Greece Lightning

Our friend Lia arrived in the anchorage off Gaios and was great to catch up. So good to see a lady so happy captaining her own boat and trip. Unfortunately she had engine troubles after a recommended electrician installed a bigger alternator. I managed to get the engine running again with a short term fix and this lovely hammock was our reward. Thanks Lia! How did you know we wanted to buy one?

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We headed down to Preveza the following morning and it was Scorching Hot! Made worse by a gentle following breeze for zero apparent wind. It was so silly hot we had to inflate the paddling pool in the cockpit for some relief! No pictures as clothing was optional in the heat for me and the kids… Afternoon NW breeze filled in and it would have been much better to sleep in and leave later in the day. Live and learn. We relaxed for several days there to recover before heading to the Levkas canal. Arriving with excellent timing for the 3pm opening, only to find they couldn’t be bothered opening at 3pm and would do it at 4pm. This is Greece. So we tied up and exercised the kids up and down the dock while a big queue formed behind us. Still not easy to bring the boat alongside with just the two of us. Typical of the good cruising community a neighbour noticed and helped with the lines. Somehow the couple of rude people trying to que jump all the other patient people didn’t seem to be able to get past our wide cat as the bridge opened. What a shame.

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Around the corner to the first nice bay and I got to the hammock first.

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Pretty popular place with boats packed in and people crowding the beach. Still missing proper beaches. Where has all the sand gone in the Med? Beaches made from rocks are not the same.

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Down at Ormos Vlikho we enjoyed the secure anchorage and browsing the shops. Nice chandlery with interesting selection of old junk people have given them. I added some more odds and ends from the boat for them. Shame they didn’t want to sell the stock of second hand sails they had as they didn’t want me pulling them out even though I was being very neat. Must be too hard for them? As if to make up for this we met the lovely Kiwi farming couple Joy and Kelvin. Great to meet such nice people and good Kiwis who have worked hard and done well. Their care package was too generous! We look forward to catching up with you again. If anyone is feeling the need for a lovely 50’ Beantaeu keeler that has been very well looked after they are considering selling S/V Dune… See me for more details if interested.

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Just another day in paradise.

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A few days along and Kiwi ingenuity was called on again. Arriving at a bay on Kastos we were approached by a swimmer asking if we had dive gear on board as they had fouled their prop. I swam over and with a snorkel managed to fix it. Yay! Two different ropes came out so wasn’t the first time for them. Had to smile that the girls were in the water working while all the guys were on board. ~Skipper was excused with a lung issue meaning no diving. Italians are such nice people and they put on a beautiful spread for Amelia and I as thanks. Boston missed out when having a grump not wanting to go over to their boat.

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Ciao

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Beach adventuring

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Better time for beach adventuring is once the beach gets into shade as the days are Scorching Hot with plenty of people lying around in the sun. We figure they must be solar powered judging by how long they lie like lizards in the full sun. Nice empty beach as soon as it cools off a little in the early evening.

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I’ll let the picture do the thousand words here.

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Play time. Bit embarrassing when I can’t keep up with Amelia this way round after we had swapped to come home… After that Boston was not allowed to race off. Something about rocks and nice skis.

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Part of the huge care package Joy and Kelvin gave us was Rummikub. Thanks Guys! Perhaps because they were getting a little too competitive with each other? Anyway great game. Here we are working it out.

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Beautiful evening light on beautiful scenery.

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Post dinner dinghy explore in the crystal clear water and crazy cliff formations in Ak Ay Koutaria on Ithaca Is.

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Joy of driving has been discovered!

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Anchored off the bottom of Cephalonia we were treated to a grandstand view of two crop dusting planes bombing a fire with 5 runs. Cool.

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Yay! A Sandy Beach! And it came complete with fenced off turtle nests. Turtles are pretty hard to spot in the water looking a bit like logs and disappearing quickly so no time to call the kids to see them. We had been lucky enough to spot several. I even had a good fright one day looking behind me on the ski and seeing an ugly alien face looking at me from up close. Phew, just a big turtle but good adrenaline kick for training. Considering the pressures they are under I sure hope our kids kids get to see them. Look after this planet guys, it’s the only one we have got!

