A trip to the dentist

Monday 7 September 2015

The hotel receptionist has secured an appointment with an English speaking dentist at 10:00.  H’s toothache has not subsided and making for one unhappy Howie, so its into a taxi and off to the centre of town.  We have the address (written in Greek) on a piece of paper to hand the driver.  He takes us to the main square, drops us off at a busy corner and points up the street. OK, can’t be that hard – its a pretty short street.

Umm everything is in Greek and building numbers are in short supply.  We stand in the street looking around us fools, until H stops someone and shows them the piece of paper.  They point to a glass door and a buzzer.  We stand in the doorway looking at the buzzer like fools, until someone unlocks the door and tells us in sign language to go to the second floor.

There we find the lovely Dr Angeleiki Rigga in her tiny two room surgery.  We fill out a bit of paperwork and Howard is taken into the other room for a probe and X-ray.  Before two long they are back.  H has an infected gum, the Dr has given it a good clean and says all should be ok.  She scribbles out a recommended antibiotic, just in case it does not improve, no prescription needed! 60 Euro, cash and we are done!

We have a look at the shops in the town centre, this is far from the tourist area of the old town, and its bustling with locals going about their business.  Then we wander back to the hotel.  Thats the morning done, what to do with the rest of the day?

In the end we organise with the receptionist for a hire car for the day.  A tiny little hatch, delivered to the hotel, 50 Euro cash for the whole day, no credit card details taken, no deposit taken, just a quick check of my Australian drivers license.  How easy is that!

We have been given a couple of names of beaches to visit on the south of the island.  The first beach is on the exposed western side of the island – its a “sandy” beach that is busy with winder surfers, but the sand is a dirty grey and there is rubbish everywhere.  Definitely not up to scratch!  Back in the car and back to Mesogi a holiday town on the eastern side.  Ummm not a good choice either … well its good if your English or German and looking for a very very very cheap holiday.  But thirst forces us out of the car and a walk along haphazard wooden planks that pass as a boardwalk to a semi-respectable looking bar for a bit of lunch and a beer.

Back in the car we head back to Corfu, stopping at Benitses for an ice-cream.

I have seen photos of a cute little church on an island that is not far from our hotel so we head there.  We find a park at the top of a cliff and look down and there is it – the church of Panagia Vlacherna and little Mouse Island further out in the bay.

Church of Panagia Vlacherna and Mouse Island

Church of Panagia Vlacherna and Mouse Island

Down the stairs and over the 300m causeway to the little church.  How cute, there is even a young couple there having their wedding shots.

The church bells

The church bells

There is another causeway that spans the bay.  Ocean on one side and wetland and the airport on the other.  It just wide enough for two people to walk side by side.  We go to have a look and quickly realise that this is a weir and directly under the flight path for planes approaching the airport.  We position ourselves directly under the flightpath and before too long a number of planes line up, head right for us and roar over our heads some 50m above us.  Its obviously a favourite place for locals and tourists alike, there are locals  fishing and small family groups doing the same thing as us.  At one stage we even have to pull our toes in as a scooter rider crosses the weir.

Church of Panagia Vlacherna

Church of Panagia Vlacherna

Coming in for landing

Coming in for landing

Fishing on the weir

Fishing on the weir

As the sun starts to go down we head back up the cliff stairs and stop and have a couple of drinks in a cafe that overlooks the airport.  From our seats we can see the planes land, and then reloaded taxi to the take off point and then take of with an almighty roar  The runway looks frighteningly short and in bad condition.  And we have to fly out of there tomorrow!

Cafe Kanoni

Cafe Kanoni

Preparing for takeoff as seem from Kanoni Cafe

Preparing for takeoff as seem from Kanoni Cafe

Back to the hotel we ditch our things and return to Nautilus Cafe for a couple more drinks and then to Anemomilys for a simple dinner.

Mon Repos Palace, Corfu

Sunday 6 September 2015

Howard has a toothache! On no, what chance we can find an English speaking dentist in Corfu on a Sunday?  Not good it turns out.

We ask at reception and they say they will make enquiries.

Later that morning we say goodbye to Sarah & Carolyn as they head of to the airport for their flight to London.  Bon Voyage girls.

We relax in the hotel in the morning, but after being told there is no dentist available today, we decide to check out the Mon Repos Palace, which our hotel is named after.

