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Lakka Bay, Paxos


of Greece, which culminates in the cacophonous sight of people hurling huge earthenware pots out of windows onto the streets below. We had the chance to immerse in Greek culture again at Vonitsa in the Ambracian Gulf where the May Day festivities included horse-riding displays on the beach, a huge spit-roast lamb bbq, live music and street-side stalls. Paxos is a dream island with its


crystal clear turquoise Lakka Bay, green and lush interior and lively Gaios town. We also made friends there with ex-pats Helen and Jeff with whom we remain in touch and hope to visit again one day. The Inland Ionian is a busy but heavenly cruising ground with constant weather patterns (calm in the mornings, windy in the afternoons), stunning anchorages and pretty ports. Gales do batter the islands though as we found out to our dismay after leaving Leonie in Vliho Bay one winter. A sudden hurricane caught forecasters unaware and left Leonie with more than £20,000 worth of damage which took three months to fix. The unbearably hot summer spent living in our yacht inside a sweltering tin shed while the work was done was the lowest point of our adventure so far. Being landbound as the summer months slipped by was frustrating. But on the plus side, the insurers paid up without a quibble and Bob the shipwright did a fantastic repair job. Two of the most breathtaking natural environments


we have sailed into must be the famous Shipwreck Beach on Zante which is sheltered by towering white cliffs, and the awe-inspiring caldera of Santorini – a six-mile crater created by an exploding volcano in 1646BC. The Peloponnese coast is wild and majestic. I loved the rugged coastline of the ‘deep mani’ with its spectacular


Diros Caves explored on a punt steered by an under- world ferryman, the sleepy fishing port of Mezapo, the distinctive mani tower houses and Cape Tenaro (the southernmost tip of mainland Europe) which in antiquity supposedly hid an entrance to Hades. Olympia was our first


taste of ancient Greece and the 2,800 year-old archaeo- logical site conjured images


of passionate, naked (yes, they battled it out in the nude) male athletes racing chariots and throwing javelins in the hotly contested sporting battles. Hydra in the Aegean Sea with its visiting boats rafted up three- deep is always chaotic and fun,


and a step back in time as donkeys are used in lieu of cars on this motor vehicle-free island. The Cyclades are known for strong winds but last


year, while we were there, they were stronger and more frequent than usual. This did get a bit wearing as often we were stuck in ports for days on end waiting for the winds to drop. It was also eating into our funds as safe ports are not free. We loved visiting the charming traditional Choras’ (main towns) of the Cycladic islands with their narrow cobbled streets and whitewashed houses. Tinos with its Greek Orthodox pilgrims, hundreds of intricate dovecots and beautiful marble churches captured our


The deep Mani, Peloponnese


Potthrowing during Easter, Corfu Town


Leonie in the shed at Aktio Marina, Preveza


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