It’s been quite the day. We left Lefkas in the morning, sailing around the east coast of Lefkada Island south to a place called “Vliho Bay”. I’ve also seen it spelled Vlicho, Vlycho, and Vlikho. It’s just a transliteration of the Greek pronunciation so pick whatever one you like! But if you look it up online you can search for the Vliho Bay storm of 2011. They had a 10 minute hurricane storm sneak up one day and it made a mess of the whole place. Thankfully none of that happened while we were there. But although the local weather was tame, I can’t say the same for the animals. Let me explain…
When we arrived in the afternoon we anchored in the bay amongst the other sailboats. There was a mountain on the west side which looked possible to summit. Getting ashore required either using the dinghy (which has an apparent leak) or swimming. I figured the swim would be refreshing in the heat so packed up a dry bag with my running gear and jumped in the water, swimming the approximate 400 metres to shore with the bag secured around my chest, floating behind me. Once ashore I asked the people I saw about a route up to the mountain. It sounded as though there were a few options but these guys (Brits working for the local sailing charter company) only knew the cycling routes on the roads. I chose to go north and aim to run up the gradual ridge, if I could find a path up to it. I only managed to get a few kilometres around the mountain where I had found a road going up. It led to a kind of garbage dump area but appeared to continue up past it. I was coming around one switchback when I was surprised by the big mean growl of a guard dog. From past experiences I don’t hold a fond opinion of guard dogs and this particular hound didn’t do anything to improve it. The dog was still up the hill a distance but I could see it started charging down for me. I had to shift into high gear to gain some distance. It continued to chase after me, barking and growling with fury. I had to hastily pick up some rocks and turned to throw one as hard as I could in its direction. He was still about 40 metres away but came close to hitting him and it deterred him a little and bought me just a bit more time to high tail it out of there. The damn dog chased me for about a kilometre.
Before coming to that road that led to the angry beast I had spotted another trail up the mountain. I figured I’d give it a try instead, and part way up I wasn’t getting positive signs. There was an old goat skull lying on the hillside and further up part of a goat hide and a bunch of fur. A bit further up the path I was stopped by a fence. It was likely for livestock and didn’t seem too difficult to pass. I thought I’d give it a try but as I started to climb it I could hear a bark in the distance. I suppose it’s possible that it was the same angry dog, or even if it was another I didn’t want anything to do with it. So I decided to cancel the plan to try and reach the top of the mountain. I ran back towards the marina and passed by Matt, the Englishman I spoke to earlier. He asked me how I made out and I told him about the dog. “Did it have red eyes?” he asked. I couldn’t tell if he was serious or kidding and just told him I didn’t get close enough to see but it was a big, white thing that kind of looked like a wolf. He said “Oh yeah, that’s the one. It’s been chasing us for years [on their bike rides] and usually it’s on a leash but I guess not always.” Stupid dog. I continued on the road and ran around the bay to another town called Geni. It was really hot running, probably around 35 degrees. I made my way back to the marina, 13 kilometres later, saw the local bakery and stopped in for one of their fresh spinach pies. Then I packed up my running gear into the dry bag and swam back to the boat for a shower.
Later in the evening when Ross & I were going to take the dinghy in to eat dinner, he gave me a small dry bag to put our stuff in (wallets & phones). Unfortunately the “dry bag” had a leak in it, and as our dinghy had this leak in it (which seems to have happened since we took it ashore in Milazzo) we had six inches of water in the bottom. When the bag was by my side (and resting on the flood water) water leaked in. Luckily I had my phone in it’s own zip-loc bag but everything else got wet. We had to open up Ross’s phone during dinner and hope that it wasn’t ruined. It wasn’t turning on. Not fun. That put a damper on our evening. Otherwise dinner was really nice. We ate by the seaside and I had an appetizer of dolmadakis (stuffed vine leaves) and as I’m not currently in Dubai, took advantage of the opportunity to try the local pork filet. Both were delicious.
After dinner we had to climb into the leaky dinghy and row back to the boat before it was too dark to see in the bay, at the same time not wasting a moment as the water was flooding into the near unusable dinghy! Once aboard “Bliss of Wight” again Ross had his phone in pieces, trying to dry it out, use electrical contact spray, and I filled a container of dry rice to let the phone sleep in over night, in hopes that we could revive it.