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August 2007 - Eastern Italy, Greece

Greece | Ionian | Corfu Achilles Villa

August 31, 2007

Hi, We had a nice day today. We are on the move again headed for the Corinthian Canal. No wind but we motored 25nm to a lovely anchorage off mainland Greece near the Gulf of Patras. Ormos Oxia We arrived around 1:00 and had lunch. Al decided to change the alternator belt. What a job. We ended up removing the alternator and grinding the mount so it would fit better. We thought the job about complete and Al lost the nut in the bilge somewhere. We spent about an hour looking for it and finally started digging in our spare parts. Al had bought some extras when he bought the larger alternator :-> What a beautiful sunset and evening. Our anchorage reminds us a little of Julian Bay. It's a long sand spit off the delta of the Akheloos River. We grilled a nice steak and just enjoyed our evening.

Love Sally and Al

Greece| Ionian Sea | Friskardo

Greece | Ionian Sea | Cephalonia Island | bus ride views of Assos Castle

August 30, 2007

Hi, We took the bus to Fiskardo today. It was an hour of air conditioning and fantastic views. We traveled winding roads that seemed to just hang on the mountainside. The driver would beep his horn as he rounded a corner. Twice we had goats crossing. The views of Myrtos Beach and Assos Castle were incredible. The town of Fiskardo had many pastel colored Venetian style houses and a busy harbor. Unfortunately the water front is covered with tables and awnings for the restaurants. We had an excellent lunch of lamb stew, mousakas (minced lamb and eggplant baked)and a tomato/cucumber salad. We have never eaten lamb that we've enjoyed before. :-> The ride back was just as spectacular. We are having dinner with Dick and Ginger, and Allie and Chuck tonight. We are leaving for the Corinthian Channel tomorrow along with Chaliventures.

Love Sally and Al

August 29, 2007

Hi, We didn't move on today as the weather called for south westerly winds and our planned anchorage was not good for that direction. The American boat we met in Sicily is Chaliventures not Jolly Ventures, Chuck and Allie from Virginia. We met Dick and Ginger ashore and had coffee and fantastic baklavas (wheat, honey and nuts)Way too sweet but shared it's not too bad :-> Al did a wiring project today. He installed the panel for the European 220 wiring. Big job that he started back in Nettuno and now is completed. We plan to take the bus to the north end of Cephalonia (Kefallonia)to Fiskardo (only town not destroyed by 1953 earthquake).

Love Sally and Al

Greece | Ionian Sea | Sami | Melissani Cave

Greece | Ionian Sea | Sami | Melissani Cave

August 28, 2007

Hi, We had another lovely day in Eufimia. The tree covered mountains rise up above the town on three sides with only barren rock at the very tops. It's quite a spectacular setting. We took a dinghy ride to Sami about 5nm away. We stopped at Melissani cave and lake first. It's a 160m by 40m cave structure with stalactites dating back 20,000 years. Findings in the cave attest to the cult of the god Pan and female figures of the famous Nymphs. It was neat but we're not sure if it was worth 6 Euros each for the very short tour. We visited Sami. It's a little bigger than Eufimia and more touristy. We had a nice swim when we got back. The quay has filled and now the anchorage is getting crowded. They can stop coming now says Al. We'll probably move on tomorrow.

Love Sally and Al

Greece | Ionian Islands | Cephalonia Island | Eufimia Harbor | Artemis at anchor

August 26, 2007

Hi, We spent a lovely morning in our anchorage off Pela Pigidhi island. We took our coffee and went on a dinghy ride. We decided to leave Ithaca about noon and headed for Agriossiki Pt. anchorage on Cephalonia Island near Eufimia and Sami. We anchored and tied off to the shore but after a few hours we decided we didn't like how close the rocks came off our stern so we headed for Eufimia harbor about a mile away. Whoa. We came out of the anchorage expecting some NW winds and found 26 kts of SW winds right on the nose into Eufimia harbor. We dropped anchor but the winds continued to howl so we didn't want to leave the boat to go ashore. It blew and we had chop in the bay until about 3 AM then it went completely calm :-> Ginger and Dick came into the harbor later in the evening

Mon. Aug 27 We went ashore after breakfast and a visit with Dick and Ginger. We walked around and Al got a haircut. It's pretty short but looks good. We had a nice lunch at Captain Corelli's restaurant. Nicholas Cage movie Captain Corelli's Mandolin was filmed in this area. So signed pictures of the cast and movie shots hang on the walls. Jolly Ventures (Washington DC area) a boat we met in Trapani, Sicily is at the quay. We talked for a while. They are headed down the Corinth to Athens area about the same time as we are. So we may be sharing some ports with Allie and Chuck in the future. We went for a swim and plan to go to town for a folk dance this evening with Ginger and Dick.

