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Saturday, November 25, 2017

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,