evening in Greece, but it made a nice change after a steady diet of Greek salads, grilled fish and pork skewers. Even though we've been mainly barbecuing our meals onboard, our menu choices are limited to the items stocked in the local markets, which don't have much variety.
Yesterday I took the bus into Lefkada town, in search of fresh vegetables and a little diversion. The bus system here is quite impressive, with modern air-conditioned coaches, each staffed by a driver and a ticket agent. Along the coastal road, I saw sailboats anchored in beautiful clear water-hopefully we'll be at anchor soon ourselves, in a place where we can jump in for a swim. Lefkada town is a pleasant place to wander, with a long pedestrian mall, several good grocery stores and a "Wind"mobility store where we were able to purchase a Greek SIM card and a "pay as you go" internet plan. The large marina is just a short walk away from the town centre and the bus station.
On Wednesday evening, we took the dinghy across the bay to Geni and tied up at Taverna Dimitris, a small restaurant that I assume is family-run, since all the staff resemble each other. The restaurant sits on a large deck with a panoramic view of the bay and the surrounding mountains.
We order a beer and some appetizers- tzatziki, potato and garlic dip, some olives and zucchini croquettes. As the young server places each plate before us, he assures us that "is very good" and it is. Unfortunately, we eat so many snacks that we can't manage a main course. As we eat, a tiny girl who can't be even three years old appears with an order pad and a pen. She stands by the table, cocks her head and proceeds to play waitress. "Batatas?", she asks. "Neh" (yes) we reply. "Tzatziki?" "Neh". With each response, she scribbles on the pad and nods her head. Very cute.
It's quiet when we arrive but, as the evening progresses,Taverna Dimitris turns out to be a top-knotch spot for people watching. A launch appears and two young men in crew shirts labelled "G &G" help a fading Italian beauty onto the dock. She is thin as a rail and dressed in a paper-thin dress and high heels. She strides purposefully up the dock and bids us "buona sera". Maybe I do look Italian after all! After announcing "Voglio mangiare stasera" (I want to eat here tonight), she spends twenty minutes consulting with the owner over the menu before pronouncing that everything is "perfetto". Heading back to the launch, she spots the little girl. "Ciao, bella", says the Senora. "Ciao, bella" replies the little girl with a big smle. How cute is that! We are still lingering at our table when the Senora returns with her family and, as suspected, they are the epitome of elegance.
We get thrice daily updates from Horatio on the status of our windlass repair, all of which amount to the same thing- we're still waiting for the shipment to arrive. Rick suggests that perhaps we should ask for the waybill number and try to track it. Horatio shakes his head sadly. "I'm sorry Rick, things don't work that way in Greece". Finally, a breakthrough, the shipment has arrived. The brushes are not the ones we need. But all is not lost, the supplier has been called and he is putting the correct brushes on the bus. We live in hope.