Update

28 Jul

It’s been well over a month since my last post. Basically that’s because I’ve found writing this one very difficult. You see, shortly after that post we returned to the marina and did everything necessary to put Desi up for sale. 

We’d already come to the conclusion that we were ready for a change and put up a couple of adverts on-line but now it was time to put her into the hands of the experts. After contacting the agent who had originally​ marketed Desi, it became official. The ‘For Sale’ sign went up. 

Over the next fortnight we cleaned and polished her from top to bottom until she gleamed. Then, bit by bit, all our personal possessions were either passed on, binned or packed into two holdalls leaving only what we thought would be useful to whoever her next owners turn out to be. It was hard and emotional work, particularly in the heat of the long awaited Greek summer. 

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But eventually we were on the ferry to Corfu before flying back to the UK. She still has to sell, of course, so it’s entirely possible we may be back. This made it very different from when we packed up Seren Mor for the last time and the sense of uncertainty still lingers. 

Nevertheless it’s good to return to the comforts of a home built of brick in the unpredictable British summer even if we’re struggling to make plans for what happens next. As we’d always intended to be off the boat for two months we do have a few short-term ideas to keep us occupied and life interesting but after that who knows? Watch this space. 

 

Suddenly Summer

17 Jun

 

The weather improved the very next day. At the first sign of things settling down we were off, heading for the nearby anchorage known as Bungalow Bay and then onward to Port Kalamos.

We toyed with the idea of Kioni on Ithaca but preferred to anchor again in a bay near Frikes. It appeared a popular choice but, as the afternoon drifted on, the wind had its usual Ithaca acceleration and the lunchtime crowd disappeared. Eventually there were just the three boats and one of them only stayed for a session of kite-surfing. We’re made of stronger stuff and bounced in the swell all night.

Then suddenly, seemingly overnight, it was summer and we were looking for the cooling winds of Vasiliki and Sivota where we wallowed contentedly, doing very little for several days in each. But with my birthday approaching something a bit different was called for, the plan being to head back up the coast of Lefkada and have another day in Bungalow Bay before sneakily getting into Palairos on the mainland before the chartered boats returned.

Sweltering breezeless even at anchor changed our minds. Even I was tempted into the sea to cool off, my first swim of the year. OK, so the contrast was enough to give me palpitations but I did it. Briefly. However, the experience made us realise we’d be a lot better not tied to a concrete quay radiating the heat like a carpark.

Meganissi beckoned across the short stretch of sea with happy memories of previous years tied back to the rocks in Abeliki and Port Atheni. We picked Abeliki for the short walk to supplies at Vathy but also, the decider, its own pretty taverna. So here we linger. And the sea is perfect for a dip.

Rain, Rain Go Away

4 Jun

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The dank, quite chilly and, at times, frankly wet days of May returned and have persisted into June. So we are back in the marina, the convenience of a decent town and shore power with its associated hot water too tempting. But we did get a few days out and about.

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After that night at anchor, we had a few days in Sivota, Lefkada close enough for me to hobble to the Family Taverna for some of Yianna’s wonderful home cooking. Then a couple in “Little” Vathy on Meganissi, again convenient for me to get about a little. But the forecast rain took us back to our berth.

Days in the marina soon start to merge with only a few, for me anyway, warm enough for a couple of hours lying around in the cockpit. My ankle is, thankfully, improving enough for the short walk to and around Levkas Town to be possible. At least the poor weather has meant I didn’t get too stir crazy, convenient for days resting down below.

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After a night of heavy rain, today is probably the coldest and consistently dull day so far. I’m writing this lounging on the “sofa” snug in a fleece and wrapped in a blanket. Neil, however, is in the cockpit determinedly clad in swim-shorts and t-shirt. And socks.

 

That’s More Like It

22 May

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It’s a fact that the more time we spend in a marina the less inclined we are to go out. Mind you the inclement weather, Neil being full of cold and the fact that I could barely walk didn’t help. With some improvement in all three, though not what you’d call ideal, we thought we’d better take the chance and actually move the boat. So with all the accompaniments of shore power and a relatively horizontal floor packed away we cautiously edged out of our berth and through the Lefkas Canal. 

The familiarity of these islands can sometimes make us blind to their beauty but it was with the new eyes of a winter away that we chugged the short distance down the east coast of Levkas to the holiday resort of Nidri and into the bay of Vliho beyond. We truly appreciated every minute. The season and the temperature had kept the majority of boats still awaiting their owners​ or clients and the wildlife was making the most of it. We even saw our first dolphins/porpoises of the season – almost unheard of later in the year in these busy waters. I’ve long since given up trying to take pictures of these beautiful creatures, resigned to never being able to capture their extraordinary beauty. It’s so much better to just live in the moment and store the memory away for the days when this is no longer our lifestyle.

