Greece Sept – Oct 14

Brent & I sailed south from Prevesa & through the Levkas canal. On exit the wind headed us – coming slightly from port. We decided to bear away for the first harbour to starboard. At Nikiana we anchored within the harbour as there were no spaces on the wall.

Big wind & rain in night; at 3 a.m.the sea was cascading over harbour wall & masts wildly swinging from side to side. Wild but fabulous scene!

As we were anchored within the harbour, we lay quietly head to wind. The sea was flat though we could feel the force of the wind.

Next morning, we went ashore to buy provisions. The taverna nearest to Kyara was closed but nevertheless we took up the kind offer to open & cook us omelettes for breakfast. Together with nice freshly squeezed orange juice & coffee, we really felt on holiday!

Vlitho bay – anchored near friends on Champions on the west side of the bay. Heavy rain in evening. Nice meal Gailos taverna on E side of bay – we had moved anchorage in the afternoon.

Port Vathy, Meganisi – rain am & again pm after swim.

Kastos Chef Johns restaurant, halfway up the hill overlooking the harbour, has a great view but pricey (double normal) to dine at 49 Euro for two! Will avoid like the plague in future! Nice harbour though you have to be aware that your anchor is not on the edge of the “shelf”. The strip nearest the quay, where you go stern to, has been dredged. So when you are tied up stern to if your anchor is on the ledge & you haul in on the windlass …… you suddenly have insufficient scope & the anchor drags. Best to drop the anchor well out – in the shallow 3 metre area.

Lunch stop for lovely swim at One House Bay en-route to Kioni, Ithaca

Kioni nice! A berth was hard to find, but we got a space on the port hand side at the top of the harbour. We moored Kyara stern to shore, with anchor off bow. Water was too shallow to get closer. We used dinghy The Crow to get ashore, working our way along the stern ropes. Fab place, but spoilt for 1 hour when 2 tripper boats arrived in port. Then, the volume of tourists is simply too much for the waterfront.

For the first time, the engine failed to crank. Danny, from flotilla came with battery & jump leads. Engine started immediately. Little did we realise it, but it was to be some time before the problem was identified & cured. Stopped for swim near Rat Isle. Other than two Welsh guys, no rats in sight!

Tied up alongside quay in Sami, Kefalonia. Nice place will come again & stay longer. We headed NW for Efimia, a short sail.

Agia Efimia anchored in harbour great meal in “The Local” – big portions, lovely food & reasonable! Early rain in the morning. Battery failed to crank engine fast enough. De-compressed 2 of the 3 cylinders & it then started.

08.30 Motored for 2 1/2 hrs to Polis Bay, Ithaca. Anchored with long stern line to shore. Nice swim in translucent water. I always wear Crocs whilst swimming & here it proved wise as there were sharp rocks on the one side & maybe sea urchins (in most places). Lunch onboard, snooze then coffee in beachside bar. Canoeists arrived & set up camp at the top of the pebble beach. In the evening we walked up the hill 1 Km to the village.

Interesting place and as on the ridge of the island there were some good views in the few places where there were gaps in the trees & houses. As usual, nice meal in taverna with a good view of Kyara anchored in the bay below.

Berthed Nielsen’s pontoon Nidri. Starter motor ashore for repair! We were lucky to find a marine/motor electrical repair workshop. It was ready the next day and reasonable at 40 Euros. Nice day though no wind. En route we had lunch & swim in Levkas channel inside Thilia Is. We anchored very close to a tiny beach & whilst we were swimming, Brent shouted “she’s dragging”. So quickly on board & reset the anchor.

Nice sail to Meganisi, Spilia Bay, port side harbour. Directed to alongside outer mole extension. Lovely swim. Big wind came up with 180 deg wind shift now pushing us on to the quay. Adjacent boat, moored stern to, dragged anchor. We shouted to him to motor ahead. Though he had the engine running, he would not rev it up despite my shouting. As he cast off his stern lines to motor out, the wind & his now offset anchor pushed him towards Kyara. My screaming was to no avail, he pranged the davit mounted solar panels, causing some damage – all of which was not apparent at the time. He motored away & not seen again – shame on you Mr Unknown!

