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.
Having got a space on the quay on Monday afternoon, the 25th, we took a walk from Gaios towards the bay at Mongonisi, to see what we missed. It was about 6 km there and back and the views around the coast were very picturesque when the sun was out from behind the clouds!
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 …
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.
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.