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October - Our Final Month Away

So here we are having embarked on our final month away in Greece before returning to real life and jobs. October has been a fabulous month. Yet again we have met more lovely folk and a real bonus was our friends Kirsty and Baz, hooking up with us whilst they were on a cruise.

We started October with some terrible weather (gale force wind and rain just like Scotland) and were stuck in Argostoli for a few days longer than we anticipated. The upside to this being that we met more yachties and ended up spending two evenings with a British guy, Syd who was on his own whilst waiting for his girlfriend to join him from the UK. So we had one night on our boat which was my birthday night and we fed him and then he reciprocated with a lovely dinner on board his yacht (obviously much bigger and fancier than ours, so we had another bad case of Yacht Envy - wish we could get some pills for this syndrome as it seems to strike us at every turn).

We finally escaped Argostoli on 4th October after being there for 2.5 weeks (we even had some dolphins who came and said goodbye to us in the bay) and headed south to Zakynthos en route to meet Kirsty and Baz who were arriving in Katakolon on their cruise ship on 7th October. We spent one night in Agios Nikolaos , Zakynthos which was a tiny but lovely fishing village. It was a brief visit but not so brief that the neighbours Alison and Ross didn't come aboard for a quick drink. Then we were off to Katakolon to await the arrival of our friends.

As always we can't stop talking to other yachties and ended up hooking up for an evening with a German couple, Klaus and Yvonne who had a beautiful Amel yacht called Alba Blu. We made arrangements to meet up on 20th October on an island called Kalamos as Klaus has a spear gun for fishing and Karl wants one (which doesn't mean he'll be getting one though). Klaus offered to go snorkelling and fishing with Karl. This could be dangerous.

Kirsty and Baz made it safely into Katakolon on their little boat and met up with us about 9am on the 7th so they could have the day with us before their ship left for Crete that afternoon. It was fabulous to see them. We had a quick coffee and catch up in the town before heading to Madison for a few hours sailing. Its always lovely to have friends sailing with us as it didn't happen in Scotland. We actually managed to sail rather than just motor and even the dolphins made a brief appearance for us. The day was over all too soon and then Kirsty and Baz had to head back.

The day continued on a positive note as we bumped into a lovely British couple, Rob and Barbara who were in their mobile home touring the Peloponnese and we got chatting. We had something in common from the start as they were teachers in Chelmsley Wood (near where I grew up) for 15 fifteen years. So we shared stories of the warzone of where we had both lived for a while. As always we didn't let them escape easily and they came aboard and ended up staying for dinner with the offer of a days sailing a couple of days later. The following day Karl and I got the train to Olympia to see the original site for the Olympics and also the archaeological museum that accompanies the site. It was amazing. We couldn't believe how many of the statues and artifacts were in tact after so many 1000's of years. It was well worth the visit. It shamed us into buying a book about Greek Mythology so we could swot up on what we'd actually saw. That same evening we went over to Rob and Barbara's for dinner. We had another fabulous evening with them, we just seem to hit it off.

The next day was sailing day and Rob and Barbara were round at 10.00am ready to go. Barbara even wore her sailors top. She was the only one of us who looked the part. We had a lovely day out, had to motor some of it but after we'd had lunch at anchor the wind came and we managed a few hours sailing, including sailing off the anchor rather than using the engine (a first for us on Madison). The night before I had put some beans on to soak for a chilli and had done too many so Rob and Barbara came for dinner that night too. They even bought us a bottle of Gin as a thankyou which was unnecessary but also very welcome. This was our last night in Katakolon and so we said our goodbyes as we were leaving at 6.00am in the morning for a long sail back to Vathi, Ithaca. The great thing is we now have an invite to Cumbria to visit them.

