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Jinny’s Visit

July 17, 2013

I think it’s fair to say that the summer visit of Duncan’s sister, Jinny, is now an established annual event. Despite the fact she doesn’t sail, she is an almost perfect boatie guest – happy to put up with the fairly basic conditions, water usage restrictions and limited privacy. In addition, she has good sea legs, (indeed she has good legs, period – damn her!) plus she is a real water baby, happy to spend long periods with a snorkel and mask pottering along rocky shorelines delighting in the underwater world. Finally she’s prepared to lie and read for hours on end and take herself off when it all gets a bit too much. It is an accepted pattern that if we are passage making but unable to sail, Jin will arm herself with a cushion, a bottle of water and a book and take herself off to lie on the foredeck – and a very fine figurehead she does make!

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(Our apologies for the finger in the top corner of the above photo – still not brilliant at using the iPad as a camera but Jinny liked this picture so have used it anyway!)

We had suggested to Jinny that she should fly to Kephalonia this time as it is fairly convenient for a number of the islands south of the Levkas canal. Having bid farewell to Bern and Alan on Meganisi, we set off south to Port Leone on Kalamos – one of our favourite anchorages in the Ionian. There is nothing there apart from the ruins of a little village, (abandoned in 1953 after an earthquake destroyed the water supply,) a few goats and a little chapel. It is well sheltered from prevailing winds and very beautiful so we decided it should be our first stop with Jinny.

After a couple of nights there, we carried on to Poros on Kephalonia where we confidently expected to pick up a scooter so D could go to collect his sister from the airport at Argostoli. This proved impossible. At one time Poros, with its magnificent stretch of beach and beautiful scenery, was a fairly busy tourist destination but its popularity has waned as modern visitors demand air conditioning and swimming pools etc. As a result it has become a sleepy little place and it was only with the greatest good luck that D managed to find an ex-pat Brit who took pity on him and agreed to let us hire a rather ancient car for the day. We decided to seize the opportunity to do a little geocaching before meeting her in the evening, and thus it was that we found ourselves toiling up to the ancient castle ruins on the headland at Assos in the heat of the day. There is the most magnificent pathway that winds it’s way up from sea level, almost certainly the result of EU funding, and the ruins at the top are fairly unremarkable but the view down onto Assos is spectacular.

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Jinny seemed to like Port Leone as much as we do, although she agreed that the water there was cooler than expected – possibly there is a fresh water spring coming into the bay, or maybe it’s just that the water is very deep there. Indeed because of the depth there, rather than free anchoring, we always take long lines ashore.

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Apologies for the varying sizes of photo in this post – I am still getting to grips with publishing the blog via the iPad.

After a couple of nights in Port Leone, we took Jin to another favourite spot of ours, Kastos, where we were able to buy a few provisions a the tiny shop, sit admiring the view from one of the little tavernas and indulge in a rare treat: ice-creams!

From Kastos, we headed back to Little Vathi, introduced to us only the previous week by Bern and Alan. We thought we might be able to sail but were fooled by the fluky winds at the northern end of Kalamos and after only 15 minutes, we were obliged to use the engine again. On arrival at Little Vathi, however, we found that the stitching on the sail bag was giving up the unequal struggle against the UV. After some discussion we decided that the only answer was to remove the sail bag from the boom for repair. This coincided with a spell of extremely still, hot weather so D and I were up early the following morning to drop the mainsail and perform a mining expedition in the port cabin to find the extremely well buried sewing machine, which we had not envisaged having to use for several months. Then as Jinny and Duncan took the dinghy round to the village to buy bread for breakfast, I got on with re-stitching the sail bag:

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We attempted nothing further that day as it was just too hot to do more than swim and relax in the shade. George’s at Little Vathi is very popular; provided that you eat in the little taverna there, use of the pontoon is free. There is electricity, water, showers and a washing machine plus a dear little beach and bar:

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The place is run by a tiny, extremely ferocious little Romanian girl called Alex who had told us we were welcome to stay for two nights but would then have to leave as they were fully booked. Thus it was that we were all up early again the next day before departure, to replace the sail bag and mainsail, with all the attendant delights of sorting out the reefing lines:

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For our final stop we decided to go back to Fiskardo where we’d taken Jinny two years ago. In marked contrast to Port Leone or Kastos, it is extremely tourist orientated, but charming for all that, with lots of attractive bars and restaurants, boutique shops and flowers everywhere. We’d originally planned to spend just one night there before going on to Agios Efimia. However when we found we could pick up a rental car there, in order to take Jin back to the airport, we decided to stay put, enjoying some lovely snorkelling, some amazing iced coffees, a barbecue on the beach and a great meal out on Jin’s final evening. D and I took ourselves off one evening to look for a cache in the area and in the process found the ruins of a little castle, the existence of which, we had previously had no suspicion:

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After dropping Jin at the airport we decided to look for a few more. Geocaches in this part of the world are well spread out, and mostly need wheels in order to reach them so we still haven’t found all the ones on Kephalonia but those we did that day included one which took us up into the mountains with spectacular views down over Argostoli and beyond:

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Hazy but you get the idea! This particular cache again involved a hot climb in the heat of the afternoon so the following one to a magnificent cave filled with stalactites and stalagmites was both fascinating and a blessed relief from the staggering heat:

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If you look closely you can just about see me peering down from an upper level.

Ostensibly to celebrate my birthday, but actually just because we really wanted to, the following day we joined a dive boat out of Fiskardo. This was a big deal as the last time I paid to go diving was in Santa Ponsa, Mallorca three years ago. On the first dive we swam down through a narrow gully to an underwater cave which opened out to the seabed 30 metres down. The second was to a barge which sank just five years ago but which has been much broken up by winter storms. On both dives, we saw clouds of fish – not specially colourful or large but so many of them. In addition, we saw a couple of moray eels and starfish of every size and colour from palest yellow, through orange and crimson to a delicate shade of mauve. As you will have gathered, I loved every minute!

Since then, we’ve been heading north via Sivota on Levkas and then to Mongonisi on Paxos. We are now anchored off Corfu, ready to meet D’s younger sister, Susie, who flies in here this evening.

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Duncan and Jinny in Little Vathi above and below at a rather smart bar in Fiskardo!

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One comment

  1. You have been busy,we are now back at home enjoying the brilliant 30dg weather and wall to wall sunshine while Wishbone is on her way up the Atlantic.



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