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Where did the week go????????????

May 9, 2011

Easter Sunday seems an age ago now: we slept like logs after the enormous meal at the hotel and then just relaxed for the day.  It was just as well that we did, as the past week has been pretty frenetic for us.

We had expected James and Chrissie back in the marina on Tuesday but their plans had been sent somewhat awry, as Chrissie had to go back to UK unexpectedly.  With their 3 non sailing visitors on board, it was decided that the best thing would be for them to rent a car and spend the next few days exploring the island and staying in a hotel.  This suddenly meant that there was time to do a good deal more work on Bear Necessity, so I dug out my old clothes and prepared to do a bit more work….

James had compiled a list of jobs that needed tackling, put them in priority order and we set about them from Tuesday morning.  We made a mounting for a swim ladder out of a block of iroko (a lovely hardwood, something like teak but a bit easier to work), changed light fittings, replaced navigation light bulbs, scrubbed and rearranged lockers and generally finished all the start of season jobs on the boat.  I haven’t worked quite so hard for some time and was to be seen traipsing back and forth between boats, as I discovered yet another tool or part that I had on our boat that I needed to finish a job.  J got in on the act as well, making a new curtain for Bear Necessity’s aft head.

Wallace and Gromit

On Wednesday, we worked late and started early on Thursday so that we could finish about 11am, when James had hired a couple of motorbikes so we could make a tour of the island.  The rental agency on the marina provided a pair of Aprilia 650s, barely a year old and in very good condition, so we had a really great afternoon out.  We went south to Corfu town, where we sorted out an internet dongle, then headed out of town to Benitses, where we had lunch in a café overlooking the sea.  From there, we took a circular route across to the western coast, making our way by the back roads (not that there are any real ‘main roads’ on Corfu) to Paleokastritsa, the major resort on the western coast.

James aka David Bailey, takes pics of the view

We had a coffee there before carrying on up into the hills and on through to the northern coast, where we stopped to eat ice creams and drink hot chocolate, before taking the coast road back to Gouvia.  We arrived back at about 7.30, a little saddle sore but having had a fabulous day out.  We ate at Zorba’s, a taverna by the marina entrance that evening.

Stunning hilltop castle. Unfortunately the day was overcast and threatening to rain, so light not brilliant.

I was up bright and early the following morning to finish off the jobs on Bear Necessity whilst James did a last frantic bit of shopping and tided up the boat from our depredations.  All this was required as Chrissie was due back on the 1130 flight and their visitors would be rejoining the boat for a final couple of days cruising before flying home to UK.

In the event, we got the jobs finished, the shopping was completed but there was still some tidying up to be done when Chrissie appeared on the pontoon…….  As J had spent the morning sorting Rampage out, I foolishly suggested that everyone pop over to visit her whilst we finished off.  Well, that was a mistake.  J, Chrissie and Sally all wanted to see THE WEDDING and fired up the computer and spent hours watching via the BBC website.  In the meantime, James was champing at the bit because he had sorted the boat out and wanted to be off before it was too late, as he wanted to get to Platerias that night.  In the event, they set off at a reasonable hour and made good time to their destination.

In the meantime, J and I spent a hot afternoon in the car retracing our route of the day before looking for a misplaced hearing aid.  It had fallen out of my pocket at one of our stops but despite careful searches of the ground at all of the stops, we couldn’t find it, so I am now reduced to wearing single aid and asking people to ‘speak up a little’.

We got back to Gouvia just in time for what turned out to be a small dock party.  It had been decided to hold one to wish Alan and Bern farewell, as they are off cruising for a few weeks but in the event only about 10 people turned up; nevertheless, we had a very pleasant evening talking, eating a variety of nibbles and enjoying a few drinks as the sun went down and it got too cold to hang round any longer.

Yesterday, we stood heavily at ease, doing little other than some shopping.  During the night, it rained heavily.  As the wind was from the south, the rain brought with it a lot of Sahara dust, leaving the boat covered in red splodges as if it had caught some dreadful disease; so this morning was spent cleaning her topsides with the power washer.

Some of the more attentive readers will recall the chaos that descended on Gouvia Marina in late October as the Sailing Holidays fleet arrived back in the marina for the winter.  The boats (nearly 200 in total) were all placed on the hard for the winter and have been being lifted back into the water since the beginning of April.  This season’s flotilla crews have been arriving here too to prepare the boats for the season, taking Gouvia from a sleepy hollow of a place to a bustling working marina again after the winter layoff.

Bern and Alan depart for their summer travels aboard Sanuk

The pace of the work on the boats has been building to fever pitch as today approached, as the first group of paying customers arrived from the north to enjoy their week or two cruising the Ionian.  It has been very busy here and the on-site ‘supermarket’ has been open on a Sunday for the first time this year.  Tomorrow should be fun, as we can sit and watch as people depart in their boats, some of them handling a sailing boat for the first time – thankfully, we have a pontoon between them and us!  Alan and Bern are also off tomorrow, as they have friends in one of the flotillias and are going to cruise in company with them for a couple of weeks.

We intend to leave the marina later this week and spend a few days wombling about the northern Ionian before we come back here to meet up with Ken, Naomi and the grandchildren on 17 May.

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