A Timeless Odyssey

Allures 45 (a thing of great practical beauty)

Greece Season 4 (Blog 4)

The batteries were fitted with the extra two fitting nicely onto the plinth that the Electroscan was removed from last year, so we now have 800Ah of lead-acid AGM in the domestic bank. The solar panels, one 345W and two 100W were stored in the cabins awaiting the fitting of a stainless-steel frame above the bimini in Vlikho. We need to get down south of the Lefkas canal as soon as possible to allow the stainless-steel guy to have time to do the work. The delivery of the batteries and the panels had already taken longer than anticipated. We headed south, leaving Mandraki late to try and catch the NW winds that build in the afternoon. The winds made a poor showing, so although we did get the new pole out and sailed for a while with both headsails poled out, we motored a lot of the way. The new second pole worked well and should be fantastic for the trades.

For the first time this season we arrived in an anchorage after sunset and dropped in fading light. We had chugged past Parga, which was crowded and snuck into Ormos Áy Ioannou with a magnificent sunset behind us. We free anchored and had a braai just off the main beach. There were only two other boats in there, long-lined to the shore in the little cove just off the north of the main bay the beach is in. We had a peaceful night and left at first light. There was a submarine fresh-water spring marked on the chart in Heikell but I hadn't appreciated how powerful it was, as we sailed over it, it was like a boiling cauldron of different density water, quite a spectacular natural phenomenon. There was no wind so after about 2 Nm we could get a line on the Lefkas canal entrance, 25 Nm distant, we set a waypoint, handed the helm to Philemon and spent the time motoring in the close company of a single-handed German boat. About 4 Nm from the canal we both tapped back to about 2.5knots to tread water to make the 14h00 bridge but not be caught in the gaggle at the canal entrance.

The canal was so much less crowded than in August and the unfortunate highlight was seeing a burnt-out and sunken 45ft (apparently only one year-old) catamaran just outside the Lefkas marina entrance. The story goes that it caught fire in the marina and a charter skipper jumped on it, managed to start one engine and drove it out into the channel to avoid it setting other boats alight in the marina. There was a pollution crew working with oil skirts around it, presumably trying to pump out the remaining diesel. Only the prow and pieces of charred and melted GRP were visible above the water.

We sailed with 5 other boats down the canal and then all the way to the Iris Hotel/Sailing holidays pontoon. Veronica, loves this place with its pool and friendly staff. It is excellent value for money at Euro 15 per night. It was our base for contacting Chris Bowd, the stainless steel guy and we were to see a lot of the Iris pontoon as we interacted with Chris to organise the stainless steel. At the time of writing this is ongoing but should get done.

Meantime, I have been doing all the wiring runs and fitting the solar controllers, so, hopefully, when the panels are on, it will just be plug and play. Fingers crossed. I have to say these wiring runs took at lot more time than I had anticipated. In particular, getting a mouse wire through the arch was a major mission: we spent an afternoon of frustration using various mouse wires. Ultimately, I had to take the wind generator deck gland off the side of the arch and do two separate runs, eventually by a feat of random luck getting the cleaning spring to lie just below the deck gland hole I had drilled and with some delicate fishing managing to recover it. Success at last!

Meantime, we spent the nights we did not need to be on hand for Chris, going off for a night at Vathi Vali beach and meeting up with Mike and Sarah for a great meal at the Seaside restaurant. In the next blog we hopefully get the new solar panels fitted and working, get ready to haul-out and get the centreboard welded.