After transiting the Corinth Canal we continued our journey west arriving at Ormiskos Andreaas, it was a long day we didn’t drop anchor until 6:00pm, but wow it was a beautiful bay, crystal clear water and there were only 2 deserted houses in the bay. We all had a swim and a good relax.
The next morning a 6:30am start for Trizonia. A small island very close to the mainland. Not such a long passage today, we arrived at 11:00am, stern tied to an outside concrete jetty, which was almost exposed aggregate, except that it wasn’t meant to be like that. I think they forgot to put enough cement in the concrete mixer! However, it was a no charge marina and that is a nice change. We went for a stroll as on our reconnaissance of the marina we notice a large sunken yacht right in the middle of one of the marina arms. Apparently it has been there for 5 years! Unfortunately there are a lot of ageing yachts and boats in the marina that no one cares about.
At first glance we thought there wasn’t much in Trizonia, but we discovered a small walkway and 300 metres away was the most beautiful little harbour, full of Greek Tavernas and Restaurants and a lovely swimming beach. We had lunch on the waterfront, Robbie had fried Calamari, which came kind of whole and looked like an alien, and Peter had grilled Calamari which didn’t look so bad. Heidi and I had Moussaka and mine was really good, it’s like lasagne we had a swim and a walk around the bay, past a beautiful old church with the nicest view in the world I think, for a church. We saw our first Pomegranate tree, full with fruit, very pretty. We had dinner and a game of 500 with Peter and Heidi at one of the Tavernas and I had stuffed tomatoes which actually came with a stuffed aubergine also and it was the best. We are really enjoying the Greek food, it is very home style but really nice and tasty.
We departed at 6:30am and headed through the Gulf of Corinth, where we had to navigate under the Rio-Antirrio bridge, (Its official name is the Charilaos Trikoupis Bridge) one of the world’s longest multi-span cable stayed bridges, and the longest of the fully suspended type. It is near Patras, linking the town of Rio on the Peloponnese peninsular to mainland Greece. It is 2,880 metres long, 28 metres wide and is widely considered to be an engineering masterpiece, owing to several solutions applied to span the difficult site. These difficulties include deep water, insecure materials for foundations, seismic activity, the probability of tsunamis, and the expansion of the Gulf of Corinth due to plate tectonics.
Not long after this we separated from Stormvogel, they diverted to Mesolongi and we continued onto the island of Nsis Oxeia, as we wanted to get to a C-Map agent on the island of Lefkas the following day and he shut at 2:00pm so we needed to make good distance.
***8167Oxeia is a tiny uninhabited island (except for the wild goats of course!) with an unmanned fish farm in the bay where we stern tied. We really enjoyed private swimming in the crystal clear water. Amazing when you snorkel to see the drop off of the land under the water, it just goes straight down. We were joined by another small motor boat later in the afternoon and they stern tied in the next little cove to ours, so not too close which was nice.
The wind came up quite viciously later in the afternoon, after dinner the wind died right off and we had a very calm night. Except that we had set the anchor alarm in case the wind came up again and the #$@%^&* thing went off 3 times in the night but we hadn’t moved, so in the end we turned it off. It is quite un-nerving when you are stern tied so close to the land and especially when the terrain is very rocky!
Another 6:15am early start, yes Jessie we still have to set the alarm for a 6:00am wake up!! (She finds this hilarious as we used to wake up around 4:30am every morning without an alarm in our working lives) Our passage to Lefkas was very pleasant, there was a large cruise ship anchored on the Southern end of the island, ferrying the thousands to shore. We headed to the Northern end of the island and dropped anchor outside Ligia, a small fishing harbour where there were already a number of yachts anchored. We secured the boat and took the duck into the harbour where space was really limited. A local fishing boat let us tie up to him and we jumped in a taxi and headed to the C-Map agent. It was only a 10 minute trip and we were there around 1.15pm. But, no joy he had never seen our type of card before, this was extremely frustrating as Robbie had rung and explained what we had and what we needed and he had confirmed that yes he could do it. So we wandered into the town, I went to the post office while Robbie went to the hardware. The Post Office is like something out of the past, I had to queue for 30 minutes, and it is all manual i.e. actual big folders of postage stamps like I haven’t seen for years, and the staff are very relaxed, no hurry and bustle like a normal post office. Then we had lunch (local Pita stuffed with chicken Souvlaki, Tzsaki & tomato very good and only 2.50 Euro’s) and then Robbie got a haircut. We just got in before the barber closed for his afternoon siesta! 10 Euro’s, good price and he did a good job! (not as good as Maree though!!)
