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Part 3 Lefkas - Kefalonia
This is part three of the logbook that describes Lene Poulsen's sailing holiday in Greece - Ionian.
Part one: Lefkas - Kefalonia
Part two: Kefalonia - Ithaca
Part three: Ithaca - Lefkas
Tuesday – Day eight
We decided to
leave for either Frikes or Kioni on Ithaca and left at 9.15. Having
looked at both, we decided on Kioni, which became one of our
favourite stops. It is a small village, beautiful in every way. There
are tour boats, but the last one leaves at 16.30.
You can take a swim
either at the small beach, or just on the other side of the quay
where the ferries/tour boats anchor. We anchored bow-to a bit away
from where the tour boats anchor. On the quay almost in front of our
boat lies Hamilton House, built in 1894. This has survived the earth
quake in 1953, and is quite a beautiful old house. You can have a
shower here, and the owner is a nice old man who likes to tell
stories. He told me the house was built by an English lady. He has
owned it for 20 years, and wouldn't dream of selling it. He quickly
got fed up, though, by tourists asking if he would sell it and for
how much. So whenever he got the question nowadays he always said the
price was €1.500.000 – that shut most of them up, he claimed.
There a few tavernas to choose from and also a few shops. A very
relaxed and nice place.
Wednesday – Day nine
When we woke
up the sky seemed a bit dark, and it was rather windy. We also heard
thunder far away. We left Kioni harbour at 9.20 but sailed directly
into a thunderstorm near Frikes – to avoid it we retreated back
into the bay by Kioni for shelter and waited it out for 20 minutes or
so. Then we continued north heading towards Sivota on Lefkas island.
Once we got free of Kefalonia and Ithaca and were in open seas, the
waves became very long and kept rolling in sideways from the west. So
it was a bit of a rocky sail to Sivota, but in fine weather, though
windy. The wind bounced about, and when we got to Sivota about noon,
there were strong gusts of wind rolling down from the hills into the
bay. We made the mistake of not checking the map for depth in the
harbour, and dropped our anchor off a free spot in too deep waters
(just inside the harbour, south).
The anchor seemed to be holding OK
though, so we left the boat and went to get lunch. When we came back
an hour later, the anchor had slipped, and a few (very nice) people
were trying to stop it from crashing into other boats. We had to
quickly pull the anchor in and try anchoring again. This time,
further out, more chain, but still the same spot (i.e. too deep). The
anchor didn't hold again, there were strong gusts of wind making it
difficult to steer the boat, and to add to that two larger boats were
trying to anchor as well to our port side. Their anchors didn't
hold either, so we had the weight of the two boats on top of ours
with an anchor that didn't hold. The chains got entangled, and we
had quite a few tricky moments out there trying not to do damage to
our own boat or any other boats. Two fellow Danes jumped aboard ours
and helped with the chains and the anchor – we regretfully never
got their names, but they were of great help to us that day.
finally decided to leave Sivota instead of trying to anchor for a
third time, and left the bay after having set ashore the two Danes.
We decided to go to Meganisi and return to port Spiglia, as we knew
for sure there'd be moorings (secure night), and we liked the
place. We also had to be in Lefkada marina by 17.00 Friday to hand
over the boat, so we were bound to go in that direction anyway. In
Port Spiglia we secured the boat by mooring to the pontoon and went
up to Babis' restaurant to have a beer and relax after a rather
stressful day of sailing – it was now 17.00. Babis remembered us
from the week before and warmly welcomed us. We hadn't sat down for
more than 5 minutes when he offered our skipper to help him sail the
boat from the pontoon to the small harbour so we would get a much
less rocky night. Having done that he offered us all a drink (ouzo) –
that's Greek hospitality at its best!
Thursday – Day ten
After a calm
and quiet night we left Port Spiglia at 10.30. We decided just to “go
round the corner” to Vathi – still very windy, but very good
holding in the harbour. Vathi is also a nice place – very quiet and
relaxed. We had a nice meal at the Rose Garden (where you also can
get a shower), and used the computer in the restaurant to see the
weather forecast for the next day – it didn't look that good, but
we were glad the final stretch from Vathi to Lefkada was quite small.
In the afternoon we walked to the bay next to Vathi as we had heard
of a small beach called Abelike – it turned out to be a bit of a
disappointment, as the water in the bay is not that nice at all once
you get close to it. It is actually the only place we didn't spot
one single fish, and that can't be a good sign. Quite a few boats
were anchored here – it has good shelter, but appears to have
become somewhat spoiled which is a shame.
