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Month: June 2018

Levkas & Preveza Town Quay – 18th – 22nd June 2018

Levkas & Preveza Town Quay – 18th – 22nd June 2018

Mark was asked to leave the Iris pontoon on the Monday 18th June as a large sailing Holidays flotilla was due, which inconveniently was my release day from hospital. So, Mark sailed solo up to Lefkas, picking up Tim from the fuel pontoon who helped him moor up on the town quay.

It took five hours to come back from Athens in the hospital ambulance. After major surgery, you realise how poor the pot holed roads of Greece are and wishing they had serviced the suspension of the ambulance at some point in the last five years. It was so good to return to the boat and be back with my boys. We stayed in Lefkas for two nights, so I could rest before moving up to Preveza on Wednesday 20th June, ready for the arrival of our friends Mary and Chris from Bungay.

Nidri – (Part2) – 12th – 18th June 2018

Nidri – (Part2) – 12th – 18th June 2018

We had initially only planned to stay a few days at the Sailing Holidays pontoon which is attached to the Iris Hotel, but life was just so very easy. If you wanted a beer or ice cream (Mint chocolate chip being the favourite), you could just order it from the bar by the pool and put it to your tab. So, we settled into a relaxed routine with our friends Tracey and Keith on their fifty foot Beneteau called Ammonite … it is a huge boat for two people. We had planned to leave on Wednesday, travelling up to Preveza to collect new batteries, however, as John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you, while you are busy making other plans”. On Sunday, I woke up with severe stomach and back pain, which being me I put down to trapped wind, unfortunately it did not improve and by Tuesday I could hardly walk without pain, so we decided a visit to the doctor in Nidri was called for.

The local doctor was very good, taking care of all the paperwork with the insurance company. He sent me by taxi to Levkas for an ultra-scan, only to discover I had an inflamed Gall Bladder with a large gall stone and a whole lot of baby ones to keep it company. The somewhat disturbing recommendation was for immediate surgery to remove the Gall Bladder, which after some discussion with our friend Roger who is a doctor (who also arrived on the hotel pontoon with his wife Sisca and their boat Waterval) and much “Googling”, we agreed to proceed with. A half an hour later, I was in a taxi and whisked off on a six hour journey to a private hospital in Athens for surgery the next day. I was to spend a total of five quite lonely days in the Athens hotel in the end, the food was interesting, as you can see below.

004 - 2018 - Nydri - 007004 - 2018 - Nydri - 009Poor old Mark had to stay on the hotel pontoon with Roger and Sisca, to look after the boat and Hudson. He tells me he had quite a tough time forcing down cold beers by the side of the pool and dining out in Nidri at expensive restaurants.

Whilst I was recovering it seems I missed the worst couple of days of rain and some major thunderstorms, which Mark said one night were right overhead and the loudest he had ever heard, Hudson just followed Mark around like a lost sheep, (poor thing as he hates thunderstorms).

They finally let me out on the Monday 18th June, advising complete rest, no pulling ropes or lifting heavy things, Mark had to do all the chores for a while, as well as dog walking and sailing.

Nidri (Sailing Holidays Pontoon) 6th – 13th June 2018

Nidri (Sailing Holidays Pontoon) 6th – 13th June 2018

004 - 2018 - Nydri - 001What a brilliant spot Keith and Tracy had chosen, surrounded by impressive steep mountains, a great view into Tranquil bay in the north and Vilkho in the south and within walking distance of the busy holiday town of Nidri, but not too close. Nidri is a bit like a movie set from an old cowboy, a bit run down but charming none the less. There are souvenir shops everywhere and it is the Blackpool of Greece – but no donkeys although plenty of kiss-me-quick hats.004 - 2018 - Nydri - 003 004 - 2018 - Nydri - 006

004 - 2018 - Nydri - 005As we motored just past Nidri, Tracy and Keith waved to us from the pontoon which is owned by the Iris Hotel which is in turn owned by Christos and his family. The pontoon is very popular spot for British live-a-boards and summer sailors like us, it has electricity, water and you can use the hotel facilities, which include a really fab swimming pool and restaurant … all for the princely sum of fifteen euros a night. Guess who has had fried breakfast several times this week already at the hotel restaurant, I keep telling him its not good for his waistline … ok you caught me, I may have indulged a little myself as well.

Tina and Tim turned up a few days later on Shiraz, the first night was hysterical, ending up on Hapatoni where much alcohol was consumed … I think there were some sore heads in the morning. Mark found some fake moustaches which as you can see were very funny.

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So, we have stayed here a week now, life here is just so easy. The days are disappearing in a lazy blur, Mark potters around the boat and then has his regular dip in the sea off the pontoon, whilst I disappear to the pool most afternoons for a sunbathe and swim. Our friends Keith and Tracey from the yacht Ammonite have also stayed the whole week, so most evenings we meet up for a drink or dinner, Tim and Tina only stayed a couple of days. We may never leave!

Preveza 5th – 6th June 2018

Preveza 5th – 6th June 2018

003 - 2018 - Preveza - 011We got the 9:00 am bridge opening out of the canal at Lefkas and headed north for Preveza. Mark wanted to get the sails up, just to see what they looked like and make sure everything was in its right place after the winters storage. There was a six knot breeze, so they went up quickly, were checked and then came down just as quick.

We arrived in Preveza about 11am, moored up on the far end of the town quay, most importantly away from the all the noisy bars and night clubs …. hopefully to get a quiet night’s sleep. Next on the agenda was a walk for Hudson followed by shopping and lunch on the town quay, it was a hot day so there was less of the Hudson walk and more of the lunch on the town quay. Sorry Hudson, we’ll make it up to you tomorrow.

Dinner was onboard Hapatoni with our delicious king prawns (Chilli and garlic, with the new ingredient Ouzo added, as recommended by Yanis from Sivota). We had planned to leave early the next day to get up to Paxos, just below Corfu, we do love that little island. However, as we were about to set off, our chart plotter decided to malfunction. After some investigation, it appeared that it wasn’t the plotter but our batteries which were no longer holding charge, draining in under 24 hours … that shouldn’t happen. I can see a big chunk of euros about to disappear from our bank account again. So Paxos was out of the question, no battery shops on that island, so we headed back the way we came to Nidri, just south of Lefkas. I am getting a sense of deja-vu.

We phoned ahead to Keith and Tracy who we knew were also in Nidri. They were on a pontoon run by the company Sailing Holidays, so off we went to join them.

Final Stages – Lefkas 25th May – 4th June 2018

Final Stages – Lefkas 25th May – 4th June 2018

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.

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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.

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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.

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003 - 2018 - Lefkas - 001

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.