We stayed in Vathi for a few days and stocked up as they had a big supermarket. Unfortunately during the early hours of one of the nights the wind turned into a gale force wind and all the boats were hitting the quayside so there was a mass exodus at about 7.30am to move to a safe part of the bay. The upside to this being that we bumped into Syd again and this time with his girlfriend Lisa. Had an evening of drinks with them and also lunch another day. There was also a German couple, Gabi and Willi next to us with their beautiful dog, Emma and beautiful yacht, Oneiro (which means Dream in Greek) and we were invited over for a lovely dinner with them too. Due to the terrible weather we stayed in Vathi, Ithaca for 6 days before heading north to Vathi, Meganisi. On our last day in Ithaca Karl dived to retrieve an anchor and chain a charter boat had abandoned during the storm. He didn't find the anchor he was after but did find two other anchors which he kindly passed to Syd to part-ex on a bigger one, and some chain that we could use and a new propellor to sell on.

We then headed back to Vathi, Meganisi and stayed here a night before heading to Nidri where again we bumped into Lisa and Syd and had dinner with them twice. We also met a lovely sailor, Geoff who was sailing on a friend’s boat. He needed to book tickets to fly home but as it was the end of the season it was a convoluted journey so we offered him full access to our wifi so he could get it sorted. It took a few hours but he got there eventually. So we met up with him later for a drink and a chat.

We stayed in Nidri a couple of days and then headed to Vlikho for a night where Karl successfully sold the propeller which meant I treated us to the use of the washing machine in the yacht club. It was a real luxury and much appreciated. It was coming to the time where we were to meet Klaus and Yvonne so Karl could go spear fishing but the weather wasn't very good so we stayed in Nidri instead. The next day the weather cleared and we decided to head for Palairos a few miles away on the mainland as we hadn't been there before. There wasn't a lot there and our space on the quay wasn't great so we decided to move after a night and head back again to Vathi, Meganisi via a quick stop at Spartachori which is a hilltop village which was worth the brief visit just for the view. Returning to Vathi, Meganisi worked out well as we met up with Yvonne and Klaus who made us jealous with the story of how many fish they had caught with their spear gun and how they had a beach BBQ too. To make up for this we all went to a restaurant for dinner together (unfortunately the meal wasn't very good but c'est la vie). On the second night in Meganisi we were caught in force 8 and 9 winds and were up until 1.00am making sure Madison was ok. Thankfully we had done a great job of dropping her anchor and it had dug in really well so we were OK, unlike many other boats there that had to move in the middle of the night.

After the bad weather passed we decided we would be better back in Nidri just in case it got bad again. It was still raining and bit windy but nothing quite as bad as the force 8 and 9 winds we'd had so one night we were happy to leave Madison for a few hours and treated ourselves to dinner at a restaurant on the waterfront. The next day the weather turned beautiful so we had a lovely 4 mile walk to and from a local waterfall.

It was getting close to the date for lifting out so we headed north for Lefkada town so we wouldn't have too far to go to get to Preveza for hauling out. We treated ourselves yet again to dinner (we were on a final blow out after being careful for so many months) and went back to Ey Zhn, which we had enjoyed a couple of months before with Mark, Yacht Vipress.

We got to Preveza 4 days before lift out and spent the time stripping the sails and ropes and putting everything away ready for the Saturday morning. The lifting out and parking of Madison in her winter home took quite a few hours and we were tired at the end of it. But she has been left all covered up and hopefully reasonably watertight for the next few months.

We then headed to Athens on Sunday 2nd Nov taking the coach. It was a lovely trip and we passed through some beautiful countryside. We crossed the new suspension bridge at Patras (which hopefully we will be sailing under next year) and we also drove over the Corinth Canal (which again we will be sailing through next year). We had 2 nights in Athens and it just so happened Lisa and Syd where there as Lisa had to fly back to the UK for a few days so we hooked up with them for the day and did the Acropolis and wandered around and got lunch. The hotel was 4 star and very lovely and just the luxury we needed after living in such a small space for so many months. We flew home on 3rd Nov and it was great to be back in our own house. So that is it for now. Madisons Adventure is over for now.

We have decided that we won't be going back to live on her for such long periods again, but we will be looking forward to taking shorter breaks on her from now on and Karl is getting excited about the idea of bringing Madison home to Scotland.

Thanks for reading our diary and I hope you enjoy final photos.























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