2011 Greece

Flew into Corfu on Monday, 18th April, in the evening and met Mark at a set of steps on the promenade wall after a 10 minute walk from the airport. Next day we sailed to Lidl to stock up and the winds were so variable that we could only manage to sail as far as the anchorage we’d started from that morning. Of course the wind started to blow as soon as the anchor dropped. Next day we set off south but the wind was very light and we made little progress. However at lunch a northerly got up and we managed to sail all the way to Mourtos, anchoring in sand bar bay – where we last anchored with Si and Elaine last year. Mark set of on motor first thing next morning and we soon picked we a good northerly wind that took us all the way to Prevetsa just before dark. Next day we sailed into the lagoon as far as Vonitsa, spotting a turtle, pelicans and other interesting bird life. After lunch we strolled into town – unfortunately the impressive castle was closed for Good Friday.

Bill by the castle

Francesca and Mark


It was windy by the sea but hot in town. After walking back we took a stroll over the causeway and around a wooded island. On Saturday Sue and Francesca went to buy provisions, gas and fill up with water whilst Mark did maintenance and together we bled the hydraulic steering system.

The girls off shopping

Then we had a long sail all the way to Nidri, tacking back up the lagoon, reaching to Lefkas and running most of the way to Nidri – the genika we purchased last year has been used a lot in our long sail south. We had a lazy day at Nidri but I was brave enough to have a swim and Mark did some maintenance.

Mark was in a race on Easter Monday and we were to follow him across Palairos. Sue and I went for a before breakfast swim and found the water much colder than it had been the previous afternoon. We set off under power and watched the start of the race

The race from Nidri

then took a more direct route across, finishing at the same time as the last two finishers in the race. Mark finished second in the boat Jungle. We met up at about 6 and had drinks before proceeding to a communal meal in a curry house with all the other competitors and hangers on. I found it incredibly noisy and was quite glad when we could get back to the peace of Nine Lives. We made use of a gentle wind to leave next morning but this soon became very gentle and eventually died completely. I spent ages contemplating a swim, using a fender to get back aboard, and eventually had enough courage. The surface water was quite warm but it was very cold at the stern where the deeper water had been churned up.

We had to motor to Meganissi but the wind increased as soon as we fired up.

At anchor off Meganissi

Sue and I walked into Vathi in the evening to buy some milk through a flower-lined track. By the time we returned the wind was howling and Mark and Francesca moved to a more sheltered mooring while Sue and I prepared a meal. It thundered all evening and we played cards till bedtime as usual.

Rain, rain, rain so we read, read, read. After lunch I persuaded Sue to walk to Vathi with me and we had a hot chocolate and chatted on Skype to Nicola and Doug and collected all our emails. We got soaked on the way back and our summer shoes covered in red mud. Francesca had a nice hot meal waiting for us and we played 13-card blob for the first time.
The weather wasn’t much better next day but we managed a sail back to tranquil bay in Nidri.

Swallow on guard rail

In the morning we hoisted sail and gently sailed to Vliho in time for the royal wedding. We took our washing, water bottles, recycling and computer with us and called in on 2nd-hand Geoff en route. I had a beer and did some stuff on the computer while the others watched the TV and the washing machine did its bit. The yacht club gave us a celebratory glass of bubbly with strawberries in after the event and once back aboard we returned to Tranquil Bay.

Tranquil Bay, Nidri

In the morning Sue and I went for a walk to a little church that has its own landing stage where the ferry stops on Sunday.

Bill on the church landing stage

The flowers were beautiful and we saw a caterpillar hanging on a thread halfway between the ground and a tree 3 metres above.

