With just a handful of free days left and a need to head in the general direction of our boatyard in Preveza we decided to return to one of our favourite places – Porto Spilia on the island of Meganisi. It had easy access to land and water, some nice walks, a good taverna and a small supermarket to stock up on food. After a three-hour journey we motored into the bay and saw the old man with the red hat ready to help us tie up. It almost felt like home.  As we motored towards the quay we scanned the water for jellyfish. Thankfully there were none. We spent the next few hours enjoying the water. It was perfect – calm, clear and cool. Late afternoon the water started to lap at the back of the boat. The swells became noisier and grew bigger. Waves crashed over the small path as I walked to dinner. The taverna is an open space that sits on the water’s edge. Tonight every table was full and the concrete floor was covered in water, but nobody cared.  Most people wore thongs, some were barefoot after removing their shoes and leaving them on dryer ground.  When a particularly large wave crashed over the wall and across the floor, there was a collective ‘whoa’ from the diners as they lifted their feet. The waiters continued their service as if this happened every night. We ordered wine and food and took it all in.  As the water calmed and the day ended, we were presented with a beautiful sunset. It really was a most unforgettable experience.

We’d talked a few times about visiting Kastos or Kalamos, two islands near the mainland, as we’d not been to either on our previous trip.  As they were not far from Meganisi and we had a few days up our sleeve, we headed for Kastos. The town quay was already quite full, but we managed to squeeze in between a Swedish and a French boat.  We thought they might be a bit annoyed as it really was a tight squeeze, but the Swedes very generously helped pull us in and welcomed us to the quay. They even gave us a recommendation for dinner, at a taverna renowned for their fresh tuna dishes. The harbour was small but had everything we needed – a few tavernas, a café/bar next to a small beach, a mini-market for stocking up the fridge, and another café/bar in an old, converted windmill on top of the hill behind us. We spent what was left of the afternoon swimming at the small beach before moving onto the nearby bar for some bubbles. Later we walked up to the windmill bar to check out the view and enjoy a cocktail. That night we went to Il Porto, the taverna recommended by our neighbours and enjoyed the best meal of the entire trip. I had the tuna kebab which was marinated in soy and ginger. It was devine – so tender and full of flavour. We loved Kastos so much that we stayed an extra night.  Some of our party went on long walks around the island. I chose to swim as it was so very hot. On both nights a storm on the mainland threatened to drench us but didn’t quite make it to our little piece of paradise. We went back for more tuna on the second night, very happy that we’d made the decision to come to Kastos.

With a free night remaining we returned to Porto Spilia for one last visit before sailing back to base to prepare our boat for lifting out of the water.

Izabela is now back in the boatyard awaiting next year’s adventures. Our six weeks on the water have been unforgettable, especially following the turmoil of the last few years.  We have all felt so privileged to be here and have made the most of every day. A huge thank you to my partners in sailing and very best friends, Robyn and Roger, who were instrumental in turning this dream into a reality. Thanks also to our good friends and hard-working crew, Brian and Danny. We could not have enjoyed this trip half as much without them.