Resilience in Chartering

On Thursday, two wonderful young mechanics, did finally come and get us started. Sadly, the starter motor had ‘Angused’, rhyming slang for not starting due to being decrepit. Orlando suggested we could proceed to the island of Corfu, and make our way to Petriti. We might not have made the sunset clause of being anchored by sunset, if we tried to get to Gouvia.

“Safe anchorage there” they said but warned of shallows on the approach. We departed and made our way north to Petriti. We anchored right outside Panorama, which was a lush green resort, but they didn’t have space for us at dinner, so we took the dingy to Fish Tavera Leonidas and had delectable swordfish and mussels with a nice drop of local white wine.
Debbie gave a sigh of amazement and we looked up to see a crescent moon rising over the water, with the reflections over the anchorage of glowing mooring lights and the silky flat water. All our photos looked like we had snapped a Van Gogh painting.

On Thursday, two wonderful young mechanics, did finally come and get us started. Sadly, the starter motor had ‘Angused’, rhyming slang for not starting due to being decrepit. Orlando suggested we could proceed to the island of Corfu, and make our way to Petriti. We might not have made the sunset clause of being anchored by sunset, if we tried to get to Gouvia.

On Friday, despite every attempt, the boat wouldn’t start.
But the critical problem, was the realisation that without the generator, the coffee grinder wouldn’t work. No coffee? The entire crew of Cair Vie, despaired and disappointment clouded the morning.
Suddenly Debbie and Diane began brainstorming. Out comes the used wine bottles and cutting boards. Filling Ziplock bags with coffee beans, they rolled the beans in submission and crushed

The coffee was very good indeed. Small wins for missing the wonderful lunch we had planned near Igoumentsa.

Orlando and crew eventually returned and after another hour and a half, finally got the boat to start.
We went straight back to the marina. Despite the Sunsail’s team best efforts, we had lost two days of our vacation. Back at the marina, the Sunsail manager, put in a recommendation that we receive a refund for the two days.

We were very disappointed when the official Sunsail Head office
reply was that Sunsail ” would like to extending a yachting credit of $1832 AUD to the Duncalf’s to be used toward future charter.” 10% of our charter fees to be collected as a voucher towards another Sunsail cruise but not in Australia, Italy or three other ports.
Two full days lost, still, they hope we had fun. Especially since we are a valued customer.
Read the Fine Print.

Have fun but Read the Fine Print

We sailed out of Lefkada on Wednesday morning and made our way to Lakka .
Lakka on the north of Paxos, is an intimate bay, absolutley packed with yachts, from 2 meter runabouts to 34 Metre yachts.

Tour boat, Lakka Bay

Graeme and Diane were very excited to be meeting their old friends, Shiona and David on their boat, Capella, in Lakke Bay. Seeing old friends, a fair distance from home, (NZ/ UK) was exciting and emotional. Sailing connections are strong. There are other games involved in their friendship, tennis and throwing a floating ball around while swimming.

Historically, Paxos and Antipaxos were created, when Poseidon struck the island of Corfu with his trident. He was pleased because he could retreat to this island idyll with his mistress Amphitrite.

Lakka, Paxos

Later, Ali Pasha chased the Souliotes, an Orthodox Christian Albanian group from Epirus, Greece and they escaped to Lakka. Their own paradise found. And Ali wasn’t a pirate, Ali Pasha was a politician.
That night, with David and Shiona , we went We had so much fun eating lamb kletifiko and peeking into the shops, we forgot to take photos.

Back to the boats and goodnight to Shiona and David. A wonderful day and a terrific dinner and all was well with the world.

Everyone was well rested and ready to depart the next day. And Cair Vie made a wrenching noise and would not start. What could be causing such a dreadful noise, tune in to find out.