My guidebook (which is about 15 years old) tells us there is a palace where Prince Phillip (yep Phil the Greek) was born and raised, extensive gardens and a series of ancient ruins.  Sounds good, and its just a short walk around the corner and up the hill behind the hotel.

Well the the book was right – there are ruins alright.  In fact the whole place is in ruins.  The “Palace” is more like an abandoned villa and the gardens are overgrown and sadly in need of some love.  The ruins are no more than piles of rocks.  What a disappointment!

Byzantine Church

Byzantine Church

Gatehouse Sign

Gatehouse Sign

Mon Repos Palace

Mon Repos Palace

Something ruined

Something ruined

Heraeum

Heraeum

House on the grounds

House on the grounds

I don’t think we can even blame the Greek Financial Crisis – it looks like it has been going down hill for a long time.

To recover from our disappointment we head to Nautilus Cafe for a few drinks and nibbles.  Well the nibbles are for me, H’s tooth is giving him hell so he tried to numb the pain with Ouzo.  The Cafe a popular destination for the locals who are showing up to eat ice-cream, enjoy the scenery and conversation.

Nautilus Cafe

Nautilus Cafe

Corfu Fortress from Nautilus Cafe

Corfu Fortress from Nautilus Cafe

Ouzo

Ouzo

Windmill

Windmill

On the way back to the hotel we stop at a little kiosk for water.  Howard has to stoop and peer through the little window to see.  He is promptly told “You too tall for kiosk”.

Howard is told "you too tall for kiosk"

Howard is told “you too tall for kiosk”

Kerkyra, Corfu

Saturday 5 September 2015

I have a fitful nights sleep, half the time dozing on deck and then we are up early morning.  With our bags packed, we bid farewell to Francesco and thank him for his hospitality. Then its a brief transfer by taxi to the grandly named Mon Repos Palace Hotel.

Mon Repos Palace Hotel

Mon Repos Palace Hotel

The MRP Hotel is a serene reminder of yesteryear.  Set on a point to the south of town and just across the road from the beach, the hotel is a sophisticated establishment catering to an adults only market (no screaming kids disturbing the peace in the lobby or in the pool).

Our room is not ready yet and we are ushered into the restaurant where the buffet breakfast is still available.  Eventually our rooms are ready and we retire to a suite on the top floor, for a very welcome shower and lay down on a proper bed.  We even have our own patio, that looks out over the water.

Our berth on Oversea

Our berth on Oversea

A bit more room at the Mon Repos

A bit more room at Mon Repos

Our balcony

Our balcony

Mid afternoon and during the hottest part of the day, we walk along the esplanade (3 kms) to Corfu, running into Carolyn and Sarah who have been there already for lunch and shopping.

The esplanade to town

The esplanade to town

Corfu is a labyrinth of narrow streets, alleys, churches, squares and jam packed with tiny shops selling a variety of local and imported goods. The dark narrow alleys offer a welcome relief from the scalding hot sun, cooled by the shade and with air conditioners blasting out of tiny shops.

Old Corfu Town

Old Corfu Town

Doing a bit of shopping

Doing a bit of shopping

One of the many shopping streets

One of the many shopping streets

That night we meet up with Carolyn and Sarah for our last dinner together as they fly off tomorrow to London.  We go across the road to Anemomylos (Anemone). Cocktails are ordered and an abundance of food, then more cocktails.

Anemomilos Restaurant Cafe Cocktail Bar

Anemomylos Restaurant Cafe Cocktail Bar

Anemomylos

Anemomylos

Back at the hotel there is a very good live band entertaining the dinner patrons, we grab a table on the open balcony and enjoy the music and a few more drinks.

Final Port – Corfu

Friday 4 September 2015

We are supposed to leave by 10:00 but we all sleep in and there is no way Carolyn and Sarah are going to leave without grabbing a coffee after their big night. So its closer to 11:00 before we get away.  Its our last day of sailing and we are heading further north to Corfu.

Getting ready for our final day

Getting ready for our final day

Carolyn

Carolyn

Because we get such a late start we have missed out on our morning swim so Cisco stops for the girls to swim once we get closer to the shore at Corfu, but there is still 20 meters under the boat.

Howard

Howard

We pass Kerkrya, also know as Corfu Town, the capital of Corfu, and get a great view of the old Venetian fortress from the sea.  The fort has been protecting the island since the 15th century.  Corfu is the largest island in the group and a very popular holiday destination for the British and Europeans.

