Lefkas was a quiet time for us, as we waited for Adam and Bek to arrive. It turns out they had some issues getting over the border from Albania and then missed the bus. They eventually made it, and it meant that we had time to go get stocks including our delicious wine out of the barrel. This was a sneaky tip from Greg and Julia that we had met in Trizonia, and we are so glad they told us about the wine maker. We bought 10 Litres for 17 Euros.
The first morning with Adam and Bek on board was an early one. We wanted to go through the Lefkas Canal bridge opening at 8am, to set off on our 33 nautical mile sail to Paxos.
It was fairly slow going, with barely any wind. We took the opportunity of having extra hands on board to try and set the spinnaker (remember we don’t have a sock). The wind was light enough to make it a success!!
Our first stop on Paxos was Monganissi. Having the shallow draft on this catamaran is a bonus. Where most monohulls had to anchor, we were able to pull up to the town quay where the rocks came up too shallow for the others.
It was beautiful and peaceful, and a great spot to have a nice swim followed by some evening beers.
The next sail was much shorter, only about 15 nautical miles to Lakka, the epitome of paradise. The crystal clear blue bay was packed with boats. Understandably all wanted to be anchored out in the beautiful water, rather than tied up to the town quay. Again, our shallow draft gave us a prime position, away from the town quay and the anchored boats.
The evening was spent drinking large beers whilst watching the socceroos almost beat the Dutch in the World Cup. Almost.
The short walk back to the boat was extremely eventful when we stumbled across a mass geese orgy around the only puddle in sight. We quickly figured out their mating dance, which Adam decided he would imitate whilst walking towards them. This ended with him squealing like a little girl and running around the corner when one of the geese came at him in aggressive acceptance of his mating call. We were all in fits of laughter.
The next day we took off towards Corfu island with favourable winds of 10 – 15 knots on the beam. The wind speed slowly increased more and more. Adam and Bek sitting at the front of the boat shrieked with surprise when they saw a large bolt of lightening strike to the East. We were in bright sunshine, and watched towards the storm carefully, deciding that it was moving away from us.
The winds increased some more, so Ryan and decided to reef the sail. We were focusing on this, when Bek walked down to the back of the boat and calmly asked whether the triangle shaped cloud at the edge of the storm was normal. I let out a swear word, and indicated it looked like a waterspout was forming. We watched as the triangle quickly stretched towards the water, and then sucked up the water underneath creating a large water tornado.
There was some nervous excitement on the boat. Decisions had to be made as to whether it would be beneficial to drop the motor in, in case this thing came towards us and we had to drop the sails. However, we did not want to slow the boat down and keep up our 8 knots of speed. We decided that the waterspout was moving more to the East with the storm and we would just keep going on our course with the sails up. The tornado did not let up for some time, leaving us in absolute awe and worried for the boats that were close to it.
Adam and Bek were unsure of how to deal with this situation, and whether they should be worried. Ryan’s nervous laugh eased their concerns somewhat. As did me getting the camera out to take photos.
Bek later met a lady who told her that they were sailing right through the middle of the storm and there were another two smaller tornados that we were unable to see from our distance.
Soon after the waterspout disappeared we heard what sounded to be a tear. Uh oh! Yep, our main sail ripped on the stitching at the eyelet where ryan had tied it down for the reef. This damn main sail!
We dropped it and sailed only with the jib, knowing the storm was not going to chase us down. We came across the gem anchorage of Ak Levkimmis and stopped for an impromptu swim in the 2m of clear water. The water clarity here is unbelievable until you see it. The photos will never do it justice, and each time we see it we can’t believe our eyes.
After our quick afternoon dip, it was then only a short trip to Petriti where we hoped to have some shelter from further storms that looked to be forming in the distance. Unfortunately we could not squeeze into the town quay (despite there being enough space, but another yacht refusing to move over half a metre to let us in). So we anchored in a spot that looked sheltered enough. Unfortunately the swell still turned the corner and rocked the boat somewhat (lucky we are on a catamaran).
The night (for all but Adam) was rather restless when a storm hit. It went directly over us with deafening thunder and blinding lightening. We were not overly concerned about our boat, knowing we had dropped more than 10 times the depth of anchor chain, with good holding. However, we had witnessed the other boats struggling with their anchors earlier and had concerns about them dragging. Ryan was constantly up and down to check (especially because the boat next to us had dragged into the next boat over).
The next morning Adam though the deck was wet and asked us if it had rained.
Petriti was nice enough, but after Lakka it was disappointing. We were glad to leave, and headed towards Gouvia marina where we planned to stay for two nights and enjoy some nightlife. This turned into a shorter trip as soon as we saw the beautiful ancient fort at the edge of Corfu town. We decided to take our chances at getting a spot in Mandraki marina. There was room, and we moored in the most beautiful marina we have ever seen. We thought Patras was expensive!!! Yikes. I’m not sure Rod Heikell got it right, or maybe his book is outdated. We were supposed to pay band 2 prices, but it was double what we paid in Patras, which was a band 2/3 price. Totally worth it though. The facilities were top class, and the view even better. To top it all off, the building inside the fort is an academy of performing arts, so we listened to live classical music as we settled into our berth.
Corfu town was surprisingly beautiful, but absolutely packed with tourists as this is a major cruise ship terminal. Not only one at a time either. Sometimes they have four or five cruise ships per day.
It is also the place for super yachts it seems.
We ate the obligatory gyros and explored, deciding we really wanted to hire quad bikes, but unsure of the expense. We slept on it and decided it was a great idea. Indeed it was.
We drove them up to Dassia Beach, where we had a nap on some shady grass, and sipped cocktails. Then we crossed the island to the Western bay of Palaiokastrita, where we are unlikely to sail. The day was absolutely perfect and the view just as amazing.
We then went in search of snacks, on our way to Agio Gridio. We got lost and could not find snacks, but eventually found the right way and knew we were on the right track when we came across this view.
At that point we knew we were not far off snack and beach time. Snack time involved devouring some amazing crepes. Savoury for Bek, and nutella for the rest of us (with other mix ins).
OK, it was almost dinner time but being summer solcace we had plenty of daylight to get us by, so it counted as afternoon tea. Another nap on the beach for a few hours and then it was time to head back to the boat for Sangria night. Sangria was consumed by the bucket, and then commenced our pub crawl up to Dassia beach and Ipsos, and then back to Corfu town. The nightlife was not as pumping as was expected, and the locals say that this summer is a bit quiet so far.
It did not ruin our fun, and we ended our night with an early morning Gyros. Ryan and I can officially say we have overdosed on Gyros and can have a bit of a break from eating them for now. This is probably a good thing.
We were silly enough to leave our grocery shopping and fueling up to a Sunday. It was time for us to leave Corfu town, and absolutely nothing was open. A quick tally of our remaining food indicated we would make it to the next destination and could buy more stocks Monday morning. With regards to fuel, well, we could have enough if the winds remained in our favour.
Ryan had fixed the sail, like MacGyver would, with the best supplies available.
The winds did remain in our favour (not at first), and we had a beautiful sail back to our beautiful Lakka. The sail repair held up nicely, even in 20 knots of wind. This time, we did not have to watch a storm in the distance, having clear blue skies all around.
When we arrived in Lakka our same position was till free and the rest of the bay packed with boats rolling from the swell coming into the bay. We snagged our spot and settled in for a quiet night.
We all slept superbly, knowing we were going to enjoy an entire day in this paradise, followed by watching Australia v Spain in the world cup. (By the time my photos uploaded Australia lost, sigh).