Hail Crew 2, Parte di Uno
13 June 2017 | Kefallonia Island
Francis and Chris
Thursday 8 June and Crew1 left us early yesterday in pursuit of more of Greece. We took the rest of the day off, and today we start getting Clio ready for our next Crew. Our laundry has been returned by the fuel man and lovely fresh sheets and towels are installed into the crew cabins.
While on the quay, we met fellow Ozzie Dirk this afternoon who was having trouble finding an ink cartridge for his printer. We offered to print some of his insurance papers for him without which he was not allowed to leave Preveza, so he was very grateful. He was a bit stressed as he had just had to take his father-in-law to the hospital with heart problems, not good, but good that they were in port and not out at sea when it happened.
After a busy day we are joined by Mr Makis, our friendly farmer, who supplies us with his wonderfully fresh olives, eggs, honey and olive oil delivered to our plank on his portable scooter shop. After many encounters on the quay, it was decided that we should meet for a drink. So we invited him for a beer later on that afternoon. It was great to hear more of his many stories and to discuss World, European and Greek politics with him. It was thoroughly enjoyable and we feel we have made a friend!
More cleaning today, Friday 9 June, and Clio gets a good deck wash and is sparkling in the sunlight again. We are expecting our Crew to arrive by bus at 11.00 tonight, but at around 2.00 we got a call from Jon to say that they were not going to wait three hours to catch the bus and had found a taxi driver who agreed to drive them the four hour trip to Preveza for a reasonable price. Great news, now they will arrive at the much more civilised hour of 6 in the afternoon.
At six we greeted a very weary Crew after their 31 hour journey from Canberra. Our second crew consist of friends Jon (also Francis' ex-colleague) and his wife Vanessa, and their long-time friends Wayde and Corrine. After a couple of welcoming drinks on board we headed out to one of the family restaurants nearby for a delicious meal with great company. But everybody was running out of steam, so back to Hotel Clio for all to get a really good night's sleep.
Saturday 10 June and everybody was up amazingly early. Corrine and Wayde set out to walk around the point in Preveza while Vanessa and Jon stayed on Clio with Chris and Francis for a leisurely start to the day. Then it was off to the farmers markets to stock up on delicious fruit and veg, back to the supermarket and load up the granny trolley with our supplies for the week ahead.
Around midday, after Chris' Tour of Clio and the safety briefing, it is time to break our connections to the land to start Crew2's travel on Clio.
As it was already later in the day, we decided to go South via Lefkada's East side. We were very lucky (shipper says it was 'good planning') and made it to the floating bridge in Lefkada just in time for the hourly opening, and then through the channel to a lovely swim and lunch stop on the other side.
After swim and lunch we headed to the island of Meganisi to drop anchor for the night. Initially we anchored in a cove on the Northern end of the island. It had a very steep sloping coast so we anchored and brought a line to land. The anchor wouldn't hold, so we tried again, Chris having to swim ashore again. After about half an hour, it turned out that the anchor still wasn't holding and we were running out of daylight pretty quickly. We surveyed the rest of the coastline in the little bay, but there were no other good places. So we had to find another spot in a fairly narrow bay next-door. It was already overloaded with boats. The only option was to anchor closer to the coast than skipper was happy with. If the wind would turn the wrong way, we would get fairly close to the rocky shore. Not a recipe for a good night's sleep. Anyway, after another good meal of spanakopita and rowdy discussions, it was time to settle for the night, except the skipper who sat on watch for a few hours to be sure that the wind was not going to turn and cause us problems.
At 10.00, Sunday 11 June, we moved onto our next swim spot at Wasp Bay on the South side of Kastros Island, aptly named.
Unlike the Great Barrier Reef, the underwater scenery in the Meds is not as exhibitionistic and not everything is directly visible. To make it easier for Clio crew members to enjoy their snorkeling in the Meds, Francis has created a small(ish) presentation giving some pointers where to look, how to look, how to behave while swimming and things to look for. After the Crew came back from their snorkel they were quite enthusiastic about what they all found, and agreed that it was helpful to have been given some pointers.
