Whistlestop Kefalonia

It’s got busy in the Ionian

It wasn’t a very auspicious start to our time on Kefalonia. As we arrived in Agia Euffimia so did a thunderstorm. The anchorage alternated between boats bobbing randomly to boats pulling tight on their chains as the gusts from the passing rain arrived. We’d pick what seemed like a good spot only for the boats to move around again and we’d be out of line before even dropping the anchor and have to start all over again. In the end we decided open space was our friend and as a bolt of lightning touched down on the land we choose a spot on the outer edge of the harbour outside the already anchored boats.

There's a storm a coming

There’s a storm a coming

The storm rolled away and calm returned. But only for a short while. While nowhere near as bad as Terrible Tuesday last week in Vathi, Tuesday in Agia Effimia was busy. Sunsail charter boats milled around waiting for instructions or dropped their hook right in front of other boats. A couple of other charter flotillas also arrived and hung around before being shepherded into spots on the quay. For a couple of hours there was a constant arrival of boats and soon the quay was full leaving new arrivals to find an anchor spot in the already full harbour. Even as dark arrived so did more boats, those with either huge optimism or just no idea that arriving in the dark in the busy Ionian is not a good idea, circling around trying to find a spot.

Many boats left the next day but it was a rainy, cloudy day and we didn’t get off to go ashore. Late afternoon the arrival rush started again, although not quite as bad as Tuesday, more black clouds loomed on the horizon and we cancelled a meal ashore.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom. The water was so clear we could see the white painted shank of our anchor 9m below, Emerald spent much of her time bobbing just above it. Nice and cool for swimming in too. The small town had butchers, tavernas, veggie shops, cake shops and a heady, sweet fragrance in the air from the masses of flowers hanging from the buildings.

However, after a day and half of being squeezed in and worried about leaving the boat, after a quick trip ashore the next morning, we decided to move on and revisit in quieter September. We have to come back because I want to try a Kefalonia meat pie having watched Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. Just an hour up the coast we arrived at Kalo Limani, a wide, deep bay with 4 other boats but still managed to find a roomy spot. The goats clambering on the rocks provided a soundtrack with their jingle jangle bells, the water was clear and the scenery was pretty. Much better than playing boat dodgems.

Ashore were some ruined stone houses, a family run taverna and flying high up on the hill, a Che Guevara flag! We had drinks at the taverna where the whole family was called in to service and their cat family of mum, dad and two playful kittens provided entertainment.

Colin makes a new friend

Colin makes a new friend

It was the Perseid meteor spotting time of year again. I’d laid out on the deck in Ag. Effimia last night and spotted a couple of pale streaks across the sky, but Emerald’s mast was reflecting the stage lighting from a concert on the quay and although the changing colour mast looked groovy it didn’t help with night vision. In Kato Limani there were only a few onshore lights making for a much improved shooting star watching experience and I saw my best one ever; a ball of flame flying low down on the horizon streaming a bright, wide tail in its wake that glowed for several seconds.

The view at Kalo Limeni

The view at Kalo Limeni

With plans to catch up with friends in place we headed back up north to Meganisi. Our rendezvous was Abelike and it wasn’t very busy – maybe we’d just picked the wrong places to visit earlier in the week. It was Friday and a Sunsail flotilla farewell party takes place here on Fridays. Late afternoon they started arriving and we watched with a touch of trepidation. We needn’t have worried. The flotilla lead crew rafted everyone in perfectly across from us, 17 boats in two groups. Where their end boat was next to a non-Sunsail boat, they left a good gap and didn’t drop an anchor, rafting instead to the next to last Sunsail boat so as not to risk any anchor tangling. Really thoughtful and courteous of the Sunsail flotilla leaders and I now look at the flotillas in a much less negative light.

Run Away From the Charterers!

The white panther of Abelike. Maybe why we weren't visited by rats

The white panther of Abelike. Maybe why we weren’t visited by rats

So on Monday when we saw another fleet of Sunsail boats heading in we didn’t worry. Wrong! They weren’t a flotilla but a private sailing club hiring the boats and they were a shambles. To set the scene we’re on the western shore, down near the beach at Abelike where its around 150m between west and east shores. Some boats tried to drop their anchors right off our bow and our neighbours to then reverse all the way across to the east side. Where on earth (or more accurately where in the sea) did they think our anchors were??? There was lots of shouting up and down the line of already moored boats on the western shore as this crazy mooring technique was repeated by the new arrivals.

We left the next morning for Vlicho before any sailing club leaving craziness could begin. After a couple of days catching up on everyday chores and making the most of the Nidri and Lefkas chandleries for some winter maintenance supplies shopping we headed off for our first Lefkas channel adventure.

The Vlicho boat graveyard

The Vlicho boat graveyard

Sailing Stuff

Green – 11th August: Vathi, Ithaka to Agia Effimia, Kefalonia: 18nm travelled 38 18.04’N 20 36.11’E
Red – 13th August: Agia Effimia to Kalo Limeni: 6nm travelled: 39 22.35’N 20 36.8’E
Yellow – 14th August: Kalo Limeni to Abelike, Meganisi: 23nm travelled: 38 40.25’N 20 47.31’E
Blue – 18th August: Abelike to Vlicho, Lefkada: 6nm travelled: 38 41.39’N 20 42.14’E

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