It’s about 30 NM from Parga on the mainland to the island of Lefkas. For us and our small boat it means a long day. We left in the morning with no wind. In the afternoon the wind picked up quite a bit and we could sail until our last waypoint just before entering the canal. The bridge to enter Lefkas canal operates on the hour so we tied up alongside in front of the bridge until 7 pm sharp. We were the only ones taking the bridge at that time so the bridge operator only opened the small drawbridge and gestured that we had to hurry up. We really had the impression of being back on the inland waterways. We moored just before dark on the town quay. We spent two days in Lefkas town, visiting the city and relaxing a bit. We also had drinks with our neighbors Pauline and Richard, an English couple cruising with their Bavaria named White Baron.
We once again left with no wind and had the idea of anchoring in Tranquil Bay (which is not so tranquil nowadays as there were at least 20 other yachts anchored there) opposite Nidri but we were a bit disappointed with the murky water (and the 2 million creepy jellyfishes) so we decided to go on. We passed Skorpios and thought it would be a nice place to anchor for the night, in a small bay with super clear blue water. Skorpios is mainly known for being the private island of the late Aristotle Onassis. You could anchor there when the Onassis family still owned the island, unfortunately the new Russian owners (technically they’re just leasing it) put signs everywhere stating that it’s forbidden to anchor around the island. On top of that a weird car kept on following us while we circled the island. You don’t want to mess with Russians… So we went back to Lefkas and anchored nearby in a small and pretty bay. From there we sailed on the next day to Ithaca, the island of Odysseus. We stopped first in Frikes, a tiny and quiet fishing village. We were moored next to Franz and Ruth, an Austrian couple sailing a beautiful Alpa 1150 named Dorado. We’re big fans of the Alpa 1150 (which basically looks like a bigger version of our Varne 27, the beautiful lines are alike) and it might even be our future boat in a couple of years. So we were quite happy we could have a good look inside an Alpa 1150. We walked from Frikes to Platrithias, on the way we could see the island of Kefalonia in the distance. We were fantasizing about buying a nice little house in this part of Ithaca but apparently Bill Gates and Tom Hanks own houses there so prices went through the roof. Now we have to find another Bill Gates-free island. The next day we stopped in a bay next to Vathi, the main city on Ithaca. The bay is supposed to be very quiet and it was. There was only one other boat with us. We could even swim a little (the water temperature was still good).
From Ithaca we sailed to Meganisi, passing the small island of Atokos on the way. As usual we left with no wind at all but after a few hours the wind picked up and we could sail. There was at some point so much wind we had to reef our sails to the maximum. We anchored on the East side of the island, in a small bay that we had for ourselves, not far from the village of Katomeri. There were no lights close by and we had a very clear sky that night, so we spent quite some time in our cockpit gazing at the stars and enjoying the orionid meteor shower. The perks of being anchored in the wild. There was a lot of wind again the next day. We wanted to stop in Spartochori but were told that the quay will be full later on and the other quay was not safe with the wind. We then went to the next bay were Vathi is located. We decided to pay for the marina, so we could charge our batteries and refill our water tanks.
As the forecast showed more wind to come for the next days, we decided to go back to Lefkas town and moor on the city quay. As usual in the Med the wind came from a completely different angle than predicted and we had quite some trouble with the wind on the quay: first the big boat next to us kept bumping into us until the owner finally came and moored his boat a bit better. We woke up at 2 am because this time we were completely pushed against our neighbor. Our anchor was not holding with the wind (and our neighbor’s boat) sideways on the bow so we had to jury-rig something to keep our boat stable, we brought a line from the bow to a ring on the quay and back to a sheet winch to winch us off the other boat. Then we were blown towards the quay and pulling in a bit of the anchor helped a little but was not such a good idea as we had little chain left. In the morning when the wind died for a while we inflated our dinghy, pulled up the anchor and set it again further out. At last we had a stable situation again (very nice after two sleepless nights). In the meantime we saw Wayne and Cha again. They had some family over so were renting an apartment for the week. We first had drinks on our boat and they kindly invited us for dinner at their place. We could also take a shower there which was super nice! The next days we had drinks and coffee with Eric and Karen, a Dutch couple who sold everything to trade their 9 to 5 daily routine for a life aboard their sailing yacht Hania in the Med. They were going to drive back to the Netherlands in the next couple of days and kindly offered us to take some of our stuff. We gladly accepted and we entrusted them with things we weren’t using on the boat (bye bye huge BBQ that we used only once).
After a few days the wind decreased enough so we could leave again. We wanted to go to Preveza but just as we were lifting our anchor we noticed that it was stuck under the chain of our new neighbor, a big and super heavy boat (an American built 15 m long ketch weighing 20 tons). Luckily for us a nice English guy came with his dinghy to help Thijs pull on the anchor chain and lift the massive chain of the guilty boat. The incident did cause us to miss the opening of the bridge by a few minutes, so we had to go back to where we were and reanchor… You can’t cruise in Greece and not experience at least once crossed anchors!