Tag Archives: Ionian

Heading north (and parking with a long line ashore for the first time this year.)

Arriving in Kalo Limeni.

We left Sami harbour, waved to Stavros and sailed north.  We decided to stop off in Kala Limeni; a little bay with a farmstead of goats, cows, sheep and olive trees; since the weather was increasingly settled and it is a beautiful bay.  The tinkling of the cows bells offers an interesting accompaniment to the scenery.  This also happens to be the site of one of my most lucrative fishing sessions a couple of years ago!

Looking north east towards Ithaca, the birthplace of Homer, apparently.
Fiskardo, North Cephalonia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had two glorious days there, but no fish!  Then drove a little further north to Fiscardo.  Here we ‘parked’ with long lines to the north shore.

This process involves me having to get into the dinghy and drive to the shore.  I have to jump out of the dinghy on to sharp rocks covered with sea urchins and attach a line to a useful rock (or ring, if we are lucky) using a chain and fireman’s hose to prevent chafe.  I have to ensure that I don’t let go of the dinghy in all of this as that would be most distressing.  I hop back into the dinghy and push away from the sharp rocks. I then coil said line in the bottom of the dinghy so that it pays out over the front of the dinghy without snagging on anything.  Gradually, I reverse back to the boat whilst Ian simultaneously reverses Linea and lets out the anchor and chain.  The idea being that we meet at the point just before I run out of line!

He then takes the line on to a winch and pulls us back so that the anchor chain becomes taut and the line is holding us in position and we can’t swing.

I find it quite challenging although I am getting much better.  It is fairly nerve racking for me especially if it happens to be windy and I have to cope with painter, line, knot-tying, dinghy, outboard motor, gears and steering.  Good job I can walk and chew gum at the same time.  It’s a bit like tapping your head and rubbing your tummy at the same time – only more stressful.

The highly recommended Footpaths of Erissos. Well-marked and delightful walks around Fiskardo and the headland to the west.
With paths, drystone walls, deciduous trees and limestone pavements one would be forgiven for thinking that this was Yorkshire. Well, its like The Shire, but HOTTER!!!!

On our second day in Fiscardo, we enjoyed a morning of watching charter yachts conducting anchor knitting as they left their moorings.

 

Ian went to the assistance of a few who were struggling but I finally managed to persuade him that all would be well without him.  We left the boat and set out to complete one of the walking routes from Fiscardo.

We decided to do the one called Battery.  It is a 10km hike through forests and was absolutely stunning.

 

 

 

A little church and graveyard in one of the villages near Fiskardo.
A defunct olive press and mill stones from an old mill just lying around.

I popped into a fishing tackle shop on the way back to the boat and the owner assured me that the lure I was about to buy for E20 would be the BEST for catching tuna.  I bought it!  Now we have invested in a new BBQ to cook the fish, a gaff hook to land the fish, a filleting knife to prep the fish, secateurs to cut the fins off the fish, gardening gloves to haul in the line and a very expensive lure.

Total catch – a big fat ZERO.

Back at the boat we had a cooling swim, a well-deserved beer and a curry.  Bliss!

Vliko bay on the east coast of Levkas. A hurricane hole and massive anchorage all about 6m deep. Perfect!

Today, we have sailed nicely to the North east across the bay towards Meganisi and Levkas.  We decided to investigate a huge enclosed bay called Vliko on the east side of Levkas. There is an enormous anchorage where some boats safely spend the winter.  This would be perfect for us as the forecast is for winds up to 28kts from the Southeast tonight.

Unforthunately we dragged our anchor at about 2200h so things were a little frantic til we had reset it.

Next day we left for anchorage on the east side of Meganisi but it didn’t look very inviting so we doubled back and anchored in Kalo Elia, which was very pretty.

We were up and out early (due to some noisy strimming ashore) and headed round to Spartakhori on the north coast of Meganissi.   We found a spot bows to the south quay.  We enjoyed a walk up to the Chora later in the afternoon with friends Lars and Anna on Odin (from MDR) and after that we had supper at the restaurant near the boat, by way of ‘payment’.  it was delicious.

THe following day, trawling the tuna lure again (NO FISH), we arrived in Vathi on Ithaca and anchored at the head of the bay.  It is delightful and colourful place with noticeably more noise than other anchorages but it is still a very pleasant and sheltered spot.

Over the next couple of days the plan is to head gradually south to Zakinthos from where I am flying home for a week or so to sort out the house and tenants.

When I return Keira will join us for a couple of weeks.  Then in July, Erin and Josh will be with us too.

The faaaaamily will be together again.

Setting sail – the first two legs of Season Two.

Marina di Ragusa resort and harbour wall

The boxes finally arrived after having had their own personal  ‘Giro d’Italia’ – having being sent to a marina in Reggio Calabria on the mainland, by mistake.  So, with them safely stowed, it was time to set sail.  Ian handled the boat superbly as he maneuvered out of the marina with the marinero guiding us safely out. (There had been an incident recently where a boat went aground so everyone was being super cautious.)

Me and my crew!

Heading  300nm East.

En-route, the engine suddenly stopped spitting out water with the exhaust and the bilges filled with blue coolant.  This was not good. Luckily Bill has a mechanical know how and between them, he and Ian had the problem  sorted and the engine going again!  It could have been a lot worse.

On the way we had two visitors, a gold finch who slept on the book shelf all night and a baby owl, no less than 60 miles from land, who had a brief rest on our dinghy.

