Destinations: Lefkas – Porto Atheni (Meganisi) – Sivota – Fiskardho – Kioni – Porto Leone (Kalamos) – Kastos – One House Bay (Atokos) – Vathi (Ithica) – Frikes
Our time waiting for Lynne and Ross to arrive in Lefkas was spent gathering supplies and doing some washing. Drying the washing was not an issue with the daily strong afternoon winds that blow into the harbor. Keeping the washing on the line was a bit more difficult. We almost lost a sheet, but I retrieved it from the pontoon just in time.
It was an extremely hot day, the day they arrived. Ryan and I braved the heat, Ryan wearing a newly washed and still wet shirt, claiming it was built in air-conditioning. It was dry shortly later, and he then complained about the heat.
Some confusion arose, when the bus from Athens arrived sans Lynne and Ross. It turns out that the bus stopped at the marina, and they weren’t aware of the bus station 500 meters up the road. Not to worry, we figured out that the bus had stopped there and quickly went to retrieve them. Big happy, sweaty greetings were had, a short tour of the refugee boat was given, and stories were exchanged.
An afternoon nap preceded a tour of the town, stopping at our salami man and the wine maker. This then led into a beautiful dinner at Regantos restaurant, which is in an alley-way coming off the main street of Lefkas. There we shared numerous meals, including mousaka, zucchini balls, greek garlic bread, grilled octopus, meatballs in tomato sauce and beef stefado. Wine and beer were clearly consumed with these delicacies.
The next day we arrived at 9:15am to secure our spot on Spiro’s fuel dock, where he promised he would open at 10:00am. By 10:30 he wasn’t there. Ryan called a few different phone numbers, to get through to a very groggy sounding Spiro, waking him from his Sunday morning sleep-in. He claimed that he would be there in half an hour. We all know what that means here in Greece, and decided to go to the already busy marina fuel dock.
Once fueled up, we had everything we needed to get on with our adventures. The first stop was Meganisi, but in a different bay to the last occasion. This time we anchored in Atheni bay, around the corner from Porto Atheni. There was only one boat there when we arrived, which appeared to be there just for the day. We secured our spot, and enjoyed a quiet afternoon of swimming and napping.
During the late afternoon a French boat arrived. They anchored right near us, showing us their bodies in all their silicone glory (well she was). He was just showing us his body in it’s nude, perfectly tanned, glory and was clearly a bit older than her.
Anyhoo, the naked trick did not drive us away. His downward dog into their anchor locker was particularly entertaining.
That evening we walked to the dock at Port Atheni knowing there was meant to be a Taverna advertising their phone number, and they would come by car to pick us up. We wandered around and weren’t exactly sure which Taverna or sign port we were meant to look for. By some miracle, a Greek man drove past asking us if we wanted to go to the Taverna. We said yes, not knowing where he would take us, and all got into his car for a random journey.
He took us up the hill, and to his son’s Taverna in the main town of Meganisi, Katomeri, called Gantzos. It was a nice change, being further inland rather than right on the harbour. After dinner he drove us back down to the harbour, saving us a long downhill walk.
The next morning we followed the still naked Frenchies out of the bay, and set towards Sivota with a detour past Nisos Skorpios. This is the Island owned by the Onasis family. Not that anyone uses it, other than the staff paid to look after the island and guard it very carefully.
The headwind curse attacked us in all of its glory, forcing us to motor all of the way to Sivota where we enjoyed some beautiful club sandwiches for lunch, with ice cream for dessert.
The usual afternoon swim and naps were had, before we commenced our evening with sundowners on the boat and then dinner on the town. Again, sharing numerous Greek delicacies, wine and beer.
The next day we had a lovely sail in 20 knots of wind towards Fiskardho. Although we had only been there less than a week before, it was twice as busy. We can really see that high season has arrived. Despite this, we snagged the exact same spot as last time, in the middle of town.
The boys had afternoon naps, whilst Lynne and I watched the goings on of the bay, including some crossed and picked-up anchors.
Once the boys arose, we toured the town looking for our first sundowners. We found a nice cocktail bar, where some delicious mojitos cooled us down.
At that point, I realized that we should have gone to the panorama bar, with the beautiful view. So that’s where we went next with the intention of having one more round of drinks.
The aim was to stay awake for the 11pm world cup match between Germany and Brazil. After looking at the menu, we decided that dinner there would be lovely. Again we enjoyed similar meals to the other evenings. It was good, but Regantos in Lefkas was the best of all so far. We also enjoyed the local wine, made using the robola grape, only grown on the island of Cephalonia.
