The northern Ionian Islands held their charm in that, yes, they are crystal clear, blue and tranquil, so long as the tourists and charterers do not clutter them up. It seems this statement is contrary to our adventures, but we feel that during this past year we have truly lived up to our boat name and indeed, have become TRAVELLERS. We have also learned that by slowing down we let the "rushing charter boats" move on leaving the bays quiet and clear for those left behind to enjoy.
The significant moment of our attitude adjustment occurred when we passed through the Lefkada Channel - a long narrow man made channel cut through the island of Lekfada leaving it separated it from the mainland.
The entrance to the channel is controlled by a swing bridge which operates every now and then, if the operator is on duty and wishes to engage the switch. This is totally contrary to the information posted on the bridge website (which states bridge operates every hour on the hour). However, this experience was in line with other events we encountered in the north.
No worries. We waited a resulting time one hour and 45 minutes in line sequence, and left our worries behind. Leaving both great sailing moments and many memories of sites, tastes and culture which we have come to associate with Sailing Greece.
Challenging moments of Syvota, Lakka and Gaios quickly fade as the breeze stiffens and we set our sails. (Memories of crowded coves, rolly anchorages and transit log authorization). Jane best describes the highlights of these places as well as delicious moments enjoyed there in her separate post.
With reefed mail and shortened foresail, on flat seas and stiff breeze - we traversed the Southern Straight of Corfu in fine form on route to PARGA.
A few natural wonders were enjoyed along the coastline with arched rock formations and deep caves.
Parga is a historic town with two bays and a castle situated between them. Anchoring below ancient castles has become the hallmark of our journey.
As expected, our next day was spent exploring the town, climbing the many steps leading to the castle, while afterwards procuring colourful fresh vegetables from the market.
Vonitsa was a pleasant surprise as we toured the inland sea away from the Ionian. A delicious dinner of suckling pig and local mussels was washed down by a KILO of white white. We have never experienced buying wine by weight - What a treat!
Of course - another castle to be explored in the morning but this time with friends we met from MDR (our winter home in Sicily)
Our final stop in the north was successful in the yachting centre town of Preveza. Here we procured engine maintenance and located of fellow A50 boat - Paloma (Hull18) amongst the (what seemed like) several thousand boats in dry land storage.
The colour, sites and tastes of this place will forever be etched in our minds.