During the night, we woke up several times to the sound of the wind whistling through the rigging and the occasional rattling and clanking of the cables and fenders as well as intermittent showers of rain pattering on the roof of our for’ard cabin. It was strange, because the wind would die right down to almost nothing, then it would start up again and hour or so later. So it continued through most of the night.
We got up at 7.30am and went out on deck for our pre-breakfast cuppa. “Did you hear the wind last night?” was the first question on most of our fellow passengers’ lips. To make up for the fact that we would probably not be sailing anywhere anytime soon, our holiday rep Wendy had arranged for us to have a half-day tour of the island, and the bus would be coming to pick us up at nine o’clock. 😊
Meanwhile, we’d missed the sunrise but I was still able to get a photo of an amazing morning sky, the bow of the Hemera outlined in the foreground for perspective. At the stern, the sun emerged from clouds behind us and lit up the green mountainside beautifully, the shadows of the cumulus clouds adding to the light and shade. It’s at times like these when I so wish I could paint.
We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast of boiled eggs, bacon, sausage, fried peppers and mushrooms to set us up for the day, all washed down with the excellent filter coffee and peach or orange juice. Just before 9.00am a mini-bus pulled up alongside the Hemera, and we all trooped down the wobbly gangplank and took our seats in the air-conditioned vehicle. Like our captain, our driver was also called Yanni. 😊
This was definitely a magical mystery tour, as even our guide Wendy didn’t know where we would be going! We had a map of the island, but we left it up to the driver to show us the best places. In any case, we had a lovely scenic ride along the undulating, rugged Lefkada coastline, and our route took us along a zig-zagging mountain road, sometimes going up to breath-taking views, before going back down again to sea level.
The first place we stopped at was a lovely little marina called Syvota. There were lots of pleasure craft and boats moored up in the crystal water, and we could hear that most evocative sound of masts clinking and clanking accompanied by the gentle lapping and washing of the wavelets on the harbour wall. There was not a cloud in the sky and we found it hard to believe that the open sea was, as yet, too rough to allow the Hemera to leave the shelter of Nydri harbour.
Back on the mini-bus we continued on our way and next we came to another port/beach called Vasiliki which, according to the guide-book was supposedly one of the best beaches in Europe for windsurfing. However, not a windsurfer was to be seen anywhere, maybe because it was Sunday or October or both. We stayed long enough to have a wander around and take some photos before we continued, and our driver Yanni took us up the winding mountain road, higher and higher, stopping at intervals to allow us to take photos of the wonderful views and the turquoise Ionian sea below us.
Making our way back down to sea level once again, the bus parked up and we walked along a pretty little street before we came to the most stunning beach, with its pale, soft sand, its turquoise water and its rocky, rugged coastline. My phone told us we were at Kato Exanthias, Lefkada 31080.
What made it so special was that it was practically devoid of tourists, so I stood there and breathed in that incomparable salt air and took loads of photos of the waves rolling lazily onto the sand – who could ever tire of this sight? 😊
The morning flew by, and Wendy advised us that our chef Mohammed would have lunch ready for us at 1.30pm. By now it was about 12.45, but we had time for one more stop before returning to the Hemera. Our bus then took us to a charming little sea-front with an interesting wooden bridge. We all alighted from the vehicle and walked to the middle of the bridge to get some photos, before returning to our seats and to the Hemera around 1.15pm. We’d had a great morning, and we decided a pre-luncheon beer was definitely in order. 😊
Lunch consisted of a tender beef goulash accompanied by mashed potatoes, peas, carrots and broccoli – it was delicious. Then we sat around and chatted and relaxed; Trevor and a couple of the other guys, Richard and Wesley, all wanted to go ashore to watch the Singapore F1 Grand Prix at 3.00pm local time, so we went along to Pyxida, the cocktail bar where we’d watched the footy and the F1 qualifying yesterday, and took our seats in front of the large TV screen; I sat at a high table and stool on my own, as I had my laptop with me to work on this blog.
The proprietor of the bar was very obliging, moving one of the comfortable settees into position and turning the TV to the correct channel and adjusting the angle of the screen to ensure they had maximum view. We were going to be here for a couple of hours at least, so we was ensuring he kept the customers happy! 😊
The guys enjoyed their cold pints of beer while I partook of Aperol Spritz and my favourite cocktail, caipirinha. They must have just sloshed the cachaça in as if there was no tomorrow, because boy was that caipirinha a strong one! 😊 I was able to get into my writing stride and get my blog updated while the guys enjoyed an exciting Formula 1 race, which was won by Sergio Pérez.
Afterwards, Trevor and I browsed in the nearby shops for a little while, then made our way back to the Hemera around 6.00pm, where we decided to have a half-hour power nap. Then we just pottered around on deck, passing the time pleasantly, before getting washed and changed and making our way ashore again a couple of hours later.
It was a dark, still night and the harbour looked lovely with all the yachts, gulets and pleasure boats all lit up. We saw several stray cats mooching hopefully around near the boats; some of them even ventured tentatively up the gangplanks. 😊
Seeing the cats gave me an idea, and we went along to the nearest supermarket where I bought a 300g bag of Whiskas dry cat food. As we walked along the streets, whenever I saw any of the little furry waifs I shook the bag of biscuits which made some of them come running, tails in the air as they milled around, rubbing around my legs. Tearing open the packet, I poured a couple of handfuls of the food onto a clear patch on the ground, and watched as the cats tucked in. 😊
We walked along, looking in the lit-up shops and bars and feeding any cats we saw. Once the shops, bars and restaurants thinned out, we turned around and came back along the other way until we arrived back at Pyxida and we went in, sat on the comfortable couches, and enjoyed a couple more cocktails. We left early, around 9.45pm, and returned to the Hemera where we joined one or two other passengers – some were either still ashore or had turned in early. Returning to cabin #1, I got my tablet so I could do a spot of reading on deck. Relaxing on the comfortable mattresses and bolsters at the stern, enjoying the peace and still night air was just a perfect way to end the day. We’d had a lovely time today, and we looked forward to whatever tomorrow would bring.