Elizabeth and co travelled via the rail route from Zurich to Ancona with a change in Milan. They happily reported that it was without difficulty. Based on their experience we will add more detailed information on our “How to get there” page in due course.
We met on the ferry to Igoumenista, we drove by our usual means with the ship’s dog.
We got to Levkas and took over Black Pearl, a 40ft Bavaria we had used before. All three having completed their Competent Crew in the recent past, it did not take long to get ship shape and Bristol fashion.
We completed the short hop to one of our favourite spots, Spartakhori. Having not been out this early in the season, we were little unsure of what was open or not. However the greeting at the Porta Spilia was as warm as ever and the meal up to the usual great standards.
The small concern for the week was the weather. The forecast was for south easterlies all week, exactly the opposite of the usual prevailing winds from the NW, so it made some anchorages a little open, more on that front to follow.
Sivota was our destination on the Sunday, a good day’s sailing with plenty of tacking in good winds. Glad to have picked the shelter of Sivota as we were making over 8 knots under sail. Good sailing 🙂
We decided to anchor up opposite the Olive Press for the evening with a visit to the Delfinia for some more excellent food.
The following day started well, with clear skies. Then it went downhill fast. A fouled anchor does take the shine off. Upon investigation, it turned out our anchor was wrapped up in about 5 tonnes of chains, anchors and other old ironmongery that we have since learned was dropped some years past by a well-known charter company to use as moorings and was never cleared out once they moved on.
After some very kind help from a fellow yottie and despite every effort, we could not clear it ourselves so had to call a diver in. Not available today (Easter Monday) so tomorrow sometime. Damn it. However it gave a good chance for the boys to have a swim. Warnings that it would be cold went unheeded until the first splash 🙂
With the time past 16:00 and with the weather on the turn, there was no real chance of moving on, so we had a second night in Sivota, with a change of mooring locations of course 😉
Tuesday brought us to a new location, Little Vathi on Meganissi. Not to be confused with Big Vathi on Ithaca – keep it simple 🙂
We had not used this stopover before as it’s next door to one of our favourite spots, but we do try to visit a new spot every trip. A nice little place, it is the main town for the island and it shows in the busy bustle. The open square was pleasant and the hidden plane (which we did have to go back to find) creates some interest.
As the storm warnings were building for the following evening and day (Thursday), we decided to slip early to get a couple of night hours in so went to our bunks with the thoughts of a 05:00 start in our minds.
05:00 and no need to worry about light discipline as night vision was destroyed anyway by all the street lights still blazing. We slipped, moved out and finally gained our night sight. We headed off to Port Leone for breakfast (a spot we’d sailed past before but not stopped at). This little village was destroyed in the 1953 earthquake and abandoned, only the church been repaired and regular services still held. We entered the bay to find a local fisherman laying his nets so could not get directly to our chosen spot. Instead we dropped anchor a little way off and took the tender in.
Once back on board (outboard issues), we headed off to Nidri with view to mooring on the town quay for a couple of hours over lunch and later anchoring up in Vlikho, the well-known “hurricane hole”. The weather had been picking up all day with gusts in excess of 41 knots from astern as we crossed from Kalamos
This made the mooring at Nidri tricky with an onshore wind on an exposed quay, so we had to curtail our plans, a leisurely lunch turning into a short provisioning trip before moving up to the bay.
With the anchor dug in well, we (the boys again) had a chance to swim.
It must have been rough out in the open – and we found out just how bad it was later in the week.
The highlight of the last day’s sailing was the sighting of a dolphin or two. Sadly they weren’t in a mood to play and wouldn’t let us get close to the pod. It was also interesting passing the dredging of the Levkas channel up close, (maybe a man thing)
We finished up with a great meal at Margarita restaurant in Levkas town, followed by a run up to Igoumenitsa to drop Elizabeth, James and Harry off for their ferry back to Italy.
Thanks guys for a great week.
Part II coming soon, a week on the Dinghies