Greece  2

Home Nav. course Sailing Greece Turkish Coasts Yacht charter Gulets                          
Frank van Mierlo, his wife Ruth and their two sons Martin and Vincent spent a marvellous 9 weeks in the Greek waters, below their sailing adventures.

Part 2  Ithaca - Corinth

This is part two of the logbook that describes their yacht charter holiday. Please, click on the thumbnails to see a larger 800x600 photo in a new window.

Part one: Athens - Ithaca
Part two: Ithaca - Corinth
Part three: Corinth - Santorini
Part four: Santorini - Hydra
Part five: Hydra - Athens

Sarakiniko (Ithaca) to Sami (Kefalonia)

We left on Saturday morning at 9:00 am, we swung by the bay of Ay. Andreas at the south end on Ithaca. It was nice and definitely a worth a stay. At 11:00 am we approached Sami. It was a lovely port with string on taverns lining the South East Quay. That afternoon we took a taxi to the underground caves. The water was cool (14°C) and the tour through the large cave was a pleasant way to spend the afternoon. We walked back along the shore and the kids cooked us a solid meal of sausage, rice and salad that night.

The next morning we motored to the bay of Antisamos on Kefalonia island and we stayed there until four o'clock swimming, enjoying the beach and a nice lunch. We sailed back in a fresh breeze and practiced a man-over-board manoeuvre under sail before entering the harbour at Sami. A strong cross wind necessitated three attempts before we executed the perfect Mediterranean style mooring. Martin did a great job with the anchor and Vincent manned the stern line and the bridge. Our boys are becoming quite the sailors and I think we are ready to sail this yacht by ourselves. Tonight is our last night with the Curtin family. Tomorrow they are leaving on a ferry at 8:30 am. It was great to have them aboard, we enjoyed their company and it was good to have extra hands to man the boat as we were learning the ropes in a new country with new equipment.

Sami to Ay. Efimia

We left at noon for the first time with just the four of us. In a gentle breeze we tacked up to Efimia and anchored in the harbour. There was more wind in the harbour than at sea as the valley was channeling the wind. We all had a siesta and in evening took the dinghy ashore. The harbour had a beautiful boulevard making for a nice walk along the sea shore with many stone stairs down to the ocean. There were giant Aloe Vera like plants growing along the shore with giant eight foot tall flowers. At the end of the road there was a popular restaurant. We ate at “Amalia” the restaurant just around the corner from the harbour, it was excellent value for money. The cook was a Filipina married to a Greek. She told us that life can be hard as it is difficult to make a living during the winter.

In the evening five Dutch sail boats arrived. They all anchored in the harbour and then proceeded to raft together and stayed that way the entire night. If you like crowds (and most people do); it looked like fun, they made their own mini city on the water.

Ay. Efimia to Vasiliki (Lefkas)

We left at 8:00 am and were the first boat to sail out of the harbour. We swung by Frikes (North West Ithaca) and decided that would be a good location on the way back. At 12:30 pm we arrived at our destination. The harbour of Vasiliki (Southern Lefkas) had seen some construction since the pilot was written. The ferry now ties off at the SE Quay. This gave us the opportunity to do two perfect moorings Mediterranean style in one harbour. Vasiliki was very touristy in the best sense of the word. It is a great place to relax and enjoy the restaurants. Other than that there is very little infrastructure. All the tavernas were full and there was a large beach in the bay just to the west of the harbour. Since we arrived early we had our pick and we tied of at the corner next to the fountain. At 4:00 pm Akis, the technician of Raytheon arrived to fix the electronics. He showed me the location of the main computer, wired the instruments into the instrument panel, changed a fuse and tightened some connections. Since the electronics were still under warranty there was no charge.

Vasiliki to Sivota

At 11:00 we departed and motored to Egremni, the spectacular beach at the SW side of Lefkas. The weather was calm and we anchored in 9 meters of water. The white limestone beach gave the water a milky white colouring creating a light blue ocean that was very appealing. Ruth and the boys rowed ashore. After I cleaned the boat and assured myself that the anchor was going to hold, I swam after them. The beach was made of tiny white round pebbles; we took a handful with us to take back to Boston. Ruth also selected a fist size smooth stone to sharpen our knives. It worked amazingly well, better than anything I ever bought at Home Depot.

At 3:00 pm we left and raised sail, after rounding Ak Dhoukato for the second time we continued on to Sivota. Sivota is another popular and busy tourist destination. There must have been some fifteen yachts anchored in this beautiful well protected bay. The scene was a lot like Vasiliki. We mounted the outboard to the dinghy and after a brief instructions Vincent and Martin were, much to their delight, operating their own vessel. Despite the busy anchorage all boats swung unimpeded around their moorings and we slept well that night as there was little to no wind.

Sivota to Spartakhori (Meganisi)

Under full sail we approached the caves that were at sea level at the southern base of the Kastro mountain. It was quite the sight. We continued on to Spartakhori where we arrived at a quarter past three. The local tavern offered us mooring lines and a place at the end of their pontoon complete with water and electricity. Later that day we hiked up to the village on the top of the hill. With it small winding streets is was very picturesque.

The Garmin GPS maps are very coarse in this part of Greece. Both the 292 GPS of the boat and my hand-held 76CS showed us 60 meters on land in Spartakhori. We had been noticing these errors for the last few days. Luckily the Imray charts and the Heikell pilot are more accurate.