We arrived in Argostoli at 0300hrs, parked up in the pitch dark and crashed out.  In the morning, Bill left us and we picked up Lizzie and Ang.  By noon we had set off for Zante to meet up with Bryn and Jill on Fly the Coop for dinner.  After a slap up breakfast in the morning we bid them a fond farewell and we went our separate ways for the time being.

We began the next leg of our journey aiming to get the Heane family to Aigina.  Our first excitement was to sail under the Rion-Antirion suspension bridge – the longest suspension bridge in the world with a span of 2.252km.  We had to radio the bridge traffic personnel to ask permission to transit under the bridge.  We were given clear instructions to transit under the central arch.  ‘Keep two pillars to your starboard side and two pillars to your port side.’  We had air clearance of at least 20m where we sailed through.  The vehicles on the bridge looked like little dinky toys as they passed overhead.   It was quite spectacular running before the wind with the headsail only and achieving an impressive 8 knots of speed.

We had a pleasant stop in Galaxadhi, from where we were able to visit Delphi and then we only had one more overnight stop before going through the Corinth Canal.  (See earlier posting of Ian’s time-lapse video.)

The strong winds from earlier in the week had died down and we enjoyed a gentle potter down the canal taking a slice through the history, geography and geology of the area.  We paid €225 for the privilege.  €70 per mile.

We were able to squeeze into a berth on the town quay in Aigina and had a fabulous meal from a restaurant near the fish market.  Next day, it was time to bid farewell to the Heanes as we set off towards Skiathos to meet up without next visitors – The Daggetts!

Friends in the Ionian

img_3464Erin, Ian and I set off for Prevesa.  Our aim was to complete the necessary Greek paperwork and to do some laundry.  Both necessary evils!  We had a wonderful sail up the west coast of Levkas so avoiding the channel and the apparently temperamental swing bridge.  We arrived in Prevesa in time for the Saturday night perambulations   –  known as La Passegiata in Italian, and La Volta in Greek.  Perfect people watching.

Ian showed incredible persistence to finally acquire our DEPKA form.  He presented a letter from the Coast Guard office in Argostoli saying that they had run out of forms and that we had tried to register.  There were also no forms in Prevesa either, although apparently, five were due to arrive…would Ian kindly return tomorrow morning? This he duly did and we were in luck.

The form was given to us, stamped and chocked.  All our passports and papers were photocopied.  Ian then had to go to the tax office to be given an invoice for 29 euros.  From there he was directed to the National Bank to pay the invoice, from where he would take his receipt back to the Coastguard in order to have the paperwork finalised.

By this time the washing had been done and dried.  We set off for Paxos to meet our great friend Sue Lowrey.img_3439

We moored on the north quay, away from the town centre in the most dramatic of settings yet.  An island protects the channel from the open sea and winds.  It is the most wonderful anchorage.  Understandably busy.  We set about tidying up the boat and preparing drinks and nibbles.  Sue and Margaret img_3441arrived and we enjoyed giving them the guided tour.

After a delicious pasta dinner and yet more wine, we staggered back to the boat and slept soundly..

Next day, Sue picked us up and gave us a tour of the island of Paxos by car. We spend a pleasant afternoon sunning ourselves on the beach and then went back to Margaret’s beautiful hillside home for a delicious dinner.

We had a jobs day on the Thursday and then welcomed Sue and Margaret for breakfast and coffee, after their morning swim, before saying a fond farewell and sailing off to Sivota-Mourtos.img_3443

We anchored in Middle Bay since the weather was quite settled and enjoyed some nice swimming around the boat.  I tried fishing again but with no luck at all.  We shot out in the dinghy to do some beach combing.  We were about to go ashore on to the biggest of the islands when we noticed a herd of rather shaggy goats with large horns on the beach. We stayed off some distance and admired them from afar.

Next stop was Corfu.  We anchored stern to in the incredibly smelly East Basin.  Compensated by the fact that you are right next to the Old Town and tucked under the fort and it’s free!  We wandered through the streets to the cricket field and showed Erin the colonnaded Venetian style streets.

The next day, Ian and Alice Daggett the-daggets-in-kalimi-bay-corfuarrived and we promptly set off to our anchorage further north where we had a quiet and smell free night.  The next afternoon we had to dropped Erin off at the airport.  She was returning to the UK to work for six weeks to save money for her up-coming ski season in Tignes.waterbaby

We zig-zagged across the channel to stay in Plataria and then Pagania.  We had some good sailing.  The anchorage at Pagania half a mile from the Albanian border was amazing. Once we had driven past numerous large and ugly fish farms we turned the dog leg to discover a completely enclosed anchorage.  No tavern, no bars, no body and no signal! img_3580

So, back to Corfu Town and another fond farewell to Mr and Mrs D.  We had had a wonderful few days with them.

As strong southerly winds were expected over the next few days we decided to head north to Kassiopi on the Northern tip of Corfu.  We had a few happy days there meeting up with Andy and Denise Hurley on Comet andy-and-denise-hurley-on-cometwhom we had first met in Mallorca back in April/May.

Our next visit was from old friend and fellow sailor, William Dear.  We had a boozy night with him in Corfu Town celebrating the sale of his boat.  As you may know, the happiest days of any sailor’s life are the day he buys a boat and the day he sells it! )

Next stop, Albania

Thence to Sicily.