We had just over 2 weeks before we needed to leave Razzmatazz in Argostoli and fly home for a wedding (why don't our lovely rellies understand that weddings should not take place in the sailing season?). There were plenty of places in the southern (as in south of Lafkas) Ionian that we had yet to visit, so we set out to tick some off.
First target was Astakos, which was too far for a day's sailing. So, after a long beat out of the Gulf of Patras and up the coast we overnighted in the lee of Nisos Petala, a wonderfully sheltered inlet, from the seas anyway, in 4m under an (alledged) vulture's cave.
Next day we threaded the islands partly blocking the Gulf of Astakos in light headwinds, and anchored for lunch in Ormos Arithias, at the entrance of the gulf leading to Astakos. We set out in the afternoon, a north-westerly F5 sending us scudding up the gulf to Astakos. Then, finding a mooring set us a problem. The quay was pretty full, and there was nowhere free to anchor in under 15m, which we object to as we have no power windless. Anyway, we reckoned we could just squeeze onto the quay between an elegant, freshly painted tripper ketch and the reserved space for another tripper boat. Dropped the kedge well out, and ran short of rode 2m short of the quay! Luckily a passerby made our lines fast, and we decided to leave boat well off the quay and use the dinghy to get ashore. Unless it's dead calm, this is no bad plan anyway.
Astakos is hardly a tourist town. But it has plenty of tavernas on the front (don't go to the first that hassles you, as we did). There are good basic shops. There is even a small beach right in the fishing harbour. And it has free, excellent quality water.
Next we aimed for Kalamos. After a beat out of the Gulf of Astakos, we had a lovely reach to the entrance, dropped sail and motored in (for us) an unusual state of total preparation. George, the unofficial harbour master beckoned us to moor alongside in the SW corner by his restaurant. After exploring the village, we took the dinghy to a beach half a mile from the harbour where we could swim. On our return a mighty embarassed George asked us to move alongside a fishing boat, as "the government" had told him to leave our space free. Dinner chez George was excellent.
In the morning we offloaded the bikes and cycled round the north of the island to Episkopi. This was a lovely ride on quite a decent road, with a small derelict castle to explore on the way. But Episkopi had nothing to offer. On our return, the owner of the fishing boat asked us whether we'd been directed to tie alongside him. He then went into quite a big rant about "that idiot George", but said we were welcome to stay, as he could see we had plenty of fenders out. Time to leave Kalamos!
Conditions were quite difficult in the channel between Kalamos and Kastos, with too much sea and wind all over the place. So we motored into Port Leoni and anchored for the night.
|Russian Mr Big's boat off Skorpios||And his heavy|
|Falls near Nidri|
We wanted to visit Kioni, having failed the first time. We got there at 15:00, but the quay was full. We tried tieing back to the cliffs on the south side, but made a pigs ear of it in the F4 or so afternoon cross wind, so ran off to Vathi. In fact we looked into Ormos Skhoinos, the bay just before Vathi, recommended by some friends, but it was bumpy in the north-west wind, and too deep.
|Looking into Kioni from the windmills||And looking from Kioni to the windmills|
Lovely place Kioni - easy to see why everyone wants to moor here.
A northerly F4 gave us a splendid sail to the NE corner of Meganisi. We decided on Aberlike Bay again, in preference to Atheni, and tied back in our favourite spot in the NW corner.
Then we had a domestic day, getting the washing done in the taverna. We met a couple from Oxford with a bareboat charter, and invited them for drinks, then went together for an excellent meal in the taverna. So the following day had to be an excersise day! Bicycles out to take the high route to Spartakhori, where we chatted to a Romanian family, who had driven there and knew about the inland sights.
|Sivota anchorage||Vasiliki quay|
We wanted water, so explored the quayside to check which water points were working, then, in the morning, nosed in to the first space that came vacant close to one. Not a good place to take on water - they charge 2 euros for 100l, and because they provide a long hose that lies in the sun, you need to waste the first 50l, or use it for washing. When we cast off, we found we could anchor in 6m opposite the club pontoon on the east side, where surely no boat would moor and cross our anchor. Until an Italian superyacht came in and moored end-on to the pontoon, right over our chain. No problem, as they left early next morning. More of a problem was an English yacht with a CQR anchor and not enough scope. After dragging about four times elsewhere he dropped his hook just ahead of us. Luckily he moved when I expressed my dismay.
Sivota is too hilly for us to cycle far, and the walk we took around the promontery to the west was not inspiring. But it's a good spot for socialising - we bumped into Tony Bannister, another CA member who comes to CA East Midlands meetings in the winter.
From Sivota, we wanted only to sail to Vasiliki, about 4 miles crow-wise, and maybe double that without flying. We sailed in a gentle F3, watching thunderstorms all around. When we'd moored to the quay, the fisherman alongside asked if we'd been out in the ferocious storm. And we learned that it had been gusting 50 knots shortly before we arrived.
Vasliki is a lovely place, having its tourist side, but also being a real fishing village. with an extensive agricultural hinterland. We landed the bikes and explored the valley leading inland, almost entirely given to olive groves. The pebbly beach is very popular, because the strong afternoon winds and the sheltered, flat seas make it perfect for windsurfing.