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Us and Roger, Parga

August - Corfu - Lefkas

August has been a great month for us as our lovely pal, Jimmy and his girlfriend Glynis came over on holiday to stay with their friends, Gordon and Margaret and we all hooked up and did some sailing.

The day before Jimmy arrived it was busy aboard Madison, as we had an evening with Gil and Linda from the Yacht Rocking Chair II. We had met them previously with their daughter Camille in Petriti, and they came aboard for a few drinks along with another couple we had been chatting to, Phil and Monica (Philarmonic as they are known). So we had 7 people all squeezed into the cockpit for a wee while. It was very cosy and I'm sure Madison was happy to have so many visitors.

The next day Jimmy, Glynis and their friends, Gordon and Margaret came into Corfu town to see Madison and and grab a drink (or two). Gordon and Margaret now live on Corfu and Gordon we discovered is an ex-professional footballer from Hibs (77-90) so now we're mixing with celebrities too! I'm also hoping that our street cred in Edinburgh will increase, although the Jambos (or Hearts fans for those not in the know), may not be very happy with us for mixing with their enemy!

By the end of our one or two drinks we had decided that we would all go sailing. So on Thursday we all met up early on Madison and headed for Petriti. We knew that we would have to motor as wind very rarely happens in the morning in the Ionian but we were hoping to sail back. We had a lovely day with a few hours in Petriti sunbathing and swimming and a good lunch. There were some dramatic rescues at sea too - two balls and a lilo (the rescue of the lilo resulting in the rescue of Jimmy as he fell in attempting to grab it) and we also managed to sail most of the way back. Gordon became Cap'n Gordon for a time as he took the wheel and was a pure natural helmsman. As this was such a great day we organised to go sailing on the Sunday but this time from the NW of Corfu where Gordon and Margaret live, to an island called Erikoussa. Karl and I spent the next couple of days working our way up there in Madison. This also meant we were visiting places on Corfu that we had not been to before so that was an added bonus for us.

We had a lovely sail to Erikoussa which has a fabulous beach. We were witness to money gone mad - when a super yacht anchored and the crew proceeded to spend a couple of hours raking the beach and scooping the weed out of the water around where they had raked so that the (very rich) family on board could come ashore to play without having to touch weed or encounter an uneven beach. If I had thought in advance I would have sent Karl, Jimmy and Gordon to do the same for myself, Glynis and Margaret as the uneven sand can be such a bore. Whilst on Erikoussa, Karl also gave Glynis and Jimmy a scuba diving taster which they seemed to enjoy. We also saw dolphins on the way back. This was a great end to a great day.

The next day Jimmy and Glynis were flying home so we met them for lunch and headed to Gordon and Margaret's to see their new house (which is fabulous) and say our goodbyes. They then surprised us with the present of a hammock which we had planned on getting for Madison. This is something we had on our list of 'wants' rather than 'needs' and it was really lovely of them. Gordon and Margaret also invited us to stay over one day and do some washing once Jimmy and Glynis had gone. When you live aboard this is a real treat and we were delighted to take them up on their offer. So a couple of days later we arrived laden with a big blue ikea bag full of sheets and towels etc...and of course beers and goodies as a thank you. It was great being in a proper bed and getting use of modern facilities after being on Maddie for so long. We said big thanks and goodbyes to Gordon and Margaret the next day and got back on Maddie and organised ourselves for sailing back down to Preveza and onwards to Lefkas. It had been great seeing Jimmy and Glynis and a real pleasure meeting Gordon and Margaret who were lovely to us.

And so the first two weeks in August were over and we spent the next week slowly making our way south. We met a Czech sailor in Corfu called Peter, Yacht Steel Pulse who was a diver so Karl went for a wee dive around the boats with him. We revisited places we had already been to a few times and went to see Fiona and Bob from Pythias Gallery in Paxos on the way. Finally getting back to Preveza on 21st August.

We hung around Preveza for four days and organised our winter lift out there for 31st October. We had the pleasure of meeting a lovely family - Rob, Sarah, Phoebe (9) and Nick (7) and spent a few hours here and there with them. They were previous liveaboards and were busy sorting out their yacht Dreamcatcher, which had accumulated a large amount of unwanted things before they had to go back to the UK for the new school term. Phoebe and Nick were an absolute delight and for all we didn't spend huge amounts of time with them, I have to say I enjoyed every minute. We also bumped into Marc, Yacht Monade again with his dog Casper and spent a couple of evenings with him. Its always great to meet up with him. Casper is a real celebrity too and everywhere we went with them people wanted to talk to Casper. Madison and Suzy (the Suzamar dinghy) both had a good wash too.

Finally on 25th August we arrived on the island of Lefkas. This was a unique day as it involved coming down the Lefkas Canal, which has a floating bridge that is floated out of the way every 2 hours for boats to pass through. Our first port of call on Lefkas was Lefkada which is the main town. We had 3 days here and met a single-handed sailor, Mark from Yacht Vipress. He has a wonderful 46ft Bavaria, which makes Maddie look very small and I was starting to have another case of yacht envy. Mark had a maintenance job that needed doing on the underneath of Vipress so Karl offered his diving services and Mark took us out for a fabulous meal at a restaurant called 'EY ZHN' in return, which we thoroughly enjoyed and hope to try again on our way back to Preveza when we get hauled out at the end of October. Lefkada was another lovely Greek town full of locals and not just tourists. We got caught by the local authorities and had to pay €8 for one night (thankfully they didn't come for the other two nights we were there). However this is the first time that anyone had asked us for money for going onto the quay so we can't complain.

After 3 days in Lefkada we sailed with Mark down to a resort called Nidri and anchored. Mark has been cruising round here a lot and has lots of useful information regarding where to go for yacht supplies and good restaurants to eat in and places to anchor, so we have been picking his brains. Nidri is a tourist spot but lovely all the same. What we like about the tourist places in the Ionian is that they don't have high-rise buildings everywhere so the views aren't spoilt. Unfortunately we have not been able to avoid pirates trying to board us and sell us bread and milk (pirates are getting much younger these days too!). Last night we had a terrific lightning show from our cockpit. Thankfully it didn't come too close and we didn't get rained on either. Disaster struck though when we discovered we'd lost our very expensive bimini in the winds. Karl has gone searching for another €6 replacement. I'm not sure I can budget can survive the expense.

And so here we are another month gone. We have now done over 4000 miles since leaving Scotland. We are especially looking forward to September as we will be making our way south through Lefkas and onto Kefalonia where we hope to have a week with Iain, my wee brother and Emma, his wife and one of my best friends and their bump, as Emma will, by this time be 6 months pregnant. I can't wait to see them.























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