Needless to say, after the enormous amounts of food, wine and beer, bed was more inviting than waiting another hour for the football to start. Sure enough, shortly after going to bed we could hear the cheering, finding out in the morning that it was a whitewash to Germany.
That morning, we again watched the antics going on in the harbor, before picking up and leaving. We only had to motor across the channel towards the West of Ithica, to Ormos Polis.
I jumped into the water to attach the long line to shore, and did not get out of the water until it was time to detach that same line and pick-up anchor. By that time, there are usually things needed to be done on the boat, making me forget (tisk tisk) to get the camera out and capture the beauty of the bay. I did, however, snap some underwater shots.
Lynne and I swam up to the beach from the boat, returning to find the boys scoffing their faces with fresh cookies bought from the bakery that morning. The wind was up, so lunch was had whilst under sail to Kioni.
Luckily we arrived in Kioni early enough to snag a shallow spot on the inside of the bay. The wind was quite strong in the late afternoon, but we were nicely tucked away for the night.
Early evening drinks of cocktails led us eventually to dinner at Calypso Restaurant where the owner proudly showed us her specialties. We were impressed with the options, and had an amazing dinner sharing fried haloumi, onion pie, meatballs in tomato sauce, stuffed vegetables, lamb casserole and spaghetti napoletana.
We took our full bellies back to the boat, unable to stay up for the late night world cup match. It kept most of us awake anyway, with the cheering of many Dutch and Argentinian fans in the bay. The shouts gave away that Argentina had won, and we could then go back to sleep.
We left Kioni with the mass exodus of other boats, heading towards Porto Leone on the island of Kalomos. It was a slow sail, but we were not in any hurry. The slow speed allowed us to jump into the deep water and tow behind the boat. As we came closer to the island, we just had to motor.
The large bay surrounding this abandoned village was absolutely stunning. The village itself was ruined in the 1953 earthquake, and the water supply was cut off. Some of the locals return to maintain their beloved church on the top of the hill.
It was very peaceful there. There was enough space to not be right next to other boats. Being in a catamaran, we were also able to get a nice space in a corner near a beach looking towards the village.
This time, we were a bit too far away to row the dinghy for a look around, so had to use the ancient outboard motor. It is a bit of a mission to get it going, and once we did, it lost its grunt. It looked to be overheating and dying a slow (maybe fast) death. It seems we no longer have an outboard motor for the dingy, due to concerns about how hot it became on the return journey to Sibia.
We had a quiet evening drinking sangria and playing cards, listening to the calls of goats on the island (you remember our last goat story right?).
In the morning, one clumsy goat came down to look at its reflection in the water. It stayed there, whilst its mates called out for it, until I went to shore to detach our lines.
We did not have far to go the next day, with our destination being on the opposite side of the island directly across from Kalomos, Kastos. This allowed us to stop at the most beautiful swimming hole, which I also showed you in my last post.
We were delighted to get this whole place to ourselves, to swim around and play beach games for a couple of hours. We played some rock golf, a game that we had created whilst Adam and Bek were on board. I won. No big deal.
Sadly, we could not stay there forever, and had to move on. Luckily we were going back to Kastos, which is one of my favourites, arriving early enough to snag a spot on the town quay.
There was a bit of a wait whilst our new friends Ian and Shaz picked up the line of a local boat, which had dropped an oversized anchor all the way out in the middle of the harbor. Understandably, when you see how bad the holding is there.
Ian was a bit worried about his holding, because there were strong winds forecasted. We then in turn became a bit concerned because our anchor was only just holding. Ryan had dived on the anchors and confirmed that Ian’s was holding well, but he did not have as much chain out as he thought.
All seemed ok, so we went on the hunt for lunch. The mini market in Kastos is closed between 1pm and 5:30pm for nap time, so we trekked up the hill to Chef Johns, where we knew we could get wifi, showers and thought we could get food. It turned out that two charter floatillas had been there the night before and bought them out of everything. All they had left was two beers, four cokes, a plate of octopus and a plate of marinated gavros (bait fish). We took what we could get, to be able to have a shower (my weekly hair wash).
On our return to the boat, Ian looked very stressed, as his boat had been blown towards the quay and his anchor was dragging. Shaz is a bit nervous on boats, so we suggested they re-set their anchor with our assistance, and Ryan jumped on board.