We immediately had to deal with the serious waves pushing Kyara onto the concrete mole, which itself was bouncing up and down. The view to seaward was onshore white water right across the bay! With help from others, we tried to hold Kyara off but even with 6+ people it was almost impossible & tiring. With Kyara jumping up & down two feet whilst pressed hard on to the concrete the cylindrical fenders were inadequate. I then let a few of them go & float horizontally floating up & down with the boat’s movement – big improvement! As there seemed no prospect of relief from the wind, I decided to motor off – despite the possibility of catching the end of the mole which was 5 metres ahead of the bows. I asked one of the kind helpers to get on the corner of the mole with a fender. Engaged forward gear, set rudder to go out, went to stern & let go last mooring line then rushed to the wheel & revved up whilst helpers on shore pushed the boat seaward. Result, though we barely made it! The brilliant shore helpers retrieved fenders & lashed the dinghy down.

We motored around the harbour & the only suitable space was on the inside of the mole where we had been moored. Here the water was flat. We got a line ashore & lay bows-to, only to be shouted at by the Taverna owner to let another boat in first then we could lay outside him.

Darkness fell & whilst circling around the harbour, the engine stopped & would not start. We were now being pushed onshore in a big wind in a harbour that is 20 metres deep. I shouted to Brent to let the whole anchor go quickly. As usual, Brent did this efficiently & without hesitation. The anchored dragged on the sea bed & we travelled inexorably towards the shore. Luckily, whilst 10 metres off the taverna’s veranda, the fabulous Delta anchor bit! Brent worked on the engine’s fuel supply by torchlight & I kept an eye on the anchor. After a lot of hard work in the, with the boat riding the waves, Brent got the engine going. Pulling in the anchor chain, it felt warm & comforting, reflecting the sea water temp.

The wind & sea was now moderating as we re-located to the allocated berth. Our friends left the sanctuary of the taverna & came to take our lines – much appreciated! After a quick cleanup, although knackered, we joined them in the taverna. Everyone knew of our plight & were kind with their comments.

The next morning & in view of the engine problem (as temporarily fixed only, we decided to head straight back to Prevesa. Brent had to work a few times on the fuel supply which was starved, so I decided to sail in the S. end of the Levkas canal (not strictly legit).

Sailing downwind through Levkas in canal we kept tight to the starboard side in order to allow the faster boats to motor through. We suddenly went aground though seconds earlier we had over 2 metres beneath the keel! Luckily, the engine had been idling & we quickly motored off. Two weeks later the dredger was seen to be working in that part of the canal. Fuel had to be bled 3 times on this leg. Brent is Golden!

Moored town quay Prevesa. Brent fixed engine air ingress! Filter bleed screw sealed with PTFE tape. We did a test run into the Gulf of Ambravakikos, all ok. Anchored for lunch & swim off harbour. Motored to Ionian Marine quay, Prevesa, ready for crew change. Attacked by mozzies whilst in taverna for evening meal. Worst case on this trip.

Brent replaced by Barry.

Barry arrived and luckily we all 3 had some time together before Brent had to depart for the airport. When it was time to go, his taxi failed to turn up, the driver’s mobile phone was not answered so he walked the 1.5 miles to the airport, arriving in good time.

The next morning Barry & I sailed to the Levkas canal. Had 55 min wait for the swing bridge to open, so anchored for lunch. Once through the Canal, we anchored in Nikiana – just as with Brent earlier.

Sailed east & moored in Paleros, nice! I had a hip pain so could not walk the short distance to & around the small village. Bakery here is supposed to be superb. Must get there again & have a good look around. Just S of here is the Palaikos harbour that is the base for a large charter fleet at Vounaki Marina.

Downwind sail to Port Atheni, Meganisi & anchored off the S end of the quay. Attacked by mozzies in taverna.

