Tag Archives: Paxos

My birthday in Lakka

After our swift passage to Paxos we decided to hang around for a few days and spend my birthday in Lakka.

Coincidentally we arrived exactly at ‘Pimms o’clock’

Having settled in we had a series of suprises, one nice, the others not so much.  First we discovered that some friends from Roccella were here, Jim and Karen in Mai Tai had arrived a few days earlier.  We spent an evening with them before they set off again.  That was the nice suprise.

The not so nice ones were mechanical.  The generator still won’t run properly. The leaking salt water impeller which I had fixed in Roccella was likely only the symptom and not the actual problem as it appears the exhaust cooling water is not getting through to the exhaust, causing it to over heat.  We have arranged for repairs in Lefkas but now have to annoy the anchorage every day running an engine to top up the batteries.

And being anchored, we need our Tender to get ashore. The out board engine has decided to pack up and I think it is the carburettor float valve is stuck.  Not so difficult to fix if you have the spare gaskets …… which I don’t. But we’re off to Lefkas so in the mean time I can row, having glued the rowlock back on which decided to fall off just as I needed it.

Lakka

So, my birthday started with loads of texts from friends and relatives.  I then rowed us ashore as we were in search of Paxos Olive Oil, once exclusively sold by Harrods.   We found the Olive Oilery but it was deserted and so sat and drank wine and used the WiFi at a bar over looking the anchorage for lunch.  They were only serving omlettes and toast so I decided to save my self for my birthday BBQ, and a quick turi pitta (phonetic Greek for cheese pasty) from the baker on the way to the Olive Oilery on our second attempt at a purchase.  Whilst in the bakery we asked if the lady knew when the Oilery might be open.  She pointed to a guy chatting in the street, “That’s Antonis” (the Oiler).  Don’t you just love tiny villages!  So we have 5 litres of Paxos Olive Oil!

It was then back to the boat for the Birthday BBQ; nice big home made burgers and a couple of steaks ……… and some salad, because I am so healthy ……..

At this point, under more favourable mechanical conditions we would probably have set off south again as the wind turned around to the north. However; we now needed to be in Lefkas on Monday, arriving after all the Charter boats had left. So we planned an early start on Monday. As it turned this was a good plan as the weather over the weekend worsened progressively ending up with 30 knot winds and lots of rain on Sunday night.

Lakka was a pleasant stop over for our first visit of the year.   The town is small, quaint and we could have enjoyably visited on a daily basis, outboard and weather permitting.  Maybe another visit in September as we return to Roccella?

 

Off to Lakka

We got away as planned, leaving Roccella at just after 9 on Monday 30 April, bound for Lakka, on Paxos. This was a 180 nautical miles over night passage and the winds were forecast to be generally light and mostly southerly or westerly.  Depending on our speed the passage would take between 30 hours (6 knots) and 36 hours (5 knots).

We managed to keep up a speed of well over 5.5 knots, hitting 7.5 at some points overnight with the wind behind us, and the passage took us just under 30 hours. Unfortunately to do this we needed to run both engines which will be quite expensive when we next need to take on diesel; however, the alternative was a slower passage, with 2 nights at sea or a night approach to the anchorage in Lakka. For our first voyage of the season we went for the swift, single over night passage and an afternoon arrival.

Big fish ...
Big fish ….

Highlights of the trip were lots of dolphins and our first tuna of the season. We now have an ‘I Spy Book of Dolphins’ as I figured it might be fun identifying the ones we see. No such luck, these ones, although distinctive, bore no resemblance to the pictures! More practice needed. The tuna was not only the first of the season, but our biggest ever. It weighed 2.75 kilos and gave us 1.5 kilos of tuna steaks in the freezer and a Fish Supper at sea on Monday night!

Lakka
Lakka

Arriving in, or more accurately ‘returning’ to, Lakka (we visited last year) we found it to be a bit crowded with perhaps 15 boats anchored and a charter fleet of 10 more on the town quay. There was still plenty of space for us and it is delightfully quiet and picturesque with lovely clear water. I took my customary swim to check the anchor and was pleasantly surprised to find only minimal hull fouling (not many things growing on the hull), although the propellers have attracted more growth than I’d like and I can see myself trying to clean them up while we’re here. At least the water is not too cold!

Pimms o’clock

All in all a nice relaxing start to our season! We’ll spend a few days here sampling the delights of Lakka before heading off towards Lefkas

Gaios to Lakka by bus

On Tuesday we took the bus from Gaios for the half hour ride to the north end of Paxos to visit Lakka, another small town with a picturesque anchorage.   The countryside on the route was all olive groves with some huge old olive trees, and a surprising number of deserted , derelict buildings.   Lakka was a completely different story.  It is a small, quaint town full of shops and restaurants and set on a picturesque bay just begging to be photographed.

Sivota to Paxos

We said our farewells to Graeme and Jane, and Martino on Saturday evening and at 8 am on Sunday morning, Graeme and Jayne helped throw off our lines and waved goodbye from the pontoon, Isabella had gone back to bed.  ( You know who your friends are …..)

The passage to Paxos could be made to the east or west of the island. Going east was theoretically an hour shorter than the western route but required the negotiation of the narrow channel passed Lefkada port and the bridge north of Lefkada; with perfect timing and no other yachts we might have made Paxos quicker going east.    We went west, out of Sivota, hang a right, then right again at the next light house ……. navigating is a bit more difficult than that but with GPS and Sat Nav not that much!!!!

We put the sails up; a triumph of hope over experience and motor sailed north by north west towards Paxos, fishing line trailing; another triumph of hope over experience.

And then …. exitement …. well, a mild over exaggeration.   I saw a small rubber boat 6 miles off the coast where no small rubber boat should be.   As we got close it became apparent that it was empty.  As we got closer we saw it marked up as belonging to SailingHolidays.com.   Now, charter boats drag their tenders, we’ve seen enough to know that, so in all likelyhood some one couldn’t tie their knots and lost it, but what if …

Salvage ….

So I called the Coast Guard and reported it, then took the tender in tow.  That is £800 worth of dingy!  Well it was until I saw it up close later as we dragged it on board.  My visions of claiming salvage dropped from a week in a marina to a case of beer, if I was lucky.

Arriving at Gaios I called the Port Police as instructed by Coast Guard.  They had found the owner of the dingy,  the manager for the chater company based in Gouvia.  On phoning him it transpired he’d spent most of the afternoon being quizzed by the Police about this tender.  Oh dear, what a shame, perhaps ensuring charterers can tie knots and keep an efficient look out might help?  How can you loose a tender and not notice?   Mind you, we have a few ‘Charterboat stories’ that could answer that question.

Unfortunately,  arriving at Paxos on Sunday afternoon we found the cute anchorage of Mongonisi packed, and the port of Gaios similarly full. Having said that I lack the Charter Boat skipper mentality which will see them drive at spaces which really don’t exist and cram in there regardless.  So we anchored off the port and spent a rather un-comfortable, and mostly sleepless night, ‘on the hook’, expecting 24 hours of rain which never materialised.

South entrance to Gaios

On Monday afternoon, as yachts left, we went into Gaios and found ourselves a spot on the Town Quay; then spent the afternoon watching various yacht drivers trying to reverse into gaps and fending off others mooring next to us.

All in all a far from uneventful passage but now we’re in Gaios we’ll stay a couple of days and look around the island before moving on to Corfu.