Love Sally and Al

August 25, 2007

Hi, I spent the morning downloading Croatia to Corfu, Greece pictures to the website while Al went shopping. Hopefully our son Patrick will have the links up so you can view them soon. I got many prizes for my birthday. Let's see...Al came back with a 120 ft rope for tying ashore, 4 colorful dish towels, a new laundry tub, and best of all a Spanish type folding fan with flowers on it. He knew I had been coveting such a thing since Portugal last year. We had a Greek salad and pizza for lunch. There were forest fires on Levkas Island and down on the Peloponnisos (75 people killed) so we had ash dropping in the anchorage. We decided to move to an anchorage further south for better swimming and less ash. We dropped anchor below Raven's Rock where we went walking yesterday. Pela Pigadhi between a little island off the south of Ithaca Island. We had fun snorkeling and swimming. It was another quiet, hot night. Cool in the cockpit but it takes along time for the cabin to cool down.

Love Sally and All

Thurs. Aug. 24

We picked up Ginger and Dick and headed for the car rental about 9 this morning. We had a fun full day orchestrated by Ginger. She did her homework and had our route around Ithaca island and to the sights planned. We even had our 11:00 coffee break scheduled. (She's a former first grade teacher and I'm sure her field trips were always successful)

Greece | Ionian Sea | Ithaca Island | Archeological Site

Greece | Ionian Sea | Ithaca Island

We had an interesting conversation with the Greek archaeologists working on the Homer's School excavation. We had a nice lunch and we must have picked the best place in town as the archaeologists showed up for lunch while we were eating. The roads are spectacular but frightening at the same time. They are steep hairpin turns barely wide enough for one car with crumbling edges. Some were paved but many were gravel. I didn't mind the views when we stopped the car and got out but many times it was very difficult to look as we were moving. I felt as if we were about to drop 600 feet over the edge at any moment. We took a rugged hour hike to the Raven Rock and fountain. We were ready for water and a cold beer when we arrived back in Vathi. It was an interesting fun day and glad to have friends to share it with. I'm so glad we had read the Iliad and the Odyssey again. It made today and the places we visited so much more fun to do. The weather is hot, hot again even at night for sleeping :-( Love and God Bless Sally and Al

Greece | Ionian Sea | Ithaca Island | Vathi

Aug. 23

We are anchored in a lovely spot in Vathi, Ithaca. It's a spot Rolf and Monica told us about that isn't shown on the cruising guide plan for Vathi. So we are anchored alone without 20 boats moving in around us for a change. We met another American couple for New York (Long Island area) anchored across the bay. They spent 4 years cruising Latin America area before crossing last year to the Mediterranean. Ginger and Dick invited us for an anniversary drink before we went out to dinner. Great fun having people to talk to again. They had rented a car for tomorrow and invited us along to explore Ithaca the home of Odysseus. Al and I had a lovely dinner on the quay. 32 years! Love and God bless Sally and Al

August 20, 2007

Hi, My son Justin informed me that calling from the US to our Greek phone you must dial 011-30-694-151-4909 I referred to the Homeric epithet incorrectly a few days ago when I spoke about the evening sun on the sea. The correct phrase is "the wine-dark sea". I may as well have it correct if I'm going to use it :-> We motored along the island of Meganisi to see the caves. The Greeks claim they hid a submarine in the biggest one "Papa Nicolis"during WWII but we didn't think it looked possible. We went to Ormos Sivota on southern Levkas Island. Lovely anchorage in front of the town quays until the charter boats showed up about 6:00. What a zoo for about an hour until they were all settled for the night and then it went back to peaceful again.

