Leaving Greece for Montenegro

Posted Aug. 26, 2013 at 22:01

Time for an update…  As always, on a cruising boat, working crucial systems are absolutely necessary conditions for happiness.  The Spectra Watermaker feed pump head, that's normally replaced after it fails, was at least $400-500 and two weeks or more away in California…  So, with nothing to loose, it got unmounted, disassembled, my head scratched - 'why is this piece of magnet/rotor loose on its shaft??  Was this simply 'glued' on, waiting to fail???'…  So after digging a slot in the inox shaft and the rotor with a Dremel, inserting a piece of inox wire as a key, and reassembling everything (all this took a good 6 hours in 35C cabin heat) - it works again!!  We still have annoying new leak this season in the Clark intensifier pump, that will require a bunch of o-rings from CA and another day of disassembly/reassembly, but for now, that's postponed.

The next day LEM arrived from Novi Sad to join us for a week…   The girls, L and M, were interested in exploring the shoreside beaches in Nydri so we stayed at Iannis Pool Bar for a day and also did a parachute run. 

The next day, after leaving Nydri for a nearby anchorage, our windlass dropped its drive key again…  Back to Nydri, another day at Iannis Pool Bar for the girls, while E and I searched and eventually found a circ-clip to hold the windlass drive key.  This became fix V4, it lasted for a few days.

We sailed/motored to Fiscardo, astonished to find that within less than 10 days the number of boats showing up at anchorages has increased significantly.  We tied to shore in the first little cove outside the harbour (same as with T&J) and by the evening we had an almost 'marina-like' density of boats…  We had a nice dinner in town in a busy restaurant, so busy, that they forgot to bring the bill after asking three times while waiting for at least 20 minutes to leave…  Finally, getting up and slowly walking away helped (we almost got away :) and we got our bill running…

On top of the derelict Fiscardo museum above the roman cemetery remains

Ithaca was our next destination… We sailed down the channel separating it and Kefallonia and anchored for a lunch stop in turquoise and crystal clear waters under the hill with the ruins of Odysseus' castle… This is where V4 of the windlass fix failed…  as I searched for the circ-clip I found two of them next to each other, couldn't believe it!  The second was the original clip that managed to fly up and get well lodged between some wires.  The original clip is back on since then.

At the same lunch stop as Dora got into the water, Leona noticed a jelly fish of which she's terrified… so that was the end of that swim stop, nothing could convince her that they are easily seen with goggles and are in fact very beautiful…

Ithaca goat family "on the wall", using any cool shade available
We headed around  Ithaca into a nice but busy and open anchorage, the next day into Vathi (the capitol) after  spending time at a long white beach… Then it was time to go back to Nydri for another beach day, before LEM were due to leave.

After we said goodbye to LEM, I looked for something new, and found the islands of Kalamos and Kastos…  We spent two nights at Port Leone, a deserted small village (it was abandoned in 1953 after an earthquake) with a beautifully renovated church surrounded by ruined houses that haven't been touched in 60 years.  The villagers from Kalamos come by private boat, small ferries, horseback and 4x4s to hold ceremonies and then leave.  We were there on the morning of 'Assumption Day' (Aug 15) a holiday in Greece.  It was interesting to watch locals arrive to church in festive outfits using the above less festive modes of transportation.

We were by now also finally pondering where to within the next month… - where are we going to leave the boat for the winter and return to NS from?  I read through our Greek guides and the route around the Peloponnesos had quite a few interesting coastal spots to visit.  Crossing the gale-prone Aegean and its barren islands to Turkey where we would have broken the boats stay in the EU was less appealing, including the Turkish boating regulations, sanitation requirements, costs - for one week's stay? We were going to go Leros and find a marina, or return across all the way to Volos to be closer to our land transport to NS.  Another relatively easy option was to go back to Corfu, check out, go over to Saranden, Albania, check-in, stay at an exposed ship-dock for a couple of days (we read cruisers accounts on that) and then return to Corfu then Preveza again… Dora's heart was pulling northward with a considerable distance to cover against the prevailing summer winds where I was undecided: pulled in the direction of new ground, repulsed by the uncomfortable journey across the Aegean (no time to wait for end of Sep when the meltemi subsides) and distance to travel back with all our baggage…

To help decide we sailed across to visit Zakinthos and tour its wild and picturesque west coast.  The anchorage off the small village of Skinari at the northern tip of the island was pretty rolly…  We provisioned, had dinner at a busy taverna (lots of Greek tourists) and went to sleep…  Some disturbed rooster not far away was calling the morning every 15 seconds all night long, and eventually the morning came…  There was a good NE-ly and we sailed along the shore up and around to the west side…  The shore is really magnificent and tall, mostly made of soft sand-gravel mix yielding lots of spectacular cauldron like bays with high vertical walls and white sandy beaches and countless caves carved out of the walls by waves...

Our planned anchorage 20nm south turned out too crowded with moorings for small tour boats that wait for the long snaking row of cars approaching to take people out for a coast tour…So on we went, by now in blustery 30+kn NE-lys in the lee of the island…  We entered a couple of wild bays among rocks (with the help of our fw scanning sonar) looking for an anchorage, in the end, after brief stops, always encountering significant residual swell, we decided to round the southern tip as well…

In the huge southern Lagana Bay of Zakinthos with the natural reserve for turtles in its northern half, waters were relatively calm with only a couple of miles fetch for the NE-ly raising small waves.  We anchored along a deserted natural sandstone wall (the blaring discos a few miles to the north were still audible).  In the morning after our arrival as we drank coffee, we witnessed a small landslide, where a couple of tons of sand/gravel dropped from the top with a loud thump and covered a part of a long narrow beach strip that rented motorboats explored occasionally… a large cloud of yellow dust slowly drifted away… With only one other boat more than 100m away, it was a calm enough place that we stayed relaxing for a couple of days and finally decided to go… north.

The weather cooperated, and we reached Corfu in three days. The first front about to enter the Adriatic luckily provided 24 hours of calm in the Otranto straight with only moderate NW swell and the Adriatic was lake-like, so we were able to motor (with a few hours of sailing in the afternoon) up to Kotor in Montenegro.  As it turns out the Montenegrin one week cruising license cost only e50 and took 20min to get at Zelenika. MNE is like old home for us anyway, same with Croatia. The same front is now giving us a free deck wash-down washing away encrusted salt by thundershowers for a couple of days in Kotor before we enter Croatia.

Last swim at Ithaca on the way back...

Corfu

Dolphins kept us company a good part of the way in the middle of the southern Adriatic, we met dozens and they all came to play at the bow...

- Z -