It had been a still, peaceful night in the anchorage at Vathi and we departed mid-morning on the 25th. Leaving the harbour we were spotted by Lee and Tara who we had met in Keffalonia the previous week. We had a quick chat and they seemed to be enjoying their charter boat and kindly took some pictures of Doris on the move.
Unusually, the day was a bit overcast. We started off motor-sailing but by midday the breeze picked up so we were able to sail. As has often been the case, our lack of ability to sail to windward meant we ended up nowhere near where we originally intended to go. We’d hoped to go Nisis Kalamos, but ended up on the east side of Levkas. We turned into the gulf where the town of Nidri is located. The whole area was crammed with yachts of different types, sizes and shapes. We continued past Nidri, further down the gulf to the far end. We were surprised at how full the anchorage was, but being shallow drafted, we were able to virtually drive up the beach at the far end before dropping anchor. Despite the number of boats, we were treated to another peaceful and calm night at anchor.
We spent the first part of the next morning engaged in the usual chores …
Having been anchored for a couple of nights, we quite fancied heading into a harbour. The island of Meganisi was close, so we thought we’d head into Vathi (not to be confused with Vathi, Ithaca!). It was a quick trip across and we pulled into the harbour entrance just after midday. The Northern Ionion is by far the busiest area we have been in for the whole trip and getting a spot in a harbour is not guaranteed. In fact, it can sometimes be quite difficult. As we entered, we could see two spots, only one of which was wide enough for us to get into. Great! Then another yacht overtook us inside the harbour entrance and nicked it! Cy was a bit concerned that I would enter into a yacht rage incident and took the swift decision to leave before I started hurling insults and/or blunt objects (the toilet bucket was mentioned…).
Still, every cloud. As we left, a light breeze picked up and we were able to enjoy a beautiful, if slow sail.
Later in the afternoon we tried Nikiana harbour. We wanted to check it out as we had friends visiting the following week that would be staying in Nikiana. It is a small quay and there was no space – it wasn’t really our day. Feeling slightly disgruntled, we formulated plan c for our overnight stop. It looked like it would be another night at anchor. A bay called Ormos Varko was close so off we headed again. It turned out to be a great choice. The bay was well sheltered and we were anchored with only a few other yachts a few hundred metres from the beach. The water was clear and beautiful to swim in.
We spent the whole of the following morning enjoying the setting. Cy got on the paddleboard and had a go at scraping off some barnacles. They are keeping him awake at night with all their noise (honestly!!). The town of Palairos was nearby and we did manage to get a place in the harbour there OK. It’s a small town but had a decent grocery store which was the main point.
Apathy ruled the following day (28th) and we didn’t go anywhere. It turned out to be a nice day though, we invited our neighbour, Lars, for lunch, and he spent the afternoon with us exchanging sailing stories over a beverage or two… We have been blessed on our travels to meet some really super people from all walks of life. The sea and rivers are great levellers.
We did manage to leave the following day. It was quite breezy inside the harbour and proved quite difficult for me to pull the anchor up. Still ,I got there eventually and earned a round of applause from our neighbours who had been enjoying the spectacle. It’s unusual to see someone pulling up an anchor by hand, most people have an electric winch. It’s fair to say I have an unusual technique, a little like twerking.
Typically, once we were out at sea, the wind disappeared. We persevered crawling along under sail while all the boats nearby gave up and put their engines on. Eventually we had to do the same.
It was to be our last night before heading into Levkas town where Doris is staying for the winter. We thought we’d give the island of Meganisi another go, but an anchorage rather than the harbour. Meganisi has a number of beautiful bays but they are a bit limited for space. This means it’s best to take a long line to the shore to stop your boat swinging around which happens when anchored. We hadn’t actually done this yet so wanted to take our final opportunity but were a bit apprehensive. Of course, it was fine. I went scooting off on the paddleboard and put a rope around a large rock on the beach.
It was a gorgeous setting, a great place to spend our last night out travelling this season.
I managed to retrieve our rope in the morning without incident and we headed north towards Levkas town. Our booking in the marina was from the following day, but we were meeting up with friends so hoped to get a place on the town quay for the night.
Levkas is separated from the mainland by a short canal and Levkas town is close to the top of the canal. It felt a little like being back on the Danube.
We were in luck and managed to get on the quay. It was fairly busy due to it being changeover day for the charter boats. We spent the afternoon having our first peek at Levkas town, which will be home to Doris (and Cy) for the winter. First impressions were definitely good – the town has a lovely feel.
The evening was spent in great company – with Kev and Linda who live in the marina. Cy worked with them years ago – Kev was skipper of Hartlepool Renaissance (try spelling that phonetically!), one of the boats Cy worked on back in the day. They had very kindly arranged our winter berth as we were fairly clueless about the need to book yards etc early in the season.
So, that’s it for this season. Needless to say, we had sore heads the following morning, but eventually managed to get Doris moved into the marina.
What a year it has been. A quick look at our log books revealed we have covered over 2100 nautical miles at sea and another 3700 km inland. We have taken Doris through 323 locks and put a few hundred hours on our poor engines Pat and Suzy. More importantly, we have met some remarkable people, seen some amazing sights and coped with more challenges than we expected. All that whilst living together in a confined space!
Cy will be staying and working on Doris for a large part of the winter whilst I will be heading back to the UK. There might be the odd update from Cy, but the blog proper will recommence next spring for the next stage of our journey…..
Thank you for following along and for your encouragement and lovely comments. Hopefully we’ll catch up with some of you over the winter.
Sarah, Cy and Doris xxx