Lefkada: Vlycho, Sivota, Vasiliki

Rivercafe almost sunk in Vasiliki

Our week began stormily and almost ended in disaster. Let’s get started: with the strong winds in Vlycho, we fortunately had enough space to the boats anchored next to us and none of the drifting or slipping boats sought physical contact.

So we only had one silly day with one victim: the anchor buoy we had just bought the day before to mark our anchor position. It did not survive. The wind tore it off and it disappeared into nirvana and a new position appeared on the shopping list.

We were pleased, however, that the wind died down in the evening and we were able to peacefully enjoy the extraordinary European Championship football spectacle on our big screen at 10.00 pm (UTC+2).

Football on anchorage

The bay of Vlycho is picturesque, surrounded by the mountains of Lefkada. However, the water is not clear and we wanted something blue rather than green. We left the well-filled bay before 8 a.m., slaloming between the anchored boats and chugging slowly through clear blue water in calm conditions. Along the overgrown mountains and the small islands of the archipelago. Past Scorpion Island, which Onassis bought for his wedding to Jacky. It is said that Jacky has never returned after the wedding. Surprising, because this corner of the world certainly rivals Cape Cod. Today, the island is said to belong to a Russian and it is not possible to go ashore. No problem, there are plenty of other spots.

Sivota – Lefkada

As we approached our next destination, Sivota, a dozen boats “streamed” out of the bay. We couldn’t imagine that so many boats could even fit into this bay. Sivota is home to many pantoons from restaurants and charter bases, and anchoring in the sparse remaining space is only for the completely confused.

East of Lefakda and Scorpio

There are plenty of pantoons for mooring for a small price or for dinner. If you don’t want to spend money, there is plenty of mooring space around the corner – without annoying the rest of the world. Especially as there are already plenty of charterers providing confusion.

We opted for the Pantoon of Liotrivi. A modern floating jetty with water and electricity. You have to anchor on the eastern side and there are mooring lines to the west. We dropped anchor at a depth of 13 metres. However, mooring with an anchor is a small disadvantage of the Leopards. Our anchor does not run over the crossbeam of the bow, but under the trampoline about 2 metres from the bow. That’s great when anchoring the normal way, because the anchor doesn’t get in the way. But when mooring with an anchor, you can’t hook in the bridel line and so the fixing point is approx. 2 metres behind the crossbeam. This may sound confusing to non-sailors, but the cat sailors among you know what I mean. Anyway, we were safe and sound and no reason to change brands.

The Liotrivi Pantoon is great. The jetty ends at a charming old house that used to be an olive mill a hundred years ago. Today, the family of the likeable Spiro runs a restaurant with an atmospheric terrace, great food and super-friendly staff.

Liotrivi and Svota Bay

Sivota is a small bay as mentioned. All around you will find restaurants, supermarkets and the magnificent Sivota Cafe, with indescribably delicious sugar free Greek cakes. Built into the mountains, you can see many beautiful and unusual villas, many of them for rent. This place is definitely on our list of recommendations.


We continued our journey around Lefkada. With every stop, our fondness for this marvellous island grew. The bay of Vasiliki lies to the south.

Vasiliki is a sailing and windsurfing spot like no other I can imagine. Nestled deep into the island, with mountains on all sides. This bay is perfect for water sports with the complete program spread out over the day and with really everything on the water that does water sports.

“Water toys”, surfer, sailor in the watersports bay

In the morning there is no wind and the water is as smooth as glass. This is the time for SUP’ers and anyone with water toys such as electric foil boards. Around 10.00 a.m. there is a calm wind of 5-10 knots. Surfing and dinghy beginners find ideal conditions. From midday, it’s picking up to 15 kn with small wavelets for the more experienced. Wingfoilers and kiters also join in. From 3 to 7 pm the 49ers, cats and moths rise and the wind between 17 and 27 knots separates the growd. From 8-9 pm on its getting calmer again and the night is windless. And that every day. (For Uli: this is your paradise, forget about Borkum 🙂 )

If you want to learn a water sport, this is the place. The more skilled you become, the later you start your training day. The place isn’t fancy, but it’s nice. No big hotels, but surfer hotels. If only I had discovered Vasiliki 30 years ago…

The anchor trap

When we arrived in the bay it was around 10.00 a.m. and were delighted to find plenty of space for the Rivercafe with only other 3 vessels at anchor. The entire width of the bay is an anchorage and the western side appealed to us. If you let yourself be lured by the free space in the anchorage, you fall into a trap. So did we.

