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Lefkas Sailing Log
Four Dutch sailors, Petra and Peter de Jong, Marian Steenvoorden and Olaf van Hese, spent 14 days in the Ionian waters near Lefkas and Kefalonia last August. Please find excerpts from their sailing log below.
Of the various
sailing itineraries in the Ionian Sea
they ended up sailing a route similar to the
“7-day route ”, but they included the ports of Frikes, Kalamos, Palairos en Astakos.
Day 1 Arrival Preveza
We flew into Preveza on mainland Greece but near Lefkas peninsula. Being booked by the yacht agent, our taxi driver was waiting for us at the agreed time. We were driven over the Lefkas Channel bridge, and upon arrival at Lefkas island we did not go to Nakiana as expected, but to the more southerly resort of Perigiali. The Elan 36 Supernova II, NK 531 was waiting for us in the marina/port. We received a warm welcome and the introduction was a good start. Everything just felt right and there were no hidden charges or awkward situations with the taxi driver.
Day 2 Lefkas - Kalamos
I woke up well before seven on Sunday and went on deck. I saw the sun rising from behind the mountains and the air and water were a tantalizing orange-grey. I took my camera to take a few pictures of our departure. It was to be the start of our journey. It all looked very promising. And we were not going to be disappointed.
Lifting the anchor was as easy as letting go of the lanyards and starting the engine. As far as layout and sailing properties is concerned, this yacht was definitely better than last year's (a gib sea 32). Unfortunately there was little or no wind, less than one knot, which meant we could take a plunge and swim alongside. Later that day we managed to sail at 3 knots and then motored towards Kalamos. Arrival at 3 pm in Kalamos port meant we had plenty of choice to find a good spot. During the main season 3 pm is the time at which things tend to get busy. So it's essential to leave early in the day in order to be able to arrive in time. Mooring went well and that certainly gave us a boost of confidence. With the George taverna and the local bakery up against the hill Kalamos is a friendly port. Fresh loafs of bread are available from 8.30 am onwards.
Day 3 Kalamos - Kastos
After leaving Kalamos we went swimming in a bay along the coast of Kalamos and went snorkeling. We noticed there is very few fish, but the water is crystal clear. Had lunch on board. Departed at 12.15.
Magnificent sailing. A lot of wind all of a sudden, 5 - 6 knots. Put a reef in. Sailed through Steno Kálamou around the southern tip of Kastos and dropped anchor at 2 pm in the bay near the marina. Used both bow and stern anchors and a lanyard towards shore. Hooked the lanyard up to building material. Clear water. Had dinner in the Windmill restaurant, which gave us a splendid view across the islands. Kastos is more or less a run-down village. It seems that the young have deserted the place, except for the few that want to make some money during the summer season.
Day 4 Kastos - Astakos
Left Kastos and set sail for Astakos on the mainland. When we arrived there was a strong wind from abeam. Yachts arriving after us had considerable difficulty mooring off so we lend a hand. The place was packed with Greek holiday makers. Lots of small shops and narrow alleys. The midnight music lasted until the wee hours of the morning. All evening and night the cruising crowds passed near our stern. At first we were utterly amazed that this is possible, but funny? No!
Day 5 Astakos - Kefalonia (Poros)
We'll be leaving Astakos today. Everyone was dead tired after a noisy night. We got up early though and prepared for a long haul - the longest leg of our trip - Poros on the island of Kefalonia (27 nm). A beautiful journey. A lull every now and then but towards the end we experienced some strong wind. We arrived well on time in Poros port on Kefalonia. It was very hot, more than 35 degrees. We hadn't realised that while we were sailing. We had just started to enjoy a drink when a flotilla of 11 yachts arrived. Australians, who all were trying to find a spot. While this was going on, three large ferries arrived, one after the other! Poros is the main ferry port for Kefalonia.
In the evening hours we bought our groceries on the boulevard quay side (only 10 min on foot over a beautiful pedestrian path) and had dinner in a fish restaurant up against the foot of a hill with a splendid view of the sea. This part of Poros is definitely worth visiting. One ferry stayed in port during the night, with engines running and a terrible smell of diesel. It left at 6.15 am loaded with lorries and buses. The marina is a good spot to stay in overnight if a good night's rest is what you are after.
Day 6 Poros - Eufimia
8.00 am. Second ferry put into port with the sound of thunder. Got up against our will and started preparing for our next destination on Kefalonia: Eufimia. It was another scorcher, with the sun burning down on us intensely.
Swam in a cosy turquoise bay. Washed my hair under the shower at the aft. Made coffee. This island is pristine and beautiful. Arrival at Eufimia: plenty of choice where we could moor off in port. We are getting better at mooring off all the time. We are forming a good team now! We had hardly established ourselves or the flotilla of 11 arrived. They'd been following us! Thank goodness we were ahead of them! 3 pm really is the best time to arrive.
Day 7 Eufimia - Fiscardo
Left at 12 for Fiskardo. The wind was favourable and we hoisted sails after just 5 minutes at sea. All went well and we were heeling a fair bit in the strait between Ithaka and Kefalonia.
