Had to hand it to the Sunsail crew, in no time at all we were installed on our trusty sea vessel 'Penelope' and fully versed in it's operation. This called for a drink, so we made some arrangements and sat on the boat in the marina whilst the sun went down. Some of our number had to face up to job interviews at around this time, and there was some delicate explaining that there may be logistical issues due to our location off the coast of Greece.
The next morning, we promptly located our sea legs and after casting off we found ourselves hurtling across the Ionian sea at a rakish angle, sails unfurled, and Nick (our captain) growing a few more grey hairs. There were some quick and dirty sailing lessons from him such that we were able to appreciate the mountains behind us, the islands before us, and the sapphire ocean everywhere else. We lost our wind, and so we went for a swim off the back of the boat, followed by lunch (yoghurt, honey and figs one of us had fingersmithed from the marina fig trees).
The next few days were some variation of this, and were honestly charmed. We went from cove to cove, to port, and back to cove again. We found really good local tavernas, bays for snorkeling and tried (in vain) to catch fish off the boat.
There were times when our captain despaired of his crew, but other times when we moored so deftly we managed to persuade him down from the crows nest. We turned from a rag tag motely crew into a more tanned and hungover version of the same. We grew wily, and put plastic bottles over our long lines in port in order to avoid rats aboard.
We won't bore our readers with the gritty details of mooring every night in some outrageously pretty cove with stone ruins and goats, or trying to row our tender in circles back to the boat with 6 people in it after dinner- needless to say there came a sobering point where we realised that it wasn't actually our yacht, and that we had to give it back.
Even the thought of proper showers and not eating Greek salads for every meal didn't cheer us up. Mooring and getting back into town on a Sunday was surprisingly straightforward, and somehow cafe fredos on the sidewalk didn't quite cut it. We got on a bus north to Ioannina after chancing on some baked treats vended by two charismatic ancient Greek men.
Who would've thought? Serendipitous ferry and bus connections greeted us from Corfu right down to Vounitsa, in pleasant contrast to the tangled web of public transport we expected. Despite this, Dan grumped "where were you guys?" when we arrived, which was fair enough. After all, we hadn't had been in the midst of overheating Brits and their kids at the Marina all morning. We met our friends Nick and Kristy in Igoumenitsa, who we were secretly relieved to see had packs just as full and heavy as ours.