Friday – Day eleven
Heavy and dark
clouds from early morning, and thunder from afar. We are not sure
whether the storm comes our way or not. Our anchor is holding fine,
so we decide rather to be safe, than sorry. The storm came about
10.30 and it rained (poured, more like it) for two massive hours –
lots of lightning and thunder, very strong gusts of wind, and hardly
any visibility. An hour into the storm we suddenly see a boat come
drifting towards us, and they are attempting to anchor in front of
us, which we didn't like at all – If their anchor didn't hold,
they would be blown right into us or one of the other boats anchored
off the harbour. They seemed not to be in control of the boat at all,
and we were afraid they would tear our anchor loose
with their anchor. It turned out they had lost their propeller, and
were unable to do much else than what they did. Luckily it turned out
fine, and apart from quite a bit of untangling chains and anchors
when we finally could leave Vathi at 13.15, we left without a
We arrived in Lefkada marina at 15.30, and Andreas came to
meet us before we were even finished mooring. We arranged for him to
be back next morning to check the boat. We had a bath (cards for the
shower rooms are available at the harbour service centre), and went
up to the town for a nice meal. We decided on a restaurant called
“The Lighthouse” – it is in a small street off the main
“pedestrian” street in Lefkada town. This developed into being
the funniest evening on the whole trip. If you know Fawlty Towers
with John Cleese, this is the Greek version of it. Hardly no tables
got what they ordered (they just got somebody else's food); some
had to open their own wine (a corkscrew was just left at the table);
some never got their food at all (a Dutchman having waited an hour
for his Souvlaki offered Sten €10 for his pork steak, which –
incidentally - turned out to be beef!), and when we wanted to pay the
bill, the only thing he could remember we had ordered, was a large
bottle of water. On top of that he had started out by proclaiming
loudly (after we had been there for about 10 minutes, and the place
was filling up, and he became more and more confused) “I am in
control of everything”. We laughed so hard we were completely
exhausted by the time we left. The food may not be spectacular, but
the show is excellent!
Saturday – Day twelve
back at 09.15 to check the boat. Already a diver had been in the
water and checked the keel and so forth, and Andreas was very
thorough going over the boat. This is actually quite comforting, as
you can trust nothing is wrong with the boat when you start your
trip. I will have to take some time here to praise the chartering
company – everything (and I do literally mean everything) worked on
the boat; the introduction to the boat before we took off was
extremely thorough; the check-up when we came back likewise;
everything was well-organized – i.e. we had arranged for the
chartering company to pick us up at the airport when we arrived, and
a taxi driver holding a piece of cardboard saying “POULSEN” stood
waiting outside, and took us straight to the marina, and even carried
my luggage aboard. We had asked the company to find us hotel
accommodation for the last two nights before our flight back to
Denmark, and they had found a most charming and cheap hotel in the
city centre, as we had requested. The deposit (€1.300) was duly
handed back once the check-up was completed by Andreas who found no
faults or damages – In short: Everything worked fantastically well,
and all this was arranged by e-mail with the company. We can only
recommend such a trustworthy company. We were picked up by a taxi who
took us to our hotel, the Santa Maura, in the centre of Lefkada. It
is about 100 meters from the wooden bridge in the harbour in the main
street. The hotel was built in 1850, and has a lot of charm – the
rooms are nice and come with a shower and bathroom, air condition,
and a TV (with only Greek and Italian channels though). We paid €40
for a double and €30 for a single room (per night).
remaining days were spent relaxing and driving round the island, so
it is not that interesting to this account. If you do have spare time
though, you should definitely go to one beach, Porto Katsiki – it
will blow you away!
- Don't expect marinas to have shower / bathroom facilities. We only saw
that in Lefkada Marina. The common thing to do is to look for a
restaurant (typically) that offers showers to sailors – and use
the bathrooms of the restaurants you visit – most often these are
spotless and very clean, and most often, they don't have any locks
or keys – if you close the door, it is a sign of it being occupied
(works with showers as well), so we didn't actually have one
single embarrassing episode during our 14 days :-)
on the boats should only be switched on when motoring, or when you
can get electricity from ashore (this is by no means everywhere!).
Instead you buy blocks of ice, ice cubes or frozen bottles of water
to keep the temperature down and the food and drink cool. Go for the
blocks of ice where you can get them – they last so much longer
than a bag of ice cubes, which will have melted into water in a day.
blocks can last for 3 days.
- You are very
in harbours – we only had to pay for the boat in Eyfimia/Efimia, where we
had water and electricity on the quay. The charge for our boat was
€12/day. More often restaurants maintain the pontoons or help
guide you in the harbour. You repay them by eating out at their
place in the evening. In return, you can stay free of charge, and
use the restaurant's bathroom facilities (though you do have to
pay for a shower).
If you want
to secure a good spot for your boat,
you should take off early and get in early – the more popular
harbours (like i.e. Fiskardo) are packed already by 14.00, and we
assume it's even worse if you sail in July and August (our trip
was a bit off season, last week of August and early September).
- In Denmark we
spend quite a lot of time looking at charts, looking out for beacons
and buoys and lighthouses, checking the depth of the water regularly
because of the many shallow waters and so on. In Greece the only
buoys and beacons we ever saw were in the canal outside Lefkada marina.
This does not mean you can let your guard down completely, but most
of the time you will have 200 meters of water under the keel, so
there really is nothing to worry about.
Rod Heikell's book "Ionian" – the pilot – is indispensable. We had secured a copy before we left
(also for planning and preparing), but every charter boat has a copy
of it on board. It has so much vital information and is of great
help. Note that Rod Heikell's "Greek Waters Pilot" is much more up to date!
South Ionian Sea sailing vacations - yacht charters out of Lefkas, Greece.
Part one: Lefkas - Kefalonia
Story and photos by Lene Poulsen from Denmark
Part two: Kefalonia - Ithaca
Part three: Ithaca - Lefkas
The Ionian Sea.
Sailing routes in the Ionian Sea.
Waypoints in the Ionian.
The whales and dolphins of Greece.
Find reliable yacht charter companies.