Corfu Fortress

Corfu Fortress

We stop for our final swim before we head to Gouvia Marina, a massive marina just north of Kerkrya.

Final swim

Final swim

Sarah and Francesco

Sarah and Francesco

We are met at the entrance to the marina and escorted to a berth, this is our final destination and our last night on board Oversea.  We are all dreaming of a comfortable hotel bed and proper bathroom but we are all very sad that our sailing adventure is over.

Gouvia Marina

Gouvia Marina

Back to Paxos

Thursday 3 September 2015

Overnight we have stayed on anchor at Pagra and it’s a rockin night for H and I in the front berth.  There is a steady roll of the boat from side to side and a constant banging over our head.  I went up on deck in the middle of the night to try and stop the anchor pin from continually bouncing off the side of the hull.

Today we head back to Paxos as there are more beautiful beaches to explore.  First stop is at a little beach on the north of the island – just south of Lakka.  We jump overboard and H & I swim to the beach, once again it is a stone beach and too difficult to walk on without shoes – for our tender feet anyway.

Swimming spot # 1

Swimming spot # 1

The next stop is at a beach called Manadendri which has a couple of little resorts.  Bens Bar is tucked in to the right of the beach and set out over several levels up the hill.  The restaurant at the top is open air, casual and with lovely views and great food.  Very simple but absolutely delicious, we sample the zuchinni balls, giant beans, spicy chick peas and pastitsio.

I think as a location and setting this place is ideal.  What a wonderful place to while away a lazy afternoon.

The restaurant above Bens Beach Bar

The restaurant above Bens Beach Bar

Sarah & Carolyn

Sarah & Carolyn

Oversea

Our view from the restaurant

Getting the oven ready

Getting the oven ready

Very simple but absolutely delicious – the zuchinni balls, giant beans, spicy chick peas and pastitsio. I haven’t bored anyone with food photos for a while ….

Zucchini balls and giant beans

Zucchini balls and giant beans

Pastitsio and souvlaki

Pastitsio and souvlaki

We take our time and enjoy the food, wine and atmosphere, then swim back to the boat and chill out on the deck.  We are in no hurry to go anywhere.

Bens Beach Bar

Bens Beach Bar

Manadendri Beach from the boat

Manadendri Beach from the boat

We are staying at Giaos again tonight, this time a short walk from town and behind the island that protects the port.  Francesco has a run in with another boat owner, who has his nickers in a knot over the freshwater supply and won’t let us use the connection – even though we offer to pay him some money.  He is not using it – but no one else can either.

After such a late, big lunch I can’t face another big dinner so H & I leave the others to themselves and wander around the back streets of the town, have a drink or two and then grab a quick giros for dinner.  Simple and yummy.

Sundowners at Giaos

Sundowners at Giaos

Early night for us to catch up on some sleep we missed last night.  Luckily it’s a nice cool night and very calm in port.

Alls quiet as we walk back to Oversea

Alls quiet as we walk back to Oversea

Turns out the girls and Cisco end up having a pretty big night.  They found a bar with live music and ended up having a few too many margaritas. Oh to be young again!

Paxos Caves & Parga

Wednesday 2 September 2015

Yah – I’ve managed to sleep in!  I’ve slept until 9:30, finally getting into Greek time.

Before we set sail we go for a leisurely walk around Gaios, exploring the back streets and the little shops.  Mornings are very quiet and laid back.  We find a delightful bakery /  sweets shop and stock up on some delicious treats, freshly baked cookies and baklava dripping in local honey.

Francesco takes us straight out to the sea caves on the west coast of Paxos.  We drop anchor and jump into the dingy.  There is a series of connecting caves to swim through.  We grab out floties and paddle through the caves.  The main cave is monstrous – large enough and deep enough to sail a medium sided boat into.  Other places in the caves are so shallow that we have to drag our bodies over the smooth rocks.  Its amazing to float in the crystal clear water and look up and see blue sky through the roof of the cave.

Paxos Caves

Paxos Caves

Its relatively serene (and surreal) when we get there but before long 4 tour boats came in and destroyed the peace.  One in particular – Captain Hook ridiculously overcrowed, blasting music.  We are invaded by hundreds of people – yelling, screaming and splashing about.

Peace disrupted

Peace disrupted

The large cave

The large cave, can you see the boat in the cave?

