colin on August 10th, 2016

After leaving Frikes, we motored down the coast (funny, when you want to sail, there’s no wind; when you want to anchor, up comes the wind!), looking for a nice spot to anchor awhile and have a swim.

Took a peek at Kioni on the way; looks nice, but small harbour so we’d have to anchor outside and tie the stern to a rock. Maybe another time. Tried anchoring short-term nearby, but the anchor was in fairly deep water and the bottom dropped away fairly steeply. That meant that we couldn’t really safely get out of the boat and swim as there was a risk that the boat might swing around onto the rocks. So off we go.

We motored right to the end of the Gulf of Aetou, where the water shelved gently and became conveniently shallow for anchoring and swimming. Which we did, in about 6 metres. Very pleasant. About 4 o’clock we decided it woud be prudent to find shelter in Vathy as the wind was coming up again. What did I say about sailing/anchoring?

We anchored stern-to next to another boat which had just arrived. We agreed that we’d probably crossed anchor chains, but in the windy beam-on conditions, all is forgiven and we’ll sort it out tomorrow.

We thought we were inexperienced, and feel embarrassed sometimes when anchoring. Turns out we must be experts. Since Sandra is limited in her movements, it falls to me to run around dropping anchor, tieing up and making sure all is done properly. Sandra takes the wheel and backs up as I drop the anchor (boats don’t steer well when going backwards), and seems to have the technique pretty well nailed.

Not so some other crews. Notably the catamaran with about 10 crew aboard which had numerous failed attempts to get tied up before finally succeeding after about 40 mins. Granted, cats tend to swing to wind very easily being so lightweight, but with two engines it seems to me that you could do a variation of a “crosswind landing” approach.

Astern of our boat there is a shelf below the water, which means that we can’t get close enough to the shore to get off the boat. Didn’t stop the council cash collectors from coming around and taking €12 from us for the privilege of tieing up there. Not good value!

colin on August 10th, 2016

From Kato Limani we continued north to Fiskardo. Very crowded. We found a spot to back into and when we were almost there, a little man came along and said that it was a private mooring space. No sign… how do we tell. Meantime, while backing up, the drop anchor button had quickly become inoperative. So, since we can’t drop the anchor now, it’s up anchor and away.

The up/down anchor switches are pressure pads on the foredeck; there’s no actual switch that can be seen. It relies on the rubber boot on top being airtight and the pressure goes through a hole in the bottom where I presume the real switch is. Spent a half-hour resealing the switch with silicone sealant and decided to continue to Frikes, about another hour and a half around the top end of Ithaca, letting the sealant set properly in the hot sun.

We duly arrived in Frikes, a little harbour tucked away into Ithaca’s top end. Not quite as tucked away as we would have liked…. every time a largish boat/ship went by outside (even 10 miles away), a significant swell would come into the harbour. By the time the swell had arrived, the ship was no longer anywhere to be seen.

The swell and the accompanying wind made for a very uncomfortable night in the harbour. At one point we were banged against the wharf as the anchor and mooring ropes struggled to contend with the motion. I wish I could say that eventually the swell died down, but no, it never did. We and everyone else in the harbour were happy to depart early in the morning.

The good news: the drop anchor switch fix worked a treat.

While there we met up with David & Maureen aboard Mojo, a nice-looking Beneteau 343. They’d bought the boat new 9 years ago and had lived aboard full-time for about half that time. Now reduced to six months aboard and six months at home (England) they seemed to be getting the most from life. Like us, they’d had an uncomfortable night and were keen to leave in the morning, but not before the two boats which had come in after them had left and un-fouled their anchor chain.

David said his record for fouled anchor chains was five times in one day. They have a hook-shaped gizmo which they say is an excellent last resort to getting rid of offending chains. There’s an investment we need to make.

colin on August 9th, 2016

It looks like a quiet spot on the map. So we tied up, stern to, to a rock and put the anchor out in deeper water.