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Dinghy driver number two.

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Another sunset moment. Banking these as you usually just don’t see them in a land house.

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Ready to check out at Argostoli and head back to Italy. But no, a minor issue with paperwork and missing stamp means we have to go 100Nm back to windward to Corfu or have major issues… Bugga.

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Thankfully the weather was kind and return journey not too painful. Here is a glassy dawn after another 4am start to miss the afternoon NW headwind.

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Rummikub getting serious.

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Finally arriving back at Corfu we explored the old castle on the point. Staged shot for the brochure.

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Background shot of the place.

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Kids had had enough of the climb in the muggy hot humid day and were pretty mutinous by this stage. Come On were are so nearly there. On hot days like this they don’t seem to share my enthusiasm for climbing to view points.

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Pausing for a few quick shots from the top before catching up with the kids. Humidity reason is big thunderstorm building over the town.

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On the AIS we spotted out friends Robert and Cath from Ole and organised a quick catch up. Great to see them again just before we rushed to the next country. Fair winds guys and enjoy your slow trip.

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Topping up diesel and ready to go our last anchorage was Ormos Kommeno off marina Gouvia. We tucked into the head of the bay in the quiet afternoon and watched a thunderstorm over on the mainland.

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Ah Bugga, just after dusk the thunderstorm had been building up and suddenly threw a strong onshore easterly breeze at us with a shot steep chop when the forecast was very light NW winds. Big drama in the anchorage with boats dragging, yelling matches and dinghies racing back from dinner to their boats as what had been a nice sheltered bay suddenly became a nasty lee shore. This boat was unattended and dragging down on us! Thankfully their anchor caught again 8m of our bows and the owner returned to move it. Silly solo guy next to us had gone to sleep and was dragging. Lucky I have a Big air horn and torch to wake him up before he hit the rocks! Our anchor held and a close nervous anchor watch was held until midnight when the storm died down as there were no good options for shelter from the east. Not much sleep on the night before our crossing… Tension is much higher than appears in the photo.

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Checking out of Greece in the calm morning there was no sign of the drama last night other than a palpable sense of camaraderie of the boats remaining in position. Italy here we come again. Several changes of wind, sail and motor combinations later and we were well on the way that night.

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Hmmm, building and very active lightning storm was climbing up to windward to us. At 1am in the morning of course. Trying to climb over it did not work and we ended up having the do a huge 2Nm donut running away from it hard under engine as it chased us and the wind went crazy… Here is a screen shot from the video of it. Little scary when it’s so hard to work out where it is going and the best course to avoid it. Not Shannon’s favourite moment of the trip…

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6 thoughts on “Greece Lightning

  1. Whoo – what dramas ! Scary stuff. Great that you guys are so prepared. It makes me so proud to see what you are all doing. Gorgeous photos 🙂 . Now I see what makes Boston so happy – Driving an Engine ! Great feeling of power for him. Friends here play Rummikub like maniacs – beware the addiction, guys !
    My love to you all , and greetings to tiki haere. XXXX

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  2. Hello Chamber family! I had dinner with your parents last night and heard all about your amazing adventure, very cool. We chatted for ages about your trip and I was very interested in hearing about your dream and plans. My wife, Tracy and I are planning exactly the same thing in a few years time and I am at the window shopping stage of buying our Cat. So far looking at a choice of the Lagoon 440, a Leopard or like you, The Fontaine Pajot, so I would be grateful to hear first hand from a family of Mariners that are sailing on one right now! Looking forward to your posts and hearing about your amazing trip. If you need anything done this side just let me know and will gladly oblige!

    Happy sailing and regards to the four of you from Peter & Tracy in Auckland, NZ.

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    1. Hi Tracy and Peter. Good to hear you are planning the same thing as we are doing! It is such an amazing experience. Happy to share our research and experiences, I’ll send you an email. Cheers, Max

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