August 28, 2014
Well, as the title of this latest post suggests, we have mostly just been Bimbling About The Ionion and to be honest there isn’t a great deal to relate.We managed to get the pushpit fixed by “Stainless Steel Phil” as he is known in these parts.  He did a good job and didn’t charge a fortune.  The kedge anchor, which is aluminium, D has managed to bend back more or less into shape and assures me that it has not compromised its ability to hold us.  The outboard requires a new lower casing but we will replace that in the UK over the winter.  In the meantime the soldiers’ friend, bodge tape aka gaffer tape, covers the hole.

"Rampage" stern quarter all repaired and back to normal.

“Rampage” stern quarter all repaired and back to normal.

We mentioned at the end of the last post that Barry from Souix Sails had not been able to make the pattern for our new sprayhood.  However the following day he decided that, there being no wind, he could manage the job.  What a nightmare of a job it was for him, poor man working in full sun for four hours.  All the shade pieces had to be removed as they got in the way leaving just the bimini to protect him but as the sun rose through the day the area of shade reduced down to little more than a pocket handkerchief.  We kept out of the way down below, aside from offering regular drinks.  As the pattern, which is made of polythene, began to take shape, the problem was compounded as Barry created his own private greenhouse.  Having satisfied himself (and his wife who will supervise the actual production of the new sprayhood,) that he had everything correct, he thankfully took his leave of us, having confessed that this was normally a job they would tackle in the winter.  Their main priority through the summer season is naturally sail repairs so there is no certainty as to when they may be able to actually make the new sprayhood but we have stayed and will continue to stay in the area until mid September, just in case they manage to get the work done and need us to come for a “fitting!”

The pattern for the new sprayhood takes shape

The pattern for the new sprayhood takes shape

Most of the rest of our time has been divided between the beautiful anchorage of Abelike on Meganisi and Nidri/Vlikho where we have had to go for repairs, supplies etc.  We spent some time on the Neilson pontoon which is only 10 euros per night and enables us to refill our water tanks and recharge the batteries from shore power.  One day we ran into (figuratively not literally!) Dave and Michelle from “Alhambra” whom we originally met in Messolonghi in 2011 and had a very enjoyable evening with them at the pool bar of the Athos hotel, just at the foot of the Neilson pontoon.  Towards the end of the evening our friends, Jax and Robbie turned up, having also come onto the same pontoon.  Jax and I then spent afternoons in the Athos hotel pool until we moved back once more to Abelike.

Jax by the pool at the Armonia hotel - see later below.

Jax by the pool at the Armonia hotel – see later below.

It was while there that disaster struck again – twice!  First of all, the display on Duncan’s iPad suddenly and for no apparent reason, went peculiar, rendering it useless.  We had not realised just how much we use the thing until we didn’t have it anymore: weather, email, banking, Skype, games – you name it.  We were bereft.  And then one morning after a pleasant swim, I found a small black object on the floor of the saloon – and then another – and another.  We had a RAT on board.  After a short search, Duncan located it in the locker in front of the chart table.  He then discovered that I really do have a phobia about rats for as he tried to whack it with the lid of the locker, I shot out through the hatch in our cabin in utter panic and retreated to another boat, shaking.  Unable to catch it, he eventually he persuaded me to return to “Rampage” so we could move back to Nidri and find me a hotel.  He realised I had been utterly seriously when I’d told him in the past that if we ever had a rat on board I would need to move ashore until it was caught.

He set a trap, baited with peanut butter which we’d reliably been informed is irresistable  to rats and having put in the washboards so that there was no danger of it joining us in the cockpit, we made our way back to Vlikho Bay.  The poor man was clearly wondering just how protracted a hotel stay he might have to fork out for, but as we anchored I heard noise below and our rat was caught.  A record I feel.  Now if you are fond of rodents then I am sorry to have to tell you that we threw the thing into the water where it proceeded to swim, to my horror.  It took two attacks with the boathook before the thing was dead, and as you will have guessed by now, I was fairly traumatised by the whole episode.  I had known of course, that rats can run along shorelines – their balance is pretty phenomenal and it was only a question of time before this happened.  I think my beloved had hoped that I would be rather more pragmatic, but still.  We were both relieved to have dealt with it so speedily because, quite aside from anything else, rats can do untold damage to the wiring and electrics on a boat.

After this episode, we decided we’d have a change of scene and go to visit our friends, Paul and Nicky aboard “Carmel” who were holed up in Big Vathi on Ithaca waiting for a parcel to arrive.   We had a great sail down there but unfortunately the wind was as bad as ever when we arrived in the anchorage.  We waved to Nicky and Paul but none of us felt like venturing in a dinghy to meet up.  After a very uncomfortable night and very little sleep, we both decided to leave again the next morning.  Because of the configuration of the hills there, Vathi is always windy and uncomfortable in our experience and frankly we just don’t like it there for that reason.  Once away from the bay, the wind disappeared and we were obliged to motor all the way back to Vlikho. We did eventually manage to meet up with Paul and Nicky in Vlikho and went for a meal together at the Sea Side restaurant on the east shore of the bay.  It was great to catch up at last, although Paul may think twice before offering anyone else a ride in their very speedy dinghy; my extra weight on the bow meant that as he slowed down, the water rushed in and we all got rather wet.  We also managed to catch a small crab and Paul then discovered that his wife is almost as alarmed by crusteans as I am by rats!

