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ENVOY CRUISING WITH GRAHAM AND CHERRY

Envoy is now in Lefkas Marina for the winter and we’re home in Auckland for the southern hemisphere summer.
I forgot to mention that just before Amy left us our bow thruster’s 24 volt electric motor was repaired and re-installed. Its sudden stop (caused by a line fouling its prop at Lefkas Marina) caused damage to the bases of the brushes and these have been replaced. We only use our bow thruster when berthing in a marina or harbour so not having it for a few weeks wasn’t a problem.
During late September after clearing-in back to Greece from Albania we spend a few days cruising
around northern Corfu awaiting news of our water maker. It’s too late to make much difference for this season but we’d like to have it for next. Actually we haven’t had any problems at all getting plenty of fresh water ashore, but the water maker is a nice-to-have.

Envoy alongside wharf at Saranda, Albania


When the wind increased at Saranda a large ferry started to drag its anchor towards Envoy. Fortunately some crew were on hand to resolve this.

View of Saranda’s waterfront

Agri is a stunning anchorage in settled conditions

This house has been constructed using rocks obtained during excavation of the building site

These guys are shaping the rocks into blocks

We get an interesting weather forecast; SE winds Force 4 to 5 soon becoming cyclonic with thunderstorms. With the storm at Sivota still in our minds we cruise just a few miles to the northern side of Corfu to anchor in Ormos Galiaies – a protected south-facing bay. 


Although we prepare for the worst we thankfully only get winds up to about 25 knots and no thunderstorms. The problem with thunderstorms here being they are usually accompanied by violent squalls and major wind direction shifts.

A few days later a water maker technician, Esideras, from Athens comes aboard at Gouvia Marina to check our system. Angelos, the local technician, thinks our problem is caused by a reduced flow of input seawater but Esideras runs some tests and concludes the fault lies with the high pressure pump. This is despite the fact he’s already had the pump in Athens for testing, but again he takes the pump plus the membrane in its casing for further tests.

Engineer working on our water maker. The pump and membrane are on deck


Envoy alongside in Gouvia Marina for water maker work

In the marina we see a trailer boat on the hardstand with four huge outboards, all with their props badly damaged after presumably running aground. As Di took the photo below a Coastguard officer rushed up gesticulating no photos – but too late.

Laurie by boat with four huge Yamaha outboards


Closer inspection shows four badly damaged propellers and bottoms of outboards


In late September long time Kiwi friends Graham and Cherry Poole arrive for a week with us – their first visit to Greece and to Envoy. We meet them at the beautiful anchorage of Mourtos and during the transfer of their luggage to Envoy one of Cherry’s bags gets left behind in a taverna. No problem though, the taverna’s manager finds it and we collect it the next day.
Being an engineer, ex Navy Reserve Chief Petty Officer and ex Coastguard Skipper Graham is excellent crew as well as being a very keen and experienced fisherman (as is soon confirmed).
Graham and Cherry only have seven nights with us and we cruise across to Lakka Bay on the island of Paxxos, down to Logos, across to Parga on the mainland and down to Preveza. All places we’ve been to and know they’ll enjoy.
Parga is a great place to fill our water tanks from ashore using our jerricans. Many charter yacht flotillas overnight here and have an interesting way of mooring – the small harbour has deep water right up to a calm sandy beach so the yachts put out a stern anchor, run their bows ashore and put their bow anchors on dry land.
While cruising from Parga to Preveza we tow two lures and land four tuna. Graham does an excellent filleting job and we dine on sashimi for the first time in ages.
Graham with freshly caught small tuna

Then we cruise through the Lefkas Canal to anchor off Lefkas where Graham and Cherry leave us.
On our last night at anchor we see these charter yachts moor forming a circle so that their cockpits are in the centre

