More loitering in the Ambracian Gulf
30 May 2017
Francis and Chris
Monday 22 May and still in the same spot SE of Point Yeladha. Another slow day watching The Coroner episodes, reading and sleeping. Chris has just consumed the book "Gone Girl" very much a compulsory read. This is such a hard life, we don't know why we do it!
Today, Tuesday 23 May, we have to return to Vonitsa to replenish our chocolate supply and some other essentials, like chips and wine. After tying up in the same spot as last time we headed off to the supermarket, while filling our granny trolley with the boring stuff such as bread, yoghurt, potatoes cheese etc., we are dismayed to find they do not have our chocolate. So Francis headed back to Clio with said trolley and Chris went to check out the other supermarket that we knew of and every small mini mart along the way. No joy. Later in the afternoon as Chris was napping, worn out from the hunt for chocolate.....skipper set out again on a scouting mission, determined to bring home the spoils. He ventured further afield and Eureka!, he found an AB supermarket at the other end of town and proudly returned to Clio bearing lots of goodies (chocolate that is). We will stay here tonight and make a move again tomorrow.
It is Wednesday 24 May. Have we mentioned before that there is always something to be repaired, maintained or improved on boats? The cord which our Greek courtesy flag is secured to is badly frayed and needs replacing before it breaks in the next storm, making our Greek flag disappear. So Chris has to hoist Francis half way up the mast in the bosons chair using one of the winches, to thread a new cord through the spreader. Chris got a good upper arm and cardio workout on the winch, and Francis was happy to be lowered gently and safely back to deck after that task could be crossed off the never-ending list.
After our morning workout and filling Clio's thirsty water tank with the good mainland waters (TDS of 245 ppm), we headed out from Vonitsa to explore a little further into the gulf.
We moved to an anchorage in the SW part of the Ambracian gulf named Paliomilou Bay. It is a pretty spot and again quiet, only problem being that this area is very agricultural and due to the many sheep on land, so we have many flies on board. So out with the fly swatters and let the carnage begin, splat!
Thursday 25 May and there is some unsettled weather arriving, so we decide to make a move. Before we head back, we have a quick sticky beak in the most Western bay of the Gulf, Amfilokhias bay. We found a couple of nice anchorages along the way, recorded for future reference. As we neared the end we came on a massive fish farm, no wonder there is no blue water around here. Giving it a wide berth we circled around behind it and discovered a lovely little bay which was well sheltered from the prevailing wind and again no other boats in sight. We first anchored deep into one of the many coves, but as the wind increased it pushed us closer to the rocky shore that was not good for the skipper's mental wellbeing, so we re-anchored a bit further outside the cove and had to use about 60 m of anchor chain to secure ourselves in 15m of water to prevent howling anchor alarms in the middle of the night.
As the wind eased off a little Chris decided it was time to take the plunge, and the first swim of the season happened. The water is a little chilly at first but lovely once you are in, or so she says keeping a brave, but slightly pale face with blue lips. We spent the rest of the afternoon watching grey skies and storm clouds forming all around us, releasing themselves and giving Clio a good rinse-off.
Friday 26 May and the weather is still unsettled today. We have a parcel to collect from Aktio marina and our first crew is not that far away, so it is time to make our way back to Preveza. We started off motoring as there was no wind. But as we moved further out into the main body of the Gulf the wind picked up and so we hoisted sails and Clio was soon scooting along and racing against more storm clouds chasing us.
Once we anchored out the front of the marina it was time to launch Cloe from where she has been resting on the front deck for the last six months. After a top up of air and clothing her in her lovely brown Sunbrella cover she was soon back in action. The outboard was filled with fuel and it sparked into life after a couple of pulls. Francis made the very short trip ashore to collect his $10.00 computer parts which cost $90 to deliver from Oz to Greece, thanks Kylie.
As we still had a couple of days before the crew would arrive, we anchored around the corner from Preveza town quay before we move back onto the quay to prepare for our first crew arriving on Wednesday.
Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 May, just hanging about and wishing for warmer weather.
This morning, Monday 29 May, we moved back to the town quay after visiting the Cleopatra marina to get more of the excellent floating rope (light and strong) for springs and long land lines.
The rest of the day is spent cleaning and preparing the two guest cabins for our crew arriving on Wednesday. Water and fuel were replenished in anticipation of our first Crew of 2017 and the new ropes were turned into functional landlines and springs. We also had a brief visit again from Siegfried and Gabrielle, our German friends we met last year in Preveza. Later in the afternoon we were visited by another Australian yachting couple, Merv and Judy who had some truly amazing stories to tell (and how they told them!) about their travel adventures over the past five years. After a wonderful chat lasting a couple of hours we had dinner and settled in for a well earned sleep.
During our stay on the Preveza quay we've been visited many times by Mr Makis (photo bottom-right) with his little shop of delicatessen in a big box on the back of his moped. We have enjoyed many of his products of his own farm such as eggs, honey (lots of), herbs, and olives. But still more than his produce, we enjoy his company. You would be hard-pressed to find a kinder soul and we always end up talking about many subjects. One of our favorites is when he talks about his life when he grew up and the challenges being a small-plot farmer in contemporary Greece in a globalizing world.
One of the products he wanted us to 'just try' is his home-made grappa with honey. Just 3 mm in a small glass 'to try it' made the skipper's head spin and he had to lay down for the rest of the afternoon. We bought a small bottle anyway, how could you resist after hearing his great story about how he and his brothers and sisters tending the still for days (and nights), while being influenced by the fumes from the still and the quality-probing of the resulting distillate.
More work today cleaning Clio and getting her ship shape on Tuesday 30 May. Chris also tried out the 'wind-bag couch' (photo top-left). The end of the day we were rewarded with a serenade from a gifted Albanian piano accordion player sitting on the bench close to us, just playing for his own pleasure it seemed. Chris went and expressed her thanks in a small way anyway and he and his family left for a more serious day's work, playing the terraces with often obnoxious tourists.
We dined at the Pizzeria at Clio's doorstep, who also served a surprisingly excellent Greek salad.