Celtic Celebrations and Fun in the Sun

June 12, 2015

Oh dear, we had planned to add a short new post to our blog every few days this season but it’s been nearly a month since our last one! Our excuse? Well, frankly, it all got a bit hectic so now you have another of standard Byrne length!

D remained in Corfu, replacing caulking in the cockpit, installing a salt water tap in the chain locker and at the sink and servicing the engine. This last led to two sobering discoveries: the seals on the bottom of the sail drive had failed, letting sea water mix with the oil to produce something resembling hot chocolate and rendering it about as useful in terms of lubrication! In order to replace the seals we will have to be lifted out of the water and we are now booked to go back to the yard at Preveza on 22nd June. In addition the coil in the calorifier (hot water heater) had developed a hole and was leaking water into the engine cooling system. The choice before us was to live without hot water or replace the calorifier. I made a swift decision as soon as I returned and we now have a splendid, (even larger!) new calorifier!

In the meantime, I flew to Ireland to join other family members for the 1st Holy Communion of my eldest granddaughter, Jessica.

Charlie, Jess and Lily at Jessica's 1st Holy Communion

Charlie, Jess and Lily at Jessica’s 1st Holy Communion

Now, this is a very important occasion in the life of any practising Roman Catholic but in Ireland it takes on even greater significance. It really cannot be overstated and I think it is fair to say that it can be likened to a Bar Mitzvah for a Jewish boy – it is a rite of passage and preparations begin months ahead. I arrived in time to help with the last minute preparations and soak up the mounting sense of excitement. For Jess, the excitement was almost off the scale due to the fact that 3 days later she would be celebrating her ninth birthday and the day after that she would be flying to Corfu for 10 days holidaying in the sunshine! The child almost spontaneously combusted! The cake was iced, the house cleaned, nails painted and the hairdresser came to put curls in the hair of our little Communicant. Friends and family from across the Irish Sea flew in to join in the celebrations – indeed a couple of aunts, who shall remain nameless, had clearly been celebrating before departure! (There was a splendid rendition of New York, New York on the staircase in the hotel lobby on the night of their arrival, the memory of which I shall treasure for a long time!)

Jess 1st Communion (Copy)

The great day came and we all had a fabulous time; the sun shone and little Jess was beautiful, composed and serene. I hope she will treasure the memories into her old age!

The days that followed were a blur of birthday cake, packing and preparations until finally we were all on the plane and flying east, quite literally towards the sun, just as dawn was breaking over Ireland.

Charlie and Naomi at the bow of Rampage.

Charlie and Naomi at the bow of Rampage.

The next 10 days were water-filled – we were almost always either in it or on it! There was a day at the beach, snorkelling and building sand castles, plus two short expeditions out in Rampage, (in view of the chocolate mix in the sail drive, we couldn’t go far,) when all three children took turns at the helm.

Lily at the helm, under instruction from the Mate.

Lily at the helm, under instruction from the Mate.

We also had two days at Aqualand, rediscovering the delights of water slides and wave pools. I had a fabulous time and I think the children did too! Most of the rest of the days were spent at Spiti Prifti, the family-run apartment hotel right by Gouvia marina where the family stayed. D & I already knew Spiti Prifti as our lovely friend, Glynis, runs the pool bar. The pool is set in a lovely garden and there Jess learned to duck dive to retrieve things from the bottom, and do multiple handstands and underwater somersaults. By the end she could do 11 without pausing for breath whereas I feel dizzy after two!

Lily practices her snorkelling technique.

Lily practices her snorkelling technique.

Lily plucked up the courage to shed her arm bands and swim a width unaided and by the end of the week was doing star jumps and “cannon balls” into the water, while we all played different ball games, plus underwater counting games and underwater charades, (more information upon request!) Out on Rampage, Charlie discovered the joy of leaping from the pulpit at the bow and did so repeatedly and unhesitatingly into maybe 8m depth and all three children, having mastered the use of snorkel and mask, spent ages looking at the fish that gathered, enticed by a bit of stale bread.

Jess relaxes off the stern of Rampage!

Jess relaxes off the stern of Rampage!

It was a wonderful time for me. One of the few downsides of spending so much time aboard Rampage is that I see very little of my grandchildren so any time that we do have together is very precious. I think everyone enjoyed themselves, including Naomi who took the opportunity to read voraciously and Ken, who could just unwind and spend time teaching his son the finer points of pool.

DSCF1657 (Copy)

Now they have gone, our next appointment is in Lakka to meet up with new friends made while we were in the yard at Preveza and then we shall continue south to be lifted and get the sail drive sorted.



  1. So nice to hear your news! A shame you are too far north as it is our combined 99th birthday next Weds! Still, we will be in Vliho so should you drift further south if your saildrive fails …
    good luck with the liftout! xxx

    • Very many birthday wishes for next Weds! Hopefully we can arrange a belated celebration before too long!

  2. What a special time for you all and I am sure you are feeling bereft. How great that the kids are so confident and adept in the water so young.

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