Simi to Levkas
27 May 2013 | Levkas Marina
Jane, warm and sunny
When on a boat agendas never seem to go to plan. We always say to friends that are coming to visit we cannot guarantee where AND when we can meet them, it is best to come find us.
On that note we never made Rhodes, as we ended up having generator problems and did not even make Simi for the start of the rally. Luckily our friends on Excellence were going to Rhodes and kindly picked up our fantastic new Parasail and we caught up with everyone at Nisiros stopping off in Simi to check into Greece on the way through. There is a fantastic valcano there which we visited and some lovely choras (villages) around the sides.
To date we have visited the islands of Simi, Nisiros, Astipalia, Santorini, Ios, Paros, Serifos, Idhra, Poros, Trizonia, Keffallinia, Levkas and are due into Corfu in the next couple of days. We have missed a few places we wanted to see on our way due to weather, waiting for boats, etc., but plan to come back to the Ionian on our way back down from Venice There is so much to see and do, but never enough time it seems.
We enjoyed our time in Astipalia at anchor in a beautiful bay within walking distance to the main harbour and the stunning chora at the top of the hill. A memorable evening was had at a wonderful restaurant on the beach where we were, plus there were several fun inter boat social evenings. Then it was off to Santorini.
We stayed in a marina at the bottom of Santorini for two nights with another rally catamaran Kintukani. The other boats went to Ios and ferried down, staying overnight at a bed and breakfast. We rented a car and went walkabout. The island is stunning with villages at the edge of the cliffs with fantastic views over the massive crater that we ended up sailing through. The water temperature went up by a couple of degrees while we motored through, showing that the volcano is still slightly active. There are lots of wineries as the soil is very fertile, so we ended up at one called Santos where we loaded up with some of their excellent wine. A trip to Lidel, as well, and now Ta-b is provisioned for a while. Santorini is charming even with the tourists, we cannot imagine what it must be like in season. We were crazy enough to walk down to the old harbour and back again 1200 steps, certainly got the old ticker working.
From Santorini we went to Ios and then onto Paros. We fell in love with the anchorage north of Naousa within a dingy ride of the harbour and would recommend it to anyone going that way. Crystal clear water and the town is just delightful, we could easily have stayed there for a lot longer. Then it was a quick stop in Serifos on our way to Idhra. The winds have not been kind to us being on the nose most days, with bumpy seas and not great sailing. So everyone has been doing a lot of motoring. On leaving Marmaris we realised something was amiss with our Starboard engine, but having just had it worked on we thought she just need some settling in time, so we have been mainly using the port one.
No room at the Inn at Hydra, not that we like going into harbours, but the anchorage in Mandraki was very deep. At 38 mtrs we put out the most line that we have ever used and it was a windy old night. One of our boats got their anchor caught round an old anchor and it it took two divers two days to sort it out. His chain is now a tad shorter than it was. Hydra town is worth a visit as there are no cars on the island so lots of donkeys, and the village is very quaint. It was quiet when we were there, but in the summer up to10 ferries and two cruise ships can take over the place.
We also loved Poros. After a night at anchor in Russian Bay we all met and went stern to off the town quay. Went for some lovely walks and had an excellent meal at the Oasis Restaurant; which we negotiated at 12 euro per head. We all felt a tad slow the next day, especially the Likely Lads. Planned a quiet night to recover, at a little bay, before we negotiated the Corinth Canal. A good plan until Kintukani had all the boats, that were at anchor together, on board for dinner - they are wonderful hosts.
The Corinth canal was an amazing experience, not sure how the tankers get through as I felt it was quite a tight fit for Ta-b; especially as some places either side are quite shallow. It is in fact 25m wide, 3.2 miles long and the limestone sides rise to 250 feet. It was completed in 1893 and enlarged after suffering damage in WW2, there are three bridges that cross it. A friend took pictures of the rally boats from one of the bridges – some memorable photos. In the Corinth gulf we went to Itea and took a day trip to Delphi, one of the most spectacular classical sites in Greece and known by the ancients as the centre of the world.
While in the gulf we stopped at Trizonia island, a little gem, before leaving and making our way to Keffallinia. It was a long day of 14 hours, especially at the end when we had very troubled seas and 30 plus knots of wind yet again on the nose. It was super to go out with our friends when we arrived and laugh over great food, wine and company. The next day was lovely as I joined friends for a trip to Fiskardho, a delightful harbour at the north of the island the only one that remained intact after the earthquake in 1953.
From there we came direct to Lefkas, as by now we knew that we had to get our engines looked at. Not good news, seals and bearings on both sides not happy and we were lifted out for a day, that became four, as a couple of other items showed their ugly heads. Boats … got to love them, but they can certainly ruin one’s bank account. Not only that, but we have been busy swatting flies (twelve at a time) and hosing down the fridge and freezer heat exchangers so we can keep them running part time. We are now sitting in the water waiting for the guys to finish off the work, not holding my breath, but we should be able to leave Lefkas tomorrow (Tuesday) morning for Paxos.
Kim and Cam our friends from Vancouver arrive on Thursday and we have a 70th birthday/rally dinner on Friday before we set off for Croatia. We are due to sail into Venice on the 12th June, and Amy arrives the next day – so looking forward to seeing her. Our nephew Michael will be with us for a week too while we sail down from Venice to Split, should be fun to have the two of them on board.
Lots of photos in the gallery this time, some of them from friends on the rally. Think they speak for themselves with the notations that I add. Enjoy the first days of summer, will try and update our blog after we leave Venice. Carpe Diem.