Showing posts from September, 2018

Gouvia Marina, Corfu – 25 September 2018

Today was a prime example of why I don’t understand the weather patterns here in the Med. We had an extraordinarily calm night with not a breath of air.  I was so warm I was unable to sleep very well.  So it was a bit of surprise when at about 9am and we were thinking of leaving the wind started to build.  Eventually it blew up to a Force 6 just as we were pulling up the anchor.         When we got out to sea it was still blustery.  Eventually the wind was 17- 22 knots on the beam and we sailed for about an hour on Genoa alone doing about 6 knots.  That seemed good when all of a sudden the wind went round on the nose and dropped to 5 knots.  In all this time there was absolutely no change in the general weather. It was sunny with a bit of cloud and fairly warm in the sun (though the strong breeze when we had it was cool). Richard put the drop in the wind down to coming into the lee of Corfu Island.  But that didn’t explain why as we got closer to the island the wind started to pic

Ftelias – Monday 24 September 2018

We had a slow morning waiting for all the boats to leave.  The restaurant where we had dinner offered to sell us fresh bread in the morning so we went up there at 9am and bought bread and downloaded our newspapers.  We then had a late breakfast and were just hanging around for everyone to leave.  By 11am it was all go.  In fact the four boats in front of us all went at once making our leaving our berth really easy. Richard had identified a final anchorage for us to stay our last night out.  It was said to nestle just next to the Albanian border. It was only 9 miles away and we therefore arrived at about 1pm having motored all the way in no wind. It is a strange place. It is another one of these sea inlets in the coastline.  Most of it is taken up by three or four huge fish farms.  At the end there is a bit of a dog leg where we put the anchor down.  It is a muddy bottom and we seem to be stuck in well.  Our wonderful walkie-talkies have run out of battery!  We have more batter

Sayiadha – Sunday 23 September 2018

During the night it was so still that I thought we might have grounded.   But no, it was just completely calm. We didn’t rush off but left at 10am.  Again there is no wind so we are motoring, but not for long because our destination is only 9 miles away.  It is a little town with a small harbour.  The pilot book says that the depths are less than 2 metres.  It is supposed to be quiet with few boats. With our lifting keel it seemed perfect especially as it was suggested that mooring alongside would be best. When we got to Sayiadha it was not what was expected.  The outer mole, where it was suggested one could moor alongside was most uninviting especially as we couldn’t see any mooring rings or bollards.  So we went in the very narrow harbour entrance (8 meters it is said) and Richard took up the keel as the depth was reading at 1.8 metres.  When we got in there is a lot of room.  Again the pilot advises not to moor stern to with anchor on the basis that holding is not good.  We

Ormiskos Valtou (Igoumenitsa Creek) – Saturday 22 September 2018

We couldn’t find any tap working so we were unable to top up the water.  We shall just be the great unwashed for a couple of days. We actually have quite a lot of water on board and with a little respect it should last even if we do keep clean! We were dubious in leaving before the large motor boat in front of us goes.  We don’t think his anchor is over ours, but the boat is so long that it is likely to be over some of our chain.  They did say yesterday they would go at 9am today, but in the end it was more like 9:30 and we didn’t get away until 9:45. When we took up the anchor it was clean, unlike others we saw covered in mud.  So it is likely that our anchor never was properly set.  However we stayed away from the wall all night and had no trouble. As predicted there was no wind today.  The sea was glassy and the wind from behind was 2-3 knots.  So it was a long 4 hour+ motor to this anchorage Richard found.  On the way we did see a pod of dolphins, but regrettably they were

Gaios, Paxos – Friday 21 September 2018

Up fairly early and we were not quite the first to leave the anchorage.  We put up the main on the way out.  The weather forecast was for 10-14 knots of wind this morning. It didn’t start out that way. The wind was too light to sail, but we motorsailed for about an hour with the wind from behind.  Then the wind did pick up to 9-12 knots on a broad reach and we were able to sail on without engine for about 2 hours.  The only problem was that the sea had developed a rotten swell. By the end the waves were 0.5-1 metre coming from the side and making the boat corkscrew.  I needed to take a pill, which seemed ridiculous in such otherwise benign conditions. At about 12:30 we arrived at Mongonisi.  The pilot book suggested that we could moor up to a restaurant, a wall or swing on anchor.  But when we got there it was clear that the wall and restaurant were only suitable for ribs, day boats and tenders.  So we decided to anchor.  Now our anchor has been performing very well recently, but

