Thursday, 31 August 2017

Day Twelve

After the 9.30 briefing I went to get a few drone shots of Agia Evfimia before we set off.  There wasn't much wind again in the morning so we headed off on the motor.  The sea was incredibly calm, a stark contrast to yesterday.  The destination for the day was Fiskardo.  We headed north towards a bay on the West side of Ithaki for a swimming stop.  We managed to get the anchor down to free swing in the bay.  There was a lot more fish here than we had seen so far but seemed to be fairly limited in type and size.  

At around 2.30 we left the bay, the wind had picked up and we got some great sailing in.  We had to be in at 4.00 today and it was a shame to leave all that wind and come in.  The water was fairly flat today and there was some really nice gusts to get our lean on.  We had to queue to get in as the harbor was very busy, the lead crew did a great job of getting everyone in again.  We are moored stern too with the bow anchor down and a long line attached to some rocks.  

We were told of some caves near by, so we got our water shoes and torches and took the tender to explore.  We drove the tender into the cave and moored up just inside on a rocky beach.  We followed a pathway through the caves for about 5 minutes.  There were large caverns with bats on the ceiling and it was completely pitch black in side.

We took the tender into this evening for a cocktail briefing and then came back to the yacht for some food.  Tomorrow is a free sail day and will be the first time we are arriving at a destination without the lead crew.

 Agia Evfimia

Swim stop

Cliff jumping near the cave

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Day Eleven

Woke up this morning and the forecast of the thunderstorms had disappeared.  It was still gusting a bit of breeze but the forecast for the day sounded like we may get some good sailing in.  We went for the briefing to be told our destination for the day was Agia Evfimia on the island of Kefalonia.  Even though it was a bit breezy I chanced some cheeky drone time to try and get some pictures of the sailing holidays raft and the super yacht that was still anchored from the night before.

In anticipation of a choppy day we closed all the windows, threw the paddle board inside the yacht and put the life jackets under the cabin seats just in case.    When we got out of the harbor the wind was there although it was coming from the direction we wanted to go.  We had plenty of time so we put the sails up and started to sail.  The swell was quite big and the boat was getting tossed up and down on the waves.  Sailing was frustrating, there wasn't quite enough wind to go fast enough, it kept swirling and changing direction and we weren't making much progress upwind.  As it wasn't enjoyable after about an hour we gave up and powered onwards.  The swell made everyone feel a bit sick and going was slow.

Once we had rounded the southern tip of Ithaki the swell started to ease and as we closed in on our destination we had a few good enjoyable runs.

Agia Evfimia has everything you need close at hand, bakery, ice cream shop, supermarket, shops and tavernas all right next to where we have moored up.  As I sit typing this at 23:40 the music is blasting out form the bars through the open hatches on the yacht.

The lead crew had organised a punch party for us which went down really well with everyone and made for a thoroughly enjoyable evening.


Yacht in swell 

Punch Party

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Day Ten

This morning the briefing was at Georges restaurant where we ate last night so we indulged in a hot breakfast whilst listening to the lead crew tell us where our next adventure would be.  We were bound for Port Vathi, a small town on the island of Ithaka.  We set off heading for an island about half way called Nisos Atoko.  On the way Amy spotted another turtle, we circled around it and got ready to jump in but this one wasn't having any of it and dove below the surface before we got get any decent pictures.  At Nisos Atoko we moored up at One House Bay which was aptly named due to the number of houses there.  Here we had a play with the paddle board and did some more snorkeling.  I got chance to fly the drone again.  Just as we were about to leave Amy noticed a couple of small jelly fish near the boat so we tried to get a few shots using the selfie stick from the tender.

After a bit of lunch we set off again.  On the 2nd leg of the journey the wind picked up and we reached around 8.2 knots and got a bit of a lean going on.  The wind was fairly steady so it was an enjoyable experience.

We arrived in Port Vathi at around 4.30. We had been told we were to build a miniature raft and sail it in the flotilla raft race at 7 so we set about making a raft out of mainly a wooden fruit crate we had picked up that morning and some other bits of rubbish we had laying around.  Come 7 o'clock everyone presented their rafts.  The rafts were taken out about 50m from shore and let loose.

Tonight as the wind was still about and it was cooler than most nights we decided to eat on the yacht.   As we ate our dinner a massive supper yacht moored in the bay about 100m away and we got a good view of the side of it opening up to reveal a launch which was winched out of the boat and then drove to the back to pick up a few people and whisk then to town.

Possible storms for part of tomorrow so we shall see what that brings.

