Logbook 3
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Part 3  Lefkas - Kefalonia

This is part three of the logbook that describes Lene Poulsen's sailing holiday in Greece - Ionian.

Part one: Lefkas - Kefalonia
Part two: Kefalonia - Ithaca
Part three: Ithaca - Lefkas

Tuesday – Day eight

We decided to leave for either Frikes or Kioni on Ithaca and left at 9.15. Having looked at both, we decided on Kioni, which became one of our favourite stops. It is a small village, beautiful in every way. There are tour boats, but the last one leaves at 16.30.
Fiscardo - Kefalonia Fiscardo - Kefalonia Nisos Arkoudhi
You can take a swim either at the small beach, or just on the other side of the quay where the ferries/tour boats anchor. We anchored bow-to a bit away from where the tour boats anchor. On the quay almost in front of our boat lies Hamilton House, built in 1894. This has survived the earth quake in 1953, and is quite a beautiful old house. You can have a shower here, and the owner is a nice old man who likes to tell stories. He told me the house was built by an English lady. He has owned it for 20 years, and wouldn't dream of selling it. He quickly got fed up, though, by tourists asking if he would sell it and for how much. So whenever he got the question nowadays he always said the price was €1.500.000 – that shut most of them up, he claimed. There a few tavernas to choose from and also a few shops. A very relaxed and nice place.
Frikes on Ithaca Island Frikes on Ithaka island Kioni on Ithaca island
Kioni on Ithaca island Kioni on Ithaka island Kioni port

Wednesday – Day nine

When we woke up the sky seemed a bit dark, and it was rather windy. We also heard thunder far away. We left Kioni harbour at 9.20 but sailed directly into a thunderstorm near Frikes – to avoid it we retreated back into the bay by Kioni for shelter and waited it out for 20 minutes or so. Then we continued north heading towards Sivota on Lefkas island. Once we got free of Kefalonia and Ithaca and were in open seas, the waves became very long and kept rolling in sideways from the west. So it was a bit of a rocky sail to Sivota, but in fine weather, though windy. The wind bounced about, and when we got to Sivota about noon, there were strong gusts of wind rolling down from the hills into the bay. We made the mistake of not checking the map for depth in the harbour, and dropped our anchor off a free spot in too deep waters (just inside the harbour, south).
Stormy weather Sivota on Lefkas island Port Spiglia on Meganisi island
The anchor seemed to be holding OK though, so we left the boat and went to get lunch. When we came back an hour later, the anchor had slipped, and a few (very nice) people were trying to stop it from crashing into other boats. We had to quickly pull the anchor in and try anchoring again. This time, further out, more chain, but still the same spot (i.e. too deep). The anchor didn't hold again, there were strong gusts of wind making it difficult to steer the boat, and to add to that two larger boats were trying to anchor as well to our port side. Their anchors didn't hold either, so we had the weight of the two boats on top of ours with an anchor that didn't hold. The chains got entangled, and we had quite a few tricky moments out there trying not to do damage to our own boat or any other boats. Two fellow Danes jumped aboard ours and helped with the chains and the anchor – we regretfully never got their names, but they were of great help to us that day.
Vathi on Meganisi island Vathi on Meganisi Abelike, Meganisi
We finally decided to leave Sivota instead of trying to anchor for a third time, and left the bay after having set ashore the two Danes. We decided to go to Meganisi and return to port Spiglia, as we knew for sure there'd be moorings (secure night), and we liked the place. We also had to be in Lefkada marina by 17.00 Friday to hand over the boat, so we were bound to go in that direction anyway. In Port Spiglia we secured the boat by mooring to the pontoon and went up to Babis' restaurant to have a beer and relax after a rather stressful day of sailing – it was now 17.00. Babis remembered us from the week before and warmly welcomed us. We hadn't sat down for more than 5 minutes when he offered our skipper to help him sail the boat from the pontoon to the small harbour so we would get a much less rocky night. Having done that he offered us all a drink (ouzo) – that's Greek hospitality at its best!

