We couldn’t have asked for a better start! Our Journey through Time Tour brought us sea, sun, friends, and climate activists.
Meeting YADA at Gouvia Marina, Corfu
We can’t sail without a boat! Skipper Xenia and I (Brian) got to board YADA for the first time. And what a beauty she is!
At 49 feet (14 meters), she’s got four cabins, each with its own head (toilet) and shower. There’s also a bonus ‘skipper’s cabin’ in the bow. Athenian Yachts even gave us a nice welcome package with some delicious Greek treats!
Day 1: Gouvia Marina to NAOK
Aaaaand we’re off! Our first sailing trip took us to NAOK, Corfu’s nautical club. Xenia first learned to sail here when she was ten years old. So for her, this was a kind of homecoming.
We had good wind with a little rain, and it was wonderful. The six nautical miles were perfect for Xenia and me to get a feel for the boat. They also let us see how we work together.
We originally wanted to sail to Petriti, but we went to NAOK instead. That was to avoid a storm and make it easier for our party guests to join us from Corfu Town. We had a great time, laughing, dancing, and enjoying the view of Corfu’s Old Fort by night.
Day 2: NAOK to Plataria
What a great day for sailing this was! We did the 20 nautical miles between NAOK and Plataria (on the mainland) in no time. Our cruising speed stayed between seven and almost ten knots!
Plataria’s marina cats serve as unofficial marineros and wasted no time welcoming us. The village’s warm vibe and unobtrusive conviviality put us immediately at ease.
Xenia met up with some old skipper buddies! Some of them live in town, and the rest were there with their flotilla. I took the opportunity to hit the beach for some running, swimming, and meditation.
Day 3: Plataria to Gaios, Paxos
There was less wind for these 19 nautical miles, but we still managed to have a great time at sea. That’s why we were one of the few boats sailing towards the rain 😂.
We were scheduled to go on a hike around Paxos island. But Xenia met up with our tour guide, and they agreed that the weather wasn’t right.
Luckily, the sun was out the next day! So I got to explore the islet of Agios Nikolaos while Xenia took care of some important skipper business,
Day 4: Gaios, Paxos to Ammoudia to Parga
One reality of sailing is that we can make all the plans we want, but the weather is in charge. We started to Ammoudia, intending to take YADA a little way up the Acheron River.
But the wind was too strong, and the sea too rough, to do it safely. So we anchored in Parga instead!
The trip was 19 nautical miles in total and worth every one. We stocked up on some provisions in Limin Parga and enjoyed an incredible sunset in the bay. Plus, I got to use our dinghy again 😉.
Day 5: Parga to Ammoudia
Poseidon granted us better weather (thank you!), so we got to try again at Ammoudia. We anchored at the bay and dinghy-ed up the Acheron to meet our tour guide Minas, from Acheron Delta Kayaking Eco Tour.
He drove us up the the famed Necromanteion of Acheron, Ancient Greece’s entrance to the Underworld. It’s here that Odysseus came to consult the deceased Oracle Tiresias on how to reach Ithaca.
I found it amazing to be there. And I am still in awe of the megalithic walls and stonework there among the later Christian architecture.
The Inner Sanctuary, pictured above, has the eerie quality of absorbing sound. So inside it, there’s no echo, and it works almost like a sensory deprivation chamber.
After that though, Minas brought us to his kayaking base camp. There, we met Thanassis, who guided us on our kayaking tour down the Acheron River.
There, we stayed mostly quiet to admire the nightingale nests, river turtles, and the gorgeous water birds. The grey herons are my favorite! Along the way, we picked up trash floating in the river or washed up on the banks.
Day 6 (Bonus): Ammoudia to Preveza
This is our bittersweet end of our Journey through Time Tour. We journeyed the 25 nautical miles to Preveza, but had much more fun than expected!
Xenia and I took a couple of days off, caught up on some sleep, and got our boat chores done. We refilled our water tanks, recharged our batteries, and refilled our fridge.
We also grabbed our chart and planed the rest of our tours, adjusting for the… dynamic weather. Climate change, amirite?
Not only that, but it was a great chance for us to meet with some climate activists in the area. For one, a friend of Xenia’s took us for vegan pizza and falafel at a delightful restaurant on the coast. She happens to rescue beached sea turtles and create art installations with trash from the ocean. That, and she’s a sail maker.
Also, Xenia met with a climate group here to organize a volunteer beach cleanup. We’re going to the beach around the artist’s latest installation.
But today was the real cherry on the cake. Xenia and I got some bikes and biked up to the Nikopolis. It’s a Roman city founded in 29 BC by Rome’s first emperor, Augustus Caesar. There, we hiked around the ruins and sang at the Odeon, the smaller of the ancient city’s two amphitheaters.
After that, we biked over to Mytikas for a swim and some time on the beach. Delightful! Then, we biked back via a gorgeous coastal road following the beach.
I write this at café Vanilia, with an extension cord from Spiros (the owner). Meanwhile, Xenia’s attending an assembly of the Association for the Protection of the Hellenic Trench.
The sounds of Greek music mix with the taste of Fix alcohol-free beer and oregano chips. The people partying here take me under their wing as the wayward foreigner with the laptop.
Life is oréa. And our next tour starts tomorrow. 🙏🏼