After lunch we moved around the corner to the small port of Kastos to anchor just outside for the night.
Our Crew are being well entertained by charter boats attempting to anchor nearby. One boat with Italians on board, gave up after 5 or 6 attempts and headed across to mainland Greece. Next was a boat with Russians who deposited one of their crew in the small harbor in the dinghy and then came out to anchor in front of us. That would have been ok if his outboard would work. We watched him struggle to start it for about half an hour and then try with very mixed success to row out in a 15 - 20 knot headwind and choppy sea. After some time another dinghy came to his rescue and towed him out to the mother ship, I am sure he was eternally grateful to his rescuer.
As it was way too windy to head ashore in the dinghy we stayed aboard and had a delicious frittata made by Jon, thank you.
Monday 12 June, and to make up for missing our land excursion last night we all jumped in the dinghy this morning to be motored ashore and have a very simple breakfast in the only taverna serving breakfast. Jon and Vanessa very much liked the Greek coffee (very good if instant heart failure is what you're after imo) and the freshly squeezed orange juice was delicious. We followed a funeral procession, which we initially thought was a wedding, up the very short hill road to the church. We kept going out to the point past the restored mill, now restaurant, to enjoy the views over the island and the Ionian Sea before toddling back to Clio.
It was then time to make sail and drift along to Atokos and our favourite One House bay with the strata cliffs, especially for Jon and Vanessa, both geologists, who were suitably impressed. Jon, Vanessa and Francis had a long snorkel and 'in-water' discussions about how the stratifications had formed, extended with where the canon-boll like inclusions came from and how the limestone rock was also eroded by boring sponges in neat pinprick patterns. Later Chris rowed Vanessa and Corrine ashore to check out the one abandoned house and the small chapel. It was then time for more snorkeling and a refreshing swim before lunch.
After lunch we headed out to our next night spot in Vathi on Ithaka, home of Odysseus. We were lucky enough to get a spot on the town quay and got Clio securely tied down for the night. We are expecting some wind tonight and tomorrow. Unfortunately one of our crew, Wayde has succumbed to what we thought to be a touch of heat stroke, so he is being subjected to lots of horribly tasting re-hydration fluid and bed rest.
We had a very nice dinner on a pavement terrace along the now established pattern of 'sharing all dishes. Especially the blue cheese mushrooms were memorable!
Tuesday 13 June
Jon, being very interested in Homer's epic (larger than life) poem called The Odyssey, telling the story of Dionysius' travel. As Dionysius was (supposed) to be a king of Ithaka, we had to visit ruins that some believe are the remains of his castle. The discussion of whether Dionysius ever existed in real life are still raging, by the way. Hoer's two books, The Iliad and The Odyssey are believed to be 'the oldest surviving work of Western literature' written around the 8th century BC, according to Wikipedia.
So, time to hire a car and explore Ithika. A rental company down the road was willing to supply us with an almost new seven seater so that all six of us could comfortably be chauffeured by Francis to ruins of Odysseus palace in Stavros. Getting to the top of the hill was quite a climb in the heat of the day (only mad dogs and Englishman....), but Jon and Vanessa seemed to enjoy themselves exploring these hallowed grounds.
After having recovered from the climb and descent, we were off to Frikis for lunch and a swim. We found a lovely secluded beach for a swim and then made our way to Kioni to indulge in a feast of gelato ice-cream. As it was after 7.00 pm by the time we returned to Clio, it was to be 'pizza to go' for dinner.
Wednesday 14 June
As we still had our hire car until 12.00 today Francis again obliged by driving the girls up to Perchori to have a look at a Byzantine church with frescoes still in place and ruins of the old hora (main town). The trip up went through some quite narrow strees, so narrow we had to fold in the external rearview mirrors not to hit the parked cars. Again a fairly demanding walk in the heat but the views from up on high were stunning and making it worth our while.
After a bit of last minute shopping for the girls it was time to move again, leaving Vathi. Just around the corner to Filiatro Bay, one of our favorite clear water bays, to anchor for the night. Lots of snorkeling here and the crew are finding all sorts of wonders underwater, to the skipper's delight.
To be continued.