After a 4 day check-in to Greece (!) in Lefkas, we welcomed our first guests on board, Jenny Harris (unfortunately without David) and her brother Tony Brunskill who would spend 2 weeks with us seeing our favourite places in the Ionian.
A few days were spent on Meganisi Island, relaxing, swimming and drinking freddo cappuccinos.
We ventured back to Fiskardo to anchor on the crowded town wall where Sea Cloud’s stern was a metre from restaurant tables and our anchor line across the lines of another few boats. This is unavoidable in Fiskardo, but was preferable to anchoring in the bay where 14 yachts had dragged during the night during our last visit here in 2009.
The spectacular “Billy Goat Bay” on Ithaca’s east coast was a lovely spot for an afternoon swim. We couldn’t believe how the goats had made it to this site half way down the cliff face, or more importantly how they would ever get out again!
Huge thunderclouds made us head for the safety of Vathi, dropping the anchor in the first safe place we could find with one lightning strike 50m from the boat. Scary stuff, with lightening flashing all around us. After the storm as the clouds lifted we were rewarded by a wonderful sunset and a lovely calm night in deserted and beautiful bay.
Kioni and the famous Ithaca Onion Pie recommended by ‘fat Steve’ in 2009 did not disappoint! The reward of a nice lunch was much needed following a rather botched ‘med moor’ which rather upset captain Ian. Alright for him to complain from the deck while Tony and I tried to avoid the spiky sea anenomes while trying find appropriate rocks on which to tie Sea Cloud’s stern lines.
After saying goodbye to Jen and Tones, we had a day of catching up on chores back in Lefkas before the arrival of our next guests, Suzy and Paul Tait.
This was Suzy and Paul’s first visit to Greece. It was good to see Lefkas through new eyes for the rather charming place that it is. Previously we had associated visits to Lefkas with boat repairs and the inevitable associated hassles.
The calm weather and too little wind, meant that we could explore other anchorages, one being One House Bay on the east side of Atoko island. This uninhabited island has a charming small chapel, beautiful crystal clear water and the most amazing rock formations.
We were very upset to find that the beach had been used as a rubbish dump. This was obviously enjoyed by the herd of goats, who seemed to dine on rubbish and local vegetation, then wash it all down with sea water (see goat on right)! In true scientific way, we had to google this at the next opportunity to find that there was a published paper on sea water drinking by goats, who apparently can do so if their diet is supplemented by enough water bearing vegetation.Perhaps the necessary gut and renal physiology required to do this needs investigation?
Our last night in the Ionian was spent back in Kioni (more Ithaca onion pie) before heading up the Gulf towards Corinth.
It was good to be back to Galaxidhi, one of our favourite towns, where Angelo, owner of the OK Café, held our expected spare boat parts and organised a car for us to make the mandatory trip up the hill to Delphi.
The Corinth Canal. After an early start and a morning of motorsailing, we had a very amusing hour waiting at the entrance to the canal listening to the conversations between approaching boats and the man in the control tower who spoke in very heavily accented English. In particular we loved hearing a rather forward Kiwi woman in Laroobaa (Melbourne flag) asking why she had been kept waiting so long. The Greek man seemed to love the name and was heard saying “Go Laroobaa!” many times over the VHF as they came out of the canal.
To complete the cultural experience, we anchored off Old Epidauros a short taxi ride from the wonderful ancient site – the sanctuary of Asklepios, the cult following of which necessitated building the world famous amphitheatre and small stadium among the “dormitories” for the sick who made the pilgrimage here. Asklepios, a son of Apollo, had remarkable healing powers and the cult lived on for centuries after his death. Of course his famous pose leaning on the auger’s wand entwined with the magic serpent formed the elements of the caduceus – the doctors’ emblem.
Our last stop with Suzy and Paul was Aegina Island. We picked the right time to visit Aegina as the national Greek strikes meant that the usual very busy ferry port was very quiet, making for simple anchoring and a comfortable night.