Departed the next morning, sailing & before S of Meganisi wind came F5 & we sailed on starboard tack all the way to S Ithaca at 6-7 kts. A 42 foot Lagoon catamaran astern failed to catch us, just sailed at same distance. We later heard they tried to catch up, to no avail. Once around S of Ithaca, initially wind on nose for Sami. Motor-sailing with mainsail. Once wind freed a little we deployed staysail & speed came back to 5 kts. Moored stern to in Sami. Had another enjoyable evening ashore.

Sailed just 5 mls to Euphmia & had diesel blockage inside tank. We sailed right into the harbour & anchored in the N corner. When the diesel supply pipe was removed from the tank, not one drop of diesel emerged. I pushed a thin wire 8cm into the tank, could feel no blockage & once withdrawn, not one drop of diesel emerged!

As there was no shoreside support readily available, Barry & I removed & cleaned out the tank. Big job! Luckily managed to find & buy some diesel jerry cans plus a plastic pump in harbour side beach shop/chandlery – very lucky. With much filtering of the diesel (the West filter/funnel worked brilliantly) we eventually ended up with a clean tank & fuel.

Pics above – filter with grot & slops inside blue bucket.

Layover day as this work went into a second day.

Dept for Frikes going N-about Ithaca. Light air spinnaker run at 2.5 kts the wind headed us opposite Polis Bay. Motored to N tip then brisk port reach to Frikes, Ithaca in 20+ kts of wind. Swim outside harbour wall superb; crystal clear water, pretty little fish. Some cold patches – due to emerging underground streams. Lovely place must come again! Skipper was relaxed.

Great downwind sail to Astakos with all 3 white sails at 5 kts. port-to-port. Ideal holiday sailing! Here there is plenty of fresh water and a shower at the head of the beach. Failed to find replacement kettle, though Astakos is good for shopping. Plenty of fresh water & beach shower is great after a swim. They don’t seem to mind you using shampoo & soap, unlike at Sami where a notice says soap will pollute the sea. Enroute to Kastos the water pump drive fan belt failed. We were close to the shore & wind only F1. It was far too deep to anchor all the way to the shore. We unfurled staysail & genoa & slowly sailed off whilst fitting a new belt. We found that we could not get sufficient belt tension. Decided to motor sail at low revs the 8 miles to Kastos. Subsequent investigation revealed that the belt fitted was too long. It was a copy of the original belt! Here we ate ashore with the Aderyns & Graham & June who were celebrating their 38th wedding anniversary. They are Brits whose home is near Cape Town. The taverna was near the windmill so had great sea views – very enjoyable.

We motor sailed to Mikitas. The harbour was full so went into the “half finished” marina.

Pic above – Kyara berthed alongside. Note fishing boat in foreground with engine on foredeck. Later, the manhandling of it ashore was both hilarious & dangerous.

Space now in harbour but too lazy to move! Seems like a nice place though very quiet. Would be far too exposed if strong NW wind, so best to stray not too far! Lunchtime drinks were cheap.

Levkas – motored all the way, mostly in rain & moored stern to on town quay. Soon heavy rain came in for most of the night. Nice meal ashore in tiny taverna.

Went N through Levkas canal with bridge open at 10 am. Moored Prevesa town quay at noon, having motored all the way. Wind slightly to port of bow. Wind came up F4+ & took 1+ kts off speed for last 1+ hr. Deployed staysail & speed came back. At S end of quay, hopefully away from quayside nightclub noise!

Stayed 2 days on Prevesa town quay. Second evening wind came obliquely onshore so we motored in the darkness to windward & anchored off Aktio. Bad nights’ sleep as current pushing boat with anchor chain caught up between hulls & astern. Failed to get boat to turn despite that it was slowly swinging through a 100 deg arc. Barry slept soundly which was good as he was flying home in the morning.

With Barry departed I had a week solo, of which 3 days afloat doing jobs at anchor in Margorana Bay. From here the morning sunrise was spectacular. An orange glow would appear beyond the eastern distant hills. It increased and just before the sun became visible, there was a fab line of lights on the skyline. It extended for maybe 20 miles and was like an extremely bright light from a massive highlighter pen at the horizon interface. Spectacular! The lift out at the boatyard was, unusually, over an hour late – though as normal, worked like clockwork.

The chart attached shows the route taken with Barry.