One House Bay

raft race

Monday, 28 August 2017

Day Nine

Got the drone out in the morning to get a few shots of Vathi whilst Amy and Diane went for a swim before we set off for the day.  Our destination was the port of Kalamos on the Island of Kalamos. We set off and headed West towards Kalamos.  Again the winds were very light in the morning so it was on power only.  We headed straight for the Island towards a little beach I could see on the GPS, It turned out to be a lovely secluded spot and we had the whole beach to ourselves.  We anchored up and spent a few hours laying on the beach and doing some snorkeling.
We were sad to leave our little beach but time was moving on so we set off but not before naming the beach Warburton Bay and headed towards the East side of Kalamos.  As we rounded the southern tip the wind picked up so we were able to get the sails up.  We ventured toward the West side of Kastos but there didn't seem to be much to see so steered back towards Kalamos and headed to Port Leone which was a deserted village.  We dropped anchor in the bay and Diane and Amy took the tender to the village to have a look.  There were a couple of abandoned buildings and a church.  The village was sheltered from the wind and it was really hot.
On route to Kalamos the wind picked up again, we were running with the wind so this time we put out only the Genoa and we hit 6.8 knots on just that sail.  On arrival in Kalamos space was limited so a couple of the boats were moored to the Quay and the rest were rafted to those.  We are on the end end so we have to climb over all of the other boats to get to land.  We ate that night in Georges which was our best meal so far of the holiday, we had Chicken Diablo, Pork Souvlaki and Grilled Chicken fillets and for pudding I had apple pie which was more like a cinnamon apple upside cake which was amazing.  The meals have cost us around 50-80 Euros and we have eaten out most nights as its just far too hot to be cooking on the boat.  There was very little wind last night so it was one of the hottest yet trying to sleep.

Little Port Vathi

Warburton Bay on Kalamos

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Day Eight

Preveza partied until the small hours but despite this we did all manage to get a decent amount of sleep.  We were heading to the south Ionian islands today and to get there we had to go through Lefkas Canal.  At the start of the canal is a road bridge and we needed to make the 12.00 opening.  We got organised and was the first to leave this morning. 
Winds were very light so we just used the motor to get there.  The lead crew has invited everyone to dress up in Toga costume as we navigated the Canal.  On the way down everyone was stripping beds and using spare sheets to make Togas.  Diane had pulled apart Preveza bushes the night before to get some leaves to make Laurels.  As we approached the entrance to the canal we all milled around waiting for the lead boat to catch up with us and then once the bridge had opened made our way through.  The Canal ran alongside the road and there was a very long line of cars all waiting for the bridge and due to the heat a lot of people were out of the cars all looking at the spectacle of the crazy English people in on their yachts in Togas.  Everyone had done a fantastic job of dressing up going to some lengths to get hairstyles right and accessories for their Togas.
Part way through the canal we stopped off for fuel and then it was onwards to the south.  Our destination for day was Little Port Vathi on Meganisi Island.  We had some time to kill so we headed to Goat Bay.  As the wind had picked up to about force 2-3 we were able to get the sails up.  We dropped anchor about 100m out on Goat Bay but it didn’t catch and we started to drift so we pulled it up and had another go, this time it held.  The wind was really starting the pick up and the boat was swinging quite a bit in the wind around it’s anchor.  Most of the other boats in the Flotilla had decided to do the same thing and were all in Goats Bay.  Due to the increased wind we decided to take the Tender to the beach just in case the Yacht started to drift and we needed to catch it.  Goats Bay was lovely, very clear water and not too crowded.  After about one and a half hours  I swam back to the boat to put some sun cream on and check the anchor.  The wind had really picked up and was blowing offshore so made the swim back a bit harder.  Everyone around us was starting to leave so when I got back to the beach we packed up and headed back.  On our way back the Yacht seemed to a lot further out than what I had just swam too.  It had broken anchor and was drifting away from the shore in the wind.  We caught up with it about twice as far from the beach as when we had left it. 
The wind at this time was about force 4-5 which made for some great sailing to our evening destination.  We were able to set the sail and run with the wind all the way.  We started with just the main sail to get a feel for it and then let out the Genoa about one third as we got a bit more confident.  We were going at around 8 knots with our fastest recorded speed was 8.3.  It was really good to get some decent sailing in and everyone on the yacht was fairly calm as there was no tacking to do and running with the wind we were keeling over or rocking.
Once we had moored up there was time for a swim around the harbour before another group evening meal which was a great opportunity to get to know everyone a little better.