We’d pretty much settled in for a day or two, when the wind came up and the anchor started to drag. And we got closer to the rocks. Yours truly had to go cut the mooring rope to release the stern, (couldn’t possibly untie it with the wind pushing the boat), and spent an hour anchoring in another spot.

Not sure if we’ll stay here another night; there’s no wifi here, and, as you know, life is meaningless without wifi.

colin on August 9th, 2016

After departing no-name bay (which, upon further investigations, turns out to be Pera Pigadi Bay), we headed for Sami, Kefalonia. An easy two-hour motor.

We arrived outside the harbour, had a look and liked what we saw. In we went and tied up in front of a row of restaurants. Very convenient, sort of. At night, when the place is really busy, one begins to feel a bit like a goldfish in a bowl. Imagine all the patrons in the restaurant looking out at us while we try to relax in the cockpit. Disconcerting sometimes.

We stayed here in Sami about 18 months ago, in the motorhome. We liked it then and like it now. Mind, last time it was winter, and the place was nowhere near as busy as it is now.

We stayed two nights. A little man comes around about midday on a motorbike and collects €12.50 for the privilege of mooring there. Since we’d arrived the previous afternoon about 2:00, we’d already had a free night; provided we left before 12:00 next day, we’d have no more to pay for being there. And that’s what we did.

While tied up here, I noted that another boater had filled his water tanks from a water outlet located inside the street part of the restaurant. I suspect that the restaurant leases the space from the council and uses it for the obvious purpose. I asked the cashier about us taking on water here and got a reply which strongly suggested that I would need to dine in their restaurant to gain access. I already had dined there once, but at that point resolved not to dine there again. You lose, lady. We’ll be back in Sami in a few weeks, too, and guess where we won’t be dining?

Found the supermarket, the hardware store, the car rental place. Ordered some rope from the hardware store, bought some groceries and sat back to take it easy. We’ll be back soon for the rope.

Boats come and go all the time; for a time, next to us we had a Russian boat (from Moscow), and on the other side, a Dutch family. It appeared to me that the Dutch boat had laid his anchor chain over the top of ours, but no, when he left, he just picked it up and went with no fuss.

The next boat to tie up there, a British boat, did lay his chain over ours. Suspecting that it was so, I asked the British (Welsh) guy next door to keep an eye on things as we left, in case our chains were tangled. They were, and they had to untie completely and move away from the wharf before we could get our anchor back. As it happened, they were about ready to leave too, so they simply continued on their way.

Off we go to Kato Limani, about seven miles further north in the Kefalonia/Ithaca channel.

colin on August 6th, 2016

Once we got our anchor back from Giorgio of London, we were able to head off.

We had a nice, brisk sail for several hours from Kalamos towards the south-west, then (as often seems to happen), the wind dropped. We finished up by motoring across to Ithaca and anchored in a little no-name bay near the SE corner of the island. Maybe it has a name, but we have no idea what it could be.

The depth sounder showed we’d anchored in 14 metres; the way the bottom sloped, I suspect that the anchor was in 20m, the stern was in 10m. Yes, it was steep.

Tied two lines up to rocks on the shore and had a relatively peaceful night secured at three corners.

A nice spot for snorkelling…. (note: Ross & Helen), rocky bottom, with lots of fish, starfish and other underwater stuff. I just love that technical talk.

Fortunately, I’m a half-deaf old Git, so I slept through the party noise coming from the cat moored about 30m away. Morning saw Sandra ready to head over to give them a piece of her mind. Not sure which piece, I think she needs most of what she has.

Aside for the anchor being a bit reluctant to leave Ithaca, we left early for Sami, Kefalonia.

colin on August 5th, 2016

We had a long sail from One Tree Bay to Kalamos. Well, we did a lot of sailing until the wind dropped, then we took the sails down and motored.

This was the signal for the wind to come back, which it did, but we didn’t bother any further with the sails. .

