Our last day in Lefkas fell on a national holiday so we joined the locals on a bus up to a monastery overlooking the town. Amongst the festivities were markets stalls selling everything from cheap underwear to baby terrapins. We headed back to town and found a great little bar called Octopus’s Garden where the drinks came with enough Mezze to fill us up. The aim was to get an early night but we ran into Dirk and Anneke having some drinks on their boat so we raided Bumblebee’s drinks cupboard and joined them.
We set off late the next morning and headed towards Corfu. We had a recommendation of a great spot to stop for a swim about five hours into the journey. As the day was getting on a bit we changed our plan and headed to Parga instead. We were due to meet our friends Nik and Dagmara in Corfu but they had a hotel sorted so we decided not to rush.
Parga has a wide anchorage under a ruined old fort. We took the dinghy ashore and climbed up the steep streets, around the fort and up the hill above the town. The views were spectacular from up high but as we descended to the waterfront things got crowded and lost their charm.
The next morning we set off for Corfu and began an eight hour slog into the wind and waves. When we arrived in Corfu we sailed up to the hotel, dropped anchor in the sheltered bay outside and took the dinghy to their water sports pontoon. N&D had picked the nicest hotel on the island (Grecotel Imperial) for a bit of conditioning before coming onboard Bumblebee. For a couple of days we enjoyed incredible buffet breakfasts and delicious suppers as their guests, while staying at anchor in front of the hotel. Soon we would try to return the hospitality with a trip across the Ionian Sea to Sicily.
Off once again to explore Corfu Old Town.
After a slight mishap involving a safety pin in a light socket to get a fan working (don’t ask) we awoke the next morning with depleted batteries. Our water was running low too so we took the plunge and headed in to Gouvia Marina where we could hook up to the mains. While there I went about replacing the hatch lens for the forward cabin that N&D had flown out with. All was going well until a crucial component leapt out of my breast pocket and into the murky depths below. In vain I dug out my fins and mask to see if I could locate the 2cm piece of plastic. I had some trouble reaching the bottom at 6 metres with just 1 metre of visibility. The bottom was soft mud with no chance of finding anything. On my ascent I nearly knocked myself out of the hull and decided it just wasn’t worth it. I cobbled together a temporary replacement with a series of washers that will suffice for now.
25th June –we left Gouvia marina armed with two new high power fans and lots of provisions. No one had actually noticed us arrive and had our consciences not got the better of us we could have slipped away without paying the outrageous mooring fee of 70 euros. Ten minutes later we stopped by N & D’s hotel to pick them up en route to the outer island of Othoni –last stop before Italy!
With the engine warmed up I decided to check the oil and noticed a lot of water in the sump under the engine. A quick taste test confirmed it was salt water and the source was somewhere behind the impellor. We dropped the anchor and after some investigation located the offending seal. I took the tender back to the marina and after a bit of a wild goose chase I return with two new impellors and replacement seals. Soon we were back in action and on our way to the island of Othoni.
After a five hour sail and record speeds of 8.2 knots we pulled in to the small fishing harbour at Othoni. After supper in a small taverna, surrounded by cats and watching a lightning storm, we returned to the boat to sleep. This morning we arose a bit late but were soon under way and en route to Italy.
Early into the crossing we passed two turtles and were greeted by a pod of Dolphins. At about mid way across we lost sight of land in every direction for the first time.
Next stop Sta Maris di Leuca!