We first booked a trip to Greece, to sail the Faraway Islands, north of Corfu, for spring 2020.
Of course, Covid-19 scuppered those plans, so we rearranged the trip for spring 2021. Then we realised a May holiday could clash with my sons’ rearranged wedding, leaving us no time to isolate if that was the current rules, so we moved it forward a couple of weeks.
Then COVID came back with a vengeance and we asked Sailing Holidays to just find us a sailing trip in Greece for October. We had to avoid the 13th as that was Barbara’s 90th birthday party, so we booked the delivery trip from Nidri to Gouvie for the following weekend.
As the pandemic is still very much with us, we had to be tested, and fill in lots of forms.
Eventually it was time, and off we flew, after an early departure from Pete’s on Sunday, we arrived mid afternoon at the Hotel Iris and were shown our yacht, Elara, a Beneteau 331.
After welcomes, and more testing and forms, we settled on the boat and dined in the restaurant. The weather was a bit glum, but we had a rainbow to give us hope.
The following day, after briefing and shopping, we left Nidri for Spartakhori.
We were delighted to get our sails up, and as we headed into a bay for a swim, we spotted a few dolphins a short distance away.
We have visited Spartakhori a few times before, and as it was a team meal, I forgot to take any new photos.
Next day we set off for Kamalos. the sun was shining but not much wind. We had hoped to meet up with Mary-Ann and Colin, as they were also sailing in the area, but our plans didn’t match up, so we motored down the Meganissi chanel and stopped in Port Leone for a swim.
We anchored just outside the old windmill, before setting off up to Kalamos.
Goerge, who owns the tavern on the quay, is renown for getting any boats into his harbour, even if it seems full. Luckily it was fairly quiet as this was approaching the end of season.
Wednesday we set off to Sivota, with a bit of early wind, and we were delighted to see 3 dolphins swim past our yacht. We kept sailing all the way across the top of Meganissi and downto Sivota.
There is a beach near to the marina so todays swim was sorted on arrival. We also had a punch party on the beach as dusk set.
Sailing this late in the year means we were up before dawn most mornings, and we had some spectacular sunrises.
Thursday started with little wind so we motored most of the way to Little Vathi on Meganissi, only getting the sails up after a stop in Abeliki bay, where a flash new house was being built. This was a feature of the holiday we had not seen before, lots of modern buildings arising everywhere.
We did mange a short stretch sailing Goose wing, which is always a delight.
After an evening briefing, we slept ready for an early start.
The next trip was through the Lefkas Canal, all the way to Gaios, so we had to set off at 07:30.
Another sunrise rose behind us as we set off north to Lefkas.
The morning had a surreal feel to it, as it was so calm and still, with only our 2 flotillas out on the water.
A bit of chaos ensued at the canal, as first one boat had rushed across under full speed and had overheated their engine, then another boat ran aground in the mud in the canal. Then a third yacht had its anchor drop mid canal, meaning the lead crews had to haul it back up while we dodged the obstruction.
So when the horn blasted for the bridge to open, for 5 minutes, it was a crazy dash to get through, and the horn to signal its closing blasted as we motored past. Our lead crew failed to get past and had to wait an hour for the next opening.
We motor sailed part of the way, then dropped the sails and carried on under engine. It’s a long trip, with Paxos only becoming visible after a couple of hours, but luckily the weather was good and not too much swell, as this is my least favourite part of the trip.
After that long trip, we only had to get to Lakka the next day. The wind was stronger and we reefed our sails and had a good play, with more goosewinging.
We enjoyed a delicious dinner at NioNios of Pork Hock, then we wandered round the town, finding a children’s clothes shop that had to be visited. That’s 2 Christmas presents sorted.
Next we returned to the mainland, to Sivota Mourtos, stopping on the pontoon in the next bay. Our yacht was moored nearest to the land, and I had my best swim yet along the rocky shore, with many different types of fish.
There is a fancy new taverna in the bay, but other people weren’t impressed, so we dined on board, then as dusk started we walked into town, which is a steep 1. We do werer arround 5km walk. we treated ourselves to a great ice-cream and walked back in the dark.
Monday we sailed up to Plataria, having a good tack with reefed sails before mooring uplowed them orarouhalfnd h on the town quay.
We dined in Olgas fish restaurant and I shared the fish platter with Phil, yum.
A new port for us the next day, Sayiadha. It sits behind mud flats which are very shallow, and we were lucky to spot a turtle just before it disappeared, then some dolphins came swimming nearby, with one of them coming within a couple of meters of us. We were able to follow them for about half an hour.
The tavernas here specialise in local caught prawn, which I had with spaghetti.
A few pelicans were floating just outside the harbour the next morning, and another turtle passed us on our way out.
We finally reach Corfu on Wednesday, stopping in Petitri.
Due to a river entering behind the marina, this bay is very atmospheric.
On a previous trip here I had photographed the dawn, and this year we had a similar experience, with thick mist rolling out from the bay.
Thursday was a trip up the coast, stopping in a bay enroute for a lovely swim, and into Corfu Yacht Club. We were lucky to get a spot on the quay side, but it proved a rocky night.
We walked into town late afternoon, and smelt a great curry cooking in the Yacht Club taverna, so rather than return to town, we dined there.
I found this amazing fruit on the quay.
We still had a couple of days before returning to base, so we now venture to a new area, visiting Kassiopi, which is very close to the Albanian shores.
We had a lot of spare time today, so had a swim and sat and read for a while.
Our last day was a gentle trip back round to Gouvia, with a bay stop for my last swim.
We had a team cocktail party and prize giving, we got the ‘David Attenborough’ award for our wildlife spotting.
The following day we didn’t have to leave the marina until 16:00. The staff had already started work on readying the yachts for winter, opening up the genoas to dry.
They make a spectacular sight against a blue sky.
That sadly is the end of a wonderful trip, lots of sunshine, wildlife, swimming, great food and company, but short of good wind.