We celebrated Julie’s birthday on September 8th in Corfu.
Monday September 9th we set off on the return trip from Corfu south to our home port in Lefkas Marina assisted by Anna and Tim, our final crew for the year. Shortly after leaving Corfu Town we were hit by a nasty little squall with driving rain and 20 knot wind. Visibility was so poor that we had everyone on deck keeping a lookout, all were soaked to the skin.
It passed, the sun came out and we had a fine sail back to our favourite harbour, Lakka, on the north east coast of the island of Paxos.
This large, sheltered bay is very shallow, you anchor in 1-2 metres under the keel, in aquamarine water, which appears to get more opaque as the water gets warmer during the summer. A perfect spot to inflate Julie’s birthday present, a large pink flamingo which she has always coveted but Terry refused to countenance on board. After falling off a few times she managed to mount it and lay happily for hours.
Two nights at anchor in Lakka is a must as it is such a pleasant place and quiet once the charters and flotillas have left in the morning.
Then on to Mongonissi, this is only a few miles further south on Paxos but took quite some time to get there as we were sailing into the teeth of a strong southerly under grey skies. Thus, we would sail across towards the mainland of Greece and tack back towards the island making little progress to the south. Exotica is not a greyhound to windward.
Mongonissi harbour is deep and not much room to anchor, embarrassingly, we spent a long time failing to find a comfortable anchorage and ended up coming stern to on the quay. A large flotilla, tied up beside us but it meant the charming, busy restaurant put on Greek dancing which Julie and Tim joined in with enthusiasm. No plates were smashed though.
We motor sailed for the 33nm passage back to Lefkas, timing our approach to the swing bridge at the head of the canal for four pm. The bridge only opens on the hour and doesn’t wait for stragglers, so timing is important.
We motored down the Lefkas Canal to our favourite bay, Varko or Goat Bay, for our final night at anchor. As ever the water is clear, temperature 26.8 degrees C at this time if the season with excellent holding so we celebrated with a swim in the warm water and washed down the last of the provisions with Greek wine.
On September 13th. we had a short but pleasant sail back to our berth in Lefkas Marina and started the big clean up, much helped by Anna and Tim.
Three days we spent packing up the boat. Sadly, our beloved washing machine died. It appeared that a filter was blocked but when Terry, with some difficulty, extracted the filter he found it full of blades and rusty metal which indicated that a pump had disintegrated. So, there was a lot of hand washing, sheets to the laundry and request to our engineers to source and replace it.
On September 16th we left Exotica sitting in her winter berth and trust that our guardianage company will do a significantly better job than their colleagues last year at Preveza, a few miles away.
This is the end of our seventh season, and it has not gone quite the way we expected. Schengen visa restrictions for Julie meant we did much more mileage than we intended but the passages to Athens in May and to Albania and Montenegro in July were exciting and interesting. We have also had many more guest crew this year which has added great variety and pleasure to the various passages.
Our plan for 2020 is to sail the boat north to Montenegro, via Albania, and we have booked a berth in a brand new Marina there. We’ll use this as a base to explore Montenegro and the islands of southern Croatia. Terry is looking for a crew to help him sail there in late May so if you are interested please get in touch.
Statistics for the 2019 Season
Travelling Days – 57
Distance – 1508 nautical miles
Guests – 14
Our planned family reunion eventuated with James and Nicole flying from Cairns and Edward and Charmaine from Sun Peaks to spend four days at Bovey Castle in Devon and three nights in Covent Garden. So special to have us all together.
From Dartmoor to Covent Garden after a rare family gathering at Overways