Mary breathes a sigh of relief after (seemingly) nearly hitting ships bigger than ours.  The reason, there is a bottle neck between Sicily and the toe of the boot of Italy that is only 1.5 miles wide.  Most Adriatic shipping passes through here so it was like Chicago-O'Hare on a busy day!  Plus current.  We started out with a 1 knot head current but most of passage through was made much easier by the 3 knot followin current . . . plus nice winds on the beam! Francie and Dr. Jim Tankersly, a retired neonatal pediatrician.  Francie suggested they go to Saudi Arabia in  about 1987 and he said no but she talked him into it.  He remained during the Gulf War and treated newborns for diseases caused by, for example, tribal doctors placing camel dung on the umbilical cords immediately after birth!  Jim was a ham radio operator (Extra Class) before he became a doctor and taught me many things when we we first met in Argostoli, Greece and then reunited in Vibo Valentia (photo), Italy. Before they had respirators especially for newborns, he BUILT one himself and controlled it using a Schmidt trigger on a sawtooth wave generator to synchronize the breathing properly!  I hadn't heard that term since EE school in 1969! They will winter here in this neat off the beaten track village near the ankle of the boot.  Jim also graciously lent me parts to fix our watermaker!  What are the odds of meeting someone who happens to have the same brand watermaker, AND has just the parts you need . . . AND is trusting enough to give them to you? Eric--2nd from left--answered Olga's prayers as we docked in Argostoli.  But here, we have reunited in Corfu, Greece! His friend--far left-Gramms had been with Eric for 2.5 months and was going home the next day.  Soooo, left his old but welcome guitar in my care!  Plus, met Thomas (from Swedan) and mate Diane (next to Mary) from their boat Dreamstream, and Jeff and Chris on Hellenic, a 36' Catalac cat.
The reunion of all reunions! We had met Nick and Viv in the Bahamas in 1994 before they had their own boat. So they crewed on Winterlude for 2.5 months in early 1995.  After learning all it's bad points, they bought a boat that had none (which is now, after six years of travels--and some medical problems--for sale at http://members.aol.com/vivnnick--just click on sales).  They cruised the entire Caribbean, crossed to England, and then did the entire Mediterranean!  What are the odds that we should meet up with them in an obscure marina on the sole of the boot of Italy!  Wonderful! We met Roy and Judy Schroeder in Tunisia in March.  Who would have thought we'd cross paths again in Corfu, Greece? Thomas by the flag and Fabio on lower right, English speaking Italian, came out to get us in a dinghy and then hopped aboard as Mary was struggling with tailed mooring lines.
After the crossing to Italy, we saw this Viking replica come in to Ionia Rocella that had sailed from Norway, going on a fast track to Athens.  All five lived and slept--as the original Vikings likely did--in the small shelter at the stern.  They left again the next morning.