It is now remarkably warmer, up to 39 degrees. All the shops and businesses now close around 2:00pm to 6:00pm for a siesta and reopen again in the cool of the evening. We got a taxi to Lidl, an Aldi type supermarket and got a few provisions including a few different bottles of wine, averaging 3.50 Euro each. Fingers crossed they are drinkable!!
We had a quiet night on the boat and we got to have a bit of a sleep in as we were meeting Stormvogel around 8:00am in the morning to continue on towards Corfu to meet Lisa, their daughter from Germany. We had another canal to go through but this time only a small one, but with a floating swing bridge at the end that we had to wait and queue with other yachts. It opens on the hour every hour. We arrived at Preveza, at 10.45am and were assisted by the Harbour Master to stern tie in the marina. Stormvogel were 3 berths down from us. Not really sure I should call it a berth as it is not a marina as we know it in New Zealand or Australia. There are no “fingers” or small docks coming off the main dock, every boat stern ties (or in some cases bow ties) to the dock, puts heaps of fenders on both sides of your boat, and the next boat is right next to you with nothing in-between. It works well, although at times with wind, swell and wash from other boats passing by, the boats all rock and roll but don’t seem to suffer any damage.
Waiting on the dock to meet us was Frank, a German guy who had met our old travelling Buddies Per and Elisabeth from SV “Oda” in Athens and was keen to meet Peter and Heidi, as Per had told them about the adventures we all had in the Coral Sea and the rescue mission with the Container ship. We were invited to Frank and Tina’s Yacht “ Frati” for a delicious cold Frappe. Both Frank and Tina were trained as high class chefs in their younger days.
Heidi and I walked into town to get more phone credit and stopped and had a Pita for lunch, an older gentleman got up and gave us his table and seats, and as we sat down he collapsed on the road. We and some others rushed to help him, the other people seemed to be medically trained so we let them take over. It was really hot and we think he fainted. An ambulance was called and took him to hospital so hopefully he made a full recovery.
That night we all went out to a local Pizza place that Frank & Tina knew about, it was up in the backstreets of the town. Tina warned us it’s nothing flash but the Pizzas are the best in Greece, and wow they were! Antonio is Italian and his wife is Greek but speaks German. It’s a tiny little place with only 2 tables, they mostly do takeaways. We had 3 large pizzas that we all shared and it fed the 6 of us, no problem. We liked them that much we brought some to freeze. Walking back to the boat we came across a little fruit and vege shop operated by Mama and Papa and we had a few laughs with them Robbie was trying to swap a pizza for some fruit.
We departed Preveza at 6:30am and after an uneventful passage arrived at Lakka, on the island of Paxoi 6 hours later. WOW! This is one of the nicest anchorages we have been to. It’s a small harbour with white sandy bottom and absolutely crystal clear water – my kind of swimming you can see the bottom so clearly in 10 metres of water. And, it was a nice temperature too. The anchorage was REALLY busy with many boats already anchored and stern tied. There was a bit of argy bargy when we first arrived, as Peter was manoeuvring Stormvogel into position to back in and stern tie, and we were standing off waiting to go beside him, a very large (maybe 120’) Superyacht muscled in and tried to take the spot. Peter just ignored him and carried on with his manoeuvres and then the superyacht moved away, and rightly so. We had a few swims and then around 6pm went into the small village for dinner and a game of 500 with Peter and Heidi. We were approached by an old gentleman selling his home grown Oregano, it was dried and like a head of Broccoli, we liked him too much to say no so Heidi brought some.
Really nice little shops, tavernas and Bars, right on the waterfront, very picturesque indeed. On our walk back to the duck there were some very talented gymnast/musicians which was very entertaining.
Bit of a later start this morning at 7am to head to Corfu, we had a very pleasant passage it was glassed out for most of the way. There were lots of boats passing, including a Cruise ship that passed very close to us, and a Hydrofoil. They are a spectacular vehicle on the water! We had to wait for half an hour to get a berth in the Mandrakai Marina, its small –maybe 50 boats – and is located right under the old Fortress and a 5 minute walk into Old Corfu town. Lisa, was waiting to meet Stormvogel and she very kindkly had a part for us for our generator that we had delivered to her. Now Robbie has a long list of maintenance jobs to do including servicing the engine, and the Yamaha outboard on the duck, replacing the main seal on the crankshaft on the generator and a number of other service/maintenance jobs. It was 50 degrees in the engine room when we stopped today, and although we ran the fans and got as much air in there as possible it is still 42 degrees in there as he is working now. The outside temperature is around 32 degrees at the moment, (5.45pm 1st August)