Two days later we’re in Lefkas marina for the winter.
It’s been an unusual cruising year having lost two months repairing the fire damage.
We cruised 926 miles, less than half our usual annual distance, logging 181 engine hours and having no injuries or major incidents apart from the fire damage on the day we arrived. Two technical issues we encountered were mostly our own fault – that is the inverter failure and bow thruster issue and these are resolved while the water maker problem will hopefully be resolved on our return next year.
Our agent A1 Yachting puts Envoy in Customs bond for the winter to maximise the time she can remain in EU waters with VAT unpaid.
A few days later we dine at one of our favourite local restaurants enjoying some fresh tuna where the friendly chef shows a photo of the tuna we’re eating. Caught off nearby Megani. Island and weighing an impressive 180 kg, he says tuna of this size are still caught regularly.
Next posting shortly about technical matters being attended to in the marina,

GREECE AND TURKEY’S WAR OF WORDS

Envoy is now in Lefkas Marina for the winter and we’re home in Auckland for the southern hemisphere summer.Turkey and Greece have fought each other for centuries and during the period of 400 hundred years or so when Turkey occupied large parts of Gree…

ENVOY HIT BY YACHT DRAGGING ANCHOR DURING STORM

Envoy is now in Lefkas marina for the Greek winter. It’s now Friday and next Wednesday we fly home to NZ.
Back to our cruising adventures with Amy.

Amy loves to have dinner by candlelight and we have various candle holders aboard, mostly bought in Turkey.


Early September we’re anchored in Sivota with several yachts anchored around us. 
As we return to Envoy from dinner ashore we all comment on how perfectly still the air is and how calm the sea is. Talk about the calm before the storm! 
At 1230 we’re all rudely awoken by huge gusts of wind buffeting Envoy, then thunder, lightning and heavy rain. We all immediately get up and reaching the pilothouse see a Belgian aluminium yacht, Grand Chalem, dragging sideways down onto our bow. There is no time to take any evasive action before her starboard side squarely slams into our stretched-out anchor chain, bounces off, then slides bow first down our starboard side before disappearing into the night. 
Other yachts are also dragging their anchors so we put on our deck lights to make ourselves more visible while they maneuver themselves out of trouble. We see gusts over 40 knots, but Envoy doesn’t drag and only moves around to the wind shifts – the GPS drift alarm, set for 0.003 miles or about 54 metres doesn’t go off. Within about half an hour the storm passes, the boats settle to their anchors and we go back to bed wondering if there is any damage to Envoy’s newly painted hull. 
I’m up the next morning at first light checking Envoy’s hull from our RHIB, delighted to find no damage except the faintest of minor small paint scratches that’s not worth worrying about. 
Grand Chalem’s skipper comes over in his RHIB to check and is also relieved there is to damage to either boat, probably because he had fenders on his hull. However he says is wife is somewhat traumatised by the experience and they will spend a few days secured to a pontoon in the harbour until they’re ready to venture forth again.
We’d hoped that at least the heavy rain would have given Envoy a good fresh water wash but that wasn’t to be either as the rain was laden with red dust, which turns quickly to mud and stains everything unless removed quickly.
Sudden thunder storms are reasonably common here at this time of year and they usually bring squalls and wind shifts so from now on we’ll put out fenders at night when anchored close to other boats.
At Meganisi Is this yacht got into trouble trying to reverse to a the quay and ended up broadside to the other moored yachts

Amy and Laurie enjoying late afternoon drinks at Meganisi

After a stopping at Meganisi Island we head back to Lefkas so that Amy can catch a flight back to London.
We had a fantastic time with Amy aboard for 6 weeks, cruising 419 miles, re-visiting some of our favourite places and finding new ones.
We start heading north towards Corfu where we will clear out of Greece, spend a few days in nearby Albania and then come back to Greece. This is partly because we need to take Envoy out of the EU periodically to avoid the need to pay VAT and partly because we need a new Greek Transit Log since our present 18 month one is about to expire.

