In almost five months living on the boat and sailing the med, I've never had the chance to drive the boat, except in open water. Today I was at the helm when David Gardner suddenly decided we needed fuel. Amidst him telling me I wasn't doing it right, and the two old men on the dock smiling and shaking their heads (like isn't she cute she can't even drive) I backed up into the berth with no problem.
I think I said fuck off with my eyes.
After sheltering at jellyfish infested Vliho Bay, we had great sailing with 15 knots of wind to the island of Meganisi. We were told it's "paradise" and it is, except for the sea urchin spines in my foot that David Gardner had to take out. In Greece they anchor with a line to shore a lot.
We sailed to the towns of Preveza and through the canal to Lefkada, both lovely, busy little towns. In Lefkada we were told we had to wait until Monday to find out about berthing Shalona here for the winter. So we rented a motorbike and toured the island. Beautiful beaches, adorable little villages, and stunning scenery.
After the lovely isle of Paxos we sailed up the River Styx. The actual River Styx! Spoke to no one from the underworld😉
We sailed past the bustling little city of Prevaza into the Gulf of Amvrakikos, looking for sea turtles and a home for Shalona for the winter. The shallow waters of the gulf provided a different sailing atmosphere with plenty of wind but no sign of the turtles we had heard about. David really like the idea of the shelter of a gulf for Shalona's safety over the winter when he didn't plan to be there watching out for her.
It was a longer sail than we had anticipated to get to the sleepy village of Vonitsa. We were able to back into a slip at the only town pier, and saw a small assortment of the usual sailors: British, French, Italian. And a few boats that looked like they had been there for years, untouched and shabby. Nevertheless, Vonitsa seemed to be off the tourist trail and its sleepy vibe, with a mostly Greek population, was refreshing after the tourist towns we had visited before.
The wind was forecasted to rise with the possibility of a storm, so we stayed for a few days. Got what turned out to be the cheapest dinner we ever had in any country there. With wine and appetizers it was only about nine Euros for two people!
David really liked the spot for Shalona. It was free and relatively sheltered, and although it was quite a way from the airport at Preveza and remote for things like boat parts (he planed to spend time living on the boat doing repairs at some point) he thought he could make it work. But we had more to see, and when we left, after the wind storm quieted down, I was glad to keep exploring. My time in Europe was getting short!
We sailed south on the Greek mainland to Parga, a stunningly beautiful spot on the med! Big winds mean we will stay for a couple of days.
Parga turned out to be one of my favorite places of the whole trip. Two spectacular white sand crescent beaches with a big hill in-between, the castle on top. We made it into the small harbor before the onslaught of flotilla sailors and then got to watch them all squeeze in. Chaos ensued.
At the beginning of our trip I used to scold David for laughing at other sailor's anchoring and berthing mishaps, but then I got over it. It was the best entertainment and was truly funny! At this spot we watched a few sailboats attempt to slide in next to us, only to turn around after seeing how little room there really was.
Then, a brave soul and someone who clearly was in denial about how close he really was to us, insisted on trying, and crashed into Shalona. At least he had the good grace to talk to David and insist on coming back the next day to replace the paint on her side, with a decal. He earnestly wrote down the spelling and everything. We never saw him again.
By evening there was not an inch unfilled in the harbor. The flotilla had their boats run up on the sand when room on the pier ran out.
Walking up the steep hill between the two beaches (one was low key, the other verging on losing its soul to tourism) we found a restaurant owned by a Scottish woman, so of course we had dinner there! We chatted a bit and she said she had been living there for over 30 years. Her children born and raised there. I guess that means she's home!