Spartakhori to Preveza (July 21)

This morning we set a record for sleepiness and did not get up until after 9:00 am. After breakfast we sat down with the charts and discussed our options. We contemplated going south around the Peloponnesian peninsula, the long stretch between Ak Maleas and Milo had us worried and the notorious gust at the same cape where Odysseus shipwrecked did not argue for this route either. We could go up to Corfu or turn around and head back to the Aegean through the Corinthian canal. After slowly drinking our Greek frappe (a foamed ice coffee) we decided that we would head North for another day. Lefkas looked too industrial so we headed for Preveza. After navigating the Lefkas canal we raised our sails and had a very pleasant cruise while approaching the entrance to Preveza.

This was where Octavius defeated Antony and Cleopatra in a crucial sea battle that shaped the fate of the western world. The latter committed suicide and Octavius became Caesar Augustus.

Preveza turned out to be a large town, the shipyard at the other side was a forest of masts and the long town quay had plenty of space. We tied of in a mooring Mediterranean style. By now we were sufficiently greased in the Greek ways that we preferred this mooring to the more traditional tying of at one side. Staying free from the quay makes for a quieter night and it stops any vermin from coming on board.

The town had lots of alleys and shops. I went shopping for a long 17 mm socket. A friendly young Greek drove me around on the back of his motorcycle after I had asked him for directions. Despite this help we did not find the socket.

The next day I borrowed a pipe key from the Dutch boat down the quay. I had not seen that type of tool since I left Holland but it sure was the ideal solution for our job. I promised myself a set for my next birthday. With the help of Vincent, I tightened the steering cables and then we had breakfast.

We took the opportunity to provision the boat, filled up our water tanks, took on board 267 liters of diesel and enough food to last several days. After a short siesta we were ready to go at 3:00 pm.

Preveza to Parga

An hour before we left a yellow sailboat filled with Brits moored next to us with a large S curve. Much to the enthusiasm of our boys, we caught their anchor when we tried to leave. First we had to turn our boat around so that we were no longer in between the British anchor and the British ship. Once that was done, we deployed the anchor trip that we had bought in Aegina. It worked like a charm. We hauled up both anchors, caught the British anchor with our anchor trip and tied that of to a cleat. We than lowered and freed our anchor. With the British anchor hooked, we manoeuvreed the boat to the place we wanted to drop the anchor. Ruth did a good job lining their anchor up with their boat and free of all the other anchor chains, at the right place we pulled the trip-line and the large Bruce anchor sunk back to the seabed. The whole manoeuvre was a pleasure to execute.

That afternoon we encountered a fresh breeze and saw significant waves of one meter high. Beating against the wind, we arrived at Parga just before dark.

Parga to Meganisi

Parga is a beautiful place. The first night we stayed at anchor beneath the old Venetian fort. The town is a very popular labyrinth of streets lined with small shops catering mostly to tourist. There is a large beach and plenty of water sport activity.

Ruth prepared a wonderful beef stew and used most of the bottle of wine that Tom had left behind. We stayed an extra day, enjoyed the bustle and were equally glad to leave it all behind.

With no wind we motored back south and after passing through the Lefkas canal we anchored in one of the beautiful coves of the island of Meganisi. Like all of the Ionian this place was busy. There were lots of other boats and all the coves were full at the end of the day.

We swam and generally had a good time. The boys rigged up two fenders behind the dinghy and towed each other around with the outboard.

Meganisi to Ithaca (Andreas Cave)

After a wonderful morning swim we set course for the southern tip of Ithaca. That night we were anchored right in front of the beach with 80 meters of anchor chain and three lines to shore. While coming into the cove we saw a large jelly fish so we were all extra careful when we went swimming.

The boys and I decided to do our good deed for the year and we cleaned up the beach. We took on board five large bags filled with trash, mostly plastic bottles. When we were done the beach was all clean as it should be. It was a beautiful calm night and we slept on deck that evening. Martin and I were both awake around 2 am and it was a pleasure to hear him: “Papa look, look at the stars!”

Ithaca (Andreas Cave) to Patras

It is silence before the storm, as we are heading for the Aegean there is little to no wind for the next few days. Our first stop is Patras, the third largest city in Greece. The harbour is busy and smelly but in the evening it is calm.

This is a great vacation and there is no time to think of anything but vacation. In between planning the navigation, operating the vessel, buying diesel, water, victuals, cleaning the boat, feeding the crew etc etc there is little time left. Every night I hit the bed and fall asleep within minutes. All the more reason to be happy when there is a continuous night, which is not always the case with anchor alarms, depth alarms, beeping watches, port noise and random things on the ship banging from waves. No such problems in Patras, we slept like babies.

The next day we rented a car and toured the country side. A herd of goats made us stop and prompted us to take our first hike that day. The terrain was rugged and very spectacular. In the early afternoon we visited a magnificent cave at Kastria with multiple basins and lots of small natural dams, stalactites and stalagmites. We had lunch at Kalavryta and finished the day with a second hike along a stream and a small diesel train track both leading to an impressive gorge.

Patras to the East side of the Corinthian Canal

We got on the way at 8:15 am, after passing under the Rion-Antirion bridge, the world's largest cable bridge, we continued onto the Corinth canal. We had taken the opportunity to stock up in the large town of Patras and we now had enough food on board to last us a week. The next few nights we will probably anchor in various coves on our way to the Aegean.

In the middle of the Corinthian gulf, at approximately the same place as last time, we saw several pods of dolphins, some of them surfed our bow waves and several times they jumped out of the water.

At a quarter to seven in the evening we anchored just outside the Corinthian canal.

 Story and photos by Frank van Mierlo

Part one: Athens - Ithaca
Part two: Ithaca - Corinth
Part three: Corinth - Santorini
Part four: Santorini - Hydra
Part five: Hydra - Athens

Books·charts Sitemap| A-Z Contact RSS| Charterguide
Diederik Willemsen | E-mail me
Site map | A-Z index | Register

 RSS XML Feed | | Level AA conformance icon, W3C-WAI Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 | |