We spotted this huge open RHIB at Gouvia Marina – about 13m and even has a small RHIB on its stern


On the way we anchor at Preveza, Parga and Mourtos – all of which are now a lot quieter as the season comes to an end.

Envoy anchored at Mourtos


Same anchorage shot from the idyllic beach

An interesting flower bed at Mourtos

A day tripper boat enters a sea cave near Mourtos

When the tour boat leaves we enter the cave

From Corfu we cruise across to Albania. Having already visited Sarande in Albania we only stay a couple of days and on returning to Corfu we refuel for the first (and will be only) time this year taking on 1,300 litres of diesel at Euro 1.41 (approx NZ$ 2.17) per litre. The fuel quay attendant tells me our purchase is relatively small and a motor boat recently took on 200,000 litres, requiring ten tankers each holding 20,000 litres. At the price we paid this would have been Euros 282,000 or about NZ$434,000.
While at Corfu the water maker technician, Angelos, tells us our water maker high pressure pump is ready for installation. It’s been checked by the main dealer in Athens who found nothing wrong with it, which doesn’t help solve the issue of why the system isn’t working properly. After it’s installed we test the system and it still doesn’t work properly – the output is too low and the salinity too high. Angelos believes there is some restriction in the seawater supply so gets a diver to check the under-hull seawater inlet but that’s all clear. The next step is to get a technician from Athens to come and take a look.

ENVOY CRUISES NORTH BACK TO CEPHALONIA

Envoy is now anchored off the Greek mainland at spectacular Mourtos, while the Blog continues at Ormos Keri – the turtle area with our daughter Amy still aboard.
Greece is not a place noted for its health and safety regulations (or indeed for observing any regulations!) and when we land ashore we find the decking of the main jetty has many holes and missing planks. We’re surprised as this is the jetty used by tourists to board their hire boats, but never mind – helpful young Greek guys are on hand to help you. When walking along the many makeshift jetties here it’s a good idea to place you feet on areas where the thin planks are supported underneath.
With missing planks you need to watch your step


This part is much worse and requires a big stretch


While anchored at Keri a strong offshore wind develops one afternoon. Later we see an inflatable plastic turtle blowing from the beach towards us. We imagine that some poor child is crying over this lost turtle so Amy and I jump in the RHIB, retrieve it and head to shore. As we approach the beach Amy stands up and starts waving the turtle around to find its owners who turn out to be a young Chinese couple. They’re delighted to be reunited with their turtle but in less than a heartbeat they lose it again to the strong wind and again we retrieve it for them. I think these are the first oriental people we’ve seen in months as Greece is very mono-cultural and even among visitors you rarely see a non-European face.

Aboard our RHIB inside a cave at Ormos Keri

Ormos Keri is the furthermost point we’ll be from our Lefkada home base and on 2 September we start heading back north to Cephalonia. Again we cruise up Zakyntos’s remote west coast and again the swell is rolling in too much to anchor, despite fine weather and a light wind.

We try out our new trolling lures and bingo – catch a fish, but we don’t recognise the species and decide not to chance our luck by eating it. Since then we’ve caught four more fish, but all too small to eat so back to the sea they went.
The coming of September signals a noticeable change in the weather and temperatures drop by a few degrees to mid 20s, there is more cloud around and generally more unstable weather. Usually this change doesn’t occur until mid September.
Spectacular ravine at Poros, Cephalonia – in the foreground is a spillway floodwaters

Enjoying drinks in the rustic Pirate’s Bar at Poros.