We high tail it out of there in the dingy to an impossibly small cave.  Cisco is armed with torches and heads straight in.  Inside it is pitch black and the ceiling is so low we have to crouch down to get through. After awhile our eyes accustom to the dark and we look back to the entrance where the light is blindingly white and the water below lit to the most amazing vibrant, almost iridescent blue.

Inside the small sea cave

Inside the small sea cave

Cisco has been having problems with the motor (a full season of rough treatment and no maintenance) and I’m praying it does not give out here of all places.

One of the many beaches we pass

One of the many beaches we pass

Further up the coast we stop at a little cove that has small rock towers all over the beach.  Someone has gone to a lot of trouble to build these rock towers.  It appears there is no way to get to the beach easily on foot.  Here we experience our first nautical problem, the anchor has stuck between rocks and we can’t get it in. After several attempts that only wedge the anchor tighter. Cisco has to dive down and attach a rope to the anchor and pull it out with the dingy.

I named this Little Rock Beach

I named this Little Rock Beach

We stop at Lakka a small port at the very top of Paxos for lunch and a swim.

After lunch we try to get a sail in but there is not enough wind, the longer we spend on the boat the less effort any of us can make to actually do any sailing, especially in such calm waters.

Tonights destination is Parga on the Greek mainland, moored in the middle of the bay at Chrisogiali Beach.  Anchor overboard and we are set.  We relax on board the rest of the afternoon, enjoying a few beer, wines and snacks. After cleaning ourselves off we hail the Yannis’ water taxi that goes from boat to boat picking up the yachties heading to Parga, which has been hidden from us behind the headland, for a night on the town. The water taxi / ferry is packed with people from all nationalities.

Chrisogiali, Parga

Chrisogiali, Parga

Castle of Parga

Castle of Parga

Yannis water taxi

Yannis water taxi

Francesco heads straight up to the headland and the Castle of Parga, with great views looking down to the town.  Parga is much bigger than the other ports we have visited due to its easy access on the mainland.  There are hundreds or shops, bars, cafes and restaurants to choose from, but Cisco has told us about a good restauant out of the tourist area which he highly recommends.  Its a bit of a walk and its early yet so we stop for a sangria at one of the many fashionable bars along the harbour front.

Sunset over Parga from the Castle

Sunset over Parga from the Castle

We find ourselves walking up a dark and deserted back lane to eventually find the 5 Senses at the Alpha Hotel.  After a short wait we are seated at a table with proper linen, good glassware and the sound of english voices all around us.  Well I guess no place is perfect. Turns out the food was definitely worth the trip.  After dinner we are lured to the pool area where there is a live band belting out some rock classics and blues numbers.  Unfortunately we can only enjoy the entertainment for a short while or we will miss Yannis’ taxi back to the boat for the night.

The 5 Senses Restaurant

The 5 Senses Restaurant

5 Senses awakened

Dinner - yum

Dinner – yum

Its 11:00 at night and the place looks like its just gearing up, and we are told that this is nothing.  Apparently the esplanade is so crowded in August you can hardly move.  We board the 11:30 water taxi back to our boat in the dark.  Luckily Yannis has a better memory than us about which is our boat – they all look alike in the dark to me.

Paxos and Antipaxos

Tuesday 1 September

Today we have a long day ahead – we are sailing north to Paxos and Antipaxos towards Corfu.  The original plan was to sail / motor up the west coast and it should take about 7 hours, but we have discovered that Francesco’s next charter leaves from Corfu, which is perfect for everyone as that is where we want to go after our weeks sailing and it will save us a day of travelling.  The only problem is that we have left our big bags at Lefkas Town, so instead we have to sail up the east cost to collect them, which will add a few hours onto our trip.

We head off, motoring as usual, with very little breeze, assisted by the gib (its almost like proper sailing).  Roberto is waiting at the dock with our bags and linen for the next weeks charter.  We have to make the end of the channel by 11:00 for the bridge to open or we will have to wait another hour – no time to chat.

Waiting in line

Waiting in line

Waiting in the canal

Waiting in the canal

The island of Lefkas is attached to the mainland by a long causeway and a floating bridge.  The bridge closes briefly every hour, pulls up its ramps and moves sideways to let boats in and out of the canal.  So it turns out its not a bridge at all – its a ferry.  They do it this way because if they build a permanent bridge Lefkas would no longer be an “island”, it would be part of the mainland and they would loose their concessions and grants. Crazy Greeks right?