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We’d chosen Vliho as our first stop for its easy anchoring and all round shelter from the still chilly wind. It’s a popular haunt for liveaboards but not somewhere we tend to spend much time. But yesterday it was perfect. A pleasant temperature to lie around in the cockpit, still water for easy cooking and a wonderfully​ restful night. Neil even took the plunge and had his first swim of the season this morning. Mind you, that says more about him than anything else. I was still in my fleece.

 

 

Feeling Sorry for Myself

14 May

It has been very wet dav

I’m on bedrest.

I was already a bit stir crazy from the, shall we say, inclement weather of the last couple of days. So when it brightened up this morning I was actually looking forward to the short walk into town and a bit of a shop to top up our diminishing food supplies. I got as far as the footbridge out of the marina.

More concerned about puddles and the distinct possibility of more rain, the bridge didn’t strike me as any sort of hazard. The next thing I knew, though, my left foot was sliding forward and my posterior heading for the floor with my right leg twisted under me. The pain even cancelled out the embarrassment and soggy bottom.

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My ankle bone isn’t normally that size!

When the endorphins kicked in Neil helped me up and back to the boat. Pretty confident that  nothing is broken, I’m still watching the foot swell up and it’s probably​ going to develop pretty colours over the next few days. Getting on and off the boat is now a non starter. Just as it’s brightening up.

 

 

 

 

 

Grubbing About on Board

9 May

I didn’t write much once we returned to Spain in January or at all during the month we spent back in the UK afterwards. There just didn’t seem to be very much to say, to be honest. But now we’re back on the boat I thought I’d better get my finger out.

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A very welcome site to wake up to – view from our hotel room

It was only this morning that we came aboard, having indulged in the luxury of a night in a hotel. Neither of us begrudge it, though. The thought of having to somehow access a bed on the boat after a late arrival and a long day of traveling was beyond daunting. You see, when a boat is “put away” for the winter, left to cope with the inevitable bad weather and potential consequences, a lot of work is involved.

Anything that the wind could get hold of – sails, dinghy,  bimini (provides shade in the summer) as well all the loose items like buckets, brushes and soft furnishings have to be stowed below. A cold, unventilated interior is asking to be affected by damp so anything that might go mouldy needs to be protected, usually by wrapping them in plastic bags, and moved away from the walls. These all have to go somewhere and every bit of space is utilised including the floor of the heads (bathroom) and the beds.

If the boat is to be lifted out onto the land every item that might either break or cause damage has to be secured in some way. Electricity is disconnected, water tanks emptied and the toilet flushed through with chemicals to clean the pipes and holding tank.

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Neil let’s down the bathing platform so we can board from the pontoon

From all this you can probably gather that the boat is pretty much uninhabitable without a lot of work to put it all back together. Mostly dirty, back-breaking work at that. Bruises, cuts and​ broken fingernails are all par for the course. Even doing the minimum late at night is not to be recommended.

 

So that has been our day today. There’s still a lot of cleaning and provisioning to be done but we’ve both had enough for the time being. It’s T-shirt weather, at least for now, and it’s wonderful to ditch the shoes and get out the flip flops. Plus a little drink is called for. 

L’Albarda Gardens

28 Feb

Blog L’Albarda Waterfall

Why have we not been to L’Albarda ( website ) before? Friends have long been recommending it and it’s only about 20 minutes away from Jávea. Somehow we’ve just never got around to it despite happily travelling much further afield. The last day of a glorious February was the day, though.

Blog L’Albarda Water Feature

The sound of water is everywhere.

From the sight of the path up to the entrance we knew we were going to like it. Initially ignoring the map provided, the vision of the house itself with a few tables set up alongside, drew us to ignore the tempting side routes. What a beautiful place to live and what an amazing hotel it would make. Maybe if we won the euromillions lottery (we’d have to actually buy a ticket first, of course.)

Blog L’Albarda Oranges

If the roses aren’t properly in bloom yet the many orange and lemon trees still impress if you’re more used to a colder climate!

But the gardens are what this visit is about. Citrus trees heavy with ripe fruit, Arabesque fountains, Italianate statues, shady pergolas and wooded paths had me clicking away taking pictures at each turn. And everywhere the sound of water and birdsong.

Blog L’Albarda Frog Pond

A pond in the area left to return to the wild. Frogs dived into the water at our approach.

Don’t get me wrong, these are not immaculate formal gardens or even obviously well maintained (at this time of year at least.) Much has been left deliberately to return to nature but some areas have also been left to run to weed where you might expect otherwise. Perhaps it is a work in progress and probably best seen anyway when the flowers are in full bloom. We’d like to return and see. 

Blog L’Albarda Rose

An early rose blooming in February. The long trellis archway covered in climbing rose bushes must be a spectacular site in season.