Contrasts and Connections

Our perspective of the Ionian as gentle, quiet and distinctive, last visited by Graeme, Diane, James and I about eight years ago has been challenged by the enormous growth in places like Porto Spilia and Ormos Sivota. Both these ports and Vathi have experienced astounding growth. Sivota in September was busier than Julys in past years.
Babbis hard work with Porto Spilia has seen record growth, but luckily he found a spot for us. He was amused to think that just because it was September, we didn’t think to book ahead. Rookie mistake, but we aren’t rookies. The Ionian is busy all summer and into autumn.

Graeme, Babbis and James -Porto Spilia

We sailed over the top of Meganisi, retreating. for a luxurious swim in Ammaglossa Bay. Peaceful and quiet watching small Welsh yawls meet on the beach and retreat to the shade.

The view from Spartachori

During the afternoon, we motored to Porto Sivota. Debbie and Geoff probably thought the four of us were raving, but the number Sivota homes and visiting yachts had grown exponentially. There was a veritable sea of masts. Gobsmacked, we anchored and then saw three more catamarans and four more yachts heading into the churning harbour.
We upped anchor with collective sighs and motored out to try our luck somewhere else.

The harbour of Ormos Rouda beckoned and we came well into the deep bay and anchored close to the beach but outside the buoys. We had dinner onboard, our neighbours of less than a dozen yachts were quiet and the water was like silk, the breeze was cool and we all slept effortlessly, especially without the Doof Doof boat. Only the sound of a rooster in the morning.

Travel to places Old and New

It is wonderful to be travelling again. There are surprises, Vathi and Porto Spilia are vastly different than the last time we were here. Tourism has added to their economy and we see plenty of new homes, buildings and enterprises. Still the sight of of these island ports makes us smile and memories flood back with the smells of Greek cooking and Babbis sternly telling us he could just fit us in, if we eat early.
Where we might have been concerned that some of these Greek Island communities were losing their young people to the lights of Athens, we see that many new homes are being built.
Vathi had grown and yet still had it’s charm. Electricity for sale on the Quay for yachts was a welcome addition. We decided to have a swim, before carrying on to Kalamos and went into the very breezy Nisos Atokos.

Vathi, Ithaca

The most excitement has been Graeme and Diane telling us about Kastos and Kalamos and we left Vathi to see if we could find a berth on the small island of Kastos. We entered the small harbour to see that every available metre on the dock was taken.
Undeterred, we continued north to Kalamos and found the view on the approach was exalted, the village arcing it way up a steep hill with the church high above the harbour and berths.

George was waiting for us on the harbour, ready to take our ropes and explaining effusively exactly where to put down the anchor. We were given a warm invitation to have dinner at George’s Taverna.
The taverna was on the beach and the food was delicious and bountiful. (Neil, you should have been with us. My souvlakis was enough for three people.)

George’s Taverna, Kalamos

PS Steph and Tom, we are waiting with champagne to celebrate. We are all so excited to welcome a tiny Bub. Every large bird that goes over convinces Deb, it is a sign. The sign of the stork. Personally, I think they are Desmoisselle Cranes, and I hope the stork visits you soon.

Nostalgia – best served Greek

On our way from Corfu to Paxos, the six of us: Diane and Graeme from Auckland, Deb and Geoff and James conversed on on how sailing from the time they were nippers, then sailing cherubs, wooden boats, Finns, Javelins and OK Dingys. Ocean racers came next and there was discussion about the differences in sailing from Auckland or sailing in Sydney.
The sailing fraternity bonded across Country lines, especially since women like Jean Wilmot, fed a lot of these young sailors, at many regattas. When Aussie sailors went to Auckland they billeted with the Duncalf family.
The affection Graeme and Neil had for Jean, meant when James and I met them in the Aeolian Islands, and when they realised we knew Rene, Mandy, Tina, Bobby, Mandy, Dixie and Jean, we all knew we would be friends.

Jean delivering Cherubs to Henley Beach (SA) in 1976. Jean driving and Rene, Bobby and Crew on the trailer.

