Woke up at 7.45 this morning after an excellent night’s sleep. Getting washed and dressed was a bit of a challenge with the two of us getting in each other’s way around in the compact space, but soon we were ready and we eagerly went outside on deck to see what the weather was like. (We couldn’t really see out of our portholes as they were quite high up.) It was warm but cloudy and parts of the decking (and the canvas director’s chairs next to the vessel’s railings) were wet, signifying there had been heavy showers of rain during the night.
Nonetheless, the sun was making a valiant attempt to break through, and we were sure it was going to be another fine day – it was already 23°C. 😊
Breakfast was simple affair; there was a choice of cereal, granola with Greek yoghurt, honey and fruit and bacon, sausage and scrambled egg. You had to make your own toast in the toaster, but there was butter, jam and marmalade of you wanted. There was also an unlimited supply of good hot coffee and tea. Soon after we’d eaten, Mohammed the engineer cast off the ropes, Captain Yanni weighed anchor and the Hemera slowly moved away from the dockside, before picking up speed to about 10 knots. Our Ionian adventure had started! 😊
It was fantastic gliding along, relaxing on the open but sheltered aft deck. Sure enough, the sun was out by now and we passed some time exploring the boat (which didn’t take long!), chatting with our fellow passengers and admiring the passing seascape, looking at the tiny islands in the distance and other sailing vessels, whose passengers we hoped were having as good a time as we were. We just love being at sea; no matter how many times we go cruising the novelty and the excitement and the exhilaration never dulls… this is the life! 😊
The Ionian sea was quite choppy in some places and the Hemera was dancing a merry dance on the waves. Every now and again we heard a crash as something somewhere fell of a shelf and, on returning to our cabin, we found several items on the bathroom floor, from where they’d fallen from their shelf or the side of the sink.
Around 1.00pm the announcement was made that lunch was ready. It consisted of spaghetti and meatballs in a rich tomato sauce; there was also salad, cheese and bread. We washed it down with a freezing cold beer. I was very good and didn’t have the dessert, some rich chocolate-coated concoction containing chocolate mousse and orange jelly.
Wendy then informed us that, in approximately an hour’s time, we’d reach a tiny little secluded beach and the Hemera would drop anchor, allowing us a chance to swim. Presently we returned to cabin #1 and changed into our swimming things, along with a pair of water shoes in case the seabed/beach was pebbly. Putting on my matching sarong, we returned to the main deck, and watched as the vessel slowed down on the approach to a lovely little white sand beach that contained a row of shore-front parasols. Several luxury yachts and other vessels were at anchor nearby.
Everyone waited impatiently on deck in the hot sunshine, looking at the glittering, inviting water. It seemed to be taking an age to drop the anchor. Wendy then appeared from below decks and told us that they were having some problems lowering the anchor, as there was no electricity so the winching gear wasn’t working. The engineer was trying his best to get it fixed.
Trevor and I sought refuge under the canopy at the rear decks, and after about half an hour Wendy advised us that, regrettably, they could not get the electricity back on so the swimming stop would have to be postponed until tomorrow. In the meantime, we’d continue sailing to our next island of Lefkada, which would take about two and a half hours.
That was certainly no hardship! It was just so relaxing and pleasant as we sailed along; chatting, reading, surfing the internet or napping in the sun. Another beer was certainly in order, and we stretched out on the large mattresses at the stern of the Hemera and enjoyed our beers with the sun warm on our backs and the playful little sea breeze ruffling our hair. How brilliant was this? 😊
Around 3.30pm, Trevor and I returned to our cabin for a half-hour power nap, but the movement of the Hemera meant I had to lie in the recovery position in order to avoid rolling off the bed! We didn’t really get much sleep! We then returned to the main deck and sat around a bit more (we’d done a lot of sitting around today!) where I did some of this blog and read for a while. We were getting quite close to land now, and we looked at our surroundings with interest. Noticing that my laptop battery was getting low, I returned to the cabin to charge it, only to find there was still no electricity!