It’s interesting how the decking and bar have been built into the rocks

Ruined houses ashore at Kalo Lim viewed from Envoy


Kalo Lim is a great sheltered anchorage


We spend a couple of days anchored at one of our favourite bays – Foki, which is just south of Fiskhardo on Cephalonia Island. Most cruisers here in the Med don’t want to anchor and instead moor stern-to the shore and we spend some amusing time watching people trying to do this unsuccessfully. One large British yacht secures a stern line to a tree and a short time later pulls it out by the roots and sends it crashing into the sea amid a minor landslide of rocks and dirt.
This yacht’s stern line pulled out the tree it was moored to by its roots
I’m going to write some more shortly about the advantages and pitfalls of mooring stern to shore as opposed to anchoring

ENVOY AMONG THE TURTLES

Envoy is now cruising around Corfu having just returned from nearby Albania.
Amy has left us after a great six weeks together, but the good news is that she’s moving back to live in Auckland arriving late November.
We cruise east to anchor in the harbour of Cephalonia’s capital – Argostoli. This is a great harbour where you see quite few Loggerhead turtles in the water as it’s adjacent to a large breeding and feeding lagoon called Koutavos. Amy had a great experience when a large turtle became interested in our RHIB and it swam close-by giving her great views.

Amy snapped this turtle swimming around our RHIB


In Argostoli I buy a new trolling reel and some new lures as this is the season to catch tuna – watch this space (hopefully!)

Only thing missing is the fish!

Next day we take a rental car to visit the Castle of St George, originally built by Byzantines in the 12thcentury but taken over by Normans, then Turks. The Venetians defeated the Turks in 1500 and took the castle which they held for the next 300 years.

Argostoli harbour viewed from castle – as you can see it’s very sheltered


Another great view from the castle


Laurie and Amy on ramp to castle’s main gate


Laurie at castle’s gate


During our driving tour we visit this spectacular cave


While filling our water containers ashore I meet some British cruisers who had just sailed here from Malta. Our original plan was to cruise to Malta until Envoy’s fire damage changed that. These people said Malta was a great place to visit by land but they didn’t enjoy cruising around there during July and August as the few anchorages were crowded and there were too many fast speedboats zipping around.

We move south to anchor off Spatia, somewhere he hadn’t been before, and like it so much we stay two nights. Here is great scenery and holding with very few other boats. 
Here and at many similar bays locals and visitors leave their small craft such as RHIBs, kayaks, dinghys and trailerable motor boats unattended on moorings, unlocked without any fear of theft or damage. Sadly this is something you cannot do in most parts of New Zealand any longer – your boat would be stripped of all valuable gear or possibly stolen in total.

Dingy moorings at Spatia


We moor our RHIB – front right in a nearby small boat harbour. There are many hundreds or probably thousands of similar very small harbours throughout Greece

As we depart Spatia for Zakynthos Island there are spectacular storm clouds on nearby hills and soon the thunder and lightning starts. 

Storm clouds over Envoy

See how the clouds are rolling down from the hilltop

The wind strength increases, the seas come up and we have a slightly rough crossing until we reach the shelter of Zakynthos. We cruise down the island’s rugged west coast, famous for its vast number of caves – in fact we’ve never seen a stretch of coast with so many. 
We’d hoped to find some semi-sheltered bay where we could anchor overnight but the ground swell is too much and we have to keep going, just stopping briefly to take photos at famous Wreck Bay – said to be the most photographed bay in Greece. The crew of a charter catamaran anchored in the bay seem to be a bit inebriated judging by their loud music and gyrating on deck and we have to take evasive action when a teenage girl dives into the water and obliviously starts swimming across Envoy’s intended track.

Famous Wreck Bay


Close-up of actual wreck


On Zakynthos’s southern side is a relatively sheltered bay called Ormos Keri where we anchor for a few days. Early one morning we take our RHIB out to a sandy beach on Marathonisi Island where there’s a turtle breeding ground. 

Marathonisi Island has the appearance of a turtle


By sheer luck we time our visit perfectly as three rangers are digging up a nest where eggs have been laid to help some turtles find their way out of the sand and down to the water. It’s a wonderful experience to see five turtles, each about the size of a thumbnail, flipper their way down the beach and launch themselves into the sea for their first time. 

