We joined the parade of boats headed south in the Levkas canal after the 10:00 bridge opening. It was really quite amazing to see so many boats out on the water. When we reached the south end of the canal and entered what is known as the inland sea, we understood why the Ionian Islands are considered one of the greatest cruising grounds in the world. Gorgeous mountain views, beautiful water studded with lovely islands and numerous coves for anchoring or mooring for the night — some remote and others with tavernas and nightlife ashore. We haven’t seen such a nice cruising ground ourselves since the North Channel in Lake Huron or the Grenadines in the Caribbean. We pointed our bow south, however, making a mental note to return when we have more time to explore the islands. We found fair winds and a following sea in the more open waters south of Levkas, making our way comfortably with a reef in the main and the Yankee in 18-22 knots of wind from the northwest to the protected anchorage of Petalas.
We had a pleasant motor sail in light westerly winds to make the 4:00 bridge opening at the north end of the canal in Levkas. We decided to stay a night in the marina which we had heard so much about from other cruisers in the Med, but perhaps because we have grown tired of marinas these past two years, we found it to be nice enough but nothing special. Like Corfu, we found Levkas to have quite a bit of British influence, mostly yachties from the marina. We had a quick dinner ashore after checking in with the local port police and were off again the following morning.
After three days of fidgeting with the leak in the hot water heater, we think it’s finally fixed. If you’re reading this, you might ask, “Why is a hot water so essential in such a warm climate?” And the answer is that it is not really essential, but the heater is connected to the engine. When the engine runs, it heats the water in the tank, and we really don’t want to undo the whole installation if we don’t have to. It was amazing to find that the manufacturer did not use stainless steel bolts to hold the gasket and plate of the heating element to the wall of the water heater. These had failed and then broke while removing them for inspection, hence the leak. Since we couldn’t get the parts for our American-made unit here in Greece, the mechanic fitted up some new ones and made a custom gasket. It should hold us until we can get spares and/or replace the unit.
With over 1,000 boats, the Gouvia Marina in Corfu is one of the biggest we have visited. Most of the regular slip holders here have bicycles for getting around within the marina itself which is like an all-inclusive resort for cruising sailors. They have restaurants, shops, a swimming pool, etc. The main town of Corfu is a 10 minute bus ride away, and we spent a better part of the day there on Monday completing necessary clearance formalities. Lisa spent most of Tuesday in the city setting up our Greek cell phone and internet accounts. Neither activity was much fun, but it’s a small price to pay for visiting such a beautiful country.