The last two weeks have had some unsettled weather and it’s got to that time when we want to be thinking about crossing back to Sicily. The last two days we’ve had more rain than the rest of the summer, it’s currently lashing down with rain with thunder rumbling around the mountains. We’ve been scouring the weather forecasts for a weather window and dreaming about F4 northerly winds; however, it’s been hard to find even two forecasts that agree with each other, even when a raging storm has been thundering overhead, some forecasts were still predicting sunshine and no wind. Perhaps we should pick one that looks like it suits us the most and hope for the best.
We moved on from Goat Bay (Kalo Limeni) Bay down to Ag. Effimia last Friday to get a few supplies and to meet friends to watch the rugby. When we were here in August we watched Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – at the start of the film one of the characters is eating a Kefalonia Meat Pie. Since then I have set my sights on sampling one of these delights.
My expectations were high and I am pleased to report they were met by the Paradise Bay restaurant. Chunks of pork and beef in rice, simmered in red wine and herbs wrapped in a pastry that was still crispy in places and in others all soggy from the juices. Perfect! My kind of pie and served with excellent home made chips.
Also when we were last here we didn’t get the chance to do the walk between Ag. Effimia and Myrtos beach on the west of the island – a mini coast to coast walk! There and back would have been 15km and after our tired legs from the walk in Fiskardo we reckoned just one direction was enough. We took a taxi to Divarata (€10) with the plan to walk down to Myrtos. Well, what a walk! 200m height change not far off almost straight down, ok well a bit exaggerated but a tough walk even going downwards. And we still had to get back up…. We had scenic views of the crescent of white beach nestled within the steep cliffs as we zig-zagged down and at the bottom had a toe wiggle in the sand and a quick paddle in the sea. Anything to delay the trip back up.
45 sweaty minutes later we were back at the top. Plenty of cars on their way down had looked at us like we were mad people; our hopes that we could hitch a lift on the way up were scuppered as there were no cars going up the whole time we were walking until we were almost at the top. Not that anyone would have wanted us dripping inside their hire cars anyway.
One good thing about being at the top was that it was downhill all the way back to the east coast. After a brief bit of road through Divarata we left it for a stony track that wound down past fields and olive groves, the route was well signposted with red squares fastened to trees. We passed a few small holdings and saw jays flitting about and squawking in the trees, but otherwise there wasn’t much to set being right down in the valley between two mountains. It was shady but after a while the pebbly and stony track got a bit repetitive and hard going on our ankles. We were glad to be back in Ag. Effimia and treated ourselves to the wonderful cakes from the Strawberry bakery and coffee shop.
There’s A Storm (Or Two) A Coming
Bad weather was forecast so we braved going onto the quay wall. We dropped our hook where directed, went into reverse and Emerald’s bum promptly turned to port helped by the breeze blowing the bow round. The man ashore who manages the moorings shouted ‘more starboard, more starboard’ at us. I guess he doesn’t have much experience with long keeled boats as we were in full starboard lock. Instead we had to deploy the mobile bow-thruster: Colin in the dinghy pulling the stern back into a straight line for the gap we were aiming for. Eventually we made it in, not close enough for the boarding plank, but we had a plan to use the dinghy – step in off the stern and climb out on the wall. Unfortunately the wall was a little bit high for our little legs to step up without doing ourselves an injury so our kind friends let us cross onto their boat and use their plank.
For once the forecasts were right – that night a storm did arrive about 11pm with thunder crashing overhead, lightning all around and winds gusting up to 48kts. We were glad to be on the quay even though the boats were banging off each other and bouncing in the gusts. Hurrah for fenders! One boat was anchored and dragged out of the harbour, they got themselves sorted and found an alongside spot on the quay. The next day all was calm and as a boat came in next to us looking the worse for wear. It had gouges all down it’s hull and it’s teak edging shredded and ripped off as well as having lost most of their fenders. They had been alongside the wall in Agia Nicolas on Kefalonia during the storm and experienced a big shift in wind direction which then bounced them violently against the wall doing the damage. Poor guys.
Two nights on the quay was enough and we dropped off to anchor. We also had a friend’s birthday to help celebrate and a chance for another Kefalonia Meat Pie – two in one week! This one with lamb and provided by The Local, it didn’t disappoint.
So, yesterday more storms loomed up in the afternoon and we were soon the last boat in the anchorage, everyone else having left or moved on to the wall. We either foolishly or bravely stayed at anchor, resetting into a better spot. The holding wasn’t great in places, either rocks or a thin covering of sand over rock. After two attempts, we felt better held. As the sun set the lightning took over brightening the sky and we nervously began to count elephants. The worst of the storm passed to the north of us, although we certainly got a drenching and thankfully the wind didn’t go above a F4. So other than being soaked, all was well. Overnight remained calm and quiet.
18th September: Kalo Limeni to Agia Effimia: 6nm sailed: 38 18.08’N 20 35.94’E
25th September: Agia Effimia to Kalo Limeni: 6nm sailed: 38 22.38’N 20 36.79’E
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