The Rangers are excavating a turtles nest to help baby turtles


Baby turtles


This beach gets a lot of visitors brought out by ferry and catering is provided by several floating cafes which come out each day and run themselves ashore.

A bit of commercial crassness at the turtle breeding area


ENVOY CRUISING AROUND CEPHALONIA

Envoy is now cruising around Meganisi with our daughter Amy aboard.
I meant to include this picture of Di in the Corfu market in an earlier post. Although we’ve been mostly unsuccessful in our fishing endeavors there is an enormous annual fish catch in the Med of 800,000 tonnes.

Di in Corfu fish and produce market


Fish shops and markets are common place, supplied by an estimated 82,000 commercial fishing boats employing 314,000 people. Virtually every seaside village has its own tiny shallow harbour, generally consisting of a simple rock wall providing some shelter to its fishing boat fleet – mostly boats under 10 metres.

After leaving Lefkas Marina we head south through the canal, initially constructed by Corinthians in the 8thcentury BC. It’s always great to visit places for the first time and we anchor in a stunning bay at the island of Nisis Arkoudian. During the day there are five RHIBs anchored but we enjoy the solitude of being the only boat there at night.
From here it’s a short cruise over to Ithica Island, said to be the home of Odysseus in ancient times.
Many nice bays are too deep to anchor in, being over 40 metres and offshore the depth is hundreds of metres. We anchor in Ormos Skhoinos offshore from a local family’s holiday villa. They’ve had the same caretaker for over 50 years, who lives in a beautifully maintained wooden sailing boat alongside their jetty. 

The family villa’s caretaker lives aboard this unusually painted boat


Envoy at anchor in Ormos Skhoinis


Further out in the bay a superyacht is anchored looking more like a floating childrens’ playground than a serious boat.


While a boat of this size would turn heads back in New Zealand, there are hundreds of boats like this in the Med and nobody really bats an eyelid.

Very close to this anchorage is a stunning unnamed bay with a rustic but ramshackle beach bar. 

Sitting outside the bar is a very thin older man looking like a biblical prophet cleaning some recently caught squid that are covered in wasps. When Di and Amy commented on this he replied “wasps don’t worry me they are my friends.” We think this highly amusing as wasps have been an issue in some bays and both Di and Amy have been stung. Very few flies or mosquitoes though.

This ferry drives up onto the beach to disembark day trippers using a builder’s ladder

We move on to Cephalonia, the largest of seven main Ionian islands, although there are many dozen smaller islands. I’m sure I’ve mentioned previously that this island is also where the events took place on which the novel and movie Captain Corelli’s mandolin are based. That is in 1943 German soldiers massacred around 5,000 Italian soldiers of the Acqui Division who had surrendered and represented no threat to the Germans.

First we anchor in the harbour of Ay Eufimia, one of our favorite anchorages. Here is a great butcher’s shop where we are able to buy New Zealand lamb chops and top quality fillet steak at surprisingly reasonable prices.
One morning we walk inland up a gorgeous valley to an old Turkish village called Drakopoulata. 

The lush valley leading inland from Ay Eufimia


During the 1920s Turks living in Greece were sent home as were Greeks living in Turkey and now the village remains largely ruined.


This old building contains rusty remains of olive presses



Cruising down to Ormos Katelios we put our trolling lure in the water for the first time this year and catch a small tuna. It’s far too small to eat but at least it proves the lure works.

This is an interesting anchorage as it’s quite shallow with many areas of underwater rocks and requires great care. The locals have marked some of the reefs and rocks with buoys which is a big help.

Looking down on Ormos Katelios


From here we’re heading to Cephalonia’s capital – Argostoli.