August 21, 2007 We went to visit on an American boat owned by some Israelis. Lovely people. When we asked where they were from in the US they said, "Israel US 51st state." We had a nice visit then left for Frikes on the Island of Ithaca. We anchored and tied to shore in a nice bay near the harbor Limenia Bay. We met a nice young couple from Switzerland Monica and Rolf. They've been out cruising for seven years now and told us to go south around the Peloponnisos peninsula rather than go through the Corinth. We've been invited to their boat later this evening. We plan to go into Frikes to visit tomorrow. It's a small town and it doesn't look like there is much there.

Greece | Ionean Sea | Ithaca Island | Limenia Bay

August 22, 2007 We had a short visit by dinghy to Frikes. Just a few restaurants, souvenir shops and two small grocery stores. We had free internet to use at the grocery store so that was a plus. It got really hot this afternoon so we floated in the water visiting with Monica and Rolf. They had a rat on their boat last night as they found droppings all around in the cockpit. They weren't sure if it climbed up the lines tied to shore or if it swam out and climbed from their ladder to the swim platform. Thankfully we keep the companion way doors closed and all hatches have screens. They gave us some good pointers for our travels the next months. They like to anchor so they had lots of suggestions for good anchorages along the way. We've invited them to our boat tonight. It's great fun discussing cruising as well as our countries and the people who live there. Tomorrow we head for Vathi, Ithaca where we'll celebrate our 32nd anniversary. Wow how time flies.

Love and God bless Sally and Al

Love Sally and Al

Greece | Ionian Sea | Levkas Canal| Castle entrance to the canal

Greece | Ionian Sea |Levkas Canal

August 18, 2007

Hi, We had a fun interesting motor down the channel between Island Lavtas and the mainland. We had to wait for an hour in a little bay before the "bridge" opened to let us through. The bridge was under repairs so they were using a ferry boat to let traffic pass between mainland and Levkas. The span was just perfect to set the ferry in between. While we waited an Italian boat went up on the rocks. We watched as they tried unsuccessfully to get off. Finally we put our dinghy in the water and the 4hp engine. We took his halyard and pulled the boat over and he backed off. He gave us a bottle of wine and a thank you. We traveled down the canal, no wind. We decided to anchor in Tranquil Bay on Levkas Island. It is lovely with mountains around.

August 19, 2007

We put laundry to soak overnight and this morning rinsed and put our wringer to use. Clothes dry fast in this heat. We went to town for breakfast. Al had an English breakfast and I had an omelet. We got our transit log stamped and they charged us 9 Euro's for two nights at anchor. I think it was wrong as I thought we only paid while at a quay. Oh well no arguing with the authorities. I think they didn't understand we were at anchor. I really wonder how many people actually check in at each port. But they do ask where last port was and when we left which is stamped in the log. What a pain. W Love and God bless Sally and Al

Love Sally and Al

Greece | Ionian Sea| Nicropolis

Greece | Ionian Sea | Previsa | Nicropolis

August 17, 2007

Hi, Our new cell phone number for Greece is 0030 694 151 4909. We took the dinghy across the bay to the chandlery. But no luck finding anything we're interested in. We finally washed the boat down. Then after lunch we took a taxi to Nicropolis ruins. It was worth the ride and we enjoyed walking around the ruins especially the amphitheater. It was mighty hot again so we were glad to see a taxi heading toward Previsa that we could flag down. We plan to head to Levkas and go through the canal between mainland and the island.

Love Sally and Al

Greece | Ionian Sea | Previsa

August 16, 2007

Hi, We motored 28 nm to Previsa, Greece on the mainland. It isn't at all what we expected. It's quite a resort town and we are tied to the quay in front of some restaurants. Lots of people watching. We found the Coast Guard for our "stampa" in our transit log. Then we went to lunch. We found a Vodafone so tomorrow we'll try our luck with down loading the weather. Navtex hasn't given us weather since Corfu. It's expensive internet but if we can use it for weather it'll be worth it. We took a siesta for an hour. It's hot, hot again. The harbor looks murky so we didn't jump in to cool off. Sitting on the quay is fun as we can have our beer and cheese plate as if we were in the cafe but sitting in our cockpit instead. Now long about midnight and the crowds are still milling about it may not be so fun. We plan to stay tomorrow and go to Nicopolis. It was built by Octavian to commemorate his victory over Anthony in the Battle of Actium. This battle determined the course of the Roman Empire. The ruins are suppose to be well preserved.