David and Duncan aboard Souris Rose

David and Duncan aboard “Souris Rose”

Friends from our winter in Sant Carles de la Rapita came to anchor in Abelike one day.  We knew that Gill and David aboard Souris Rose were in the area and had even seen them in the distance so it was nice to get together for a few hours.  They very kindly invited us aboard for drinks which turned into lunch and in addition refilled our dive cylinders since they have a compressor on board.  We are most grateful to them and once again, it was lovely to catch up with all the news and gossip!

Gill and Duncan on the after (poop) deck of "Souris Rose" with "Rampage" in the background.

Gill and Duncan on the after (poop) deck of “Souris Rose” with “Rampage” in the background.

Stainless Steel Phil needed us to be on a pontoon so we spent several days on the pontoon linked to the Armonia Hotel, (the Neilson pontoon having no space at that point,) where we were joined once more by Jax and Robbie in “Springdawn” since they too were having work done by Phil.  Naturally Jax and I checked out the pool at the Armonia every afternoon.  We’ve all become firm friends having shared various meals, many laughs and gone for the occasional evening foray for ice creams!
Enjoying a fabulous meal out with Jax and Robbie in Nidri.  There is no menu; you either order meat or fish and the chef "does his own thing!"

Enjoying a fabulous meal out with Jax and Robbie in Nidri. There is no menu; you either order meat or fish and the chef “does his own thing!”

In mid-August I abandonned the Skipper and went to visit my daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren in Ireland.  It so happened that they had booked a holiday house in Donegal where Ken’s mother grew up.  This was exciting as we have heard so much about it and seen so many beautiful photos of Donegal over the years and sure enough I had a wonderful time there with them.  The weather was mixed but we had some great days on the fabulous, clean, white sandy beaches and walking up headlands to admire the cliffs and spectacular scenery.  I understand why they love it there so much.  There was lots of fun and laughter but I particularly enjoyed Lily’s relief that Granny didn’t wet the bed when we shared a bed the first night!  Also amusing was 9 year old Charlie’s remark having caught two mackeral, to his disgusted father who’d caught nothing, “Well you don’t have my special technique!”  8 year old Jess was her usual, sunny self, making the peace and keeping everyone happy including teaching Granny to make loom band bracelets, the latest craze to sweep UK and Ireland (and possibly many other places but not yet Greece as far as I am aware.)

Lily, Jess and Charlie all win medals at the local sports day in Glencolmcille, Donegal.

Lily, Jess and Charlie all win medals at the local sports day in Glencolmcille, Donegal.

We had berthed once again on a pontoon in Nidri in order to pick up a rental car.  D drove me up the coast to Igoumenitsa where I caught a ferry across to Corfu and the flight to Ireland.  He remained on the pontoon for a few days but at the weekend he was obliged to leave as the Neilson charter boats were due in for changeover.  He anchored in Vlikho but as luck would have it, there was quite a lot of wind (40 knots or so) and he was obliged to sleep in the passage berth and mount an anchor watch, having watched Souris Rose drag on hers.  I did illustrate just why he is not prepared to leave “Rampage” at anchor if we go away.

My lovely friend, Jax, with whom I have spend so many happy hours this summer.

My lovely friend, Jax, with whom I have spend so many happy hours this summer.

We saw Jax and Robbie once more last week en route back from Igoumenitsa at the end of my trip to Ireland.  They were in Ionian, one of the three Preveza yards, doing vital work to the hull of “Springdawn”.  We wanted to check out the yards ourselves as we shall have “Rampage” lifted this winter and return to the UK for various family reasons.

Right now we are on Kastos again; we plan to walk up the hill shortly to Chef John’s to do lots laundry while we enjoy a meal, admire the view and possibly indulge in their amazing ice-cream.  My sister arrives next week so the next post will be after her visit.

Just one picture of the fabulous scenery in Donegal - there were so many that it was really hard to choose!

Just one picture of the fabulous scenery in Donegal – there were so many that it was really hard to choose!



  1. Just love reading your posts. They make us quite jealous 🙂 … Don’t forget we’ll be in Katelios, Kefalonia on 10th if you want/are able to grab an event smiley and have a drink with us to celebrate our 1000th cache. Take care. Jan & John xx

    • Thanks for reminding us about the meet. We have a visitor over then but, if possible, we’ll be there!

  2. OMG – I am not stepping aboard if there are rats! I too have a phobia.

  3. I wouldn’t worry too much – it was the first in 5 years of cruising. Mind you, D would have his hands full with both of us freaking out!!

  4. watch out for rats on Kastos that is the place we got a rat on board I hate them as well!!!!my wife will not go back there pity as it so nice
    love the blog.Dave s/y Diros ps Cleos is very good we have been in that yard for 10years now..

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