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Sailing holidays Lefkas
Lefkas - Λευκάδα - Lefkada (ancient Leukas; Italian Santa Maura) is a hilly island marked by karstic action, lying off the Playia Peninsula in Acarnania, from which it is separated by a shallow lagoon varying in width between 600 m and 5 km. It is now linked with the mainland by a causeway and a ferry.
Most of the island is occupied by a range of hills rising to a height of 1158 m in Mount Stavrotas and running south-west to end at Cape Doukato. It was from this Leucadian Rock of gleaming white limestone that Sappho was supposed to have thrown herself for love of the handsome Phaon.
Lefkas never had any permanent natural connection with the mainland. The shingle spit at the northern tip was pierced in ancient times by the Corinthians to provide a channel for shipping, much like the spit to the south of Lefkas town, which came into being in the Middle Ages as a result of the establishment of salt-pans.
Off the south-east coast of Lefkas is the beautiful unspoilt island of Meganisi, with sandy beaches and famous sea-caves and therefore a exquisite area for relaxed family yacht charters, either bareboat, in flotilla or skippered.
The must-see ports and anchorages include: Palairos, Mytika, Kastos, Port Leone, Episkopi, Papanikolis Cave, Vathi, Spartakhori, Menidion (Ambracian Gulf), Sivota, Vasiliki and Rouda Bay,
British Admiralty Chart 203
History of Lefkas
The earliest evidence of human settlement on the island dates from the Neolithic period. In the 7th c. BCE the town of Leukas was founded by settlers from Corinth, who closed off the south end of the lagoon, opposite the St George Fort, by a 600 m long mole, remains of which are still visible under water (the sunken breakwater). They also cut a channel through the spit of shingle at the north end of the lagoon, opposite the Santa Maura Fort.
In the Middle Ages the island belonged to the barons of Kefallinia and Zakynthos. In 1479 it was taken by the Turks - the only Ionian Island to fall into their hands - but was recovered for Venice by Morosini in 1684.
As a result to the vicissitudes of its history and of a series of earthquakes (the most recent in 1953) Lefkas has preserved very few old buildings.
Preveza, Nidri and Lefkas port are the most important bases for bareboat yacht charters in the southern Ionian, as is Corfu and Gouvia in the north Ionian.
The Lefkas canal enables us sailors to pass along the east side of the island, which has 90% of the good anchorages.
From the north the entrance can be found by locating the Santa Mauro Fort.
Looking SW: The Santa Maura Fort and the north entrance to the canal and in the distance, Lefkas town.
The canal proper (dotted lines) starts after Lefkas Town and is marked by red and green poles and by red and green buoys when the canal turns south.
The ancient submerged breakwater is located opposite the St George Fort.
The aerial picture on the left shows Lefkas town looking SSW.
In Lefkas Town the houses have an unusual structure. The supporting timber posts and beams and lightly build upper storeys are designed to withstand earthquakes. Go stern-to or bows-to the town quay on the NE or S side, the muddy bottom is generally good holding.
British Admiralty Chart 2405
The high town of Spartakhori on the island of Meganisi can easily be seen from the north and west. Once you are in the bay the small harbour will be seen. Good shelter, though you will have to anchor in considerable depths (15-25 m).
The port of Vassiliki is located in the south-east of Lefkas deep in the large bay of vassiliki. In the west side of this bay - close to the village Pondi - is a nice anchorage (anchor in 4-8 m).
With NE winds (night!) the anchorage near the taverna is the best location in the bay.
The village of Spartakhori - enjoy the beautiful winding road to reach it - is enchanting and definitely worth the climb.
The actual port is located in the east of the bay and is very shallow. Just stay close to the breakwater.
A natural spring favours this part of the island and runs through a washing house at the south of Vassiliki.
British Admiralty Chart 2402
The landlocked Vlikho Bay provides good all-round shelter to anchor in a muddy bottom of just 8-2 meters. Anchoring off the quay of the quiet Vlikho village can be uncomfortable in stronger daytime winds.
The entrance to Sivota Bay is sometimes difficult to make out. Once in, you can anchor at the east side just around the cape or - if you proceed through the dogleg - you can anchor anywhere in 3-8 m.
Nidri village, however, is more boisterous, just like the fair but crowded inlet across. Outside July, August this inlet is a must anchor and you can use the sunken coaster here to tie an extra line. The Nidri quay self provides water, fuel etc. but places you in the middle of yacht charter bases, tripper boats, ferries etc.
The villa on Modra Island belongs to the family of Arist. Valaoritis (1824-79), greece's national poet. Anchor in front of the baroque building.
The Skorpios Island is also private (owned by the Onassis family), but as long you don't cross the high water mark you can anchor on both sides of a small sandy isthmus south of the island (alliteration :-).
There are quays on the south and west sides with water, tavernas etc.
↑ Aerial photo Kalamos.
↑ Aerial photo Kastos.
British Admiralty Chart 2402