Ooh, what a night it was at Nidri! - 38:49.988N 020:42.666E

Charles & Maggie Bevis
Tue 22 Sep 2015 05:09
This comes to you from Lefkas from a bleary eyed author!

We stayed over at Mongonissi (Paxos) on Friday 18 September, enjoying the calm and tranquility of the anchorage there. We were one of only half a dozen yachts in port and there were no flotillas. We had a second splendid dinner at Carnayo Gold Taverna (thank you Dimitri and Francesca) on the Friday evening.

We left early on Saturday 19 September and motored across to Anti-Paxos, Emerald Bay. There we enjoyed some peace and quiet as we were there before the trip boats arrived. We all enjoyed a really pleasant swim - cold to begin with, but wonderful once we were in! The water is a fantastic turquoise colour here with many fish surrounding us and so nice to revisit this pleasant bay after so many years.

We then motor sailed onward towards Preveza. A late change of plan, in response to developing weather in the area, saw us catch the 4 o’clock bridge opening at Lefkas and pass on through the canal to anchor off the beach at Vathiavali - a place that Maggie was keen to revisit as we’d enjoyed a very pleasant stop over there several weeks ago whilst in the company of PIXYS. Good for swimming and a delightful beach with a good taverna. We spent a very pleasant evening at anchor, but overnight the wind came in from the South, stronger than had been predicted and the bay was left exposed and uncomfortable. Charlie was up for the latter part of the night and much to the girls disgust we left early in the morning.

The forecasts were indicating that Sunday 20 September would be windy (SW4-5) so we scurried across to Tranquil Bay in Nidri. To confound us the day developed into a bright and clear day, v.hot and humid; we felt we could have done better elsewhere. We spent the afternoon in a bar watching the Singapore Grand Prix - a very very boring race and we departed early, prior to the finish; we think Sebastian Vettle enjoyed himself but haven’t as yet bothered to check the result! We then returned on board and listened to the Archers Omnibus.

Dinner was a Maggie spectacular with duck breast in a tasty spicy orange sauce with a pea puree and rice. Having just finished the main course and washed up (thank you Ann) we sat in the cockpit and watched spectacular sheet lightning spreading from the West, not fully appreciating what was in store for us in the space of just a few more minutes time ...

With Charlie’s distrust of local thunderstorms in mind, the dinghy was lifted and secured on deck, the bimini extension dropped and stowed, Captain Flint was taken down below, the spay hood was up and the cockpit was stripped of cushions. A slight zephyr came in from the West at about 21:00 and then wallop! The wind came roaring in gusting to 40 knots+ with driving rain.

Previously we have berthed stern-to the rocks in the north of the bay, but on this occasion we stayed out in the centre of the bay on anchor in 8 m of water with 30+ m chain deployed as the wind was forecast to come in from the SW which would have made our usual berth a lee shore. Happily, the anchor held and we stayed put although we payed out an extra 10m of chain to be sure. But we were the exception and there was mayhem around us for about 3 hours. A lot of boats were initially unattended as people were ashore for dinner. A nearby Sunsail Charter yacht took off to leeward in grand style before being brought up fouled in moorings to leeward at the East end of the bay. A small yacht to windward of us dragged down and we took avoiding action using the engine and bow thruster. The Owner of this boat returned on board and initially said he was holding well. However in the second really severe squall, as he went sailing down our starboard side, he up'd anchor and thankfully moved away.

From then on our problems were essentially over. It was very difficult to keep an eye on the boats around us in the darkness. We sheared about quite spectacularly at times but the anchor held. Whilst Charlie did his bit on the helm, Maggie did her bit on deck, albeit in a state of inappropriate undress and she got extremely wet; but fenders and lines we all secured and safety assured.

As the storm passed the wind backed 180 degrees and briefly came in from the East. On our 40m scope of chain, in a small bay, we took up a lot room as we swung back and forth but all was well In the end it all calmed down at about 01:30 and we were all able to get to bed, exhausted but glad the worse was over! Other boats and crews didn’t fare quite so well and activities continued on through to the following morning when they attempted to retrieve lines, anchors etc and damage assessments made.

The season is now changing quite rapidly and temperatures are fluctuating. Summer is definitely over and a Mediterranean autumn has arrived. Temperatures have gone from 32 degrees down to just 24 degrees today. Tomorrow should be a bit warmer, then a couple of hot days, but more rain forecast for Friday. No surprises for us as we have sailed in this region in the past and know how changeable it can be, however, we are confident that we will continue to experience plenty of sunny days in more comfortable temperatures and without the overpowering humidity experiences in the summer months. Nevertheless, we feel a bit sorry for those on just a 2 week vacation, as we don’t believe they will be going home with the tan they were hoping for.

In Lefkas, we are stern to the town quay and have water but no mains electricity. The generator has done it’s duty by powering “Dolly” who was swiftly put to work upon arrival and did several wash loads this morning. Drying the said wash load has been a challenge; to ours and their amusement, tourists were observed to be taking photographs of our ‘laundry’ this afternoon. We ventured ashore this evening for dinner, leaving the laundry on hangers and spread throughout the saloon and anywhere else we could hang it.

The town came to life at dusk and we spent a most pleasant time sauntering along the main street and browsing in a surprisingly good selection of shops. Charlie succeeded in finding an excellent restaurant in a tiny back street, and we all left totally satisfied and thoroughly indulged, however, he was feeling his age tonight and ventured back to the boat after dinner, leaving Maggie and Ann to browse the shops - silly boy! Purchases were made but not disclosed (yet)!

It was a challenging evening yesterday and we are all very tired. At the witching hour of 10 pm tonight, Charlie and Ann have already clambered into their beds and we are all hoping for a quiet and a good night’s sleep. At 10:30 Charlie is fast asleep (I can hear him!!!) which leaves just me (the insomniac) to finish this off and press send!

Charlie & Maggie Bevis
alkira {CHANGE TO AT} mailasail {DOT} com