We sailed from Corfu to Loggos on the island of Paxos intending to stop one night on our way back to Preveza where we would give the boat a much-needed clean, restock with food and fill the water tanks. But Loggos was so captivating, one night turned to two.
We tied up to a pier near the entrance to the tiny bay where we had a perfect view of the town. By nightfall there were eight boats squeezed around the small pier and a web of mooring ropes to negotiate whenever we walked to and from the boat – not so easy in the dark after a few glasses of wine. On our first night we went back to the taverna we’d lunched at the week before so we could all try the now-famous seafood lasagne. It was delicious – an amazingly tasty blend of pasta, fresh seafood, spinach, feta cheese and spices.
After two nights we reluctantly raised our anchor and sailed back to the marina at Preveza – our home in the Ionian Sea – for a frenzied 24 hours of maintenance, cleaning and washing towels, sheets and clothes. The marina has a large clothes line and it was so hot and windy everything dried very quickly. The next day we left feeling fresh, clean and ready to head south and explore new territory.
Our first stop was Lefkada, also known as Levkas, and only about an hour from Preveza. We needed to schedule our arrival for the opening of the floating channel bridge which is on the hour. Our timing was perfect – at 3pm we motored into the channel and along the town quay.
Lefkada is the largest city on the island of the same name and a popular holiday destination for Greeks and sailors alike. At first glance it seemed a bit charmless, but a short walk away from the waterfront and into the old section of town revealed some fascinating and very colourful architecture. In 1953, the town was hit by an earthquake and the residents rebuilt and repaired their houses using sheets of metal which they painted. The colourful houses and shops are now a tourist attraction and most buildings in the town centre, old and new, are brightly painted. The town also has a lovely promenade along the waterfront where locals flock each night to eat, drink, talk and play.
The next day we sailed further south to Tranquil Bay and the town of Nydri. Again we were able to tie up at the town quay. We couldn’t wait to change into our bathers and walk to the nearby beach where we rented a sun bed and umbrella for 3 euros – a bargain as it was extremely hot. We spent the afternoon swimming, reading and snoozing before heading back to the boat for drinks and to wait for the sun to go down, which at the moment is around 9.30pm. The heat here is very intense right up until sunset. Across Tranquil Bay is an island with a tiny white church overlooking the water. Nydri is a busy port and a popular beach resort so there was much going on to keep us entertained until it was cool enough to venture out for dinner.
For me, Nydri didn’t have the charm of Levkas so I was happy to lift anchor and head off the next morning over to the island of Meganisi where we berthed at Vathy.
We tied up at the town quay, this time alongside boats from England, Germany, Iceland, France and Turkey. Vathy is small and very pretty. Adjacent to the quay is a playground where families gather in the cool of the evening to chat and play well into the night. They were still there when we went to bed at midnight! I’m constantly surprised by how late children go to bed here in Greece.
An English couple on the next boat have been sailing these islands for nine years and gave us tips on where to eat. They told us about Hotel Meganisi, a short drive away up in the hills, that provides a free shuttle service to their restaurant. We decided book it – it would be nice to go inland for a change. The hotel had a pool and an amazing view across the valley. We’d just ordered dinner when the waiter came out to report that our boat neighbours had called. The wind had picked up and our anchor was dragging. The hotel offered to drive a couple of our crew back to the boat and wait while they re-laid the anchor. Needless to say we gave them a very good tip! We also learnt that they were happy to bring us back for lunch the next day and let us swim in their pool. As it was another scorcher, we took them up on their offer.
Today we head back to Nydri to the marine shop. Over the past few weeks it has become apparent that our anchor is not suitable for Greek waters. It’s not holding as well as it should which can be a problem when the wind suddenly picks up. We’ve had a few close calls so have decided it’s time to invest in a new one. Once we’ve sorted that out we’ll head further south. Until then, adio from Greece.