It’s just over a week since we arrived in Greece and we’ve been busy little bees.
First was a trip on the bus (€1.60 each way, pay on board) from Nidri to Lefkas to pick up an internet SIM. We went for a Wind SIM which gave us 6GB for €17. Pat then toured me around the town pointing out the best shops they’d found and where the offices were for checking into Greece.
Then a birthday celebration for me!
Nidri Waterfalls Walk
Sunday we took a walk to the Nidri waterfalls, taking a long way round walking down quiet lanes between olive and lemon groves. A warm, sunny day but it was lovely and cool once we were in the gorge and under the trees. Frogs croaked loudly in little pools as the water burbled and trickled over sun dappled rocks and colourful butterflies fluttered about.
The path to the falls started off easy with gravel and concrete to walk on. Closer to we saw the former bridge that had been damaged during a fierce flow and the path is now diverted around it. From then on we passed through a narrow gap between a cliff and an enormous boulder with more huge boulders balanced on top and the path became less easy. A scrambly slope with rope and pipe handholds, a hop over a big rock and a dip down into the shallow water onto a stepping stone before some slippery steps up to the main falls. There was still a reasonable flow over the high falls which tumbled down into a deep pool; it was tempting to have a swim but my hand said nooooo when I dipped it in to check out the temperature. Dunc was braver and jumped in for a swim! Bracing!
Back down at the start of the track is a well placed bar, its tourist prices but a pleasant place to rest on comfy sofas in the cool of a huge tree with the water burbling and chuckling all around.
Check-in and a Dinghy Hunt
Monday was back to Lefkas for our DEKPA which involved visits to various desks in various offices. First a tax number which cost €30 (form printed at one desk, money paid and form stamped at another) then back to the maritime police for our DEKPA, more form filling, photocopying and €15. They gave me a white copy of the receipt, then stuck the pink copy in the DEKPA and gave that to me so now I have both copies of the receipt. Hmmmm.
We’re on the hunt for a slightly bigger dinghy so took the opportunity for a wander around the many chandleries in Lefkas sampling their wares, testing out the various sizes and getting a few prices. Maybe an end of season treat for us. There are many chandleries in Nidri too and if they don’t have a part you need there’ll be somewhere can get it in in a day or two. Colin has been in boat part heaven.
Last stop was the AB supermarket near the bus station. Here we were able to buy coconut milk and they had a small selection of Chinese and Indian foods too. We also found some packets of sliced Cheddar cheese but it went dry after a couple of days being opened so there is a good excuse to eat it quickly.
We have spent most of the time anchored down in Vlicho Bay, a huge space and not crowded unlike Tranquil Bay opposite Nidri. Its not too far to dinghy up to Nidri and we’d much rather have peace and space around us then be squished in close and worrying someone will pick up our anchor.
On the south east side of the bay is a row of restaurants, we tied up there for a walk over to Desimi beach. Walking along the lane we could smell jasmine and there were lots of colourful flowers blooming. The beach itself wasn’t much to write about, pebbly and small, surrounded by a couple of campsites and one cafe. The wind was howling into the beach from the east but back over in Vlicho Bay it was blowing from the west!
We needed a big top off of diesel, so following a tip from Simon and Katie (thank you!) we contacted the fuel station at Vlicho to ask about a delivery to the Sail Ionian quay. No problem they said, just call when we were there. Unfortunately there wasn’t much quay space left on the morning we went over but we managed to stick Emerald’s stern alongside and run a bow line to a yacht that was stern to. We called the fuel station and 10 minutes later the truck arrived. Several 100 litres (€1.24 a litre) later we were full again and all much easier than humping cans backwards and forwards by hand. Everyone was very helpful and friendly including Sail Ionian for letting us tie up and the yacht we laid alongside.
Unfortunately we couldn’t get water at the quay so decided to go onto a pontoon at Nidri. We were recommended the Sailing Holidays / Hotel Iris pontoon. A spot was free at the end which made it easy for us and plenty of people were around to help take bow lines and pass up the lazy lines. We went in bows to; much easier for manoeuvring Emerald than going in backwards, plus we have the dinghy on the davits and it’s not too much of a problem climbing off the bow to go ashore. Its €10 a night including water and power, a bargain really. There is a petrol station just at the end of the path that runs next to the hotel so we could top off the dinghy cans (€1.50 / lt). The hotel also has wifi which we could pick up from the boat, a bar and a pool that pontoon customers can use. The pontoons are only available when the charter boats are away so avoid the weekends.
There are other pontoons at Nidri, however the further north you are the more wash there is from the ferry and trip boat traffic, also some of them are rather rickety and not recommended in a blow as our friends experienced.
Nidri itself is a bustling town with a busy road running through it and only occasional pavements so a walk along involves weaving in and out of parked cars and watching out for traffic. Nothing is moving very fast so the risk of an accident is small; after all most scooter riders don’t wear helmets! It’s certainly touristy with beach wear and souvenir shops and enough bars, cafes and restaurants to be able to visit a new one everyday for at least a month.
There are a couple of banks and cash machines and so far we’ve had no problem taking cash out.
There are many supermarkets and corner shops some with British products – we found Hellman’s mayo and Heinz salad cream for a reasonable price. We also found some Cheddar cheese although it was nearly €4 for only 200g. There is plenty of fresh fruit and veg, a butchers and bakeries where we have found a lovely brown, homemade loaf.
A short walk down the lanes away from the town is countryside and quite lanes for wandering around.
It’s All Greek (ελληνικα) to Me
The thing I’m struggling with is the language. In all the countries we’ve visited so far I’d have my dictionary to hand and could look up what words translated to in English and learn them in the process. All very straight forward when the languages use the same Latin alphabet. But in Greece it’s a whole new alphabet and although I can recognise an alpha α, beta β, pi π and a few others symbols, turning words into something I can then look up is a brain twist too far. We’ve learnt the basics of hello, thank you and such and many people here do speak English too but I feel a little bit cut off by not being able to learn more words. Perhaps learning a couple of Greek letters a day will help.
No Need to Rush Things
We crossed a boat job off that has been on the list since we left Brighton 5 years ago. Our Lofrans windlass came with a switch that could be installed at the helm to allow the chain to be raised or lowered. We made a box for the switch and attached it the steering binacle back in Brighton but since then its just been an empty box. So this week, over two days the wires were run down the steering column, under the floors and under the forepeak berth (which involved having to empty everything out) up to the windlass controller in the anchor locker. Now we can control the anchor chain from the cockpit which will help when we have to go stern to where there aren’t any lazy lines. But that is a challenge we’re putting off for the moment!