Our route south was through the Lefkas channel to Nidry to connect up with some old colleagues of Alan’s from his days in the sail charter business. We pressed on hard to reach the channel before night fall but alas we were just too late and Alan did not want to risk going through the channel at night – in the morning I fully understood why. So we woke up the man in the bridge control to lift the bridge for us and we sailed into Lefkas harbour and moored up alongside.
As usual food and beer were the order of the day. We found a decent restaurant just off the quay and settled down to the most enormous dishes of pasta, fish and other varieties the like of which I have never seen, and would have to say would not want to see again. There was so much food Alan couldn’t even finish his starter!
The other curious thing about this restaurant was that everyone was smoking. It seems to be the norm in Greece. I don’t know if they have any laws banning smoking but if they do it was clear that everyone was going out of their way to ignore them. Fending off the waitress’s exhortations to take away in a “doggy bag” what was easily the major part of our dinner we broke out into the fresh air to explore Friday night in Lefkas.
Now it was off-season and it was late. Jon and I retired to our beds leaving Alan and John to paint the town red. Although from what I could see they would not have needed a very big paint tin. I did hear John stumbling in at some unearthly hour, trying not to make a noise and he was nowhere to be seen in the morning. He would not give us the details but he looked like he had had a good night!
We exited Lefkas at 0800. The Lefkas channel is a snake-like cutting through an area of peculiar attractiveness. It is about two miles long and is marked, somewhat haphazardly, on either side. It is regularly dredged and winds its way through what appears to be a haven for all manner of wading birds, herons and other wildlife. The channel is surrounded by rolling fields and meadows and, for all the world, it reminded me of parts of the valley around the River Medway in Kent. We could have been in England, except that the sun was shining!
We were on our way to Nidry and I have to confess I had my doubts about this. Niddrie to a man from Edinburgh conjures up images a world away from the Greek islands. In Edinburgh, Niddrie is a small hamlet just to the south east of the city renowned for its unconventional welcoming of the hapless, needy or lost stranger. So welcoming are the people of Niddrie that the crows fly through in pairs, one riding shotgun. But one thing it has in common with Nidry is that it is near the sea, sort of. If you stand on the top of the bing in Niddrie you can just see the Firth of Forth through the gathering fog. I did wonder if Niddrie took its name from its near namesake in Greece and you will laugh at the suggestion. But I hasten to point out that the seaside resort in Edinburgh is called Portobello, no doubt after the beautiful costal town in Spain. Many a happy summer day I spent at Portobello, or Por’abelly as we locals used to say.
When I saw Nidry for the first time I knew that any comparisons with the place in Edinburgh could only be that they shared some of the same letters of the alphabet!
Nidry was a sleepy, out-of-season little marina town which I am assured by Alan and Jon fairly throbs with activity in the summer season. When we got there it was shut, a condition as you know from reading this log that was becoming all too familiar to us.
We did, however, have time to get provisions and to take a look around. It was just a perfect day.
We met a woman from Holland who was getting ready to sail off to the Azores single-handed, well she had a dog but I don’t think that counts.
Jon had his usual fight with the water hose and we managed to find a nice cafe for a light breakfast. Jon discovered a house with a caravan on its roof! German apparently. Must have been a high tide that summer.