At five o’clock the Hemera slowly manoeuvred into her berth in Lefkada and, while the boat was still, I decided to go and get showered and wash my hair and freshen up before going ashore. When I went into the shower cubicle, however, there was no water! It was the same at the sink; only the merest trickle came out of the tap before it spluttered and dried up altogether. No ‘leccy and now no water either!!
As soon as I got dressed again, however, it was announced that both the water and the electricity had come back on, so we plugged in our chargeable devices before I thankfully took a long, cool shower and got dried and changed into clean clothes before blow-drying my hair and putting on some makeup.
Wendy then advised us that, as there wasn’t much to see or do in our immediate surroundings, she’d organised a mini-bus to take us to the nearby resort town of Nydri, where there were lots of shops, bars, restaurants and tavernas as well as an attractive harbour. That sounded great, so the bus was arranged to pick us up at 7.00pm.
It was precarious affair disembarking the Hemera. As the gangplank is at the rear of the vessel which is normally moored up with her stern against the dockside (i.e. at right angles to the dock wall) and we were alongside this time, we had to take a big step down from the side of the boat using a handy bollard as a stepping-stone to terra firma. There were plenty of helping hands holding onto me to make sure I got down safely though.
On arrival into Nydri, our driver said he’d return in three hours, so we went off to find somewhere for something to eat. We immediately spotted a restaurant we liked the look of, and it had an extensive menu outside, so in we went. Taking a table for two, we ordered the inevitable cold beer before perusing the menu; Trevor ordered a tuna pizza while I decided on the chicken Caesar salad – I always enjoy a Caesar salad.
The meal was delicious and the beer went down very well. We had a great table near the open front which allowed us to do a spot of people-watching, that most enjoyable way to spend the time. Several stray cats flitted about, and I secreted some pieces of chicken from my salad, and some tuna from Trevor’s pizza, into a large paper napkin to feed the cats afterwards. 😊
Afterwards, we strolled along the harbour front, looking at the party yachts all lit up as well as the other pleasure craft. A couple of car ferries were docked and were all in darkness, obviously finished for the night.
We soon came across a couple of cats, one sitting on a wall. He came towards me hopefully, tail in the air, as I opened the napkin and he got the scent of the tuna and the chicken. He eagerly gobbled it down, looking up at me with his big green eyes; the other cat also had some of the chicken. I always feel so sorry for the stray cats; our own cat, Cedric, is so pampered and well looked-after – he doesn’t know what a lucky pussy he is! 😊
We decided to go and have a cocktail before making our slow way back to the meeting point for the mini-bus. I enjoyed an Aperol spritz in this lovely little bar, all soft couches and table lamps and lots of greenery.
On the way back to the bus we browsed in the little shops and examined the wares displayed on the tables outside. The bus arrived on time and it was only a 10 minute ride back to the Hemera. Boarding the vessel was the reverse of the challenge we’d had disembarking.
Soon we were all safely back on board, however, and we felt a nightcap was in order, so several of us indulged in a last beer or wine, helping ourselves from behind the bar and writing our cabin numbers and purchases into the honesty book to be billed on the last day of the cruise.
Then we just sat back looking into the darkness, watching the lights twinkling in the hillside dwellings and listening to the soothing sounds of the sea gently washing against the side of the Hemera. Don’t you just love this time, between the end of the wonderful day that has been and the day that’s yet to look forward to? Relaxing and reflecting and enjoying life – we only get one chance (if we’re lucky).
One by one the other passengers said their “good nights” until Trevor and I were the only ones left. Shortly afterwards, we returned to cabin #1 and got ready for bed – I inserted some heavy-duty ear plugs as several people were having a noisy drinks party on the yacht moored adjacent to us. Nonetheless, it didn’t take long to fall asleep in our comfortable little cabin, and we slept well.