Hanging by a thread

It rained heavily in the afternoon so we just read and slept. In the evening we met up with Geoff and 3 more of M and F’s friends and had a very pleasant meal at a taverna. Geoff told me that at the age of 66 he sailed south from Barmouth on his own and met M and F in Portugal.
On Monday we took M and F to the shore in the tender, after getting the ‘new’ outboard going. Then we walked along the length of Nidri until we found the hotel Dave and Sylvia were staying in. The weather closed in so we watched a film using the power generated by the wind generator – The Constant Gardner.
We went across to S and D’s hotel in the morning after dropping off the washing. Poor Sylvia wasn’t well. We used their shower and Dave and I had a beer whilst I tried to get on line and Sue and Sylvia bought some provisions. We chilled out for the rest of the day with Sylvia sleeping much of it. An early night after egg on toast and a game of blob.

We set sail next morning and with a following wind hoisted the genaker and sailed across to Paleros on the mainland. Dave and I had a swim before lunch and we lazed about in the afternoon, not able to leave the boat as the wind increased to the forecast force 6. In the evening we took the tender across for a wander and had a wonderful meal at a taverna called Tomorrow. A Dutch violinist on another table entertained us with a repertoire including British and South African songs. The boat was pitching allover the place when we returned to it in the dark and we struggled to get aboard. It poured with rain most of the night.

We spent next morning wandering around Paleros, had a hot chocolate in the ‘Yacht Club’ and set off tacking into a south-easter towards Meganisi. The wind kept us guessing but ended up a fowwowing wind and we anchored in O.Abelike – a secluded bay. David took a line ashore. Egg on toast and blob and chocolate before bed.
David swam ashore in the morning and we set off for Vathi in a moderate breeze and had some difficulty mooring up because the quay we headed for was not available and the wind had increased so much it was a struggle turning it round, especially with various people shouting conflicting instructions.


However, we tied up stern to with out much trouble when we’d managed the turn. The wind blew all afternoon and there were several dramas, boats whose anchors were puller, boats arriving with no steering which entertained us and I kept my eye on the ropes and anchor chain. In the evening we went ashore and had a lovely fish meal then David took us to a bar for a brandy.

Dave with Sue and Sylvia

There was a slight northerly breeze so we set off for Sivota, on the southern end of Lefkas island but the wind changed to the south, in spite of the forecast, and we had to tack all the way up the Meganisi chanel.

Put your head on my shoulder

Dave and Sylvia went for a stroll and we went and visited Geoff on his boat.

Going ashore

Then we joined D and S for a beer before coming back aboard for corned beef hash.
Set off with the intention of going to Foci Bay, Fiscardo but the wind thought otherwise.

The new gennika

However at lunchtime it suddenly picked up and we managed eventually to sail there. I was completely exhausted as we were close hauled all day. But a great day’s sailing! We fouled up a buoy on our first attempt at anchoring and Sue took command. We walked into Fiscardo and had a drink. Then we walked back to the little taverna in Foki Bay and had a lovely meal there. It was cold but we enjoyed it nevertheless and their two children said they remembered us.
We sailed off the anchor out of the bay and after we were clear of the shielding of the land and we had a great sail across to the head of the Maganisi channel which our genaker took us down. We motored south to Vliho and anchored there, having done 19 miles. David treated us to a meal there and we had roast beef and I had crumble and custard!
Next morning, Monday, we motored back to Nidri then took Dave and Sylvia ashore with the washing. We all showered at their apartment and then had lunch on the beach. When we got back our neighbour asked us to re-anchor, which we eventually did. The wind became very gusty so we couldn’t leave the boat to meet Sylvia’s friends. We watched a DVD, Green Card, in the evening after a pasta supper exhausted.

We were exhausted after lots of sailing and my cold but decided to leave Nidri anyway. We texted Sylvia to see if they wanted a lift to Spartakhori and took the tender over to pick them up. Sylvia said the ferry wasn’t available to take them back so we parted ways and set off under motor by ourselves. Half way across the 5 miles we saw them waving from the ferry – she’d been given the wrong information. We were given a prime mooring alongside the quay on condition we ate in their taverna. Dave and Sylvia spent the afternoon with us and caught the 4.30 ferry back.

Ferry from Nidri

We had a nice meal and watched a dreadful DVD – Pride and Prejudice.