Love Sally and Al

Greece | Ionian Sea | Parga | Castle

Greece | Ionian Sea| Parga| view from castle

August 15, 2007

Hi, We had a little rolly-poley in the anchorage reminding us of Julian Bay on Stockton Island last night. The seas curved around the end of the island and set us to rocking. Not too bad... We put the dinghy in the water and went over to the town of Parga this morning. Lots of shops and restaurants. We walked up to the castle. A good hike with fantastic views. It's an old Venetian castle that was often called "the eyes and ears of Corfu". It was never taken by the Turks but at one point England sold it to one :-> We found the Coast Guard police to get our stamp in our transit log and then went to lunch. Al had gyro plate and I had chicken souvlaki (meat roasted on a skewer)It was tasty, served with pita bread and homemade fries. We walked the streets for a while and picked up some produce. We took a dinghy ride around the big rocks or small islands in the bay before heading back. The water toys are buzzing around the boat again. Oh well at least it's good holding and quiet at night. It seems to be a common practice here for boats to drop anchor and raft to each other in a long line along shore or the quay and tie a line ashore. We went into what we thought was a marina and we found boats anchored both at the stern and the bow, rafted to each other as if they were on a quay. Strange. We don't anticipate doing such a thing any time soon.

Love Sally and Al

August 13 & 14, 2007

Hi, We spent another day in the anchorage off the Old Town of Corfu. We found a neat channel between land and the fort that we could drive our dinghy through and tie off to walk into town. We still haven't figured out our internet on board. Vodaphone was out of the data sims cards so we'll have to wait for another town. We did some shopping for a long mooring line. We also found some more beer glasses and some oil and vinagar carafes. We found a nice fruit and vegetable market. Then wandered the old town for a while before heading back to grill on the boat. Today, Tues. we got our stamp in our transit log and headed for Paxoi. Beautiful day but not much wind until afternoon. We arrived about 1:30. No space in the harbor so we tried anchoring. We finally gave up after 3 hours of dragging (along with a bunch of boats) and head 10 nm to Parga on the mainland. We arrived about 6:30 and anchored easily in sand and weed. Hallelujah! Good protection from prevailing winds so we should sleep well. Time for a shower.

Love Sally and Al

August 12, 2007

Hi, We had a lovely day on Corfu. We went to 10:30 mass at the cathedral with the bishop officiating. A choral group from Sweden sang a latin mass and some music in English and some Swedish. We recognized. All Things Bright and Beautiful. After mass we grabbed a bite to eat at a vender then caught the bus to the Achilleion Palace. It was built in 1889 by the Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary Elizabeth. She named the palace for Achilles whom she admired for his strength and beauty. Many statues in the gardens. It's quite a spectacular building and the gardens and views are wonderful. Elizabeth was murdered in 1898 Used as a military hospital in WWI. In 1962 a private company converted the upper floors to a casino and the ground floor to a museum. It was used for the casino scenes in the James Bond movie "For Your Eyes Only" Today it's used as a museum and a venue for private and public events. We enjoyed a few beers on a veranda overlooking the mountains and valleys. I asked the girl if we could buy our beer glasses (Mythos beer) and she gave them to us. We're always breaking glasses on board... We plan to stay a while longer here in Corfu.