Meanwhile a floatilla leader from sailing holidays asked if he could bring one of his boats bow in, next to Ian. We asked him to wait until Ian had been able to reset his anchor.
Because of the bad holding, the reset did not work. We were in the process of preparing for another reset, when the sailing holidays boat came charging in, no fenders on the side. The others were sorting things out with ropes, anchors etc. as I saw this happening. I leapt onto the boat and ran as fast as I could to try and fend off the new arrival. Even if I had gotten there in time, it came in so fast that I would more likely have injured myself trying to keep it away. Instead, it banged straight into Ian’s boat, slowing it down enough (clearly) for me to start pushing it off.
By this time Ian had noticed what was happening and came over to try find some fenders to put in between the boats, having some words with the captain of the other boat. The sailing holidays boat was quite happy to settle in, whilst pushing against Ian’s boat, which did not have a set anchor, which in turn pushed against our boat, giving us some concern for our anchor, which was only just holding. We tied Ian’s boat to the sailing holidays boat’s stern whilst the floatilla leader took Ian’s anchor out by dinghy and re-set it. Luckily our anchor had somehow survived the pressure.
That then called for some evening drinks at the windmill cocktail bar. The place with the beautiful outlook before we went to Chef John’s for dinner, only to find out it only opened the kitchen at 8pm. Back we went for some harbourside drinks until the restaurant opened. Chef John’s has panoramic view out over the harbor.
Ian and Shaz showed up at the same time and we all enjoyed a meal together.
Because the boats had been sandwiched together, we had one fender on our side of the boat rubbing against the small runabout next to us. That meant a rather average nights sleep. Luckily we are able to have afternoon naps.
The next morning we set off towards Vathi on Ithica. We were well on our way until the wind blew us into One House Bay, a spot I had been aching to visit on the island of Atokos. We decided to stop for lunch and swims, before continuing to our overnight anchorage. Yet another paradise.
Vathi was a much larger town than we were used to. It was a good spot to fill up on fuel and water, giving us some relief as stocks were running low (we store 45 liters of fuel in jerry cans, and two hundred liters of water).
Unable to find space on the Northern Quay, we decided to anchor with long lines nearby. It was only a quick row in the dinghy for dinner at Dimitri’s Taverna, where we enjoyed a meal of much the same food as previous evenings. Needless to say, we are a bit sick of Greek food at the moment.
It turns out the King of Spain chose the same destination for the night, on his super yacht. We motored past him the next morning and waved, not knowing at the time that he was the King of Spain. A friend told us about him the next day and we put two and two together.
After contemplating various options for our next destination, we decided to go to Frikes for the next night. We had met an Aussie guy in Kioni a few weeks back who owned a bar there, and recommended we visit.
It is a very small harbor, but we were able to find room on the town quay, anchoring stern to. A boat that was tied on side to suggested we raft up to him, as there was bad holding. We decided to give it a go, and managed to get a good hold in the mud bottom, putting out plenty of chain (almost 10 times the depth).
As predicted by the French man, the wind picked up after we came back from lunch, pushing us slightly back towards the quay. Lynne was quick to fend us off as the boat next door suffered the same consequences.
Once we cranked the anchor back on we were great, and holding perfectly. Unfortunately, the boat next door were unable to save their position because they had not put out enough chain. As they pulled up, they dragged sideways collecting our anchor chain.
Not only did they pull it up, but they dragged it all of the way sideways, until they were moored up side on to another boat. We could not pull up our anchor until it was disconnected, and now the chain had been dragged all around the harbor.
Lynne quickly leapt off the boat to help release our slip lines that apparently did not want to slip. She was able to then watch the chaos from shore.
They looked at their anchor situation helplessly whilst Ryan was on our helm trying to steer our boat with our one measly outboard motor. I dove into the water and released our chain from their anchor, pulling on our chain and pushing against their anchor with my feet.
At last we were free, but in the meantime, another boat had to pull up anchor and was trying to moor as we were stuck in the middle of the harbour, unable to move. He quickly moved out of the way so that we could crank up the anchor, which unfortunately is a very slow process not having an electric winch. We eventually got it back up, and moored side to the French boat. It was a rather unfortunate incident when our anchor was holding so well. However, the wind blew hard for the rest of the afternoon, so knowing we were side to the other boat, without relying on an anchor, gave us some peace of mind.
There is so much more to tell you guys about the last couple of weeks. Frikes seems like long ago, and we have been to various other destinations since. Watch this space for when I catch up on my posts!