CRUISING IN THE IONIAN SEA

Envoy is now cruising around Zakynthos Island with our daughter Amy aboard.
Before Frank and Marie left us we saw this stunning Maltese cruise ship

When we started our water maker for the first time this season it ran fine but the second time it had some problems. The salinity was high, the fresh water produced seemed warmer than usual and the pump rpm varied by about plus or minus 5 bar. I don’t know what it is about water makers but lots of cruisers seem to have issues with them. While in Mandraki Marina technician Angelos made a few checks and cleaned the intake water seacock but it made little difference. We met him a few days later and he installed a new high pressure membrane. This also made no improvement so he removed the main pump to check in his workshop. We’re awaiting the result of this and meanwhile having no problems finding plenty of free fresh water from the shore.


Angelos installing a new high pressure membrane


The water maker’s main pump


After Frank and Marie departed at Mandraki we cruised down to Igoumenitsa Creek for a couple of nights and met up with our friends Bruce and Lesley aboard their catamaran, Midi. Also aboard were their friends Nick and Robyn who know other friends of ours from home – Christine Eden and Karl Koller. A small world as they say.

Igoumenitsa Creek is a great protected anchorage


Washing day aboard Midi


Bruce and Lesley had wintered Midi at Turkey’s Albatross Marina near normally busy Marmaris and they confirmed what we’d heard – that it’s all very quiet there now as cruisers and charter operators have left in droves. This is due to a combination of recent terrorist activities, a perception of political change and instability and negative changes to cruising regulations. We’ve had wonderful times cruising in Turkey and it’s very sad to hear that conditions are now less favourable.

Spending a night anchored off Mourtos was not so enjoyable usual because of large numbers of local tripper boats traveling at high speed close-by and putting up large wakes. Home in NZ you’re not allowed to exceed 5 knots within 200 metres of the shore or within 50 metres of a swimmer or another vessel, but no such regulations seem to exist here and we saw tripper boats at high speed within a few metres of people in kayaks and small dinghys.
Lots of people do bow riding here – a practice which is illegal in New Zealand due to horrific injuries and deaths when people fall in and the propeller hits them

Highly dangerous bow riding


Amy joined us on 1 August in Corfu for a six week stay. She has now finished living in London and will move back to Auckland later this year.
We normally swim at least three times daily in the beautiful 26 to 28dC water but our “swim” normally consists of a leisurely paddle around the boat. Amy had an excellent idea that she and I start some long distance swimming and this has been great with us now achieving swims of several hundred metres.
We headed south with Amy calling at favorite places like Petriti, Mourtos, Gaios, Loggos and Parga and spending the days strolling ashore, swimming and cruising the short distances. 

Beautiful garden bar at Petriti

They sell a selection of hand painted olive oil jars for just five Euros each


Below the bar is this awesome swimming cove


Most everywhere has been light winds and seas so calm that we didn’t use our stabilisers for days. But that changed when we cruised 32 miles in five hours from Parga to Preveza. We had winds over 25 knots and breaking, closely spaced two to three metre seas on our starboard beam. The stabilisers had trouble coping with these waves and several times we had to “tack” to take the seas at more of an angle to the beam. At times the autopilot also had trouble coping with the vicious movements and I had to steer by hand for a few short periods. Normally Envoy is so stable that it would be rare to spill a coffee – but on this trip the cups sure were sliding!

Close-by to Preveza we found a bay called Panayaia that we’d never visited previously. It’s well sheltered with a nice uncrowded beach and a rustic beach bar playing a good selection of music from blues to jazz to reggae. It’s owned by friendly 30 year old Manioti born in Melbourne to Greek parents who came back to live in Greece and we enjoyed meeting him for a chat over a few cold beers.

Manioti’s beach bar


Envoy at anchor viewed from bar


Manioti with Amy and Laurie


Laurie and Amy enjoy a cold beer


From there we headed through the canal that makes Lefkas an island and into the marina to get a temporary Plexiglas window fitted as so far we’ve not been able to locate a supplier for a new Triplex glass one. While maneuvering into the marina we jammed the tail end of our RHIB’s painter in the bow thruster’s propeller and couldn’t use it, making for an interesting time berthing in the confined marina spaces. Next day a diver tried unsuccessfully to free the painter so we had to lift Envoy out of the water and were then able to free it quite quickly. Unfortunately the bow thruster’s sudden stop caused some damage to the 24V motor so it’s been removed and is currently ashore getting repaired while we carried on. We’ve since heard that it’s successfully fixed.

