Summer is here

Summer in Lefkada

It’s finally summer. The days are long and warm, we’re hitting 30 degrees every day and we’ve unpacked the light blankets for the nights again. Even the sea is a reasonable 25 degrees and we can shower outside in the morning.

While the hurricane season begins in the Caribbean, a tropical mood moves into the Ionian Sea. One thing is more pleasant in the Mediterranean: the longer days. At the moment, the day in Greece is over 2 hours longer than in Grenada. Sunset there is at 6.30 pm, here at 9.00 pm. In the morning, the difference is only a few minutes. “Over there”, we regularly went ashore with the dinghy in the dark in the evening – here we often return on board in daylight. It’s like a reminder of the long summer days of childhood.

Two Rocks Bay on the mainland

After a wonderful few days in Paxos, we pulled the anchor early and headed east to the mainland. A three-hour trip through smooth seas and little wind. I’m sorry to repeat myself, but that’s how the weather is most of the time. Calm in the morning and at night, with 3-4 hours of wind in the afternoon. It’s like this almost every day. However, we have very strong winds as I write this.

In the bay of “Two Rocks” on the Greek mainland, we found beautiful scenery for our eyes and perfect sandy ground for our anchor. Although we are now also equipped with the obligatory stern lines for mooring to rocks on land, we prefer “normal” anchoring whenever we can.

Rivercafe in Two Rocks, Cocktails at Freddos

The bay of Two Rocks is picturesque and there is nothing but nature and the Freddo Bar in the rocks, which offers a comatose view. Surrounded by lush rocks, you have good protection from the wind and swell, provided it’s not coming from the south. We saw the anchor and chain in the crystal-clear water and were able to make fresh water. Plenty of time for swimming but not much to see at snorkelling. Not to mention diving. Unfortunately, Ka got lumbago, which is still bothering her a week later.

At the peak, we shared the anchorage with 20 boats, only 3 of which had AIS. Not cool as this makes it impossible to estimate how full the next destinations will be.

Ambracian Gulf and Vonitsa

We didn’t have this huge bay on our list, but our long-time Swiss friends Anki and Walter were anchored off Vonitsa. So we took a diversion. Vonitsa is a small village in the Ambracian Gulf. We had good wind on the way and sailed with main and genua 30 nm south along the mainland to Preveza. There we turned into the Ambracian Gulf via a narrow fairway, something like a large inland lake. There are very romantic estates and olive groves on the shore. The water is green, warm, but not inviting. There are numerous fish farms in the bay and they provide water of dubious quality.

S

Summerflowers

We found plenty of anchorage off Vonitsa and excellent holding in the murky water, even with the freshening winds in the afternoon. Those who prefer to moor ashore will find berths somewhere between the marina and the dock. However, Vonitsa and the Gulf did not make it to our list of recommendations.

Fishfarms, Oliveplantations and vies from Vonitsa with Castle

We enjoyed our friends and the time we spent together. Walter is a sports journalist and an excellent sailing expert who will soon be travelling to Barcelona for the Americas Cup and then to the Vendee Globe to report on it.

Old and new friends in Vonitsa

Lefkas Channel

Time to part ways again. We wanted to go to Lefkada, supposedly the second most beautiful Greek island. A bridge opening determined our departure. The island, with 335 km2 and 22,000 inhabitants, is connected to the mainland by a swing bridge that opens every hour on the hour. A convoy of vessels passed through a dredged channel in both directions. This canal leads past a large charter base. For handover days, Fridays and Saturdays, there is a run of charter boats that all want to pass through the bridge at the same time. We sailed anti-cyclically again and found little traffic on a Tuesday.

Not everybody hits the channel

We actually wanted to visit the small town of Lefkas with its 7,000 inhabitants, the island capital of Lefkada, so to speak. The reports were very mixed, so we wanted to see for ourselves. But the D-Marin marina in the town is brazenly expensive. The best hotel in town costs €176 with breakfast for two. The marina wanted just under €250 from us for a berth at the far end. As we bring our own beds, tidy up and make our own breakfast – all for an outrageous price. So the little town remained undiscovered by us.

Landscape of the Channel

Lefkada

The distance between Lefkada and the Greek mainland is between 1 and 10 nm. The Ionian Sea in between feels like a lake, the distances are tiny and it feels like you find a new place every few minutes. After the canal passage, we anchored in the small and secluded bay of Katouna. The water was murky, but on land goats were curiously sticking their necks out at us and cows were lying right on the beach. Somehow it looks – and feels – like olives with feta everywhere.

Beachlife for cows and goats

Thanks to AIS, we spotted our Australian friends Sally and Mark, who were travelling north to Corfu on their trawler. We both interrupted our journey to have breakfast together before each of us resumed our course. Ours took us to Palairos, on the mainland. A nice little village lies at the foot of imposing mountains. Our anchorage beach was sandy and the water was clear again. We got some supplies in the village and found a small buoy we had been looking for for a long time to mark our anchor. We only met very friendly people and indulged in the most delicious homemade ice cream in the “Greek traditional diary store” run by the proud and incredibly friendly lady owning this shop.

Mark and Sally get together

Bay of Vlycho

For the next and already 13th place on our trip to Greece, we decided on the bay of Vlycho. Recommended by some sailing friends.

To describe this bay, I take the liberty to use photos from Dominique and Simon from Navily. As our Rivercafe was completely covered in sand again, we urgently needed a wash-down to flush a sandpit full into the sea. Even without rain, boats get sandy quickly here. We needed a proper hose and so we booked ourselves into Vlycho Bay at the pantoon of the Limanaki restaurant. The deal is that the mooring is free but have to eat in the restaurant. After a few hours of scrubbing the boat, we were ready for the first unfriendly waitress in Greece, but the most delicious fish. Better than the other way round. It was a pleasure to eat for the mooring fees.

Strong winds

Quite strong winds are forecast for today and they have already arrived. We left the mooring an hour ago and are now anchored in Vlycho Bay. This is one of the days when we are particularly pleased with the purchase of our anchor, one of the best upgrades on the Rivercafe. We have a secure hold, but unfortunately not everyone does. A catamaran has just drifted through the bay. Many boats have slipped and a few loose dinghies have been chased. Plenty of vessels lie across and some are re-anchoring again. A show that you would gladly do without. Unfortunately, this is also a day when we can’t leave Rivercafe. We have to be ready in case something happens. With us or another vessel. On the other hand, the waves are not pleasant for a dinghy trip.

Let’s hope that the strong winds subside in time so that we can watch football tonight. / Holger Binz

1 thought on “Summer is here”

  1. Total entspannend, deine Geschichten zu lesen 😎. Danke Holger🙏, so spare ich mir den Kauf eines Abenteuer Buches auf Amazon 😉. Ganz liebe Grüße aus GREVENMACHER 😊.
    🏝️ Pascal

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