Category Archives: Greece 2019

Through Lefkas and Beyond, July 2019

We left Preveza on 25th June and we thought we’d timed it so we would go through the Lefkas Canal at 12.00 noon when the bridge is lifted.  Now I mentioned that from our experience so far there is little wind in the Ioninan, well not today and so we arrived too early and the wind near the entrance seemed to come out of nowhere and was gusting up to 26 knots.  Just what you want when you are having to mill around. 

Our destination was Nidri Bay, AKA Velcro Bay, as people tend to be drawn back, we were too but more on that later.  In the bay were some more of the Licata gang, CopyCat, Ula and We Dun It.  It was nice to meet up with everyone.  We anchored down at the far end of the bay at Vlychos opposite the Yacht Club which we visited and had a very nice meal. The water at this end of the bay wasn’t quite so nice for swimming, although Ian thought it was ok, but he would. There was a pool bar on the other side of the bay which we visited a few times, Stella’s Apartments. 

From Nidri Bay we went to a small bay on the island of Meganissi. They bay was a 20 minute walk up and down hills to Vathi and a 40 minute walk back by moonlight along the flat main road, well it was a main road of sorts.  One night here and then we were meeting the Licata Crew in Syvota, (this is a different Syvota to the one we’d visited twice before) on Lefkas.  We had a reservation on one of the Taverna pontoons’ where we were eating. 

Our next stop was like mooring in a parking bay just off the motorway, it was literally just off the channel between Lefkas and Meganissi.  Lovely spot apart from the 20 million, a bit of an exaggeration, but there were lots of them, pesky WASPS! Someone suggested leaving a bowl of water out for them, but no they were more interested in the tap.  The photo shows three of them with their heads inside the tap and backsides sticking out. 

We were pulled back to Nidri, but only because we were waiting for a delivery, which the Yacht Club at Vlychos were happy to accept for us.  As we expected the package hadn’t arrived when it was supposed to so off we went north to Vathi Vali on the mainland behind a fish farm which we had all to ourselves.  Then back to Nidri to collect our parcel and then off to a small bay just before Atherinos on Meganissi.  A boat was already there anchored in the middle of bay with three stern lines going in different directions and two anchors out. Perhaps the theory was it would keep others boats away, well that’s a challenge, so yes we did anchor there. 

Next we were off to Porto Leone, Kalamos where we met up with Artic Fern and the 20 million pesky wasps had followed us.  In fact I think the pesky wasps had multiplied as they were worse than before so we only stayed the one night and sailed, yes sailed, there was very little wind but we were in no rush, to Astakos on the mainland where we moored up on the harbour wall.  There was a beach a short walk away so late afternoon we went for a swim to cool down.    Our final stop, before making our way to the Corinth Canal was an anchorage behind the Island of Oxeia where we met up with our Mahe Mates, Karen and Ronnie on CopyCat. 

Porto Leone, Kalamos

The next stage of our journey takes us into the Gulf of Corinth and through the Corinth Canal but there was lots to see before we got to the Canal. 

August 2019

Hopping around the Ionian – June 2019

No where in the Ionian is very far away, so each hop is no more than a couple of hours.  There’s not much wind either so there was a lot of motoring which means it is also very hot, I’m really not complaining!

We left Parga and headed back northwards to a small island called Nsis Ag Nikolaos, which is just across from Syvota on the mainland.  We found a lovely sheltered spot where we tied to a rock and we weren’t too far to dinghy ashore.  A guy in a dinghy was going alongside the few boats anchored inviting us to moor the boat on his pontoon, which is quite normal here in Greece, there is no charge just an expectation to eat at the taverna.  Which isn’t a bad deal as they often have electric and water available, but we did decline on this occasion. 

We like to visit places that are off the tourist trail and our next port of call was definitely that.  A place called Sagiada, a small village on the mainland. There were just a handful of tavernas and we’d heard that the fish was very good at one of them, the prawns were delicious and of course a Greek salad.  We had eaten half of it before I thought ought to take a picture.

A few years ago, Ian and I had visited Ag Stefanos on the northeast coast of Corfu, not to be confused with the place of the same name on the northwest coast.  We said that we would come back again but next time by boat and so we did.  Ian initially insisted on anchoring as near to the shore as possible, which is what us catamaran owners do, as we only have a shallow draft.  However, the guy in one of the Taverna’s wasn’t too happy as he wanted it clear in front of his pontoon as he wanted to be able to wave and whistle at people coming in to direct them to his pontoon.  The guy on the next pontoon was doing the same.  So, we did accommodate him and move over.  This bay was in complete contrast to Sagiada and was very busy with boats.  We went ashore for a drink, watching the world go by and reflecting on life and remembering what a very different day this 14th June was to the one 30 years ago when I’d just given birth to my son.  The only similarity was that it was hot then too.

As we came out of the bay, sailing along, well actually motoring, as usual no wind, was Arctic Fern, (Howard, Caroline, Jessica and Olivia who we spent the last two winters with) who had only arrived in Corfu in the last few days.  So we motored alongside and chatted until we got to the bay at Gouvia where we left them as we were headed back to Mandraki Marina where we would leave the boats for four nights as we were returning to the UK to say farewell to our very dear friend Primrose. 

We arrived back on the boat with a stowaway, daughter Jessica.  Plus we had friends Julia and James who were in Corfu on holiday and so they joined us for a couple of days.   We’d liked Nsis Ag Nikolaos so much that we took them there.  We actually had some wind so on our way back to Corfu Old Town we were able to have a sail which pleased Julia no end.  The airport is close to the anchorage so we could see Jessica’s plane take her home.

