4. Lightning Storm and Birthday Party

We went south to Parga on mainland Greece where we had stayed a night three years earlier. Once again, we stayed on the boat and did not go ashore. And just like three years ago we got a serious lightning storm over us. The wind whipped up and turned 180 degrees in the middle of the night and boats started to drag all around us. A large Russian flagged catamaran caused havoc as they attempted to find a new spot to anchor at in pitch black conditions. They managed to hit at least a couple of boats all while screaming all sorts of nasty things in broken English. Our anchor was holding but all the activity around the bay kept us awake most of the night. We later heard that the very same lightning storm had killed six people in the Thessaloniki area.

Leaving Corfu

The following day offered near perfect sailing conditions. Beautiful sunshine and 15-20 knot winds allowing us to broad reach in 8 knots towards the Lefkas bridge and canal. With both the full main and genoa hoisted I noted some damage to both sails. Several of the plastic bits that attaches the main to the mast had broken and there was a small tear in the genoa at the bottom part where it enters the forestay furling track. Nothing serious but the sails will have to be fixed before Saoirse is ready for an ocean crossing. The sails are nine years now and I am hoping to get another couple of years out of them as I have enough equipment to buy before I cross the Atlantic anyway.

The sails came down as we had to wait for the bridge to open at Lefkas. Daniel then got the opportunity to try to maneuver the boat in a tight spot in currents as he was holding Saoirse at the same place for half an hour or so. Once the bridge had opened, we motored through the canal to Nidri, another place where we anchored three years earlier. We stayed two nights on anchor in perfect muddy hold with twelve metres depth. The bay was crowded but we got to celebrate Daniel’s 18th birthday at an Italian restaurant and a playground/amusement park (!) and I got to chat to an American live-aboard that had Nidri as his base. By now I took every opportunity to talk to live-aboard neighbours. Particularly the ones that had a solar panel arch at the back. All in preparation for my next life!

American arch

We set off south with a pit stop for a night in Syvota before we reached Fiskardo on Cephalonia. One of our favorite spots during the entire trip between Stockholm and Croatia. This is one of very few villages that made it through the 1953 earthquake in the Ionian Sea without major damage. It is a gem, but also a very popular gem. It is virtually impossible to find a spot at the town pier after lunchtime so your choice is a med-style mooring with an anchor at the bow and reversing in and stop when it gets shallow some 10 metres from shore. You then run long lines from the stern to some rock close to the embankment opposite the town. A complicated maneuver that leaves you exposed to winds on the beam, yet doesn’t really get you all the way in. We preferred to anchor outside the bay on a small patch of around 12 metres depth in what was otherwise an area with depths in excess of 20 metres. At least it would be quicker to leave if the wind and sea state changed. We only spent one night anchored this way but it gave us the opportunity to hike to a Venetian lighthouse, have lunch and dinner out and to visit a music pub where we had spent Daniel’s 15th birthday in 2016. It became a late night with lots of cocktails and actually some dancing.

Nice boats

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