After a few days cruising Corfu we moved the boat into a marina so I could go and assist with the sale and delivery of the yacht Provenance. The marina was well situated around the charter yacht industry so had everything we needed, including a pool were Max and Issy spent the majority of their time. Max’s swimming improved leaps and bounds with a week in the pool getting his confidence up and at the end of it he was swilling well without fins. Issy concentrated on her front flips and diving and this improved well. After a successful sale of Provenance and handover to the new crew I returned to Corfu on the 22nd of July and we departed the marina berth shortly after and went to anchor close by. As soon as the anchor touched the bottom everybody jumped in the water to show off their new swimming skills.
Max surprised us all with his new swimming skills when he lost a fin and without hesitation dived 4m to the bottom to fetch it. An amazing free dive for a four year old!
We are now doing a lot of snorkeling as a family and both Issy and Max are confident to dive down to look at sea creatures and to swim through under water tunnels and caves.
On the 27th July we enjoyed our morning swim beneath the Corfu fort, then heaved in the anchor and motored to the small island to the south Paxos, where we anchored in Lakka bay where we remained for the next three days allowing me to finish off a few jobs left over from the refit including completing the installation of the water maker and fridge, and also replacing the radio panel in the nav station to fit the SSB radio and new Garmin VHF.
The new Spectra Ventura 150 watermaker supplied by RLR in Malta was quite simple to install and operate. It is surprisingly a lot quieter than I expected and produces 17-20L per hour which is enough to top up our daily usage as a family.
The new fridge and freezer is not as successful as I hoped. Unfortunately I could not find the large compressor that I was looking for in Malta, apparently they are sold out throughout Europe and had 3 month wait time so I opted to the slightly smaller more common compressor. Despite installing loads of insulation and halving the size of the freezer to 80L, the compressor can not keep up and we ure unable to lower the temperature less than 5 degrees. Until I can source the larger compressor we can use the freezer as a second fridge, though I will need to try to resolve this before we sail out of the Mediterranean to more remote places.
Issy at the top of the mast
After a few days of working on the boat in beautiful locations, the wind picked up from the north and we hoisted the sails and sailed further south. The light wind from the west gave us a good opportunity to test out the new code zero sail which is perfect for light wind reaching. We continued the voyage with the Genoa, Staysail and Missen. Due to the heat of the day, in true cruising style we left the awing on the main boom for shade, but Sunday Island still sailed well in the 12-15kts of wind as we made 7kts to the south. During the sail Issy and Max were very excited to see a Loggerhead turtle which rolled over and waved as we sailed past.
Code 0 testing
Issy and Max are becoming very confident climbing around the rig and boom like monkeys. Issy now enjoys climbing to the top of the main mast 18m high (with harness on and safety lanyard manned by Dad) and max can climb to the top spreader. Issys favorite trick at the moment is to climb to the end of the missen boom and jump into the water. Sometimes we rig a swinging rope on the missen so they can swing off the side of the boat into the water.
On our way sailing south through the island chain I made contact with a mate from school David Harper and his beautiful family who now live back in Hobart but return to Greece regularly to visit family. Dave was staying on the island of Itika, so we altered course for the bay of Marmagkas Bay. We sailed into Marmagkas bay with 25kts of wind and lowered the sails before the shoals. The bay is very poorly charted so we wanted to approach with caution. On arrival into the bay we found our preferred anchorage in the NW corner of the bay was crowded so we were forced to anchor in the SW corner. We circled Sunday Island in our proposed anchorage location looking for bommies and surveying the anchorage and then let go the anchor. As soon as the anchor was made off it bit the bottom hard giving Sunday Island a bit of a jolt, there was no doubt the anchor was well secure on the bottom and most probably snagged on a rock.
Lunch with the Harper’s in Itika
The next morning me and the kids went for an early swim while Emilie stayed onboard for a bit of a sort out. I swam over to check the anchor and found the chain and anchor caught under a bommie (large rock under the water). I free dived down and free’d the anchor and chain and then we snorked our way along the shore line finding lots of bommies, underwater caves and a small “Pirates” cove. We then took the dinghy to the beach trailing surfboards and snorkling equipment so we could check out the small restaurant on the beach for our lunch with guests.
On our return from our reconosance expedition we passed by “Pirates Cove” where our dingy could just fit in, then returned to Sunday Island. On our return many of the yachts in the bay had cleared out so we checked the forecast and decided to move Sunday Island to the better anchorage in the NW corner of the bay, then rowed and snorkeld ashore to meet up with the Harpers for an enjoyable local Greek lunch, swim and a few beers at the beach until the early evening.
On the morning of the 1st of August we were anchored in Marmachas bay Itika. We have now completed our first “log book” since moving onboard. Looking back over the old log book have sailed and motored through 7 different countries and covered nearly 3000nm!
Rock formations throughout the islands are spectacular, with every handful of pebbles there are amazing layered rocks of all types- a geologists dream!
There was one more job remaining left over from the Malta refit which was to complete the sanding and re sealing of the teak decks. Emilie and I had both had enough looking at the half finished job and we found a lovely marina in the island of Lefkada, 10nm to the north. We enjoyed a lovely sail in the morning up to Sivota bay and checked into the marina. Sivota is a new town that has been built to service the charter fleet of the island. It is quiet and though quite new fits in well with traditional architecture, style and feel. We were on a small marina 2 with only 10 or so other yachts and just 20m from the local shop. The marina manager did not mind us sanding the decks and doing other works, and their was a beach only 50m from the boat and crystal clear water for the kids to swim in. Emilie and I spent the next three days sanding and re sealing the teak decks while the kids entertained themselves in this safe environment. Sanding decks is a very rewarding job and the decks now look amazing!
While in Sivota we went out for a traditional Greek meal (that turned out to be not so traditional) where Issy and Max were delighted to find a birds nest in the ceileing with some baby chicks inside.
We continue to cruise our way south enjoying the many beautiful anchorage, villages and crystal clear waters.