Eight on Board and an Octopus

This has been the most amazing summer in Greece. Never have we had such continuous fine weather. Day after day of warm sun with a little breeze in the afternoon and quiet, still nights. We’ve spent most at anchor in bays, some solitary and some, such as Lakka on the island of Paxos, full of at least 50 boats. Although sheltered it’s very shallow there, we anchor in 1.5m under the keel, and I dread to think what it must be like if there is a strong blow.

Culture at Lefkas Museum

A night in Lefkas to put the new washing machine into action. Couldn’t get into our favourite tuna taverna so walked along to the end of the pier and found a taverna serving nearly as good tuna and sardines. Next to us was a stage enclosed within the museum walls where began a production. We were fascinated and slipped inside, although there was a full house, and discovered they were performing Aeschylus – Prometheus Bound in ancient Greek. It was very polished and professional. A bit like having the Royal Shakespeare Company performing off the pier at Southend.

As a change from our favourite Goat Bay we anchored in the next bay at the top of Pogoina Bay on the mainland, a long beach along this wide bay, lots of room and good holding in sand, although Julie hadn’t found her turquoise water. We spent two nights, eating at Spiro’s taverna as the food was so good. On Sunday there was heavy music from the shore, but Monday was very peaceful.

Palairos Marina.

We then put into the little harbour of Palairos, a slightly rickety jetty but the fee was only 10 Euros plus 5 for electricity and water. As well as the innumerable Greek restaurants on the harbourfront we had been told there was an excellent Bangladshi one which was highly recommended, so instead of our regular moussaka and calamari we had chicken madras and beef dopiaza, although we asked for the madras to be hot, we should have asked for Vindaloo. Eating curry with the water lapping beside you was a treat.

Curry in Palairos.










Wood Bay – Kalamos


After a roly night in beautiful Woods Bay on Kalamos, we returned to our base in Lefkas to collect our son





With our Canadians en route to Ithaca

Edward and his wife Charmaine who were joining us for a week. Their first day out we had a grand sail south to the island of Ithaca and returned to Aeton Bay, deep in the heart of the island with the clearest water and a sandy bottom, it is perfect. We could hardly understand why we were almost the only boat anchored there.

Octopus on board



During the night there was short squall, and we thought a towel might have gone overboard. There was a flat shape on the seabed and Edward dived down to retrieve it only to discover it was a sheet of black plastic. He shook it out, brought it on board and bagged it for disposal. We were all swimming when Julie let out a scream as an octopus crawled out of the bag and headed along the cockpit towards the saloon. Edward quickly grabbed the fishing net we have for retrieving things that fall overboard and scooped the creature up before transferring it again to the ocean. Perhaps it should have gone on the barbecue.

Octopus turning itself into a rock








Octopus on the table


A storm in Ithaca town cleared in time for us to dinghy ashore and enjoy what we could have caught!

At anchor – Ithaca.











Flamingo – moonlight on Varco


We couldn’t miss sharing a night at anchor in Goat Bay with Ed and Char especially as in high summer there is a beach bar with varying volumes of “duff duff” music, which they assured us was from the 90’s. They swam ashore to savour the atmosphere. The brisk NW afternoon breeze dropped for a perfect full mooned night.



Sunrise – Lefkas Channel






We then made our way north towards Corfu, stopping for two nights in the charming but exceedingly popular Lakka, on the north eastern tip of Paxos. It is hard to find a place to anchor which is not too close to other boats and when you find a spot you are then watching out that someone else doesn’t park too close to you. A bit of anchor rage at times.

Anchor rage – Lakka

















From Lakka, we motored 31nm to the huge marina on the island of Corfu at Gouvia where after midnight Terry’s nephew Duncan, wife Nayeli and children Toren and Isla arrived. This is the first time we have had eight on board, luckily the early evening violent storm cleared and the children slept very happily in the cockpit.

A sailor yet

Exotica in Mandraki

Corfu Fort above Marina Mandraki

Our gentle sail towards Porto Mandraki, a delightful marina at the foot of the fort at Corfu, was threatened by a fast developing black cloud in the north moving quickly towards us so sails down and a very quick entry to our safe harbour. Fortunately, there’s a stony beach which the children loved and reportedly the best taverna in town where we had a delightful family meal.

Look at that Sea Bass






Lunch on Exotica

Goodbye is always hard







It’s always a bit sad leaving Mandraki marina but motored to Ipsos bay, north of Corfu town for a swim and lunch on board and were delighted to see a pod of dolphins playing around the boat. The first we have seen this year.

Dolphins off Corfu










It’s my flamingo


We spent two more nights at anchor with the Mexican family before they left us in a small marina at Benitses south of Corfu so they could explore the town.


Mexican breakfast.







We’d had the best fun with Canadians.