Fiskardo is way too modern for us. Far to many shops with luxury articles, people parading in fashionable designs, and what's more, no one seemed to be very friendly.
From 9 pm onwards we watched the opening of the Olympic Games on a huge flat screen in our neighbour's saloon (an impressive three-storey motor cruiser). The screen was so big we could easily see everything from the comfort of our own yacht!
Day 8 Fiscardo - Frikes op Ithaca
Left for Frikes on Ithaka at 10 am. Not too busy, nice and more to our liking than Fiskardo. Ithaka, just Kefalonia, is very beautiful, green and has clear turquoise bays.
Frikes port is renowned for its katabatic winds and we truly could not make much sense of the wind shifts here. Most boats were side-to-side. The pontoon for water and fuel was brand-new but not in use. Part of it appeared to be damaged. It seemed as though during construction not much attention had been given to the forces and directions of the wind. Frikes port has a small information point for yachts. It's situated towards the village behind the pavement cafe's. There's a computer showing the weather forecasts at the entrance of the kitchen. We were not charged for consulting this weather service.
Day 9 Strong winds
Strong wind We decided to cancel our planned trip to Kioni 2 miles from here. Last night the wind picked up to gusty and we thought it wise to use all lines and fix our yacht firmly. We spent some time reading and catching up with some sleep after an uncalm night. The wind increased to force 5 to 6. The gusts (37 knots was predicted) were quite severe. Many decided to stay. The harbour was full with some yachts lying three in a row. Allegedly, everyone here saw dolphins. We didn't!
Day 10 Frikes - Sivota (Lefkas)
Left Frikes Ithaka at 9.30 am. A good day of sailing. We even went for a swim near Lefkas. Saw dolphins in the distance!
Arrival at Sivota, Lefkas. Again it was a very hot day. At the worst part of the day we lied down for siesta to make things bearable. Sivota is situated in a bay with little beaches; it's beautiful. From within the harbour it looks like an inland sea as the sea itself is not visible from here.
Day 11 Sivota - Meganisi
Leaving Sivota was spectacular. It was like Sail Amsterdam; all vessels left simultaneously when the sun came up.
When we were West of Meganisi we moored off in a magnificant bay with a cave and had lunch. This part of the island is incredibly beautiful with all the white rocks and bays. We did some fine sailing to the Northern tip with all its inlets. Anchored in the bay of Ormos Abelike and fixed the yacht with a clove hitch to an old olive tree. Had dinner on board under a starry sky.
Day 12 Meganisi - Palairos
Went on shore last night to track down a taverna. We found one and we had breakfast there, showered and washed our hair. Meganisi seems uninhabited near the bay, but around the corner somewhat inland there are a few tavernas. The tranquility at night was a wonderful experience.
The crossing to the mainland was calm. Did not sail a lot though. Landfall at Palairos.
Day 13 Palairos - Meganisi
The bay near Palairos is excellent for swimming. At last we could go snorkeling and see fish. Sailed back to Meganisi where I made a serious navigational error. From sea the actual coastline never appears like you would expect having seen the chart. We would have fared better had we followed a GPS course. When arriving in Vathi the port was chock-a-block and the ferry was just mooring off. Just our luck! We then decided to go to the bay we were in on Tuesday but went one further. Put a lanyard around a massive rock and fixed it firmly with a clove hitch.
Went ashore with a dinghy and had a copious meal in the taverna at the end of the beach, which was only a five minute walk.
Day 14 Meganisi - Lefkas
The bay was worth a picture in the early rays of the sun and I just had to go swimming on our last day. We moored off on the Eastern side of Meganisi, had lunch there and went snorkeling. At a leisurely pace of 1.5 knots we made for our home port.
Our arrival at Perigiali was a bit of an anti climax. The port was empty with only a few scattered vessels in a doubtful state. A few appeared to have been scuttled. When we left this port at the beginning of our journey the port was packed with boats and we had not seen this. Due to the unfavourable berth that was assigned to us, we had to bear the full brunt of the waves. All of a sudden the nose duck, followed by a thud. We noticed that the bottom side of the stern was slightly damaged, even though we had not damaged anything at all during our trip so far. A pity really, for the holiday to end like this. The waves rule here and it is advisable not to moor off in the corner but along the long side. Had it been up to us, we would have chosen a different spot.
Thank you very much for the route you advised. There was lots of variety, and it is certainly suited for those who are not seasoned sailors. There was plenty of time to go swimming, snorkeling, go shopping or simply leisure about out in the open in a pavement cafe. Every day we were looking forward to what the next day would bring us, and each time we were pleasantly surprised with what came our way. Personally though I would not recommend Poros port on Kefalonia in the main season because of the hectic caused by all the ferries there. The anchorages on Meganisi were absolutely brilliant.
Petra & Peter de Jong
Olaf van Hese & Marian Steenvoorden
Translation: Michiel van Ooijen
This Ionian sailing logbook in Dutch.
Flotillas in the Ionian.
Sailing guide to Greece.
Our own logs from our sailing trip in the Saronic and the Cyclades.
Sailing routes in the Ionian.
All yacht charter areas compared!
Further reading: Books and nautical charts of Greece and Turkey.