Is it a bridge or a ferry?

Is it a bridge or a ferry?

It's a ferry

It’s a ferry

On the mainland side of the bridge/ferry is an old Venetian Fort, which I think was there to protect the island from invasion from the mainland.

Venetian Fort

Venetian Fort

From here it is a long sail across open sea – perfect time for a nap.

The Greek god Poseidon giveth and he taketh away – yesterday he took my hat and rash shirt, today he gave us a blow up floating ring, we immediately dubbed it the “li ring” to match Sarah’s “li-lo.

Francesco takes us straight to “The Pool” on Antipaxos a small bay with the most amazing clear water.  The boats seem to be floating above the water.  I’ve never seen water so amazing.

The Pool, Anti Paxos - how amazing is the water?

The Pool, Anti Paxos – how amazing is the water?

Its too much to resist and we jump in straight away and swim to the beach.  Cisco (Francesco’s new nickname) recommends the view from the taverna on the top of the cliff.  So off we go up the 200 stairs to the Bella Vista Taverna high above the beach.  The view is amazing and the beer is cold and delicious.  I could have stayed there all day!

Bella Vista Taverna

Bella Vista Taverna

Howard & Sarah

Howard & Sarah

The taverna

The taverna

View from Bella Vista Taverna

View from Bella Vista Taverna

And what a view it is!

And what a view it is!

Enjoying the views and a beer or two

Enjoying a beer or two

Back on the boat we head to Gaios, Paxos for the night.  Gaios is a buzzing little port and obviously a favourite for yachties, so we are lucky to get a berth on the main strip.  Once again there are dozens of bars, restaurants, tavernas, cafes, souvenir shops just meters from our berth, but Francesco has a special treat for us for dinner tonight.  Gaios is a lovely little port.

Gaios, Paxos

Gaios, Paxos

A great place to relax in the evening

A great place to relax in the evening

We tidy ourselves up as best as can be expected and take a 10 euro taxi ride up into the narrow, windy, back lanes of Paxos.  Destination – Erimitis Bar and Restaurant, an upmarket location high on the cliffs on the west coast with amazing sunset views.  As the sun slowly sets over the Mediterranean we sip on proscecco and enjoy an amazing meal.    My meal of mussels in white wine and fresh sword fish is wonderful, Howard orders the bruchetta with anchovies and the lamb shank with mashed potato.  The bill is quiet a bit more than what we have been used to paying at other restaurants but we all agree that it is worth the extra.

 

View from Erimitis Bar and Restaurant

View from Erimitis Bar and Restaurant

Sarah & Carolyn

Sarah & Carolyn

Sunset over the Mediterranean

Sunset over the Mediterranean

Alfreco Dining

Alfreco Dining

Atokos and Ithaca

Tuesday 31 August 2015

Francesco sleeps in (again) and eventually we head out mid-morning toward Atokos an uninhabited island to the east of Ithaca.  We stop at the aptly named One House Bay, with one little white building sitting back in the trees, the beach has an amazing white cliff that is slowly crumbling into the sea.

One House Bay, Atokos

One House Bay, Atokos

We jump overboard and swim to the beach to loll around in the shallow water, the beach is typical of the area – very rocky, without a spec of sand.  Sarah has purchased a blow up sun bed and I go on a floating excusion around the rocks and find 4 goats hiding on a little rockly beach – 2 pitch black, a grey one and a brown and white one.  The grey and brown ones blend perfectly into the white cliff making them very hard to spot.

Swimming spot # 1 Atokos

Swimming spot # 1 Atokos

Goats on the beach - see how rocky it is

Goats on the beach – see how rocky it is

Hooking across One House Bay

Hooking across One House Bay

Then it’s back to Ithaca and we visit another lovely beach, this one is long and thin.  A line of beach chairs and umbrellas line one section with a beach bar at one end.  The beach bar is set up for day trippers only, with no road access to the beach.  Little ferries come in and drop off and pick up people all day.  H and I swim to the beach and enjoy the almost sandy beach (this one is a pebble beach).  Once again we are all blown away by the amazing colour of the water.  So blue, so clear.

