May 16, 2010
A couple of weeks later than usual, but I am back in the Ionian on another “Whole Ionian” flotilla with Sailing Holidays.
A bit shorter than usual though as I have always tended to do the first or last trips which means starting of finishing in Gouvia.
This is standard trip starting at Sivota on Levkas and ending in Plataria on the mainland.
May 17, 2010
Destination today is Spartachori on Meganissi which could be a simple case of motoring up the Meganissi Channel (there isnt much wind in there today) but we want to get some sailing in and head over to go the other side of Meganissi.
May 17, 2010
A beam reach across to pass between Meganissi and the little island off its tip and then a broad reach up the chanel between Meganissi and Kalamos.
That was the initial plan, but this is the Inland Sea with high islands around which can play merry hell with the wind…
Halfway up the channel the wind died and suddenly our broad reach on a South Westerly turned into a beat into a North Westerly, yes its the Lefkas effect again. Out in the open sea the wind must be Westerly but when it his Lefkas it is throwing a hook around each end.
May 17, 2010
Up to the NE tip of Meganissi and then its a beat to get around onto the north shore.
Wind is dropping off as we get close ro Porto Spiglia (the bay for Spartachori) but it is time to start the volvo and sort out the fenders and lines anyway before motoring up to Steve and Jerries taverna at the far end of the bay.
Here the flotilla lead skipper takes a back seat. This is Steve’s quay and you moor where he tells you to. There are some stern to spots but most of the quay is bows to with lazy lines.
May 18, 2010
Porta Spiglia is exposed to the north and north-east and the Northerly wind overnight has been pushing some wicked swell into the bay.
Over at Steve and Jerries we were relatively well sheltered (I finally worked out the purpose of a bit of floating pontoon that had no apparent access to the quay. It is a breakwater!)
The village quay is tucked in behind the headland on the NW corner of the bay and is also fairly well sheltered but the “Porta Spiglia” taverna has some floating pontoons that are exposed.
There was another Sailing Holdays flotilla over there last night and they have taken a bit of a bashing, tossing boats and clashing masts I understand…
Anyway forecast today is N6 – 7 and we aren’t going to move anywhere. A fairly common situation when you have a flotilla of 10 boats, is working out not only where you can go for shelter but whether there will be enough space for everybody when you get there. Quite often the boats that are in the sheltered spots (like our fleet) aren’t going anywhere and it has to be really bad where you are to take a punt on going somewhere else…
Well the news is that the Sunsail flotilla in Vathi is heading down to Sivota so the Jaguars over a “Porta Spiglia” are going to hop around the corner and tuck in there before anyone else can get there.
Several of our crews (including the two of us on Ida) decide to take the morning ferry across to Nidri and come back in the afternoon.
Our lead crew are off in their rib to help out with the Jaguar flotilla.
From the ferry quay we see the strange sight of the rib being used to tow yachts out of their moorings and helping them turn around to get themselves bow on to the wind and seas before letting them go off on their short trip to Vathi.
There are a lot more crews wearing lifejackets today and I’m not at all suprised at that.
A “trireme” style trip boat, complete with a ram on the bow, is coming into harbour as one of the Jaguars is leaving. Not a problem as they are already both well over to each others port sides… Not a problem until the Jaguar skipper forgets that you should drive on the right and pass red to red and goes hard a port to get onto the left hand side of the channel. A bit of full astern to sudden stop from the trip boat stops her spearing the Jag with her ram…
Anyway we are on the Meganissi II and on-route for Nidri.
May 18, 2010
Nidri is a very busy little tourist town which may be shopping heaven for any shopaholics. Shops, tavernas, cafes it has them in plenty.
It also no longer has as much traffic on its main street!
This used to be part of the main route down the length of Lefkada and was always a problem as coaches and trucks tried to pick their way between parked cars etc.
About 10 years or so ago they started to build a by-pass and built half of it… Well half a bypass isn’t a lot of use so we used to call it the road to nowhere. Surprise! Finally the northern section of the bypass is now in place and the through traffic can avoid Nidri’s main street!
They must have opened it in the last three years since I was last here.
May 18, 2010
A walk around Nidri and a beer in a cafe and its back on the ferry to Spartachori.
May 19, 2010
Weather has improved so today’s destination is Kioni on Ithaca.
“Down the Meganissi Channel, leave Arkudi to starbaord and it will be in front of you”
Not for the IDA it won’t as we pull out early to get some miles under us. The plan is to go around Kalamos down to Atoko and across. This may be a bit adventurous, and possiby a bit long but we can always cut it short if the wind isn’t right.
We beat North East fron Meganissi until we can hold a course that will speed us over to the northern end of Kalamos and then we are flying…
May 19, 2010
We were flying along towards Kalamos and then everything started to slow down… It is often the case in the Ionian that you get wind in the early morning, nothing by about 12 o’clock and then the breeze comes back at about 3pm.
With the last couple of days to go on I had hoped for a good breeze all day but no it is not to be.
So it is going to be plan B, back down between Meganissi and Kalamos and then straight over to Kioni.
May 19, 2010
Drifting and then motoring along hoping for some breeze we finally get some and yes it is on the nose again!
Beating south between Meganissi and Kalamos we find that as the closer we get to the tip of Meganissi the more the wind seems to be shifting from SW towards the W.
We clear Meganissi and yes it is a westerly and we want to go west!
We beat across towards Ithaca and it starts to shift towards NW as we get a bit more of the Levkas effect, still at least we are sailing and there is enough wind to need to reef.
“Kioni is quite a small harbour so aim to get in before 5pm or you might have to raft up” thats what the skipper said at this morning’s briefing.
Well its only about 4pm as we approach and the VHF is busy as the fleet is trickling in then we start hearing things like: “Get a move on we are running out of spaces already” and “Don’t worry about dropping your kedge I’ll take it out in the rib, just get into that space before that other flotilla can grab it”
This is only May and yet it sounds more like the Ionian in August!
This area is getting too popular!
Well IDA is the last boat in from our group and we end up side on to the end of the quay. Not too bad, except that there are two other boats from our fleet between us and the quay.
And looking out to sea there are another ten boats still heading in…
There will be a fair number anchored off on the other side of the harbour, with long lines ashore to stop them swinging,tonight.