A lazy day – we rose late and pottered until late morning when we climbed the 110 steps to the village at the top of the cliffs which was very picturesque. We bought a huge loaf of bread from someone’s front room and started it for lunch with Greek salad. Sue polished the stainless and I transferred the diesel from the jerry can into the main tank. In the afternoon a storm blew up and all the boats were leaping about on their moorings. It calmed down in the evening and we had a pleasant meal again in Babie’s taverna before watching “Ladies in Lavender”. Still not swimming weather.
Set off at 9ish and picked up a strong blow but it didn’t last and we drifted for a good hour before we were able to unfurl the genaker and cruise west towards the mainland. Our destination was Kalamos, a little port that serves as capital to the small island of the same name. We moored up stern to in the harbour and I ventured for a swim from the outside of the harbour wall. Later we had a meal at George’s taverna and strolled around the little settlement which seemed very quiet and isolated.
Next day we set off fairly early but this time we didn’t get much wind for the first couple of hours. As ever it picked up and we made our anchorage on the mainland, about 10 miles further south, by 1600. The wind howled down the bay for the first couple of hours. We were thinking of Jo and Alisa setting off on their 3 peaks adventure and of Carla doing her marketing finals exam. We watched yet another DVD – Minority Report.
It was beautiful next morning and I got up early to birdsong and mopped the decks, pumped up the dinghy and sorted out the cushions in the cockpit before breakfast. It was quite calm so Sue read on the fore-deck whilst I fished. Then a northerly breeze sprung up so we upped anchor and set off south. There are quite a lot of islands where we were and we had to go west to escape through them. We weren’t sure exactly where we were and nearly missed the gap we were aiming for. We anchored at 1500 in a large bay, Limin Petala, seeing the first yachts we’ve seen for a few days except for a few sails in the distance. We enjoyed a swim and a nude sunbathe on the fore-deck. It stayed windy though almost right through the night.
Next morning we sailed off the mooring and soon had the genaker up, taking us out of the bay. The wind died completely when we were very close to a small island so we had to start the motor. After 1/2 an hour it had picked up a bit but on the nose so we tacked, making very little progress at about 1.5 knots until 1600 when we were still over 12 miles from our destination. We decided reluctantly that we would have to motor as that would mean arriving at Poros, our destination, at 2000. The wind died completely so it was the right decision and we docked alongside the quay at precisely that time. Shattered we staggered up to a quayside taverna for a meal and then straight to bed.