Swimming spot #2, Ithaca

Swimming spot #2, Ithaca

Tonight we are docking at Ithaca for the night so we head north to Vathy the capital of the Island.  Vathy is a long thin bay and is very protected from the elements and is much, much quieter than Fiskardo.   We have no problems finding a spot on the long harbour wall.  There is a georgeous little island in the harbour with a small church surrounded by trees.

Coming into port Vathy, Ithaca

Coming into port Vathy, Ithaca

Francesco is not too happy when a big catamaran comes in and moor right up against us when there is plenty of room for everyone.  There are two massive (and I mean massive) super yachts in the port.   Grey Matters a 46 meter cruiser that you can charter for a measly 165,000 euro plus expenses per week and Mrs Marinetta at 30 meters will only set you back 45,000 euro per week.

Vathy sunset

Vathy sunset

Francesco and I head into town to find a restaurant for dinner – Poseidon Restaurant recommended in trip advisor, in a little alley away from the touristy restaurants.  Great meal – mousaka, octopus in vinegar (comes out in one huge tentacle), giant beans, fresh fish, salad.  There is a picture of Tina Turner with the owner in the restaurant, he tells me that when she visited her group drank a lot of wine very quickly.  I take that as a polite way of saying they all got nicely pissed.

Whats on the menu tonight?

Whats on the menu tonight?

Dinner at Poseidon

Dinner at Poseidon

So far the weather has been perfect, hot but not too hot, in the early 30’s with cloudless blue skies. The amazing thing for us Australians is that although we are spending the bulk of the day outside on deck we have not got burnt! One hour in similar circumstances in Queensland would have me constantly slavering on the 30+ sunscreen and still getting a nasty burn. But here the sun is bright, but does not burn, how wonderful.

The only downside to the perfect weather is the hot nights. I’m not a good sleeper at the best of times and a bad sleeper in hot weather. So to get some relief I’ve taken to sleeping on deck for a few hours each night with a pillow and a sarong as a sheet.  Its like camping!

Kefalonia and the Caves

Sunday 30 August 2015

Over dinner last night we develop a vague plan for the next day – a swim at a beach on the southern tip of Meganisi and then across to Kefalonia for the night.  Our body clocks are still on Australian time so we are all awake pretty early.

Oversea

Oversea

Protecting Vathi

Protecting Vathi

H & I go for a long slow walk around the harbor, find the local bakery, have some pastries for breakfast from the only bakery in town, meet up with the girls for a coffee and buy extra some provisions.  When we return Francesco is still sleeping like the dead in the main cabin.   We politely tip toe around until he finally emerges and we pull up anchor and head off for a swim.

Our first stop is just off the beach, its not much of a beach (very rocky), but the water is crystal clear.  Perfect temperature too, even for me and I’m a total wimp when it comes to cold water.  Sarah has bought a blow up bed, perfect for lazing around on in the water.

First swimming spot

First swimming spot

Next stop is Sivota on the south coast of Lefkada to meet Roberto to give us a car phone charger so we can charge our phones etc.  He also has a cake box full of chocolatey desserts for Francesco – its his birthday today.   Sivota is another beautiful port and would be a great place to stay but we have much more to do today.

We head across an open patch of sea to Kefalonia, our skipper knows of a cave in a cove that we can explore.  The cave was extended during WWII when people fleeing Mussolini were hidden in the caves by the local Greeks.  The tunnels run off in every direction and quite extensive.

Off caving

Off caving

Cave entrance

Cave entrance

Caving

Caving

Next and final stop for the day is Fiskardo, Kefalonia,  the capital of the island.  Its much bigger and busier.  We end up having to moor “against the cliffs” under a hotel.  This involves tethering the yacht between the rock cliff with two long ropes and the anchor out to see.  We have to either swim or go in the dingy to shore.  We have a few bottle of wine to get the party going, probably not a good idea as we all nearly end up in the water getting to shore.

Sundowners at Fiskardo, Kefalonia

Sundowners at Fiskardo, Kefalonia

From here we have to walk through the hotel’s restaurant – apparently they are not too happy with this, but Francesco says they have no right to stop us.  He says they are just not pleased we aren’t eating there.  Francesco know a good restaurant and we head straight there  – past the dozens of other restaurants, bars and cafes.  We get a great table at “Tassia” right on the wharf edge.  The wharf is crowded with boats of every shape, size and flavor.  We are so close the edge I trip on a mooring rope and nearly end up in the water.  The food is the best we have yet – especially the seafood platter and the greek risotto.  The birthday boy has a bit of a sweet tooth so we arrange a birthday cake.

