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Susie’s Descent!

July 26, 2013

One thing I did not mention in the previous post was the problems we had been having with the outboard which kept dying on us. D took it apart, changed all the fuel, spark plugs etc countless times and it would seem to be ok, only to splutter to a halt the next time we used it. The night before Susie’s arrival, we were in the anchorage outside Gouvia in order to victual up, top up with water etc. we also went to see our friends, Alan and Bern who were in the marina at that point. The outboard made the trip of about a mile into the marina but then once again, refused to start when we were ready to head back to the anchorage. Alan very kindly lent us his outboard, just to get us home that night and next morning when we returned, he already had ours in pieces and was busy working on it. He and Duncan then spent the rest of the morning trying to figure out what was wrong and when I returned from the shops they were pretty confident they had cracked the problem.

We motored the five miles or so down the coast to anchor under the citadel of Corfu town and D checked again that the outboard would start which it did. However, when it was time for me to go ashore to meet Susie, once again it turned up it’s toes and D had to row me ashore pretty briskly in order that I would be at the airport in time. He was not a happy chap. Just as we’ll he’s a bloke – I would have cried at that point!

The taxi driver who brought Susie and I back to the quayside was completely stunned that she had come on holiday with nothing but a tiny day sack. This was however, very sensible of her as most of the time we live in swim wear at the moment as it’s just so hot.

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Susie was thrilled by the rather romantic setting of the anchorage and next morning, after a swim, she and I pottered about in the dinghy taking photos of Rampage dressed with flags to celebrate Susie’s visit. Earlier, we’d all pooled our cash and the Skipper had gone ashore and stumped round the headland to the dealers round by the port and bought a new outboard! This was a large and unforeseen expense but quite understandably, he had had enough and reckoned our ancient Yamaha two stroke owed us nothing and should be consigned to the scrap heap. (For those of you who are interested, the new outboard is a Suzuki GF2.5).

We then set off across a satin smooth sea to the anchorage of Ormos Valtrou on the mainland near Igoumenitsa. En route we encountered a pod of dolphins who crossed right under us but didn’t stop to play as they were quite clearly on their way somewhere.

Ormos Valtrou is in the Thiamis river delta and is very isolated and rather beautiful. Because of all the nutrients in the water, it is not clear but an almost opaque green, but we swam anyway as it was so hot and we reckoned there was nothing in the area to pollute it, ‘though it was somewhat unnerving not to be able to see one’s feet!

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Above is the Skipper lolling in the dinghy playing with his … new outboard!

We stayed a couple of days in Ormos Valtrou, enjoying the peace and fabulous sunsets and amazed by the jumping fish which would leap anything up to a metre up and even further across the surface of the water. This went on throughout the day but particularly in the evening so we presume they are feeding on small insects just above the surface of the water.

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On the Saturday (20th July,) having start to run short of fresh food, we upped anchor and set off further down the mainland coast to Mourtos. Shortly before we reached there however, Susie noticed a vast cave in the cliffs and was keen to explore. We put the outboard onto the dinghy and she and I set off. The cave is huge – maybe 12 metres high and deep and 25 metres across at the widest point. It is quite shallow though, so I was cautious about hitting rocks lurking just below the surface. We retuned to Rampage and I went aboard and D went back with Susie, armed with cameras so we are able to give you some impression of the size:

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The anchorage we chose at Mourtos is south of the town and the crowds of boats around the islands there. Indeed for a while we were on our own in the bay when we suddenly noticed we’d been joined by another yacht. The owners, Carole and Ian, with their son, Sam, all came swimming over to us, much excited to have found us there since apparently they have been following this blog for more than two years and indeed commented on it on one occasion.

Next morning, Susie swam ashore, clothes and money in a dry bag, to buy bread and biscuits. We had been invited aboard “Maximillian” for coffee and chat before “Maximillian” and crew set off south to Preveza and the Levkas canal. We very much hope we’ll meet up again later in the summer. Below is the Skipper and self with Carole and Ian:

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We spent a further day swimming and snorkelling in the crystal clear water. There was plenty to see but the water was distinctly chilly in places and when the water was disturbed so that the cold and warmer water mixed it created a curious hazy, mottled effect.

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Our next stop was Gaios on Paxos. This is a favourite place of Duncan’s and mine so we were keen to take Susie. In addition we were starting to run low in water and knew we could get more by going on the quay there. This we duly did – myself managing to get liberally sprayed by the hose from the water truck in the process. It was actually very welcome as the weather was stinking hot without a breathe of a breeze. (We didn’t manage to sail once during Susie’s visit although I don’t think she was unduly worried, having felt very poorly last year when sailing with us to Mallorca.)

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The next day after the inevitable early morning walk to locate a geocache, we moved off the quay and round to the anchorage just outside the southern entrance to the channel at Gaios formed by the island in the bay. There we had the best snorkelling of the trip with underwater visibility of 20 to 25 metres and lots of fish and incredible topography. On the Monday evening we found a wonderful restaurant where we had a quite superb meal. Unfortunately the photo is very blurred due to the poor light:

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Susie loved the winding streets and pretty little shops, and had great fun choosing presents for her friends while we were there, (we did eventually reimburse her for the cash she lent us towards the purchase of the new outboard!). After a day in and out of the water, including a swim after dark, we went ashore once more, on Susie’s final evening, to find a bar that had been playing wonderful jazzy music the previous night. Even though the music wasn’t quite so good, the ambience was great and it was a fitting end to her visit. Next day we headed back to the anchorage by Corfu town in time for her flight that evening.

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One comment

  1. Fab Fab Fab
    I had the most wonderful holiday. Thank you so much.

    Where are we going next summer?

    lots of love

    Susie xxx



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