Pure Delight Mongnoissi - 39:10.915N E020:12.241

Charles & Maggie Bevis
Wed 8 Jul 2015 07:17

Last night we had one of the best meals ever, in quite an unlikely setting. 

We are anchored in the bay at Mongonissi, Paxos.  I would be lying if I said we had the place to ourselves, as it’s busy, and to find some peace and avoid the French, Belgians, Germans, italians and sadly some British yachts from anchoring all over us, we pulled ourselves back to the shore with a line secured onto a reasonably large rock.  

Mongonissi bay with ALKIRA in the foreground moored with a line ashore

During the day there are just four or five boats here and plenty of room to swing but as the afternoon draws on more and more flock in until it is “busy".  The holding is good so it’s only concern about late night bumps that could keep us awake - the line ashore provides us with the security required for a sound night’s sleep.  The flotilla yachts all raft up together lying stern-or bows to a wall on the east side of the bay, with space for about 20-25 boats there - if you like that sort of thing.

After just over 40 days of hanging around Corfu Island we have finally left and are finding our way south.  The underlying issue that gave rise to our long stay was a dodgy, then dying and subsequently dead alternator - the latter provides our “house power” and is essential for our domestic living services as well as for powering the windlass and bow thruster.  The unit had been looking sickly for some time and I was convinced it was the voltage regulator which was causing the output to fluctuate wildly.  Not so, it appears that the bearings had worn and the stator had started to touch the field windings.  Charlie consulted electricians and they advised a replacement was needed - we then waited 16 days for a new unit to arrive from Germany, only to find it was physically too big to go in the engine room alongside the engine.  Having been assured that there were no other suitable machines available on the island, Charlie located a direct replacement for the original 24 volt unit, which had by then completely died.  He was contemplating flying back to UK to secure delivery when an acquaintance Maggie had made in town put us in touch with an engineer in Gouvia.  He produced two alternators the next day and quite suddenly we were sorted; fitted and tested all within three days.  Sighs of relief all round.

The delay allowed us to see more of Corfu than we would otherwise have done and Maggie and I both love the place.  

Fishing boats leave Petriti at dusk accompanied by the local gulls

Yes, Corfu Town is swamped almost on a daily basis in the spring and summer, by an influx of cruise ship passengers, but it has a joy of life and real character that shines through.  

Increasing tension over Greece and the Euro in the press at home was not evident on the ground and certainly not in Corfu, even when the banks closed and locals’ drawings at ATM’s were restricted to €60/day we were not affected.  We could withdraw whatever we wanted and shops were/are still taking card payments.  We have heard though that the situation on the mainland, particularly in the cities is more difficult.

We said good-bye to friends we had met and enjoyed socialising with in the town and sailed south on Saturday 4 July.  Actually not a breath of wind and we motored sedately southward over a flat calm sea toward Paxos in the company of a large pod of dolphins.  We anchored just off the town of Gaios in the lea of off-lying island in crystal clear water.  Having placed the anchor carefully in what appeared to be a patch of clear sand, Charlie swam down only to find the anchor perched on a large expanse of flat rock.  More effort required!  We eventually found good holding in 10m of water a little further out than we had originally anticipated.  We dinghied (is that a verb?) ashore to the town and to the excellent bakery.  Here (Gaios, not the bakery) we met up again with Di and John who had been our neighbours in Ragusa during the winter and with whom we have met up with several times since our Greek Odyssey began.

We headed south on 6 July to Mongonissi, a place none of us had visited before.  Charlie said he didn’t think it would be busy as there is only one taverna………  Yesterday we went ashore for a walk out to the south end of the island and watched the trip boats streaming toward Emerald Bay.  We’ve been before so we shall give that pleasure a miss.


Our walk - Di Fitzgerad in her ascot hat - the going was decidedly "rough to firm”.  The even smaller island of Anti Paxos in the background

To return to our meal out - there is only one taverna here, but there’s also a commercial restaurant in the South East corner catering to flotilla clients.  The Taverna "Carnayo Gold” is run by Dimitri and his Italian partner Katerina - the cook!  We met him on the day of our arrival when a refreshing drink was called for after our short passage over from Gaios and we liked him and arranged a meal for last night (Tuesday 7 July).  

The evening started with a glass or two of quite acceptable local wine served with two delicious home-made appetisers.  Unusually we were asked if we wanted to eat from the menu or whether we would accept whatever they produced for us.  Having chosen the latter, the meal started and after a third appetiser, followed, by a seafood course (an alternative was provided for maggie as she is not too fond of octopus), followed by pasta and then two sweets.  

The banquet in progress

Maggie’s antipasti - Beef Carpaccio on a bed of spinach served with chilled mint/orange rice

All the food was home cooked and absolutely fabulous.  Inclusive of copious wine and two shots of a strange local spirit (mastic?) at the end, the bill came to just less than €30/head and lasted 4 hours. We’d been their only diners that evening although a few tourists and locals had been sat in the bar area for most of the night. in the meantime the tourists from the flotilla boats were bashing away in the corner with their average meal, syrtaki music and dancing!

If you ever come here, you must go and see Dimitri - you will not be disappointed!!  

The days are now very hot and the evenings are pleasantly warm, however, life on board in the cabin during the night is becoming a little uncomfortable on occasions, we are beginning to think that sleeping in the cockpit isn’t a bad idea.  That being said, we are loving these long lazy days with sojourns ashore whenever possible, and access to seas that are crystal clear and now warm enough for even Maggie to swim in. The diet has changed completely, we now eat eat lots of salads, fresh fruit and vegetables;

Lunch is served

Maggie’s cold gazpacho soup goes down a treat at lunchtimes or as a first course in the evening, and the bar-b-que is now being put to good use.  The first time Charlie thought he'd attached the bottle, he struggled to get it to light, it turned out he hadn't connected it properly, so after a brief struggle, it came free from the coupling, but fell into the sea!  Charlie hastily stripped off and went swimming.  That’s the end of that we thought.  Luckily, upon attaching it again, it worked beautifully, so Maggie didn’t have to rethink the menu after all. Di & John brought their pork chops over the following night and together with our kebabs, a large bowl of salad etc., we had another very enjoyable evening sat in the cockpit, watching the comings and goings of the other yachts, dined well and emptied another bottle or two.  We have decided that the Italian wine bottles we bought are all affected by leaks!

Today (Wednesday 8th), we shall move on.  Our passage today will only about 14 miles but will take us across to the mainland to Two Rocks Bay - we think.  We’re optimistically thinking it could be quiet there, as it’s not somewhere the flotillas visit and is supposedly not well known about - but we’ve been wrong before!  

It’s a slow start to the day though as the wind isn’t due until lunchtime, so a relaxed breakfast to start together with a quick trip ashore in the dinghy for Charlie to dispose of the rubbish, before we smother ourselves in factor 30 and head off.