Two Rock Bay –Thursday 20 September 2018

When the alarm went at 7am I baulked at getting up.  Richard wanted to start early because the weather forecast was for halfway decent winds early tapering off in the late morning.  But we did stay in bed a bit later and left at 9am instead of 8.   The weather forecast was absolutely right.  We had a nice wind of just force 4 mainly on a reach doing nearly 5 knots. But the wind petered away and after about an two hours  we had to turn the engine on.  So we motored into Two Rock Bay just at lunch time.  There were three other boats here.  Richard put us as near to the coast as he could and even took the keel up a bit to accommodate shallow water.  We anchored using our walkie-talkies and the anchor gave a really good tug.  Later R looked at the anchor and said it was well dug in. This is a pleasant spot with nothing here except a small beach and beach café and a few boats. The water is absolutely clear. In fact we felt guilty doing our washing up.  I hope the waste water dissip

Preveza – Wednesday 19 September 2018

After a poor night's sleep we tried to lie in a bit, but were anxious to get on.  So we left the anchorage at 10:30 to make our way to Preveza.  Richard was determined to sail no matter what and we did have all the time in the world.  So he put the main up at anchor and put out the Genoa when we got out of the bay.  After a night of 15 knot winds it was a bit disappointing to find that the wind was only blowing 7-9 knots, but at least it wasn’t on the nose. It was a bit of a beat for the first half hour, but then we turned away from the wind and it was on the beam. Being so light we were only making 2-3 knots, but at least we were sailing and we only had 9 miles to do. One hysterical episode.  I had a complete brainstorm when Richard asked me to sheet out the mainsail.  For no good reason I let go the main halyard by mistake!  The main fell about 2 feet before I realised what I had done.  I managed to get about 1 foot back up but we had to go into the wind to get it all back u

Nisi Koukounitsa (just next to Vonitsa) – Tuesday 18 September 2018

Timing was a bit crucial today as we had to get to the bridge in good enough time to get through, but not too early to have to dodge around lots of other boats.  We decided on the 11am opening which left us plenty of time to top up the water, go to the bakery for bread for lunch sandwiches and to ready the boat to go.  We did it pretty well, but the bridge opened 5 minutes late, which did leave a bit of a queue of boats to avoid. We are headed to the mainland where we will make several stops on the way to Corfu.  Richard had hopes of sailing and took the sail cover off.  Although there was a bit of a breeze, it was again, on the nose.  So no sails and just a motor of about 15 miles.  All but the first 5 miles was in an inland sea. Also the sea was absolutely solid with huge fish farms.  I lost count but there must have been at least 10 of them. As we approached the anchorage the wind turned a bit and we thought of putting some sails up, but by this time it was down to 3 knots

Levkas Marina – Monday 17 September 2018

We have had a lazy day really.  We were up fairly late.  It was due to get very hot so we went into town after breakfast and did a bit of re-provisioning.  Back at the boat I was nearly dying of the heat.  The marina has a swimming pool that no one ever seems to be in.  We discovered why.  The pool is part of the hotel here, not the marina and they charge 5 euros per person to use it if you are not an hotel guest.  But it was so hot and we aren’t paying for our berthing, so we paid the stupid charge and spent most of the afternoon at the pool. We did leave to have lunch here and to sort our end of season plans out.  We have now made reservations for the luxury resort for 3 nights over my birthday.  We have re-booked flights to come home on 4 October.  It has cost us a bomb, but I am much happier with the new plans. So we have about a week to make it up to Corfu and then 5 days or so to sort the boat out.  That should be enough. This evening we went into town for dinner and had

Levkas Marina – Sunday 16 September 2018

We haven’t far to go today so we had a very quiet and lazy morning.  After some breakfast we had a swim and read our books.  We decided to leave at 11am which was fine. There is no chance of sailing this morning with the wind having dropped to 2 knots (even though for a change it was on the beam, not the nose).  We said goodbye to Bill and his guests on the way out. It is another very hot day.  We have no desire to spend it in the marina, so we found an anchorage just under the castle before the beginning of the Lefkas canal.  We remembered the spot because we met with Dutch friends Jaques and Brigitte years ago when we chartered in this area and they were at anchor here.  At first it didn’t look like a very inviting spot especially as the wind had got up to a force 4 on the nose!  But going closer in it was fine and we got the anchor to dig in immediately. I sent Richard out for a swim first and of course being on our own he went skinny.  But we were not on our own for long becau