Were directed into Kalamos harbour by George, the owner of George’s Restaurant. He uses his “assistance” as a means of advertising his restaurant… and it works, too. Dinner cost us €30.60. Not bad.

While taking it easy on the boat, a big, smelly, noisy motor yacht came in and tied up next to us. I said to Sandra: “He’s laid his anchor chain over ours. We’ll have trouble with him in the morning.”

Sure enough, in the morning, off he went pulling our chain along and trying to stretch Apples. She was tied by both stern cleats to the dock, and the anchor was (properly) laid out into the harbour. He picked up our anchor with his and made Apples protest.

Eventually he got it sorted out, but not before he untangled his anchor from another boat on the other side of the harbour. Duh.

I’m sitting here in Sami on Kefalonia as I write this. Another yacht has just come in and tied up beside us. I looked towards the bow and, sure enough, he’s laid his anchor over ours. Duh. Duh. Duh.

More hassles in the morning.

colin on August 2nd, 2016

We finally think we’ve made our escape…. first to One Tree Bay, then Nidri.

It’s been said that Lefkas is like velcro… you just go there and get stuck. We are determined that this won’t happen to us. I can see why it happens; there are regular flights from all over Europe to nearby Preveza, making it easy to keep a boat there and go sailing from a few days to a few weeks.

But no, we have other plans.

At One Tree Bay, who should we bump into but the lovely Stephanie, from the Porto Cafe. Hardly recognised her; she’d dyed her hair red!

colin on July 28th, 2016

Finally escaped from the Marina. There are still things to be done to the boat, but we’re beginning to suspect that’s always going to be the case. So here we are.

Not far from the southern entrance to the channel from Lefkas is a spot called “One Tree Bay”, which has two trees. We anchored here two days ago after bumping into our friend John from the Marina. We enjoyed a few beers ashore with John in the cafe at lunchtime, and one of Sandra’s wonderfully creative dinners aboard She’s Apples last night. A splendid time was had by all.

Sunset, sunrise. Each a mirror image of the other, and always spectacular.

It’s lovely here; peaceful, quiet, serene. Why would we want to be sitting at home watching Coronation Street when we could be here relaxing.

We have a TV, along with a collection of movies and TV shows, but you know, we hardly watch them. I even find it difficult to get motivated enough to post to the blog. (Which is why you haven’t seen much from us lately). Maybe as the weather gets cooler, you’ll hear more from us.

So, enjoy the video. I’m much too busy taking it easy to spend time editing it and making it look more professional. Maybe next time.

The old gangplank (passarelle) was pretty shaky. Sandra always felt nervous crossing it, as you might expect with her Parkinson’s disease. So a new one was in order.

We shopped around, and the cheapest (very ordinary) cost about €540. So yours truly bought a two-meter ladder and a piece of plywood, along with some non-skid paint. Presto! A new passarelle which cost us just over €100. Just like a bought one, and probably better than many.

And the solar panels: two of them, each putting out 110w. We now have three “service” batteries, amply served by the solar panels.

Would love to have a water maker too, but, hmmmmm… €3000? Can’t really justify it at the moment. Sometime, maybe.

To top it all off, a new dinghy and outboard. The old dinghy had a soft floor, making it difficult for Sandra to get in without going for a swim. Solution: dinghy with aluminium floor. Much easier. We plan to do a bit of exploring!

Notice Sandra’s buggy?

colin on July 7th, 2016

Yacht rigging doesn’t last forever. In fact, many insurance companies will only insure a yacht if the rig is less than 10 years old.

Ours said nothing at all, but insured the boat anyway, even though the rig was in fact 18 years old. Can you imagine those stainless steel wires holding the mast up all those years? We thought it would be prudent to have the rig replaced.

When done, they confirmed that there was indeed rust in some of the harder to get at places, and that we really had done the right thing. Yes, it cost €4000, but hey, what’s a new mast cost?