Ready to party

Ready to party

After dinner Francesco drags us out to dinner for another drink and two of his friends show up, they are also charter boat owners and skippers – Allesandrio and George.  They look like they are here for the long haul so we head back to the Oversea for the night.  Francesco drops us off and then heads back into the night for a few more birthday drinks.

We are quite happy we are not moored in the main harbor – it looks like it’s going to very raucous until the early hours of the morning.  Fiskardo is a bit of a party town.

Lefkas Town, Oversea and Meganisi

Saturday 29 August 2015

Today the sailing adventure begins – we are picking up our yacht and skipper, and heading into the great beyond.  Well around the islands anyway!  Before that we have a few deets to sort out – including getting back to Lefkada Town where our yacht is moored.  I booked everything on the Sailogy website, where it said the yacht was moored at Nydri, which is why I booked us rooms at Nydri.  I was a pissed when I found out that the real depart port was Lefkada Town – which would have been a much easier destination that Nydri.  I was told “not to worry” and they would help sort everything out – I didn’t worry and they didn’t help to sort things out.

I’ve been up since the crack of dawn and happily took the opportunity to get some early morning pics of Nydri.

Lefkada morning

Lefkada morning

Dawn Fishing, Nydri

Dawn Fishing, Nydri

After breakfast we hit the beach for a few hours before we need to check out.  Checkout time 12:00 – 12:30, very civilized.

We all jam back into a taxi and head back to Lefkada Town to see the sights and find the yacht – it’s a big marina and our Dufour 42.5 called “Oversea” is the last in the line (of course).

Waterfront cafes, Lefkada Town

Waterfront cafes, Lefkada Town

Its scalding hot in the sun and things are pretty quite in town.  Giros, salad and beers for lunch.  Before we take off we need to buy provisions for the trip, that’s easy enough, wine, beer, water, wine, olives, snacks, wine ……

Next paper work, payment and transfer our clothes to smaller bags cause we are told at the last moment that our big hard cases are too big to take with us.  Funny thing is that Howard was freaking out about just this issue and bought a duffle at the last minute before we left.  I hate it when he is right!

Sailogy is just a booking agent and we are actually sailing with www.floating-holidays.com.  Roberto is the man on the ground sorting out the details and Francesco (immediately nicknamed Cisco) is the skipper and owner of the yacht.  They are Italian school mates working together during the Greek season.  Francesco has another yacht as well, he is quite the businessman.

The onboarding process is pretty casual – don’t fall overboard, be careful with the water consumption, watch the water depth gauge, don’t flush the toilet paper.  Off we go, heading south along the east coast of Lefkada through the canal, back toward Nydri and then across to Vathi on the island Meganisi.

Sailing away

Sailing Away

Its quite late by the time we get underway – I’m sure the website said 2:00 pm, then we got an email saying 4:00 pm and then Roberto said it would be 4:30 – 5:00.  So Vathi is perfect about 1 – 1½ hours so we can enjoy a bottle of cheap and cheerful local wine on the way.  It’s a gorgeous little port – with a square and restaurants lining the harbor.  Now we’re talking!

First stop - Vathi, Meganisi

First stop – Vathi, Meganisi

We randomly pick a restaurant – Taverna Captain Stavros.  We order greek salad, tzasiki, prawns and grilled octopus.  Its pretty good – the meals are getting better and cheaper.  That’s a pretty good combination.

Stavros Taverna, Vathi

Stavros Taverna, Vathi

Dinner - Howard, Sisco, Sara and Caroline

Yamas – Howard, Sisco, Sarah and Carolyn

It’s now 10:30 at night and the local children are still out running and, yelling in the square.  There is a “gang” of young teenagers on push bikes roaming the streets, they have the modern version of a boom-box – an iPod hooked up to a tiny Bose speaker, mounted on the front of a bike.

It’s idyllic – at the end of the meal the boss, Captain Stravros’s son perhaps, presents us with a bottle of wine.  Then one of the waiters tells us he works there all summer and then he goes back home for winter.  He made a mistake once and agreed to work the winter – he only lasted 2 months before he went slightly mad and had to leave.  It was either that or become a drug addict – any drug would have done.

Sara and Caroline

Sarah and Carolyn