Love Sally and Al

August 11, 2007

Hi, We arrived in Corfu, Greece about 7:00 Italian, 8:00 Greek time. We pulled up to the custom quay and Al tried to clear us in and get our transit log. Unfortunately he was sent from building to building and finally told to come back tomorrow. (Agents were arguing and having a bad day) We moved over into a peaceful anchorage south of the old town of Corfu, Ormos Garitsas (Garitsa Bay). It was a nice big bay with a sand bottom. We set anchor just as the dark was settling in. We had a peaceful night. This morning we took the dinghy back to clear customs. Again we had to track someone down to get our transit log. The police and passport people were easy. It took over two hours and we still have to go back and have our log stamped when we leave :-( There has to be an easier way to do this. We had lunch in a traditional Greek Restaurant. The plates are small so you order several things and share. We had squid/tomato, pepper sauce, spicy pork, mushroom/cheese pie and spinach pie. As you probably know the Greek alphabet is quite different from ours and I haven't a clue how to pronounce half of them. Fortunately the English translation was right along side the Greek everywhere we went. We wandered around the old town. Found that most places are closed on Saturday afternoon and Sunday. We plan to stay through Monday so we can take care of our phone then. We visited the New Fortress today (built in 1576)and plan to go up into the Old Fortress tomorrow after mass. (1550) We are back to getting lots of exercise :->

Love Sally and Al

August 9 & 10, 2007

Hi, We moved into the quay (Piccolo Marina) in Otranto, Italy. No electricity on the quay but water. We were finally able to wash the Monopoli sand off the boat. We read and visited with people. We met an Italian woman on a charter boat who went to school at Madison. Go Badgers! They had a captain on a C & C. Then we saw another Lake Superior type boat. A Tartan 37 a little older than Kolibri our last sailboat. This morning, Friday, we left Otranto for Corfu, Greece (82nm) about 7:30. We have NW winds 5-10 so far and hope it will continue all day. We're traveling about 7.5 kts. If we're lucky we could arrive in Corfu about 7:00 tonight. We put up the "Secret Weapon" the mizzen staysail and it's giving us another half kt or more. There is an island Othonoi that many cruisers stop at on route to Corfu. It's about 47nm so we do have some options. Next stop Greece!

Love Sally and Al

August 7 & 8, 2007

Hi, We motor sailed down to Brindisi, Italy yesterday about 38 nm. We tied up to the quay in front of the Old Town near the spot we tied last May before crossing to Croatia. We stocked up on coffee and wine. Another American boat came in from Annapolis, Maryland "Zia" is a catamaran with a young family on board. Cassie and Juliana are 10 and 8. They left about the same time we did last year and crossed to Azores. Nice people. They're headed for Croatia. Their friend is in Dubrovnik and he said the fires are moving closer. Everyone in the marina is on alert to pull out if need be. Every once and a while they hear an explosion. They've been told they are land mines they were never removed after the war.

Wed. Aug. 8 We left the quay about 8:00 heading for Otranto, Italy about 42 nm. Of course the southeast winds came a day early so it was on the nose again. We arrived at the anchorage about 3:30. No space at the dock. We were looking forward to washing the boat down. Oh well. After this front moves through we'll head for Greece. Hopefully by Friday.

Love Sally and Al

Italy | Adriatic Sea | Monopoli

August 6, 2007

Hi, We had a nice visit with Jean Claude and Francine on their boat last night. They are from Montreal. They bought their boat "L'Entracte over here in Palma, Mallorica. When we got back to the boat about 10:30 we were told one fishing boat was leaving at 11:00 and the one we were tied to at midnight. We decided to go to bed and wake when they came. Good call. Our guys arrived about 3:00 but said they weren't leaving until 5:00. We got a few more hours of sleep before both fishing boats left at 5. We tied back up to our Italian friends on Magica along the quay and went back to sleep. The wind was still blowing over 25. I can't imagine how rough it was out on the Adriatic. A man came to fill some fishing boats water tanks and he filled ours too :-> Nice man He said, "Others will try and cheat you but we in Monopoli want to show we are good people." We got some shopping done and came back to discover we had a free wireless connection on the boat for a while. So we played on the internet most of the afternoon. We plan to head to Brindisi tomorrow.