Ormos Abelike, Meganisi – Saturday 15 September 2018

We got up early to make a quick start to get here.  There was a forecast of 15 knots of wind on the nose due in the early afternoon.  So we slipped anchor at 8:30 and started a motor trip to this next port.  We had just over 20 miles to do.  We pretty much avoided the headwind.  As we approached the island there was absolutely no wind, but within10 minutes it was blowing 10-12 knots on the nose. We were recommended to this bay by the Luries and the CA.  It is very pretty, well enclosed and surrounded by low cliffs covered in greenery with higher stony hills behind.  The only problem is that it is very busy.  We had a heck of a problem setting the anchor and avoiding other boats.  Half the boats have long lines ashore.  The other half are swinging on their anchors, which is what we want to do.  On the first two attempts to set the anchor it didn’t hold.  Finally we managed to get it to bite well, but then were told by the boat behind us we were lying over his anchor and/or chain. He wa

Vathi, Ithaca – Friday 14 September 2018

We got up fairly early and I made my way to the smart bakery.  So we had a naughty breakfast and left at a leisurely pace slipping the mooring just before 10am.  We had 19 miles to go, but the wind was too light to sail so it was another day of motoring. The weather was cloudy, but warm.  We arrived at Vathi at about 12:30 and anchored with no problem.  We spent the whole day on board.  We could have explored the town, but I was too lazy and we had just spent 3 days in a town. We ate dinner on board. Then I absolutely collapsed. I fell asleep in the saloon and Richard eventually woke me up to go to bed! Hence my failure to do a blog yesterday.

Agios Eufimia – Thursday 13 September 2018

We awoke in the hope that the engineer would arrive.  I began to lose heart at about 9:10 and went to the local restaurant to use their toilet (they have been very nice about it).  Much to my surprise on my return the workman was here and had nearly finished the job.  Of course he only installed the pump and left us to seal the surround with Sikaflex (a marine adhesive).  It is important that the edges of the opening to the electrical connections are free of water for obvious reasons.  So back to the chandlery to pay for the work and buy the Sikaflex. It is like bath sealant, but stickier. It was a pain to squeeze out of the tube and I had to use a knife to smooth it down, rather like icing a cake!  Richard couldn’t really manage it not least because it involved crouching down to the floor.  It took longer than we hoped to do the job and it needed at least an hour to go off.  So we decided to stay another day and have the quiet time we hoped to have yesterday. It was very hot toda

Agios Eufimia – Wednesday 12 September 2018

Well we are still here after a frustrating day.  We had planned to stay because we like this port and we expected to have a nice quiet day. Fairly early this morning a British couple on a brand new 44 foot Bavaria moored next to us.  They were on the outside of the harbour and had a most uncomfortable night, so they were pleased to get in.  We got to talking and they know this area very well because they have been chartering here for years.  We told them about the problem with the shower pump and they said the local chandlery was very good and could get us the part and someone to fit it. So after paying for our two days berthing (very reasonable at 34 euro including water and electricity), we went to the chandlery.  He had a suitable bilge pump in stock, though not the make we have, but same spec.  He suggested we ask George, the harbour master, to help with fitting.  We also bought some walkie-talkies and on trying them out find we can hear each other from opposite ends of the bo

Ayios Andreou, Ithaca – Monday 10 September 2018

An eventful day, but finally one that restores our faith in the goodness of other people.  I woke very early and could not get back to sleep.  Eventually had breakfast. The German boat next to us which is over our anchor started to set off around 9am as promised but it took them over 45 minutes to actually set off. However before they went they untied one of our lines, which was a big help. Richard managed to untie the other line, which was taut and we had plenty of room to manoeuvre and leave without incident, much to my relief. The weather forecast was for light winds and sun, but the sky was very cloudy when we left and the sun was in and out most of the time.  The wind was light and also on the nose, so it was another day of motoring.  We have a new problem. Our inverter isn’t working. It was working last week, but it seems to have given up the ghost.  This means we can’t recharge the electric toothbrush unless we are on mains power.  We forgot to pack the battery one!  We