Diane, Deb and I were talking about the ebullience we felt being in Greece again. We have all sailed in Greece before and we talk about earlier trips and places we loved. Visiting favourite restaurants like Thymani in Paxos and Avre in elegant Kionos.

Avre in Kionos

The weather has been sunny, warm and the water temperature has been about 26 degrees. Seeing the blue water and watching herons in flight while we are playing catch in the sea, is relaxing and enjoyable.

Swimming on the way to Vathi

Debbie and Geoff are waiting for an email from Tom and Steph, she was sure the cranes we saw were storks.
Our crew, with a century of friendship travelling in the Ionian,

Feels like Serendipity

Last Wednesday, our dear friend Charlene took us to Sydney Airport and almost as quickly as we arrived the gate opened and our adventure began.
In Doha, we changed planes and instead of a drawn out layover, waiting for the next plane, we were surprised to see friends Gai and Russell. With plenty of time for a coffee in Harrods Cafe in Doha Airport, we sat and chatted about plans.They were on their way to Bucharest. We couldn’t have planned it better.

Soon, we had to say goodbye and we were off for our flight to Corfu.
Our flight in Athens landed right on time, but the pilot said our jet bridge wasn’t free and we waited for close to an hour thinking we would miss our plane- the last plane to Corfu.
When we were finally able to deplane, a young airline passenger officer met us and told us to follow her running. We ran past the masses exiting planes and into the terminal. She says ‘keep up’ as we run past baggage claim and into customs.
She shouted “go to Gate 14” in Customs and when we are cleared, she is on the other side and races us into the Domestic Terminal. where she shouts to us to go to Security screening and “Run to B19. Hurry!!!”
We are running to B19, heart racing, when we hear “Merro!” And we turn and there before us are Debbie and Geoff. We might miss our flight to Corfu, but we will be in Athens with our friends and two of our partners in this adventure. It was better than meditation, blood pressure back to normal.
A storm hit Athens earlier in the day and everything was delayed, but our flight to Corfu finally boarded, with all our luggage onboard.
Turns out our hearts weren’t racing as much as the Californian couple, who thought they had missed their flight to Corfu, where they were being married the next day. They arrived five minutes before loading. Imagine the champagne flowing after getting to Corfu realising everything was going to be alright.

Our Mediterranean sailing buddies, Diane and Graeme met the four of us at Europa, in the Liston. And we all toasted to the upcoming adventure! Yamas!!
PS: Thanks Charlene, that was so appreciated.

Sydney’s Invictus Games sailing

Sunday 21rst October 2018

Our yacht, Mercier, is a Beneteau from Vendee, France and we met her in Bandol. So we were very excited to be asked to host French Families and friends of French Invictus Warriors.

Mercier collecting our guests at RANSA

Sydney Harbour is an amazing place to share with guests and we had a Invictus flag to get us an anchorage right at the Sydney Opera House. Frosty, James and I wanted to make sure we got the best viewing position for our guests.

We were able to watch the Invictus Elliott’s practice in Rushcutter’s Bay and we were able to cheer the French team on and take a few photos.

French Invictus team racing Elliotts

We toured around the harbour near the Eastern Suburbs and then followed the Elliotts over to Farm Cove.

Farm Cove

The clouds disappeared for awhile and we had some very close racing. The weather was kind to us. There were blue skies and the wind was only a little bit chilly.

Invictus Sailing

The wind was strong going into Farm Cove until the top mark, but lighter on the return. France had won the Gold earlier in the morning for Cyrille Chahboune’s in the Hansa 303 in the morning.

‘Vive La France’ was shouted from Mercier.

As loud as we shouted for the French team from Mercier, the Danish team were incredible up on the hill. The Dutch and the UK also had a presence in Farm Cove.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex going to greet the winning Australian team

There were thousands of people on shore and in the water enjoying the Invictus Sailing. Our guests seem to enjoy the day too. We hope they enjoy the rest of their stay in sunny Sydney. Good luck to all the Invictus Warriors and their families.