Love Sally and Al

Italy | Adriatic Sea | Monopoli

Italy | Adriatic Sea | Monopoli| Fortress

Italy | Adriatic Sea | Monopoli

August 5, 2007

Hi, We had a peaceful night in our special little spot along the new breakwall in Monopoli, Italy. But the wind continues to blow 20-35kts with gusts to 45. After two days the seas have built up. Last night the Guardia Costeria said we'd have to move today so we moved early while it was quieter (20-25 kts)to tie up with the other boats. Not only did we have the wind to deal with but the harbor has 1.5 ft choppy seas in it. We took a few passes by before we finally tied to an Italian ketch which is tied to a big fishing boat. We were glad for the three men who helped us secure safely without any mishaps. We were told if the winds quiet down the fisherman leave at midnight. I can't see that happening unless the forecasts are all wrong. It may start to quiet tomorrow afternoon and the seas generally calm down quickly. Monopoli is a pleasant surprise. We hadn't planned on stopping here and we are glad we did. We went to mass at a beautiful Cathedral. It was fun to see the Italian craftsmanship again. So much marble, many sculptures and paintings. The organist planned Michael Joncas' Eagle's Wings. It was obvious he didn't understand the words as his musical phrasing was a bit off but recognizable. Like a lot of Italian small towns there are many old churches with ornate towers. About 50% are still used and kept up both interiorly and exteriorly. The others are bricked up or gated with only the exteriors preserved. We found a bakery and fruit/vegetable markets open today. Later this afternoon we took a windy walk around the fortress along the harbor entrance and sea. A World War II pill box at the entrance to the harbor and cannons probably from the late Venetian era lined the walls. We found an excavation of a small ancient Christian church on one of the many narrow winding side streets. It was underneath an old apartment building. One wall had a Madonna and child fresco. This a celebrated icon seen throughout the town and in the Cathedral.

Love Sally and Al

Italy | Adriatic Sea |Monopoli

August 4, 2007

Hi, We left Bari early about 7:15 for Brindisi about 60nm. Too rough and windy so we headed for Monopoli about 24 nm. Seas were between 2 and 3 meters and winds NW 20-30. We pulled into Monopoli no place to moor so we dropped our anchor along with a Canadian boat. No one has told us we have to move so far. We plan to drop the dinghy in the water later this afternoon. Shocking news about the Minneapolis 35W bridge over the Mississippi collapsing. We've heard very little and pray all who we know and love are safe. We decided to move onto the quay that is under construction. We tucked back into a corner out of the wind. It took a while to tie off because the bollards are so far apart. We finally tied to a bumper for a big ship and to a bollard. We are rocking a bit but nothing like the bay and we were in rock so not a good hold. Guardia Costeria came over and told us we had to move into the harbor and tie off of a fishing boat. I convinced her in this wind it was dangerous and I was afraid to do it.Finally she called someone and they said we could stay here until tomorrow. Hope the wind dies down by then. It's gusting 45 kts on the open Southern Adriatic right now and 25-30 kts in the harbor. Otherwise we'll move to the fishing boats if they drive out here again.

Love Sally and Al

August 3, 2007

We left early for Bari to meet with the electronics man. Again no one wanted to clear us into the country. The Port Captain said to go to Brindisi. We'll keep trying. We pulled up to a fishing boat quay to wait for the electronics man to arrive. We were able to get the software update for our radar. I sure hope it's worth the 250E we had to pay the guy. But now we have back up charts in case our computer has problems. He came twice and didn't finish until 4:00 so we decided to stay in Bari at the yacht club (30 E) rather than pound into SE seas two hours to the next port. Al walked a mile over to the Old Town to find a Bancomat while I watched the boat earlier. He said that part of town is neat, fortress and cathedral. But we probably won't go explore because we have no way to get back into the marina. If the weather is favorable we'll head for Brindisi tomorrow. Otherwise maybe we'll be here another day.

Love Sally and Al

Italy | Adriatic Sea |Molfetta

August 2, 2007

Hi, We left Vieste on Thurs. morning heading for Barletta. We had good sailing winds so kept going. We stopped in Molfetta about 5:30. The harbor was disgusting. Garbage and oil in the water. No marina so we tied up to the breakwall under the lighthouse. Lots of construction going on so it was noisy too. Thankfully the workers left by 7 and it was more pleasant. We couldn't clear customs. Everyone always says go to the next port :-( We went for a nice walk around town. Venice is beautiful but we often forget all of the other cities both in Italy and Croatia the Venetians built. Major reconstruction of the Old Town is under way probably EU money at work. It's always so fun to wander the winding stone paved streets so polished from the years of traffic. Just imagine how it all looked back in the Middle Ages. Al woke about mid night to adjust fenders (low tide, about a foot).

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