From there after a night at anchor in the far south of the island we motor sailed back to base in Lefkas as some rather windy weather is forecast for the next few days. Arriving for the 4pm bridge opening in 20 knots NW on a Friday was a nightmare. At least 30 boats negotiated the channel at snails pace, then caused a bottle neck at the entrance of the marina, waiting to fill up with fuel at the end of their charter. It was chaotic, so we slipped past and anchored at the south end of the channel in good holding and had a quiet night before returning to G25 to clean inside and out and do eight loads of washing!!





From the Sublime to the Serene. 

Richard Wagner was born in Leipzig and the Oper celebrated this fact by doing something which as far as anyone knows has never been done before. Namely to perform all the operas he wrote in their chronological order. This included the three early works which are hardly ever done.

Richard Wagner at 17, seen at a pictorial exhibition of his life from 1813 to 1834.

Early compositions 1832

This festival, not to be missed, continued to delight us. It was a feat of determination and organisational skills for Leipzig Oper to perform these immense productions as most nights they had to replace singers, musicians and even a conductor due to Covid. But always, the show went on.



Hayllar Tours saw to our every need and guided the unfortunate couple who contracted Covid. The inspiring talks by the Wagner Scholar, Heath Lees, gave us new insights into the music and side tours to Dresden and charming smaller towns such as Quedlingburg, Torgau and Halle were full of Reformation history.

Torgau Schloss, 164 spiral steps tin right tower

Climing towers at Torgau Schloss









The view from the top

Attending Rienzi

A highlight was arranging an after party at the conclusion of The Ring for Stefan Vinke (Siegfried) who brought along Lise Lindstrom (Brunnhilde) who in turn brought along Falk Struckmann (Klingsor in Parsifal). The Steigenberger doesn’t close the bar while they still have patrons so we were there until 2am with Stefan!

Siegfried and Brunnhilde relaxing after Gotterdammerung

Stephan Vinke meeting the Hayllar group

Last opera of thirteen.

Gotterdammerung curtain call from our front row seat.

Paying homage at the Fiestspelhaus on July on July 15th.


Our original plan to return to Berlin and then a flight to Preveza had to be abandoned as a result of the catastrophic state of European airlines where our Easyjet flight was cancelled then, yes, our Lufthansa Munich to Preveza was cancelled, so another day spent finding a Condor flight, which wasn’t cancelled. Thus, we hired a car and drove from Leipzig to Munich. Stopped off at Bayreuth to pay our respects at the Festspielhaus, the opera house which Wagner built for performances of his own works

Dinner with Juergen at Landshut, our last night in Germany

In Munich we met our friend Juergen who took us out to dinner at Landshut on the banks of the River Isar before returning to the airport hotel for a 6am flight to Preveza.  We were horrified by the length of the queues for planes at 4.30 am at Munich airport.  Fortunately, because we had so much baggage, Julie upgraded the baggage allowance which gave us priority boarding, so we were able to bypass the queues, otherwise, there is no doubt we would have missed the plane.

Back to Exotica July 16th

On Saturday 16th July, we returned to Exotica where we will remain until returning home. Sailand had left replacing the stern gland to the last minute, found they needed to lift the boat onto the crane to do this then returned Exotica back to her berth the day before we arrived, we then found fresh-ish water in the bilge which took two days of engineers trying to trace. We resolved that there was residual water from the stern gland leak which has eventually dried. We also replaced the old dinghy, which had too many leaks, with a brand new one, which also appears to have a leak. Is this the story of our lives!

Finally, we were able to set off to some of our favourite bays. The weather this year has been spectacular. In all our experience we have never had such settled conditions. Day after day of hot sunshine but very little wind so a good deal of motoring and only a few moments with the sails up.  However, the water is warm, 28C, and we fall into it when we get too hot.

Safely tied up at Dimitiri’s Taverna, Vathy

On Sunday July 24th Angela Bush arrived for six days.  We anchored in turquoise bays on the islands of Kastos and Ithaca.  Anchored stern to Dimitry’s Taverna in Vathi, main town in Ithaca we laid out all our chain and some warp which required considerable lateral thinking to get it back into the chain locker when we departed the following morning. Then we found that we had snared a bit of an underwater rope which caught on the anchor itself. Terry eventually cut this away with the breadknife.  All of this to the amusement of the flotilla on the jetty.

Dimitri’s pretty idyllic, with Angela

Angela left us on July 30th, so to Palairos Bay on the Greek mainland with Spiro’s delightful taverna on the beach. Unfortunately, being Sunday the beach bars were blasting out loud music which rather diminished the pleasure of the place, however we stayed an extra day as Monday was peaceful and serene and Spiro’s lamb chops at Taverna Paralia were to die for.

We have a few days to ourselves before our son Edward and wife Charmaine arrive from Canada to be followed by our Mexican relations whom we’ll meet in Corfu.