We were tired all day and stayed in Poros recovering. We watched an long drawn out recovery of an anchor and 100 metres of chain – the owners had forgotten to attach the end to the boat! – had a hot chocolate and updated our emails etc. and in the evening walked into the main part of town, got some cash out and had a sea bream at a taverna. Afterwards we watched a DVD – The Bucket List.
We set off as soon as we’d bought fresh bread and eggs at about 0815 and had a following wind for the first while. Then a gust hit the genaker and we struggled to bring in down. The wind was all over the place so we started the engine and motored until it settled down. When it did it was strong, over 20 knots so we only put out a third of the genoa. The pulley holding the sheet came adrift so we had to motor again until I fixed it. We had a rough crossing as close hauled as I dared with so little sail up and motored the last mile into Nikolias where we were able to go alongside the quay. The port police nabbled us for €9.
We met up with Roy and Karin who had been in Poros and who’s had a worse crossing than us the day before. Tired we had a meal aboard and watched another DVD – Amateurs – not up to the usual standard!
We had to motor all the way to Zakynthos town with a head on wind and a huge thunderstorm that engulfed us for a while. We moored alongside and went ashore for a meal before watching a lovely DVD, Miss Potter, as another thunderstorm thundered and flashed around us.
Sue wanted to go to Lidl to buy enough stuff to stock up the boat for Mark and Francesca and for little gifts to take home. I reluctantly trudged along busy roads for about 3 km to get there. We only just had space to fit all her purchases in and saw the bus back go past as we left the supermarket. I insisted we take a taxi back. We also took our washing in to have that washed in a nearby, expensive, dry cleaners. In the afternoon we went to find the barber I’d been so pleased with last year. The same man wasn’t there but I had an excellent haircut and iced coffee. We ate giros’ on the waterfront then bought some wonderful Greek sweets which we had as our pudding on board whilst we watched PS I love you.
On Friday we had the morning to clean the boat ready for the arrival of Mark and Francesca and stock up with fresh produce. It was the hottest day so far and we went for a swim at midday, just getting back to 9 lives as our hosts arrived. There was lots of catching up to do and photos of the wedding and Mark tackled the hydraulic steering system again – unfortunately more air in it. We ate aboard.
Everyone was up early next morning and I only just managed a quick shower before we set off for Katakolon with Mark in charge again. We had a lovely sail across with a following wind and sailed right into the bay. Sue cooked us cabbage and hazel nute and we played 13 card blob.
Sunday morning and the plan was to get up early and catch a train or bus to Olympia. We watched a train leave at 0900 and found out when we went ashore that there were no more so we decided to have a lazy day here at anchor and get up early for the 0900 train on Monday. Neither of us slept well that night and I had bad stomach cramps but we got up in plenty of time and sat on the train at 0830 waiting for it to leave. A huge cruise ship moored in port whilst we were having breakfast. The journey took about an hour and then it was only a short walk to the ancient site. The ruins covered a huge area and were impressive. Sue and I jogged round the 440 metres of the stadium, treading the same earth that athletes had competed on millennia ago. We took a more tortuous route home, catching a bus to Pergos, then waiting 2 hours for a connecting bus back to Katakolon. We had a Greek salad while we were waiting. I had been under the weather all day.  Francesca went to bed early and the 3 of us played cards after eating bread for our tea.
Set of early to start our journey north.  Sailed for a bit but we spent over 6 hours motoring.  Arrived in the rain at Kilini, a dreary ferry port on the mainland.
Next morning we sailed off the anchor towards our eventual destination at the north of Cephalonia.  The wind picked up and we had a good sail most of the way to Poros, albeit with an uncomfortable sea.  After motoring the final couple of miles we moored alongside the same part of the quay we’d used a week or so earlier.  It was very hot so we soon went to find a beach for a swim.  Sue and I swam right round a small island.  Roy and Karin also were back in port and we met an Austrian couple who had a more recent version of 9 Lives.  In the evening we walked over to the main part of town, bought some provisions and had a lovely meal looking out east towards the mainland.  A storm blew up before we went to sleep.
It was very noisy early in the morning as all the trucks drove past to catch the 0700 ferry.  We set sail north after picking up fresh bread and milk from the nearby supermarket.
Our second Greek adventure is nearly over.  Earlier I had felt unsettled and wondered what we were doing out here again, now I feel very relaxed and am enjoying all the various experiences and wondering how I can settle back to life ashore again.  The newspaper Mark brought back with him was a reminder of life in the UK where news is an important part of daily life.  Here we hardly hear anything that is going on and know very little about what has been happening in Libia or any of the other events that were so important at home.  I don’t think I am finished with sailing but who knows how I’ll feel when I’ve been back a few weeks.
En route the big catamaran we’d seen in Poros sailed alongside us and we took photos of each other.  We sailed most of the day and as it was cloudy I sat on the front deck a lot of the time.  When the sun came out it was very hot.  We anchored in a lovely bay called Limini and met up with Geoff and two more of M and F’s friends.  We swam over to their boat and later they all came over for a drink to us.
We awoke to the gentle tinkling of goat’s bells and went for our first and only early morning swim.   We then had a gentle sail to Fiskardo where we moored up.  We found out there were no buses to Argostoli at the weekend and that a taxi cost €60.  However there was space on a package holiday coach so we arranged to use that and Sue packed all our stuff.  I made my Lebanese beetroot salad dish and we had that amongst other salads before our last game of 13-card blob.
Up at 0610 to get ready for the coach.  Dropped off by the bus station and walked till we found some convenient, cheap and rather scruffy rooms.  Then we found the square where David and Anna stayed last year (very close) and sat to recover and chill.

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