3/12/2009 at home in the
38° 57 N
20° 46 E
We are now back in the
Retracing our route to Stavros (most roads are dead ends, because of the steep landscape) we took to the ‘high ground’. The roads had been adventurous so far, but now we encountered multiple hairpin bends & goats roaming (& even snoozing) on the roads, as we climbed high along a ridge of mountains. The peak of the highest, Mt Nirito at 809metres, didn’t seem very far above us. We stopped to look at what seemed an almost deserted village & then a monastery with superb views, & only a caretaker in residence, before descending via more hairpins to sea level & on to Vathy.
October. A prompt departure from Vathy, motoring in no wind, but the battery needed
a charge. As we rounded the SE corner of Itaca the wind filled in & we
unfurled the genny. Doug saw a dolphin rush by & then just before noon we
completed our short passage to Sami in
We went for our usual explore, lunch, provisions, laundry. As forecast the wind started to pick up later in the afternoon & the quay was packed fairly solid as other boats arrived to shelter. Others on the outside of the quay moved inside. A German on one boat suggested we strung long lines between the boats & to the upwind quay in case any anchors dragged, so lots of rope came out of lockers as we put this plan into operation. I must say it seemed an effective ploy as the wind increased. With the wind came thunder, lightening & heavy rain, & we stayed awake until the small hours (I think most others did too) when the wind started easing. The morning (3rd Oct) was a different day with the sun shining & sea looking benign again. We untied the web of ropes & the harbour activities returned to normal.
We walked along the coast to the next hamlet, Melissani. There, there is a lake in an underground cavern. Part of the roof has collapsed so the light makes the water a deep blue. So we went for a rowing boat ride!
This is the way visitors are able to see the cavern & our guide (the rower) was very well informed (& multilingual). The water in the cavern is brackish having come underground along a fault line originating 10 kms on the other side of the island & carries on a further kilometre to exit out to sea. It was a surprise after the blue light of the cavern to climb back to sunlight.
October. Our planned departure was somewhat delayed as Doug checked the email
only to find Olympic had dumped our booked return flight to the UK scheduled
for a few weeks time. We assume they didn’t have enough passengers for our
internal flight linking to
October. We made a relaxed departure from the anchorage, warning an incoming
charter boat of the chains, & headed north a couple of miles to the
Then we hoisted the sails,
& leaving Cephalonia sailed along the N Ithaca coast to anchor at the
little steep sided
We were in time for a late lunch & were hugely amused by the antics of some butterflies (Two Tailed Pasha, according to book), who so wanted some wine we gave them a saucer to themselves!
Surprisingly only 3 of the boats anchored there stayed overnight.
Next day (6th Oct) was a prompt departure from Atokos sailing close hauled NEwards. We passed some gulls having a fishing/feeding frenzy, but the skipper didn’t get a line out in time. Mid morning we dropped anchor at Port Leone on Kalamos island. (8nm & 25m chain).
This smallish island is
fairly close to the Greek mainland coast.
The anchorage is a deep sheltered bay, but the
Wednesday 7th October we motored the 3.5 nm up the coast to Port Kalamos where we anchored stern to quay for a brief shopping trip & walk up the hill to the Hora. In our absence Sugar ‘n’ Spice found a fan club of Brits on the charter boat next to us – we didn’t take up their offer to swop.
Then it was on again sailing at first close hauled as we passed the pretty little town of Mytikas on the mainland shore, & later with cracked sheets, until we arrived at Ormos Kapali on Meganisi island & anchored in the west bay, where there were fewer boats. (13nm).
Another fairly deep anchorage, we had 30m chain out & decided to take a line round a tree on shore to stop ourselves swinging. The ‘dog’ had a canoe to tow the line this time. Later canoeing round the bay we surprised a kingfisher & had a lovely sighting as he flew along the shoreline.
Next morning (thurs 8th Oct) it was a relaxed start (after canoeing ashore to untie the line) for another short trip with no wind. This was enlivened by seeing flocks? of flying fish apparently disturbed by our approach. Arriving at Palairos on the mainland we anchored stern to quay helped by a taverna owner taking our lines as he touted for business. (8nm).
Palairos is the base for several flotilla & charter companies so the harbour filled up later.
We went for our usual wander around & up to the church & town, & in the evening decided to patronise our helpful taverna boss. We had a nice meal, then knowing we were sailors he told us a longer range forecast he had heard, that wind & rain were due monday onwards. Now thursday, we decided to check this when we next had a good internet connection.
October. A relaxed start from Palairos, motoring in little wind along the coast
& then into the buoyed channel through the marshlands between Lefkas &
the mainland. This leads to the town of
In Lefkas we explored the quaint old town with its narrow streets & quirky clock tower, found a chandlery & the marina store for some boat bits.
Saturday 10th October. The canal is spanned by a bridge that lifts to allow boats through. We planned to go through at the 10am bridge, but the morning dawned with fog that actually got thicker as the sun rose, so we decided to wait for an hour, so we could see our way, & other traffic. The pilot did say that the bridge lifts were hourly. So at 11 we were duly untied & waiting, & we waited ….. until 12noon.
Later we heard that the
schedule had only been 2 hourly all season! Anyway we were through the bridge,
past the Santa Maura castle (14th century) guarding the causeway
& sails were hoisted for a leisurely beat. Another long narrow channel led
We found there was a good internet connection & checked the weather. As our man in Palairos had said there was rain & wind forecast for monday & after. We were very grateful for his tip off – it proved most useful.
Sunday (11th Oct) we went ashore to check out the town. A lot was closed as it was sunday, but we found the harbour was full of local boats so the only alternative to anchoring was the Town Quay or wall. Returning to the boat, & mindful of the forecast, we took the dry sails off to stow for the winter lay up.
Monday morning (12th
Oct) we made a prompt departure for Vonitsa, a town in the
That afternoon & next day (13th Oct) continued wet & windy. In the lulls we made some brief excursions into the Town, found there was another HPYC boat nearby (Optima Navis), so the owners, Collin & Margaret Wheatley came for drinks one evening, & on the tuesday Doug got an engine oil change & service done.
October, with a day of better weather ahead we made an early start back to the
Preveza anchorage. A mid morning call to the boatyard found they could lift us
out a lunchtime today (a day earlier than booked but there was a windier
forecast for the thursday). So it was a rush to do the final ‘afloat’ jobs –
log out, hoist Doug up mast to remove wind instruments etc – then we were off
to the lifting bay for our haulout at 1pm at
Total logged distance 2212.8nm [Engine hours 264.4]
Thursday 15th October to Monday 19th October. We attacked the chores of laying a boat up plus cleaning inside & out, laundry, organising the yard to do some jobs over the winter.
The weather was very mixed with a lot of rain which did not help with doing the jobs, & created a lot of dirt underfoot. There also seemed to be a very voracious variety of mosquito in the area, so we were burning mossi coils &/or spraying the boat most of the time.
We took one trip to the town
Having had our internal flight to Athens dumped we did not relish a 5 hour bus ride as a replacement so Monday (19th Oct) lunchtime we hired a car for 3 days.
We then had a most lovely
drive north through the mountains (glorious autumn colours) to the lakeside
We wished we had had longer
to walk more in this spectacular area, but were lucky to visit it in lovely
weather & at a relatively uncrowded time of year. At first we were crossing
a huge well cultivated plain, then more hills appeared & as we descended we
could see the
So next morning (thur 22nd
Oct) we joined the motorway for the final stage to