Rope jammed behind bow thruster propeller

CRUISING NEAR CORFU WITH FRANK AND MARIE

Envoy is now cruising around the Ionian Sea with our daughter Amy aboard for a six week stay.
I’m going to add photos tomorrow.
I forgot to mention in our last posting that due to our delayed departure from Lefkas we were able to meet up with long-time friends Kevin and Diane O’Sullivan and family, who were starting a week-long yacht charter from Lefkas. We had a great dinner and, as I’ve often mentioned, the taverna owners nearly always give you something for free – in this case dessert. After we paid the bill and walked back about a kilometre to the marina the taverna owner came up to us on his motor scooter; “my friends … I’m so sorry … I forgot to give you this gift.” He handed over free bottle of wine and one of olive oil.
Our first night out anchored at Two Rock Bay we had a problem. I normally check the condition of Envoy’s start battery bank at the beginning of each season and this becomes increasingly important as the batteries age. Checking the voltage isn’t sufficient – it’s necessary to use a load tester, a device which most marine electricians have that places a significant load on the battery and monitors the result. When we ran Envoy’s Lugger engine for the first time in June after seven months of non-use it started instantly and I assumed the battery bank must be OK. I had asked an electrician to load test the batteries but despite repeated calls he never showed and as our cruising had already been delayed by two months we really wanted to get cruising so I decided to forget the test – big mistake! The second time I ran the engine it was a slow start. The third time I had our generator running powering our Freedom Combi inverter/battery charger. This charger is an older unit dating from 2002 and doesn’t have all the safety systems that a more recent unit would have. Because the start battery bank was down in capacity the start process drew too much load from the charger blowing a relay and causing some internal printed circuit board damage. Damn it!
We went on to Corfu’s Gouvia marina where Leonardo, an electrician we know well, did a load test and found our battery bank down to 60 per cent capacity. He also pointed out that since our batteries were six years old this was not surprising. So the result of not doing the battery test was we damaged our inverter/charger and had to spend a couple of cruising days sourcing and installing new start batteries – all because we broke our own rules.
The new battery bank consisting of two Optima 975A batteries is performing well and Leonardo installed our spare Xantrex 3Kw inverter (which doesn’t have a charger) while we try to get the Freedom Combi repaired in Athens. He’s also fitted an automatic transfer relay so that if the generator is started while the inverter is running AC power is only sourced from the generator. Meanwhile for battery charging with the generator we’re using our AC-powered Charles 60 amp charger that we normally use only on shore power.
Once these issues were sorted we spent a few great days cruising around bays close to Corfu. At Kalami we met Kiwi sailors Alistair and Nichola plus their dog Tiny aboard Bavaria 47 Tiny Nical.
On 12 July Frank and Marie Curulli joined us at Corfu for their third Envoy cruise. We were originally going to meet them in Malta but Envoy’s fire damage spoiled those plans so Frank and Marie went by themselves to Malta, Sicily and Stromboli, where Frank’s Dad came from.
Unfortunately Marie’s luggage didn’t arrive but never mind – this was a perfect excuse for Marie and Di to hit the Corfu shops. Her luggage showed up two days later.
Frank and I go back a long way as we met as 15 year-old surf lifesavers and since then have enjoyed with our families numerous great boating, diving, camping and four-wheel driving holidays and adventures. This was another one with two weeks going all too quickly in perfect sunny and calm conditions. We visited some places that we’ve been to previously – Kalami, O Ay Stefanos, Petriti, Sivota, Parga and Gaios but also two new places.
The first was Loggos on Paxxos Island where it’s often too uncomfortable to anchor. This is a small but stunning village with several great quirky shops and very friendly locals. In the evening after an excellent meal ashore we visited an art exhibition being held in a disused former olive oil soap factory.
The second was Corfu’s village of Levkimmi reached by using our RHIB to navigate a shallow two kilometre canal from the sea. We only stayed here a couple of hours but were very impressed by the canal-side atmosphere and tranquility – not to mention great cakes from the bakery!
For Frank and Marie’s last night we went into Corfu’s Mandraki Marina for the first time (as Gouvia was full). This is a small but highly atmospheric marina right below the Corfu Castle’s north side. For the first time ever we were asked to berth bow first and this meant we could only disembark using the RHIB as our bow was too high up to use a plank to step down onto the jetty. The marina wall is only about a metre above sea level so waves regularly break over it and we understand the marina is untenable in strong northerlies – a yacht being wrecked there just last year. Above the marina behind the castle’s imposing walls is the Ionian University School of Music and were able to listen to some practice sessions as well as a full-blown concert.
So after two great weeks Frank and Marie left us here on 26/7.