Thursday – Day ten

After a calm and quiet night we left Port Spiglia at 10.30. We decided just to “go round the corner” to Vathi – still very windy, but very good holding in the harbour. Vathi is also a nice place – very quiet and relaxed. We had a nice meal at the Rose Garden (where you also can get a shower), and used the computer in the restaurant to see the weather forecast for the next day – it didn't look that good, but we were glad the final stretch from Vathi to Lefkada was quite small. In the afternoon we walked to the bay next to Vathi as we had heard of a small beach called Abelike – it turned out to be a bit of a disappointment, as the water in the bay is not that nice at all once you get close to it. It is actually the only place we didn't spot one single fish, and that can't be a good sign. Quite a few boats were anchored here – it has good shelter, but appears to have become somewhat spoiled which is a shame.
Abelike, Meganisi Sailing from Meganisi to Lefkas The fort at the entrance to Lefkas canal

Friday – Day eleven

Heavy and dark clouds from early morning, and thunder from afar. We are not sure whether the storm comes our way or not. Our anchor is holding fine, so we decide rather to be safe, than sorry. The storm came about 10.30 and it rained (poured, more like it) for two massive hours – lots of lightning and thunder, very strong gusts of wind, and hardly any visibility. An hour into the storm we suddenly see a boat come drifting towards us, and they are attempting to anchor in front of us, which we didn't like at all – If their anchor didn't hold, they would be blown right into us or one of the other boats anchored off the harbour. They seemed not to be in control of the boat at all, and we were afraid they would tear our anchor loose with their anchor. It turned out they had lost their propeller, and were unable to do much else than what they did. Luckily it turned out fine, and apart from quite a bit of untangling chains and anchors when we finally could leave Vathi at 13.15, we left without a scratch.

We arrived in Lefkada marina at 15.30, and Andreas came to meet us before we were even finished mooring. We arranged for him to be back next morning to check the boat. We had a bath (cards for the shower rooms are available at the harbour service centre), and went up to the town for a nice meal. We decided on a restaurant called “The Lighthouse” – it is in a small street off the main “pedestrian” street in Lefkada town. This developed into being the funniest evening on the whole trip. If you know Fawlty Towers with John Cleese, this is the Greek version of it. Hardly no tables got what they ordered (they just got somebody else's food); some had to open their own wine (a corkscrew was just left at the table); some never got their food at all (a Dutchman having waited an hour for his Souvlaki offered Sten €10 for his pork steak, which – incidentally - turned out to be beef!), and when we wanted to pay the bill, the only thing he could remember we had ordered, was a large bottle of water. On top of that he had started out by proclaiming loudly (after we had been there for about 10 minutes, and the place was filling up, and he became more and more confused) “I am in control of everything”. We laughed so hard we were completely exhausted by the time we left. The food may not be spectacular, but the show is excellent!
Sivota - Lefkada Porto Katsiki Porto Katsiki

Saturday – Day twelve

Andreas came back at 09.15 to check the boat. Already a diver had been in the water and checked the keel and so forth, and Andreas was very thorough going over the boat. This is actually quite comforting, as you can trust nothing is wrong with the boat when you start your trip. I will have to take some time here to praise the chartering company – everything (and I do literally mean everything) worked on the boat; the introduction to the boat before we took off was extremely thorough; the check-up when we came back likewise; everything was well-organized – i.e. we had arranged for the chartering company to pick us up at the airport when we arrived, and a taxi driver holding a piece of cardboard saying “POULSEN” stood waiting outside, and took us straight to the marina, and even carried my luggage aboard. We had asked the company to find us hotel accommodation for the last two nights before our flight back to Denmark, and they had found a most charming and cheap hotel in the city centre, as we had requested. The deposit (€1.300) was duly handed back once the check-up was completed by Andreas who found no faults or damages – In short: Everything worked fantastically well, and all this was arranged by e-mail with the company. We can only recommend such a trustworthy company. We were picked up by a taxi who took us to our hotel, the Santa Maura, in the centre of Lefkada. It is about 100 meters from the wooden bridge in the harbour in the main street. The hotel was built in 1850, and has a lot of charm – the rooms are nice and come with a shower and bathroom, air condition, and a TV (with only Greek and Italian channels though). We paid €40 for a double and €30 for a single room (per night).

The two remaining days were spent relaxing and driving round the island, so it is not that interesting to this account. If you do have spare time though, you should definitely go to one beach, Porto Katsiki – it will blow you away!

Tips ...

 Story and photos by Lene Poulsen from Denmark

Part one: Lefkas - Kefalonia
Part two: Kefalonia - Ithaca
Part three: Ithaca - Lefkas

Further reading:
The Ionian Sea.
Sailing routes in the Ionian Sea.
Waypoints in the Ionian.
The whales and dolphins of Greece.
Find reliable yacht charter companies.

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6 Feb 2012
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