Ayios Euphimia, Kefalonia – Tuesday 11 September 2018

We had the quietest night we have had in a long time.  So all credit to our saviours who moored us up well last night.  We had a leisurely breakfast but were still ready to leave by 9am.  We were on our own untying the ropes but that went smoothly.  Richard used the dinghy and I pulled the ropes in.  When the last rope was off we started to swing but it was fine and we didn’t go anywhere near the boat next to us. So Richard gave me the dinghy seat and oars and ropes and he tied up the dinghy. Then it should have been the easy part - taking up the anchor.  There was of course nearly 60 meters of chain to take up.  It all started very well, but just as the anchor was off the sea floor and I could see it suspended in the water the windlass jammed and seemed to cut off.  Before I would have assumed it was the safety switch and just gone to put it back on.  But we don’t have that system any more, instead we have a safety switch for the whole boat’s electrics.  I assumed this must have

Fiscardo, Kefalonia - Sunday 9 September 2018

The batteries are fine so we are still here.  It has been a lazy day.  We swan a bit.  We put the motor on the dinghy and went into town for lunch.  The motor worked fine.  This afternoon we just had a nap and some more swimming. Regrettably a boat moored up next to us and put their anchor straight over our anchor chain.  We kept telling them they were doing that but they are German and act as if they don’t understand any English.  Richard went out with his face mask and found that they are over the anchor but they say they are leaving at 9am tomorrow (good at English when it suits them!) so we should be able to get away in the morning. We are really surprised about the number or boats here.  On this stretch I counted over 20 boats at anchor with a line ashore. Given that Fiscardo is about the most popular sight around it is really strange that boats are turning up at 6 and 7pm hoping to find somewhere to anchor. We had dinner on board and now are listening to the Archers.  We

Fiscardo, Kefalonia - Saturday 8 September 2018

We decided to leave Vathi after all.  I did a bit more shopping, managing to get some nice lamb chops.  I now have to hope our electrics keep the fridge cold!  The weather forecast is for possible showers, but mainly sun and light winds.  It was not like that.  Within half an hour of leaving port the wind started to get up and was 10-15knots more or less on the nose.  Also there was a huge black cloud just behind us.  Richard assured me it was going in a different direction to us, but then when I was on the helm and he was below there was such a huge clap of thunder for a moment I thought the dinghy had exploded.  So there it was, a huge thunder storm and it did look like it would catch us up. Richard put up the Genoa (the wind now 17 knots on the beam) and turned up the revs on the engine in an effort to beat the storm.  Surprisingly that worked.   We managed to stay ahead of it until it just dispersed. We got into Fiscardo at about 3pm.  We had hoped that it wouldn’t be so c

Vathi, Mesalongi – Friday 7 September 2018

We were supposed to leave our berth in the morning, but we were still waiting for the outboard to be returned as they promised it would be done in the morning.  While we waited I went into town to a supermarket to do the last bits of shopping.  I persuaded the marina to let us stay until the motor was returned. Frankly the pontoon was empty and we saw no sign of the numerous Sunsail boats that were supposed to be arriving. Finally at 1:00pm the outboard arrived and we made a quick departure down the canal, eating our luncheon sandwiches.  We only had ten miles to go so there really was no rush.  There was no wind but we put up the Genoa for a bit of the time.  When we got to Vathi we contacted the marina who claimed they had no ordinary berths but could put us on a wall where we would have to put out the anchor.  We really had little choice and the berthing man was very helpful showing us just where to put the anchor down.  They wanted us to be nearly 2 meters from the wall and us

Lefkas – Thursday 6 September 2018

As planned, still here.  The repairs are only partly done.  The diver has been and cleaned off the prop, bow thruster and around the log, so we should go better.  He says the hull is very badly fouled.  That will have to wait for winter.  They came to take the outboard away rather late this afternoon and say they can’t look at it until tomorrow.  We don’t know what to do tomorrow.  The marina have said they can’t guarantee us the berth because it is charter swap over day.  We could just go somewhere locally and then return for the motor.  On the other hand I think Richard could do with another day doing very little and nursing his cold.  It really is dreadful. We will decide tomorrow and then play the sick husband card if they want us to move. The weather was bright, but cool in a stiff breeze.  We just stayed around the boat looking for workmen and resting.  We did have one more scare.  At lunch time I found the fridge was not as cold as it should have been and seemed to be shutt

