The end is in sight, we are back in Lefkas, staying in what will hopefully be our last hotel, a bijou pastel coloured “boutique hotel” in the centre of town, just off the main square and right opposite the shop with the largest selection of ice creams in town … Mark is in paradise.
Early on the 23rd May, we drove to the marina, convinced the keel would not be there, at least not till later that day, but to our utter astonishment, sitting in front of Hapatoni was a brand spanking new, shiny keel.
Unable to contain our excitement and after a quick examination of the keel, we decided to share our joy with Paleros who were going to fit all the bits back together. Unfortunately, our euphoria was short lived after Mark asked them where they had put the keel bolts, “what keel bolts was the response, surely they are with the keel?” Jeanneau obviously thought the keel was held on to the hull by magic, Mark was fuming and rightfully so, he phoned the Jeanneau dealer and only just managed not to swear, but in no uncertain terms expressed his disgust (for about 10 minutes) at their inability to fulfil the whole order. Surprisingly, the bolts arrived the next day, it is a sad fact that in Greece, the one who shouts the loudest gets the most done.
We were wrong about the hotels, should have known better, one more move was necessary, back to the Ionis Hotel in the marina where we had started out six weeks ago. Paleros had advised us they planned to antifoul, fit the keel and mast and launch us on the Wednesday 30th May. Surprise, surprise, that again didn’t happen, so Mark finally lost the plot with the Greeks inability to meet ANY timescale, the Paleros manger got a mighty big rocket where it hurts …. things finally moved shortly after that.
We were lifted back into the water on Mark’s Birthday Thursday 31st May. It was a busy hot day (34 deg) with the mast being re-attached, sails added and importantly the Bimini put up in an attempt to cool us and the boat down.
We celebrated Mark’s birthday on Wednesday night, the day before his birthday, with our nine friends at the “Coloured Chairs” Gyros restaurant (bet you can’t guess how it got its name) and again on his actual birthday, the Thursday 31st. This time going to one of our favourite restaurants in the square where we boringly always have the same delicious dishes, King prawns, Calamari and Greek salad – the owner is a Greek American with a deep southern American drawl, very disturbing. We were joined by Keith and Tracy, Roger and Sisca and Alice, the food was really very good, there was much joking and laughter, it was a great night.
We spent the following four days in the Lefkas marina checking everything was working and just enjoying being back on the water. It was so nice to have dinner on board and just relax knowing we could finally put the suitcases away for a few months. However, after four days we were keen to leave Lefkas and get moving, our plan was to sail to Preveza overnight and then the following morning sail the five hours north to Paxos.