In the afternoon we realised that our anchorage was a big mistake. Around the Rivercafe, a hundred surfers were turning round at increasing and sometimes adventurous speeds every hour. We were right in the middle of the surfing field. The next morning we dropped anchor and opened up the windsurfing tracks again. As I’m writing this, a very large motor yacht is moored at our old spot. It’s going to be an entertaining afternoon. Hopefully nobody will have to be scraped off the hull.

There would certainly be room for 100 vessels in the bay, but with full water sports operations and a ferry captain with limited talent who takes up a third of the bay (more on this below), there is significantly less space in the bay without stress. If everyone laid out a similar length of chain, it would be easier. We laid out 30 metres at a depth of 4 metres, a Dutchman next to us 45 metres, others 20 metres. This creates a “character-building” situation with 360-degree winds.

In the late afternoon, the bay becomes a paradise for surfers and the like. With winds of up to 30 knots, the girls and lads are riding through the bay with such splendour. It’s a sheer miracle that no surfer has to be scraped off the hull of one of the anchored boats. I wonder how this works in summer in the high season, when there are many more yachts anchored here. During our visit, there were a maximum of 15 boats. I wonder if only slalom disciplines are practised by the surfers? A big compliment to the trainers from the surfing and sailing schools for their enormous attention and caution. Really a perfect job, one is in good hands with those fellows.

A ferry almost rams the Rivercafe

So as not to spoil the fun for the girls and boys, we moved the Rivercafe to the eastern bay. There is a small village with a small harbour and a few piers for ferries. We anchored the Rivercafe according to the nautical charts, 300-400 metres away from the ferry dock for the largest ferry. And it was with this one that disaster almost struck. The “Captain Arisitides” is a ferry of the West Ferry Line. At 4.00 pm, this ferry sailed into the bay on a completely nonsense course, heading straight for the field of anchored vessels. We were the closest to the ferry dock and this “professional” opened its hatch on the approach and headed towards us at full speed. He didn’t respond to the radio and responded to our honking by honking himself, louder of course. I jumped to the helm, started the engines and we turned away. We escaped a collision by a few metres. If that ferry had hit us, the Rivercafe would undoubtedly have sunk.

“Captain Aristides” on collision while we turned away under engine. Thats the usual distance with normal ferrys

“talking” on board

Our boat neighbours and we filmed everything and then we learned from people with local knowledge that this captain was known for his modest skills and excessive aggression. Shocking yachties is probably his hobby. However stronger expressions were used. This guy had really pissed us off and we would have to deal with that. On our way back from the police station, we saw the ferry coming in again. I immediately set off to confront the “captain”. On the bridge, I met a young guy with bad manners, shouting and super aggressive like an adolescent. And visibly surprised to be confronted by a yachtie. It was obvious that he was completely out of his depth. I had to ask the screamer several times to tone it down. He demanded an apology from me, shouting in all seriousness. For the fact that we anchored correctly and he needed 500 m of manoeuvring space for a 55 m ferry? Not a word of regret from him for the danger he had put us in without any need. A disgrace for his guild. We were on the verge of escalation several times, but in the end we both left the bridge alive and with a friendly handshake. If this captain doesn’t undergo anger management (and preferably navigation training too), it’s only a matter of time before West Ferry reports a “tragic” accident. And the worst: it will not be tragic. The question is when rather than if. We re-anchored the Rivercafe. Who knows, maybe it will need even more space the next time it docks.

That was actually our first bad experience in Greece. But there are people like that everywhere. We treat ourselves to a few more days of relaxation here, with wind, sun and 35 degrees. Incidentally, we can already see our next destinations from our anchorage: Ithaca and Kefalonia /Holger Binz


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