Kurukulla at Anegada, BVI

Friday, 22 August 2014

Zakynthos to Corfu. Quiet, gentle, sailing.

I should first start by explaining why there has been such a long break between this post and the last. It was always planned that I would return to UK at the end of this leg to visit elderly relatives (in their 90s') and attend the wedding of the daughter of lifelong friends. Sadly whilst I was in UK my mother passed away and so a short stay had to be extended to cope with all the organisation that surrounds such an event. A planned 10 day stay became a 24 day one. The blog that was going to be written in spare time in the UK simply never got written, until now!

Enough sadness. 

Zakynthos Harbour from above the town

Tim was originally due to join me in Ayios Nikolaos, on the north east corner of Zakynthos. Despite visiting the bus station and trying all means I knew to get a taxi at a sensible price a journey from airport to Ayios Nikolaos was destined to be upwards of €60. It was evidently €50 cheaper for me to motor back to Zakynthos town and pick him up. It was flat calm anyway!

Wreck Beach, Zakynthos
With Tim safely onboard we set off on a clockwise circumnavigation of Zakynthos, stopping overnight at Ornos Keri, in the Bay of Laganas (famous as a turtle breeding beach amongst other things!), a night in Wreck Bay on the NW corner (most photographed beach in Greece!). This proved to be an uncomfortable night due to the wind getting up from the north for a brief period, just long enough to create a sea, but worth it to have the beach to ourselves in the early morning; a rare treat. We ended with a final night in Zakynthos in Ayios Nikolaos tied back to the rocks in front of the tavernas. The taverna owners are expert at getting you tied back somehow, swimming out to take your lines.

Kurukulla anchored Sarakiniko, Ithaca
On the 2nd of July we set off northwards to Cephalonia, anchoring off the long sandy beach at Ornos Katelios, near the southern tip of the island, for the night before heading on up the east coast to the island of Ithaca and the anchorage at Ormos Sarakiniko. The final stages of the sail were challenging, with two reefs in the main and the Genoa well reefed, hence we were glad to reach the shelter of the anchorage. Space was tight. Locals had laid a random selection of buoys fouling the available anchorage area and declared a swimming area closer in. Yachts wishing to anchor there were obviously not a consideration!
One House Bay, Atokos
We were first in the anchorage and chose the only really tenable position in this small bay. We watched later, with interest, as two other boats tried several times to find a second suitable spot but without complete success. Both spent a nervous night swinging close to the rocks. The bay was delightful and fairly well sheltered but only if you were first in!
Next morning we set off for a gentle sail to Atokos island and anchored in “One House Bay”. This almost deserted island (it has one house and a chapel on it) is delightful but popular! By day the bay is full of boats visiting for the day but by the evening we were able to get a good anchorage spot, on sand, and anchor near the beach.
Chapel at one House Bay, Atokos
That night only three of us stayed and we had by far the best spot again.
From Atokos we sailed back to the north of Ithika, to Frikes, finding a delightful bay just to the north of he main harbour in which to anchor and tie back for the rest of the day and the following night.
Windsurf Beach, Frikes, Ithaca
On the beach were the remains of someone’s dream, an old motorboat, previously used as a windsurf school base, still bearing graffiti from the last instructors who worked there some 20 years back. Next morning we moved into Frikes harbour itself to see the town and get some fresh victuals.
Frikes, Ithaca

After an enjoyable afternoon in Frikes we set sail across the straights toOrnos Doluicha where we spent the night before heading on to
Ornos Doulicha, Kefalonia
Fiskardho, a much much more commercial town then Frikes but also easier to get to from the airport in Cephalonia for our two new joiners, Stephen and Andrew. On our arrival the only available berth was one tied back to the jetty but 10m from it. With some assistance from our neighbours either side we opened the gap, slotted in, and Tim swam the lines ashore. Some six hours later, just before midnight our two new guests arrived.

Next morning we set off north towards Levkas, enjoying a very pleasant sail in moderate winds. With no overnight stop destination in mind we simply cruised the east coast until something took our fancy. In the end it was a small beach just south of Ormos Dessimou that took our fancy and we tied back to the rocks and settled in for the night.
Next day we headed to Meganisi for a quiet day at anchor and then the day after we headed north through the Levkas Canal spending the night in Levkas Marina (very expensive) and enjoying a meal ashore in Levkas town.
Supper at Ey Zyn (Good Life) Levkas
From here it was to Preveza where I had promised to check out a friends boat ashore in the Aktio Marina, and to remove and despatch the life-raft for servicing so that it would be ready for a planned launch date in a few weeks time.
Approaching Levkas swing bridge
After a night at anchor off Preveza town we re-anchored off Aktio Marina and the crew went for a tour of Preveza whilst I got on with the tasks ashore. By mid afternoon we were reunited and sailed east up the inland sea to Vonitsa where we spent a very pleasant night at anchor. The only downside of the inland sea here is the green water, a product of a mixture of salt and fresh water plus excessive quantities of fish food from the fish farms and nitrates from the farms around and about.
Next day we sailed out of Preveza channel and northwards towards Corfu. A night in Gaios, Paxos
Gaios, Paxos
was followed by Nisos Sivota / Ay Nikolaos just off Mourtos where we stopped for a day of swimming and later in the day anchored between the two islands for an evening BBQ on the sand spit that prevents passage between the islands.
Anchoring off Mourtos Island
The following day it was lunch in Mourtos followed by a night at anchor Ornos Valtou, a wonderfully protected anchorage in 3m of water and protected from all sides.
Gouvia Bay, Corfu
From here it was onwards to Corfu, a meal ashore in a taverna and then into Gouvia Marina to say goodbye to the friends onboard and to await the arrival of Nigel and Sarah, plus Giles and Fi. All long-standing friends of mine who wee to use Kurukulla whilst I was back in UK visiting relations and attending a wedding in France. In the event, as stated above, my stay was to be prolonged by 10 days due to the death of my mother, a blessed release but traumatic all the same.
Following the funeral etc. I finally headed back to Corfu some 10 days later than planned and set about catching up on the programme.
More of the next leg in the next edition.......