This time last year my best friend Jeni had a major back operation to fuse half a dozen vertebrae after a life time of falling off things (horses, motorbikes, walls) and I wasn’t sure she’d be fit enough to join us for a sail this summer. She’s not a sailor and I didn’t know if she’d cope with all the getting in and out of the dinghy and climbing into the berth in the back cabin. She’s still in quite a bit of pain too so we planned a gentle week of short sails and lovely places to stop.
We splashed out on a marina for her first night and found ourselves next door to a British -registered boat flying an Aussie flag. The three men in it turned out to be doctors from Frankston Hospital, part of Peninsula Health who sponsored me in 2007 to work in Australia, and they knew Rosebud Hospital where I worked well and lots of the staff there. We spent a cracking evening with them and a Dutch couple at George’s, the local gyros place, swopping stories and consuming lots of oozo.
The following day we motored four hours to Mourtos over on the mainland and the next day back to lovely Lakka on Paxos, a must for all visitors. After Jeni had spent an hour diving off the back, I decided she probably was OK and I stopped watching out for her.
A dinner had been arranged in Monganesi, in the south of Paxos, with a few members of the Cruising Association so the next day, we did the hour long trip down there and anchored in the middle of the bay. On hindsight, we should have moored up to the quay. After a lovely dinner with lots of wine, Andy kindly offered to take Jen back early in the dinghy and returned to collect me slightly on the damp side. The dinghy had moved (why do they do that?) and he had apparently very sedately toppled in. Nothing hurt except his pride.
The weather forecast for the following day was thunderstorms and windy so we went back up to Corfu so that Jeni was at least near the airport in case we got stuck. We had a couple of nights in Petriti sheltering from the rain. During one sunny period, we had a walk out round the little town. When we got back, Andy and I got on the boat and took our eye off Jen for a few seconds. “Go and see Jen over the plank” I said to Andy just before we heard a splash! We dashed out, along with half the people from the other boats, to fish her out. I was horrified imagining she would at the least be in agony or even worse. She spluttered to the surface “I’m OK. Lost my bloody iPhone though!”
Her last night was spent wandering round Corfu town looking at the Old Fort and Venetian galley with dinner and a few drinks in the Esplanade overlooking the cricket pitch, where unfortunately no match was being played. A lovely week with more or less nobody injured. Can’t wish for more than that!