Adrift in the Ionian

October 28, 2010

I was stung by the remarks made by my wife that I had been idle whilst she was away because I had neglected to put anything up on this site.  On reflection, she has a point, although I do think that there wasn’t much of interest to report to the world.  Equally, perhaps she could have stopped her mad social whorl and written a short post to let you all know what she was up to as well.  Anyhow, here’s a short post about the past few weeks here in the Northern Ionian Sea.

David at the helm

J left for the UK on 8 October, sharing a taxi to the airport with our next door neighbors.  I understand that she arrived safely but haven’t heard much from her since then….  I think she’s been having a great time but you’ll have to wait until she gets herself in gear and writes something for the blog.

In the meantime, I was left home alone.  I did have a list of jobs to be done and had advertised on Crewseekers.net for someone to come and have a week sailing, to which I’d had a number of replies.  I spent the first week working on Rampage, tackling the various little jobs that needed doing and generally taking it gently.

On 11 October, David McMullan appeared as arranged and dropped off his sailing kit before he set off to explore Corfu on a mountain bike for a few days before we went sailing.  Whilst he was away, I managed to service the engine without spreading oil all over the place…..

On 15 October, with some reasonable weather at last, David and I set off to sail to Gaios on Paxos.  We were going there for 2 reasons: firstly, it’s a very nice little place to visit and secondly, Brian and Rose on Alixora were aiming to get there that evening on their way to Malta via Italy.  We had a great day, sailing slowly down towards the island, covering about 3 times the straight line distance into a gentle wind.  As the afternoon progressed, it became clear that we’d have to do the last bit on the motor if we were to make Gaios before the last of the light disappeared.  In the event, we made our final approach at about 7.30pm, with the last of the light rapidly fading away.  As we made our entrance, I throttled back and everything electrical went off……..  This added to an already fraught time, as I was trying to navigate into a very enclosed little creek using the radar and chart plotter (not much in the way of lights in Gaios).  This failure led us to mooring at the first available spot and my dashing down to try and figure what had gone wrong; thankfully it was only the main battery switch which had been knocked off when the anchor winch control box had been taken from its stowage.  Equally, the load of lights and navigation kit had been enough to give enough resistance to keep the alternator working and not lead to any permanent damage.

In the event, Alixora had not been able to make it to Gaios, as they’d had to stop in Levkas and repair their masthead anchor light.  Because of this, we decided to stay a second night in Gaios but to have a days sailing round the island.  We had a good sail, using the motor only exit the harbour, to anchor for lunch in Lakka Bay and then to renter the harbour.  By the evening, the wind was starting to build from the south and, in retrospect; we should have stayed in the northern part of the harbour, as this was more protected from the wind and swell.

As we made our approach into the town quay, I saw Alixora berthing just ahead of us, so we’d achieved the main objective of meeting up with them!  Once secure, we had a few beers before going ashore for supper in a taverna and catching up on a years worth of gossip.

The weather was not kind.  It rained heavily and there was a fresh breeze from the south, kicking up a nasty swell which was making its way straight into

A damp sunset in Platarias

the town quay, making, in conjunction with a disco that kept going until 3am, for a very uncomfortable night.

Our original plan to head south to Preveza and the inland sea but in the face of a force 4 – 5 from the south east, we decided that fighting our way 30 odd miles straight into it would not be pleasant.  Instead, we made our way to Platerias, having a really great sail under just the genoa, charging along at 6 – 7 knots until the wind died as we came past the southern tip of Corfu.  We entered Platerias and found it full of flotilla boats but managed to find a spot of the new quay that wasn’t under water; the quay has sunk somewhat since it was built and is often awash with a couple of inches of water.

As the day went on, more and more flotilla boats appeared and it became clear that the place was being used as a changeover location and I think that Rampage was about the only privately owned boat in the place. 

A better picture of sunset in Platerias

After doing some food shopping the following morning, we set off aiming for Pagania, a sheltered anchorage on the mainland just short of the Albanian border.  In the event, I checked the navtex (a short of text message receiver gets safety and weather information from coastguard stations) and found that there was a gale warning in force for the following day, so we made our way back to Gouvia and shelter.  David spent the following day exploring Corfu town whilst I took things easy as the wind and rain belted through the place, making both of us very glad we’d decided to beat a retreat to the marina.

The very clear cut boundry between the silt laden river water and seawater off mainland Greece after the gales

The Wednesday was bright and clear, so we sailed across to Ormiskos Valtrou, just north of Igonoumitsa.  We spent a very peaceful night there and had intended to cross to Petriti and then on to Pagania to round out our trip.  However, having motored all the way to Petriti, it was obvious that there wouldn’t be enough wind to sail that afternoon, so we decided to stay put and David went for a walk ashore.

Petriti sunset

The following morning we got a bit of wind as we made our way beck to Gouvia and the end of our trip.  As is usual in this part of the world, having had a great sail for an hour or so, had to reduce sail as the wind built and then shaken the reef out as it dropped again, as wound up with no wind at all for the rest of the trip back into Gouvia…….

Corfu town from the south

David stayed on board that evening and we had a meal out at a local taverna.  On Saturday, he jumped ship and moved on to another yacht he was helping deliver to Athens – once more having found the trip on crewseekers.

I’ve spent the rest of the time pottering about on Rampage, doing a lot of washing when the weather was good enough to be able to dry the output and other little bits of work.  I’ve been out to supper with a couple of friends and spent last night watching Newcastle loose rather heavily to Arsenal in a bar just outside the marina.

Today will be spent fixing (hopefully) the autopilot by fitting a new electronic compass.  Tomorrow will then be spent making sure that Rampage is clean and tidy before the inspector general returns for a white glove check…..



  1. Strongly resisting all English teacher impulses! Love the pictures. Love you xxx

  2. What can I say? I did consider editing it for him but it was already published & I really couldn’t be bothered, especially as he sulks so if I change anything! 🙂

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