We’d spent quite a bit of time around Corfu, it’s a very convenient place to fly back to the UK from as there are flights available into Southend airport but it was finally time to move on and wave goodbye to Corfu.  Well not until the following day anyway.  We headed down, motoring again, to Petriti, on the south coast for the night as it would be quieter than Corfu old Town and it would give us a head start as we had quite a long journey the next day compared to the usual hops.

It’s Sunday 23rd June and we were off to Preveza.  Artic Fern were our cruising companions for this trip.  We had said we would leave about 8 o’clock at which time Ian was still in bed, surprise surprise.  So, Ian does his usual jumps out of bed at 8.09, yes he does that from time to time and we’re off.  Much to the surprise of Howard who didn’t think we were up! Well we weren’t!!  We arrived in Preveza and we were both lucky enough to find a space on the Town Quay.  It was an overcast day, which we didn’t mind for a change, so it was a little cooler just 28 degrees in the saloon.  Preveza is a small town which during the day is rather quiet but at night hundreds of people seem to appear out of nowhere.

We spent a couple of nights here and then we would be making our way down and through the Lefkas Canal where we would be going to the busiest part of the Ionian.

August 2019

Arrivederce Italy, Geia sas Greece

Our stay in Sicily had come to an end and it was time to head off to Greece for our third season.  We’d had a great time in Licata, met more people and had a lot of fun, some we would see on our travels around Greece and winter with us in Turkey, our next winter destination and some were going in the opposite direction.

We left Licata early, it was only just light, at 6.00am with the intention of anchoring at the tip of Sicily, the wind was in our favour and so we decided to keep going and headed to Syracuse on the East Coast.  Arriving here with our Mahe Mates on Copy Cat, Karen and Ronnie, we found two other boats who had left Licata earlier in the month than us.  So there was nothing for it other than to invite them all on board for Gin and Tonics!

The forecast was better for us to wait a day before leaving Sicily to start making our way across to the foot of Italy.  So, at a not too terribly early time of 9.20am we left Syracuse.  Sarah and David on Wandering Star were also headed in the same direction but as they are early birds they left before us.  We were going to be on an “overnighter” which is not my preferred option but hey it knocks the miles off.  We saw our first turtle swim by, hopefully we will see more of them once we get to Greece.  So, at 10 o’clock that night Ian asks me if I’d like to go and get my head down, “Really” not easy trying to go to sleep at that time.  Which means I got the 1am to 4am watch, lucky me!

We arrived in Crotone, 165 miles later, and anchored in the small commercial harbour to the sound of fireworks going off, how nice, a warm welcome.  It didn’t last, just got the kettle on, as the first thing Ian says about anything is “put the kettle on let’s have a cup of tea”. The harbour police came along and told us that we could not anchor there.  They watched while we moved out the harbour and found another spot.  It transpired that the day before that there had been an incident and so now no one could anchor in the harbour, which normally wasn’t a problem.

The following morning and we were off, another overnighter, two so close together, at least once we arrived in Greece, it would only be short hops.  Our destination was Kassiopi, Corfu.  The sea was like a mirror.  Six hours later and the wind was better and up went the pink, yes I know pink, spinnaker.  This time I didn’t have to go to bed so early, I was on watch until 11pm, and it was very dark, no moonlight which is horrible when sailing at night.  Back on watch at 2.30 and the moon had appeared, thankfully.  We arrived in Kassiopi at 11.00am and anchored in the adjacent bay to the harbour. 

I flew home for a week and left Ian here and took the weather with me.  He had rain and clouds whilst Sunny Canvey Island was just that, with a mini heatwave.  We moved onto Corfu Old Town and stayed a couple of nights in Mandraki Marine, which has the most fantastic views and sits under the old Fortress.  You can see us and Copycat in the marina in the photo below.  Also in the grounds of the fortress is the Church of St George, which looks like a Greek temple.  It was built by the British in 1840 for the local Anglican Community but is now Orthodox and holds just two services a year and some concerts, which they were setting up for when we visited. 

Old Corfu Town has lots of little narrow streets to wander around and we came across a small parade headed by the priest and people following along singing.

We left Corfu, at least for the time being, as we would be back and headed down to Lakka on the Island of Paxi (Paxos).  Already there was CopyCat and Wandering Star, you can’t go far without bumping into someone.  This was our first time where we tied a rope to the a rock on the shore, when I say we, I mean Ian, that is definitely his job to jump in the water and take the rope ashore!  This was a very busy anchorage. 

From here we crossed over to the mainland to Parga.  Now when Ian said that we would anchor on the beach I didn’t realise he meant literally.  So we went “bow to” (that’s the front of the boat for non yachties) onto the beach and dropped our stern anchor off the back.  Then we dropped our main anchor down into the water which Ian then promptly picked up and dug it into the sand.  The depth of water at the bow was knee deep but half way down the boat it was too deep for me to stand up in.

Where we were, I was going to say anchored but I think it’s more a case of beached, there was a water taxi that would take you round to the town of Parga, so we took this.  It was very hot but along with Karen and Ronnie, Copy Cat, we did walk up to the Castle. 

Obviously after that long walk we had to take in some refreshments and we couldn’t resist the Guest Beer “only two bloody euros me old China”. 

July 2019