ENVOY CRUISING AGAIN

We are now cruising aboard Envoy with our friends Frank and Marie aboard at the island of
 Paxxos, south of Corfu.

Nearly all fire-related jobs were completed and now we’re only still awaiting the curved pilot house window and new VHF antenna but decided to commence cruising without these. Subsequently the antenna is at Lefkas awaiting our return while a temporary Plexiglas window has been made to be fitted until we can get the correct tempered glass one made. Currently we have a very temporary flexible plastic cover over the window cavity.

Envoy’s very temporary pilothouse “window”


A crane lifts our newly-painted mast into position


Laurie inspects Envoy’s new hull paint


Repairs almost completed prior to launching


Envoy in the travel lift ready for launching


Other jobs were completed too.

The keel cooler was removed for internal and external cleaning and re-sealing the through hull fitting.
The windlass motor was checked and re-installed.
The air horn motor was repaired and re-installed.
Two technicians came from Athens to replace the through hull seals on the Naiad stabilisers. When doing so they found that the large stainless pins coming through the hull that the fins attach to had a little surface corrosion. So they took these back to Athens to be re-surfaced and polished. At the same time two sets of bearings on each side were replaced. They also modified the hydraulic system so that when the stabilisers are not in use the fins lock in the central position. Up to now they move around if the boat is rolling at anchor and we’ve had to use locking bolts to centre them – a process which takes about 15 minutes.

Looking down onto our stabilisers’ hydraulic rams


A new domestic fresh water filtration system has been installed.
The flush problem for our main head was resolved by replacing the outlet hose and cleaning the sea cock.
A new autopilot sender unit was installed solving an intermittent problem.

Envoy was launched on 30/6 and a sea trial confirmed that all was working well. We were ready to leave the marina on 3 July but strong winds closed the marina – the first time we can recall this happening, so we finally left on the 4th.
It sure was great to be back on the water again and we headed north towards Corfu stopping at Two Rock Bay for our first night out.
There we tested our water maker and that it ran fine, although subsequently we’ve had a problem with it. This doesn’t effect our cruising though as here are plenty of places to get fresh water ashore using our tote tanks. We also have a problem with our inverter so next week will go into Corfu’s Mandraki Marina to resolve these issues. Again the inverter doesn’t stop us cruising as we simply use the generator to produce AC power – indeed we have to run the genset for three hours daily for refrigeration.
Next posting – more on inverter problem and our fun times with Frank and Marie

ENVOY’S FIRE DAMAGE REPAIRS NEARLY COMPLETE

Envoy is in Lefkas Marina undergoing repairs for cosmetic damage caused by fire on an adjacent boat while we’re staying in an apartment near the marina. Last Saturday was four weeks since YachtPaint started the repair work. They said it was a four week…