We couldn’t believe our luck when we arrived about midday in Fiskardo on Kephalonia, to find the whole of the north side of the harbour empty. We picked a spot along the wall in the front of the Nicolas Taverna where there were rings to tie on to. In hindsight it might not have been the best spot to go for but more of that later…
It being a Sunday we were fairly sure we would avoid the charter boat crowds with the added bonus that the Lord Falcon, a Thai restaurant in the town had its weekend buffet on. We hung around the boat for the afternoon, having a swim in the clear water and admiring the growth on Emerald’s hull. No wonder we weren’t making any great speeds when we sailed with a thick, white mat of coral worm around the hull. A job for later in the week to scrape it off.
The Lord Falcon wasn’t too busy and we had a table in the garden section underneath a lime tree. The buffet selection looked good for €15 a head with a spicy soup, selection of starters and 5 main course choices plus several rice dishes and noodles. We sampled everything, the beef in a red curry sauce being our favourite dish. Our eyes were definitely bigger than our bellies that evening and we had to have a waddle around the harbour to help things settle.
To work off our food excesses we made the most of some of the way-marked walks in the area. One walk was out around the headland with the ruins of an ancient basilica, the modern lighthouse and a Victorian lighthouse to visit. The walk wasn’t far, under a km, with great views down the Ithaka channel. The smell of pine and honeysuckle in the wooded section was lovely.
There is also a longer walk out to a deserted village and on to some old WWII gun placements. We set off with the intention of just visiting the village, but once we were there decided to carry on and do the full walk. It was a hot day but the majority of the walk was in woodland with the shade of the trees keeping us cool.
Just north of Fiskardo we came to the Throne of the Queen of Fiskardo, apparently where an ancient queen held court. A seat has been hewn out of the rock with terraces and steps around, maybe where her subjects gathered. I had a sit on the throne; I hope the queen had a cushion for her royal assemblies!
We turned off the stony track onto a narrow dirt path to take us to deserted village of Psilithrias. A couple of houses have now been renovated, but on the whole the houses are abandoned and falling down. Nature was attempting to reclaim the land with trees poking out of doors and windows and brambles blocking the paths. We wandered up an old, stepped passageway to peer in one of the houses. A table sat skew-wiff with chairs knocked over on the floor around it. One of the stranger sights we saw was a hole in the wall next to a doorway. The hole went quite a way back under the house and for some unknown reason had been filled with old shoes. Many of the shoes had rotted away so only a sole was left behind but there was also a newish looking baby’s black welly, so maybe there is some strange shoe sacrifice ceremony goes on here.
On we went, briefly onto a road at Antipata but we were soon back on a soil path into woodland. The remains of drystone walls marked out the pathway and we passed old olive presses and water cisterns. Whenever we wondered where the path went next there would be a blue and white signpost or blue and white stripes painted on a tree or rock. The sun made dappled patterns through the trees and it was very pretty. The trees then thinned out with piles of rubble in the clearings; we realised we must be at the WWII gun emplacements.
We were getting a little bit weary now with our legs not used to so much walking. The last part of the walk was back into woods and we managed to lose the stripes momentarily but soon got back on track. We walked down to a beautiful beach with a trip boat and a few yachts anchored. The white pebbles reflecting through the shallows made the water a beautiful blue. We had an extortionately priced ice cream at the next beach, the path then passed through the grounds of a hotel where we were very tempted by their adverts for a massage.
We returned to Emerald to find charter boats pressing in on both sides and our anchor chain crossed for the second time in three days. Having had such a great day it was a shame to have it spoilt but we decided to leave. Fiskardo is a great place to visit, we enjoyed the walks and strolling around the shops of the pretty harbour and were glad we got to had our Thai meal. But…. we did find prices for everything were higher than anywhere else we had visited and it is a victim of its own success, attracting too many boats and visitors. Both nights we had noisy charter boats keeping us awake. Maybe if we’d anchored a little further east, where the tree area of shore was we’d have been less hemmed in, instead we seemed to have managed to pick the most popular spot of wall to tie to.
We hadn’t intended to leave in such haste but we really didn’t fancy a night squeezed in between other boats. We extricated ourselves from under our neighbours chain and headed south for Goat Bay. How happy were we to find only one boat there, tied to the north shore leaving all the rest of the bay for us! The gentle jingle jangle of the goats on the hillside soothed our frayed nerves and we felt much more at ease with the world.
The bay was a great place for removing the hull growth before we begin our passage to Sicily. No point in dragging a load of extra weight back with us. Most of the the upper half of the hull was covered in a thick white mat of coral tube worm which we could hear crunching away as it moved and grew. The belly of the hull and keel had patches of the coral worm but also a lot of brown slime. Not so many big barnacles this time. Using my dive gear and armed with the big metal scraper, the coral worm came away easily in big sections, I had a happy following of fishes that day. Unfortunately there wasn’t much current so I ended up with bits of crunchy stuff all over the place but especially in my hair.
13th September: Vathi, Ithaka to Fiskardo, Kefalonia: 15nm travelled: 38 27.7’N 20 34.64’E
15th September: Fiskardo to Kalo Limeni: 6nm travelled: 33 18.04’N 20 35.976’E
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