Secret Cove and Snug Harbour

Vancouver isn’t kidding when it talks about its harbors, it waterways and the great time you will have sailing in these waters. You do get rain and you also get plenty of sunshine.

John enjoying the sun

After Pender Harbor, we motored off to Secret Cove with about half the fleet. Turns out that was our last Green Box on a dock, so the order of the afternoon were drinks and sharing nibbles and talking the sun down. Actually before sun set, we heard music and before we knew it singers were pouring onto the docks and we spent the next hour singing songs from Amazing Grace to show tunes to Carole King and Janis Joplin. Old MacDonald got a workout.

In the morning, we all sailed or motored over to Snug Harbor, a marina that is the last vestige of the Union Steamship Company on Bowen Island. A great marina with shops and a great pub called Doc Morgan’s who fed the whole flotilla and kept Canadian Geese as guard birds.

And so we finished where we began, at the Royal Van in Jericho Bay. We had an amazing dinner with singers and an old English Folk Song, we had “thank you”s and that we all had a terrific time was duly noted. We were asking when the next ICOYC cruise might be scheduled because it is something many of us would like to do again.

David, Gaila and James

More Aussies

I have to put it in writing that the despite what you might hear, the Death by chocolate was not the highlight of the trip, but it was certainly in the top ten.

Chocolate Heaven

Pender Harbour – Royal Van Outstation

We crossed the Malibu rapids again pre-dawn, on our way to the Royal Van Outstation in Pender Harbour. It was about 46 nautical miles in the rain.
The Enchanted crew were enclosed in clears to keep out the miserable weather.

We were happy to be going to an outstation with all the amenities of home. We could get off the boat and make our way to the lovely club house and sit and watch the rain. It cleared up during the late afternoon, and it was time to crack open a bottle of bubbles and toast our hosts.

Dry under the Veranda


Prosecco, grazie.

This was a great spot and we could walk to a great local store, named John Henry’s, have hot showers, do laundry and have lunch in the club house.  We were happy to go to a nearby restaurant in the evening. The Australian crew of Corus met us for dinner coming over by dinghy, as well as about half the flotilla. We completely filled the dining room.

Enchanting all! Crew of Corus in the red.

James and David

Peter, Sandy, Rick and James

In the morning we go off to Secret Cove, but tonight we eat drink and socialise.

Princess Louisa Inlet and Chatterbox Falls

Since the first skipper’s meeting, the flotilla had discussed Chatterbox Falls and the Malibu Rapids. Protocols were discussed and reiterated, even the yachting guides err on the side of detailed strategies. We left in the pre-dawn darkness from Harmony Bay, so that we would reach Malibu Rapids at slack tide.

Malibu Rapids often has a 9-knot current ripping through a boulder sided narrows, we wanted to be sure to be there at the right time. Once you get to the rapids, you enter the granite fjord of Princess Louisa inlet, it was chilly and the clouds were at mast height but we were all ready to go through the rapids.

We let all the outgoing boats go through and then went through the rapids. We think because of the lack of rain in previous months, it was only about 2-3 knots of current. It was an anticlimax. Was that it?

We then motored up the six kilometers to Chatterbox Falls; she didn’t disappoint. We were all impressed by the thundering falls and the misty landscapes.

Chatterbox Falls

This is granite fjord country crafted by glaciers. Over the next two days we saw elegant Blue Herons fishing, a seal catching a giant silver salmon and bashing it from side to side on the water to stun it and raptors soaring over head. The lushness around the falls creates moss and lichen on every surface.

Cairn and moss


We could reach out and touch the clouds. They were often lying between the masts.



We took dinghies back to Malibu rapids to visit the Youth camp and see the rapids from above. Still not nine knots but a bit more formidable.

Entering at slack tide is important

We met a hiker and asked how he came to Chatterbox Falls, replete in backpack and tent, he said float plane. He would go for his hike and then take the ferry back. Hiking through the trees was muddy but lush. Needless to say, this was a highlight of BC. Remote and accessible.



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