Sunday 24th August
The Preveza night life calmed down around 4.00am and so we slept soundly right through to 7.00am, which is when the bin men arrived with their lorry! Had planned to get away early anyway, so we upped anchor and set sail for Paxos.
Southerly wind was certainly the right direction, but again it failed to raise itself above 4 knots all morning. Made good progress with a knot of tide under us all the way and found ourselves passing the entrance to Mongonissi on the Southern end of Paxos around midday. Could not resist a quick look round the bay, just to map out where we might moor when we returned later in the week.
Pressed on to the Northern entrance to Gaios harbour and took a good look round trying to pick a good (quiet) mooring point. Usual practice here with dropping the bow anchor and reversing to the quay, but these islands are notorious for having rocks and rubble just under the water close to the edge, which can do some serious damage to your rudder if you are not careful. Getting the hang of going in bow first with the forward looking sonar on. This gives us an underwater profile of the sea bed, so we can check for any obstructions. We then back out, turn round, drop the anchor and slowly reverse back in.
Strolled into town and our first stop was Gaios Travel, which is still run by our friend Yanis, who seems as youthful and ageless as ever. In fact at 50 he has just got married and has a baby son. Lots of questions for him, but they could wait for another day, as we were hoping to get some lunch at Theo and Pan's restaurant.
Theo was running the restaurant when we arrived and he was in great form, possibly as cheerful and chatty as we have known him! He filled us in with some of the news, which sadly included the fact that we had just missed seeing his Dad again as he had died just two months ago, aged perhaps 99 – no one knew his age . Also his brother Pan was recovering from lung cancer treatment, but the good news was that he was back from Athens and was around, so we would get to see him later. Met up with some of the family and they kindly treated us to lunch, whilst Theo as ever, rushed around running the busy restaurant. Then treated ourselves to an iced coffee with ice cream in the town square and sat and watched the world go by.
Returned to Serafina in the afternoon, to tackle a few of the 'jobs to do' list and discovered that our mooring was perhaps not the quiet spot we had hoped for....not sure quite when flying boats started running between Corfu and Paxos, but they park themselves on the quay right next to us! (See the photos at www.rhbell.com ) Unaware of the rules of the road with regard to an seaplane, but I never expected to see one in the narrow entrance here. Even more extraordinary was that they take off from inside the entrance as well, with just a small speed boat, trying to make sure yachts and motor boats do not come whizzing through the gaps in the islands just as they are taking off!
In the evening we went for a stroll into town, but firstly went to see if Pan was at his restaurant. Predictably he was there, but actually preparing his fishing lines for the next day. In the end we spent the next 4 hours sat chatting about just about everyone and everything. He talked about aspects of his family history about which were totally unaware and obviously he talked about his illness. He has only been back from hospital in Athens for about a month and so he does not work in the restaurant, but he is happy to spend hours fishing and likes to keep a eye on the restaurant at all times even though it is actually being run by his hardworking wife Katy and one of daughters, Maria. Somehow we seem to have agreed that I am going to go out fishing with him using his nets and the long lines (1000 metres) with up to 150 hooks on! Sarah seems to think that I might find this fun.
Pan also explained where best for us to moor Serafina when we go to Mongonissi. Mongonissi is actually an island at the that the family own and they have run a restaurant and bar there since 1978. It was all very basic when we worked out here, but it was (and still is) one of the flotilla's favourite stops. Nowadays Theo runs it with help from his children (eldest 20), but because of Pan's illness, poor Theo also manages the restaurant in town at lunchtimes!
Strolled back to Serafina around midnight, the wrong side of countless glasses of Pan's house wine having not actually eaten yet. (We said we would not eat at their restaurant unless they let us pay.....may need to revise this plan.)
Monday 25th Aug
So now we know that the Seaplane service starts at 7.30am.
Bit of a nothing day today, with various strolls round the town, trying to work out what might open when! Took the dinghy off for a trip out to one of the islands for a swim which was great as it has been very hot indeed today. Italians have put on quite a show this evening with some dreadful attempts at parking their boats. Must all be getting jaded at the end of the summer, but the quay in the centre of Gaios was a remarkable jumble of boats with their anchors going off in all directions and some very heated and animated discussions about who was going to do what.
Have discovered the Wi-Fi at last, but of course having lugged the laptop around all day, I chose not to take into town this evening!. Hope to upload pictures and various bits and pieces in the morning before we set off North to Lakka.