A four week spell of uncomfortably hot weather has been broken by overcast skies and rain squalls. The humidity has decreased and at last we can sleep comfortably. You’ll have noticed how our attention to the blog during this period has waned! We apologise.
I think we last updated you on 22 July when we returned to Preveza after spending 10 days in the Gulf of Amvrakikos. We were cruising once again with friends Di & John on their yacht Pixys - theyve been good company and sailing buddies on several occasions since we all departed from Sicily several weeks ago.
Our adventures at Preveza were again technical in that we had an overheated pair of batteries to deal with, which unfortunately, had to be removed and replaced. Maggie had noticed a rather strange aroma in our cabin one particular day, which took us a few minutes to locate. The batteries are housed under our bed and upon investigation, we found that Maggie's mattress and surrounding wood areas was very hot. Quickly removing the mattress and lifting the boards, we soon discovered where the curious aroma was coming from, together with a small emission of steam!!!!! I’m not sure why this problem arose as both batteries had been checked and passed as ok only three weeks earlier, but I suspect these particular batteries had previously been paired to the dud batteries we changed in Corfu; the plates had suffered and in the high ambient temperatures they objected to the being recharged! All of which means that our budget has been further squeezed, as we had no option but to replace them; unfortunately there was no opportunity to shop around for a competitive price! I’m happy to report however, following a significant cooling down period, Maggie’s side of the bed and her mattress have since been reinstated and she’s been able to return to her boudoir.
The waterfront at Vonitsa
We eat here 5* meal on the beach at Vonitsa (note the crowds!)
Tranquil Bay in Nidri - not so tranquil for some owners!
Ormos Viko at Nidri
We had dinner here with our toes in the water!
Two mermaids get their feet wet
After spending over a week pottering in and around the gulf, we made our way back to Preveza for a further two nights, giving us the opportunity to stock up on food and drinks (the alcoholic content of the latter has fallen away as we have just needed liquid to keep us hydrated). We’ve loved watching and being a part of the evening parade, but Saturday night out with all the locals is probably as good as it gets. It seems that no matter what is happening to the Greek economy, the population still choose to continue to put on their best outfits and hit the town once the sun has gone down and the air has cooled. Hundreds of people appear and by 9 o’clock each evening, everywhere is buzzing. They’re all out strolling through parks and along promenades. Almost all will stop at one of the many cafes/bars/restaurants for a coffee or other beverage, but mostly to people watch. Most evenings are busy, but Saturday night is the big night out and no-one it seems stays at home. The teenagers really love to dress up and we’ve enjoyed watching them trying to outdo/impress each other. No child minders/babysitters required here, as the whole family comes out to play. Some will just walk and chat, but the majority will stop to enjoy a drink, and successfully make it last the whole evening; no matter where we’ve been, we’ve never seen anyone even slightly tipsy; it’s all incredibly sociable and a very pleasant way to spend an evening. We’ve had many such experiences everywhere we’ve been. Absolutely no-one is glued to technology or telly out here - how very refreshing. It saddened us to observe a British family sit down to dinner on one occasion and to see both small children handed an iPad which they then played on for the duration of the “family meal” - get a life!
We left Preveza on 26 July and motored the 5 miles south to the Levkas canal and Lefkas town on a windless Sunday morning. There we met up with new friends we had made from Corfu who had come down for the day. It was odd to be back in a ‘posh' marina but it doesn't suit our lifestyle at all. The on-site facilities and restaurants were expensive and the food and service little short of appalling! The principal reason for this visit was to land our liferaft to Ionian Safety for its bi-annual service - It doesn’t seem like two years since the last time it was away for servicing (before we left Falmouth). That last service was expensive, so we have hearts in our mouths a little because the raft is now 15 years old and we can only hope we can delay it's replacement.
Beach bar in Port Athenios, Meganissi
Anchorages in Port Athenios, Meganissi. Charlie nearly ran us on the reef behind the yacht on the left!
Clean water for swimming but the wasps encouraged us not to linger.
Desert on board - ice cream cornets
Brandy Alexander at Sivota
Full english breakfast at Sivota Bakery
We stayed at Lefkas for just one day and gratefully sailed south to an anchorage in Varko Bay in what is called the Inland Sea. This part of the Ionian is surrounded by islands and bordered by the mainland on the East side, so there is land in sight in all directions. However this does mean the seas are calm and the winds mostly moderate. The area is heavily used by holiday sailors and there are boats forever, of all shapes and sizes. Some of the charter fleets are huge and the area is perhaps reaching saturation point.
Immediately on leaving Lefkas we turned up to the North East, where it used to be quiet when we were last here 8 years ago. The first day we shared the bay with about 20 yachts, but thankfully it quietened down after that. How nice to be away from the crowds and to enjoy clean clear seawater once more. With temperatures in the high 30’s and approaching the 40’s, frequent swims are required to cool off, usually the sea is clear enough to see down 8 to 10 meters. Even Maggie has been partaking of several dips per day. We spend days anchored in these bays, only moving on to effect a change of scenery. We tried several bays in the north west of the island of Meganissy, but these were not as good as we remembered and were pestered by wasps, which meant we moved on sooner.
We are still cruising with Pixys and Monday 3 August was Maggie’s birthday (a special one). We determined to find a good restaurant for a celebratory meal, so we headed for Sivota on the south end of Lefkas Island. The port is in a large sheltered bay surrounded by steep wooded hills dotted with villas. A quayside road runs around the water’s edge and boats moor stern-to all the way round - there is probably capacity for some 200 boats and still room (just) for a further 20 boats to anchor in the bay. It is a holiday town catering it seems solely for boaty people. With half a dozen small supermarkets/liquor stores, a tiny handful of shops selling curios and postcards (the former all made in China), the remaining businesses are all restaurants. We found our restaurant at the second attempt and enjoyed an excellent if pricy meal.
Swallows asleep on the Television screen in a bar at Sivota
We’ve been here in Sivota for two days, relaxing, watching the performance and varying skills of visiting yachtsmen, together with all the comings and goings of the various flotilla groups. We've visited a couple of cafes/bars to enjoy snacks etc but also to avail ourselves of their wifi/internet connections.
Today (Wednesday) is overcast for the first time in several weeks, but rather humid. We’ve just received word this morning that our liferaft has passed it’s test, which is a relief, so at some point we need to arrange to pick it up which means a bit of back tracking, but first, we’ll go alongside, once the holidaymakers and flotillas have departed and made space, to replenish our water. We’ll then move on to somewhere quieter and where we can enjoy clear blue waters, peace and quiet and go swimming once again.
Charlie & Maggie