Lefkas - Wednesday 5 September 2018

As planned we got up early and left our anchorage by 8:30 am.  Lefkas is only 25 miles away, but with our fouled hull and prop we are only making about 4.5 knots.  Richard put up the main while we were at anchor (a good way to ensure you are facing into the wind when it goes up).  The weather started with 9 knots of wind from behind, but despite trying we couldn’t get the boat to do sufficient speed to make it to Lefkas in time, before the big blow, so we motored a lot of the way.  But in the last one to one and a half hours the wind got right up.  It was blowing 15-17 knots with gusts up to 20 knots.  As it was behind us (just off the stern) it was comfortable and suddenly we were doing 5-6knots.  We had planned to get to the Lefkas canal bridge in time for the 3pm opening, but we made it in time for the 2pm one.  That was just as well as after we got in the marina we saw a notice saying they weren’t doing the 3pm opening this month! Queuing for the bridge opening was a bit of an

Two Rock Bay – Tuesday 4 September 2018

I got lazy yesterday and didn’t do a blog, so here is a catch up.  We decided to leave Lakka early.  There were still an awful lot of boats in the bay.  This morning I counted 40 and there were more yesterday.  On the way out we also noted that a great many of the boats were flying the ensign.  In fact 4 45-50 footers with blue hulls were Brits. On the way out Richard said he was definitely going to sail today.  But we were let down by the weather forecast again and the wind (what little there was) was on the nose.  Of course that changes as soon as we come in to moor.  We stayed at a beautiful wild place on the mainland called Two Rock Bay so named (would your believe it) because there are two rocks at the entrance.    It was lined with cliffs all covered in lush foliage.  There was nothing there except two small beaches and a beach café halfway up one of the cliffs.  When we got there, there were only three other boats which seemed to augur a quite night. We set th

Lakka, Paxos – Monday 3 September 2018

Yes we have stayed here for a second day.  The weather is so nice and the place so picturesque.  We are in no hurry.  The boat behind us wanted to leave this morning and were afraid that our boat was laying on top of their anchor.  But they too decided to stay a bit longer and anyway we have swung the other way so they should be fine. So we have a leisurely morning with breakfast in the cockpit and a swim.  We then decide we should go into the village to buy a few things and find some free WIFI.  Richard has tried to make the outboard work with no success. So we take it off and Richard rows in.  We got everything done and came back to the boat at 12:30 to find the boat behind us gone.  Really we just lazed about all day, reading our downloaded papers, books and doing puzzle books. All this interspersed with swimming.  As the afternoon progressed the wind picked up a bit from what had been nothing to 8-10 knots. So we are bobbing about a bit, but I seem to have finally got my s

Lakka, Paxos – Sunday 2 September 2018

The night was not particularly comfortable.  There was a significant swell all night until daybreak really.  I did manage to sleep, but it was interrupted. So we left in good time at 9:30. When we got up we found that we had turned in the night, but there was no problem about the boat which set his anchor right next to our boat.  Raising our anchor was a bit of a minor drama.  First the windlass strained to get it up.  For a moment I thought we might have snagged something, but no, when it finally did come up it was just filled with gloopy mud.  It reminded me of Newton River, but worse.  It took quite an effort to get the mud off.  Well we can certainly say there was very good holding there.  As I said before due to a badly fouled hull and I think fouled propellers we are making lower speeds.  So it took us about 4 and a bit hours to get here.  Again there was little wind and what there was was on the nose, so another motor job.  We kept being passed by loads of boats all seeming

Petriti, Corfu – Saturday 1 September 2018

We were up fairly early, but there seemed to be quite a lot for us to do before we could get underway.  We decided to fill the tank with what they call non-potable water.  It isn’t dangerous, but it is desalinated and tastes rather chemically.  We drink bottled water anyway and the only culinary use we make of water is to boil veg and rice etc and make coffee.  Then it is boiled, so that should help. No more breakdowns today.  By the time we filled up with water, checked that the engine, bow thruster and windlass worked and did normal chores it was midday when we slipped our mooring.  Then we had to go to the fuel pontoon and they took away our year old petrol for the outboard and we bought new, which should work better. So my 12:30 we were actually off on our cruise.  We headed for Petriti about 10 miles south of Corfu town.  It is a busy little anchorage.  We got here later than we hoped.  The boat is slowed down with bad growth on the hull. The water line and rudders are pa