Ayia Eufimia, Through the Islands to Lefkada
The two of us spent a pleasant couple of days moored on the town quay doing our boat jobs and enjoying our daily change of neighbours. Early on Wednesday afternoon Alberto cautiously docked his (chartered) elderly, thirty-three foot Jeanneau on our starboard side. He his wife Melanie and their two children turned out to be a charming, young Spanish family. We learnt that they live in Barcelona and both they and their children (eight and ten years old) spoke excellent English. Alberto admitted to being an inexperienced yachtsman and was struggling with electrical, mainsail and genoa problems on his ill prepared charter yacht. I spent a couple of hours with him and we got things sorted out much to his delight. Later in the afternoon he called across, “Excuse me Roger”, I thought he had found another problem but no, he politely asked if his daughter, eight-year-old April could look over Pamarzi as she was entranced by our ‘big boat’. Well, we were very taken with April who was polite, confident without being precocious, spoke excellent English and was very excited to be onboard Pamarzi. Whilst April told her parents that Pamarzi was “Estupendo, hermosa!”, we asked them if we could adopt her. We returned from eating ashore that evening and were enjoying a nightcap in the cockpit when their equally charming son called across to say that he had something for me and excitedly presented me with a gift-wrapped parcel which he told me was a thank you present for helping his father. So very kind of them and the coated nut confections that the box contained were delicious.
We waved them off next morning, sad to see them go, so many hellos and goodbyes with this cruising life. By mid-afternoon we had new starboard neighbours, two Muscovite couples on a forty-five footer. All lifelong friends and confusingly both men called Alexi and both women called Sonia. We learnt that they were university lecturers and some friendly banter proved to us that there are charming, friendly Russians!
Rob and Liliane arrived that evening as usual, very kindly bearing multiple gifts for us. It was good to see them and we spent the evening catching up on each other’s news.
A short sail back to the island of Ithaca next day saw us med. moored on the town quay in Vathi by 14.00. An extraordinary orange coloured sixty-foot motor yacht bearing a Bulgarian flag moored next to us that evening. It’s stocky, shifty looking, cigarette smoking owner who we assumed to be a pornographer, stalked the upper deck wreathed in smoke whilst his professional crew unprofessionally docked the boat thankfully without touching Pamarzi. The owner’s equally dodgy looking friend (a drug dealer we speculated!) prowled the side deck, bare chested in a pair of multi-hued shorts two sizes too big for him. We did not become friends.
Lynn and Liliane were soon hot foot over the passerelle intent upon exploring the arts and crafts, jewellery and clothing shops in town. Rob and I enjoyed a beer or two aboard before joining them at Knikos for supper.
On Saturday morning we cast off and headed for the island of Meganisi where I had booked a berth with Panos and Babbi at their quirky restaurant in the bay of Spartakori. Panos was there to take our lines as we arrived and directed us to the premier berth on their main pontoon. Once comfortably berthed we set off in the tender for the beach at the head of the bay and spent a leisurely afternoon there. My repair to the gear linkage on the tender held out for the trip I’m glad to say. The royalty treatment continued that evening as we came ashore for supper, Panos proudly showing us to our reserved candle lit table at the water’s edge (very Shirley Valentine). The effect was only slightly marred by the fact that as we took our seats the chairs sank seven or eight inches into the beach leaving us looking like dwarves at the Mad Hatters tea party. Nonetheless we had a fun evening and the food was great. When we asked for the bill Panos asked us what we had eaten so that he could prepare the bill!
Our plan the next day was to head round to the north-eastern side of Meganisi in the hope of finding a quiet cove in which we could anchor, a reasonable hope in the much indented coast line. We found the perfect bay and spent a couple of days swimming and snorkelling and we broke out the kayak which proved to be a very capable bit of kit with which to explore the many coves and inlets.
On Tuesday we headed west wise around the corner of the island to yet another bay and yet another Vathi. Here we docked at the Odyssea Marina where we were greeted like old friends by Charlie and manager Yannis who remembered us from last year. We ate that evening at Stavros a family restaurant we had enjoyed last season. Strolling around the village after supper we called in at the local butchers the young owner was playing his guitar but stopped to show us around and offered the instrument to me, which to his surprise I started to play. We talked butchering and music for a pleasant while. The following day we took the tender and motored round to a cove a couple of miles around the coast where we lunched and bathed and rescued a family adrift in a dinghy whose engine had failed. I towed them back to the town quay where their yacht was berthed and received their grateful thanks.
We bid farewell to all at Odyssea Marina next morning and headed further west to the southern end of the island of Lefkas (Lefkada) where we anchored in Roudha Bay. Peak holiday time but in this big bay there was just us and a couple of smaller boats. It was blissfully peaceful, the water crystal clear and teeming with fish, the weather warm and calm with a cooling late afternoon breeze, doesn’t get much better and we could have spent more than the two days we were there.
Northwards on Saturday following the east coast of Lefkada to the little town of Nidri opposite which we anchored in Tranquil Bay in ten metres. It can get busy here so we deployed our bright yellow anchor buoy but as it happened all the incoming boats anchored at a respectable distance. I was enjoying the beautifully, cypress wooded slopes of Tranquil bay and an ice-cold beer when the nymph glided into my view. Seated cross legged on a white paddle board, her flawless, bronzed skin clad only in a tiny bright red bikini; sunglasses and a wide brimmed red hat completed her ensemble. With a dip of her paddle she glided past Pamarzi, my beer forgotten as I gazed, appreciating lightly muscled shoulders, narrow waist and gently flaring hips till she rounded the headland and disappeared from view no doubt joining other woodland sprites. Sadly, no more nymphs appeared that evening but we did enjoy a pleasant waterside meal in the rather touristy village of Nidri and spent a quiet night aboard.
Saturday morning and the last cruising day for Rob and Liliane as they leave us on Sunday morning. Very light winds as we motored along the coast towards the Lefkas canal which separates the island from mainland Greece. The scenery changing from mountains to marshland. At the northern end of the canal lies the town of Lefkas and the marina where I had booked a berth for Pamarzi to enable us to return to the U.K. for Lynn’s mum’s funeral. As we entered the marina the wind rose to over twenty knots making manoeuvring Pamarzi to her allocated berth between a large motor yacht and another sailing boat that bit more difficult but the crew handled the lines well and we were soon snugged up in our berth.
Lefkas marina is a rambling, soulless, concretey sort of place but no swell enters here and it is generally well protected. It is some way from the town but there are bars and restaurants in the marina complex. We opted to eat aboard and have an earlyish night as Rob and Liliane leave early on the morrow. It was not a restful night as the owners/guests on two motor yachts berthed nearby chose to carouse the night away at full volume until four in the morning with a total lack of consideration for those attempting to sleep.
It was a bleary-eyed crew who waved off Rob and Liliane at seven next morning and set about boat washing and domestic chores. We completed our tasks and were collected by taxi at eight that evening for the trip to Preveza airport and our flight back to the U.K.. Twenty-two hours after rising from our sleepless berths we gratefully fell into our Meadscroft bed.