Yacht Pipit


Still hot & sunny, mostly - 30th September 2013

Surely one of the best views in the Ionian - and the background's not bad either...

During the last month not much has changed: we have continued our routine, such as it is, of spending time in Vathy, Spartochori, working on Sundays and anchoring wherever else takes our fancy for a few nights in between. The daytime temperatures have now dropped to a much more manageable and still very pleasant high twenties, and the evenings are sometimes cool enough to require a fleece.

Anchorages are now much less busy, and one night in Kapali we were completely alone - slightly eerie! Another somewhat unsettling night was in Goat Bay - around 2000 we watched ominous dark clouds and a spectacular (spectacular that is if you don't have a tall metal thing poking up in the air to worry about...) lightning display move right around the mountains behind us - I had that very afternoon been reading an article in Yachting Monthly about a yacht that had been struck by lightning, resulting in damage to electrical & electronic items that cost £22,000 to repair and replace - luckily all paid for by the insurance company, comfortingly the same one Pipit is insured with.

If you are eating, you may wish to skip this paragraph, but talking of anchoring, this year we have discovered one shortcoming of Pipit - lack of capacity of the holding tank. Actually it is a pretty decent size for such a production boat, but here's the math, as they say in the US of A: Our tank will hold about 400 pump's worth of flushing water - that's 20 visits, if we pump the recommended amount through our length of piping. So that's 10 visits each, and if one assumes we add at least as much 'extra' as the flushing water itself, that's only about 5 visits each. So understandably after a couple of nights at anchor we are close to capacity, a limitation as we would often like to stay in one place longer. Of course this hasn't been a problem in previous years as we've usually been moving on after just a day or two. So our recommendation to anyone wishing to do what we do would be to have a boat with 2 heads (and 2 holding tanks), thus doubling capacity. In fact it can more than double capacity, as some people think it acceptable to let No. 1s out, so one tank can be solely for No. 2s. Bon Appétit.

Talking of boaty things, our Sunday working has enabled us to examine closely a fleet of nearly 30 Bavarias, from 30 ft to 46 ft LOA (plus a Hanse 495). There are definitely some nice design and layout features on some of the newer boats, but none is ideal as far as we are concerned. Obviously the target market is not liveaboards, the emphasis being on space and number of berths. If anything, we find the smaller boats more impressive, particularly the new 2 cabin 36, but even this has only two thirds of the fresh water tankage that Pipit has.

One new item of equipment we haven't mentioned is the d.light, with which we are absolutely, um, delighted (sorry about that, feel free to roll your eyes and groan). It may not be the most aesthetically pleasing of things, but there's no doubt about its performance - leave it out on deck for a few hours for one day and it will be sufficiently charged to illuminate the cockpit for a number of hours for a few nights. Unlike many solar lights, this one has a Lithium-ion mobile phone battery in it which presumably is what makes its performance so good.


Two Mondays ago, some strange stuff fell from the sky - rain I think it's called. It's funny how much excitement this causes when you haven't seen it for many months! During a break in the wind and rain we made the short passage from Spartochori to our berth in Vathy. This proved timely as shortly after our arrival the wind increased significantly and we had torrential rain for most of the afternoon, together with thunder, lightning and a power cut.

How novel...

Talking of Spartochori, there is a sign there whose message is true in one sense, but not the one I was hoping for:

Nearly a fortnight ago our friends Samir & Lesley, who are staying in a rather splendid villa on Meganisi, arrived. We have spent quite a bit of time with them, including two barbecues at their villa, the lamb from the butcher being especially good, or was it how Samir prepared it? On Tuesday we went on a road trip (as Samir and Lesley had a car) firstly to the 'big smoke', as we call Nidri, and then to the even bigger smoke of Lefkada. Mr. Robins, are you sitting down? We visited the Lidl just outside Lefkada, and stocked up on dry goods that we either can't get on Meganisi or are very expensive. This was a useful recce as the store is quite large and has a good selection of fresh meat, so in the winter it will be worth hiring a car periodically to stock up the freezer. Assuming we don't get too many power cuts of course... The highlight of the day was lunch a The Katoghi, way up in the mountain village of Vafkeri above Nidri. The drive up the mountain and the many hairpin bends were challenging, particularly in a 1.2 litre VW Polo, the views were stunning, the ambience at The Katoghi both inside and outside in the courtyard delightful and the food excellent - we shall return. Another place to which we shall return by ferry & foot in the winter is the waterfalls not far from Nidri. I was expecting a single fall but in fact there is quite a long gorge which was quite impressive in itself even though at this time of year there was hardly any water running. It will be different in the winter...

That view again...

The courtyard at The Katoghi, Vafkeri.

A view we haven't seen before of Tranquil Bay and the adjacent islands.

The waterfalls near Nidri. Pretty, and should be more impressive in winter after some rain. We did see wild cyclamen, frogs and a crab on our visit though!

Talking of rain, as I type this we are back in Vathi sitting out some heavy rain and thunder & lightning is forecast for later - the marina is very full, as is the town quay. We had a delightful day and night anchored in Abelike Bay last Friday, hot, sunny & calm, and the water seemed clearer than ever, so we don't think the good weather has ended yet, it's just become more changeable - well it is October tomorrow! We are hoping to get a bit further afield, perhaps to Fiskardo and Kioni, before we park more or less permanently for the winter, but we will see what the weather and Sunday work dictates.

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