Calm sea, no wind

Sailing in Paxos

One downside of travelling is that you have to leave places you have grown fond of. We enjoyed our time in Corfu and didn’t really feel like leaving. But when you arrive at the next place, you’re happy to have continued the journey to discover another beauty and meet other people. We have visited 9 places in Greece so far and every single one was fantastic.

After the early morning coffee, we hoisted our anchor in Corfu and set off for Paxos. Within sight, 3 hours away from our anchorage in Corfu. Once again we had an amazingly smooth sea – and hardly any wind to speak of. Our fishing rods remained completely unmolested, as usual.

Paxos – an island for connoisseurs

A Greek legend tells that Poseidon separated Paxos from Corfu with his trident in order to prepare a love nest for his beloved nymph Amphitrite. A true connoisseur, the god of the sea. Because Paxos is very beautiful and, as you would expect, the sea nymph was also said to be extremely beautiful. She was known for her rides on dolphins and was therefore certainly in very good shape. These Greek myths are a blast.

Unfortunately, we didn’t encounter any nymphs riding dolphins, but we did see a beautiful island in the calm Ionian Sea. Paxos is only 26 km2 in size, with just about 3,000 inhabitants. You can only get there by boat or ferry – or, if you can, by dolphin.


Shortly before noon we anchored in the northernmost bay of Paxos – in Lakka. An extremely beautiful bay. The sandy bottom provides good anchorage, the water is clear and the bay is surrounded by rocky outcrops. Good shelter in all winds that are not from the north. Lakka reminded us a little of ‘Les Iles des Saintes’ in Guadeloupe. (Jeff, his hint is especially for you).

Bay of Lakka in Paxos

If you don’t want to anchor, you can moor backwards at the little village on the stone quay. Lakka is very charming, with lots of tavernas, bars and small shops. We enjoyed a delicious dinner at Alexandro’s, with possibly the best lamb of my life. On a hike, we happened to find the island’s olive oil press. This is the speciality of Paxos: olive oil and its really excellent.

There is a lot of building going on in Paxos at the moment. This is due to changes in the law, which will make construction much more difficult and much more expensive in the future. Many of the buildings are a mixture of traditional and modern. A great style, we liked it very much.

Paxos hike

Because of the beauty of the bay, Lakka is a very popular destination for sailors. In July and August, when the charter season is in full swing, sailors with Greece experience avoid Paxos, as we learnt. There are bases in Gouvia on Corfu and in Lefkas, where hundreds of boats are waiting for charterers. We are now starting to sail anti-cyclically. The charter boats are handed over on Saturdays, so we plan our destinations accordingly to avoid as many charterers and full anchorages as possible. Its a bit like in the BVI.

We therefore spent a few nice days and very quiet nights in Lakka and then headed for the ‘capital’ Gaios on a Sunday, a relaxed 5 nm trip away. Sunday is a predominantly charter-free day, but then there are also more full-time sailors.

Gaios Paxis

Gaois is a special destination and that’s why we had to go there. Half the population of Paxos lives here and the location on the east side of Paxos is special. Situated in a bay, Gaios is protected by an island off the coast. This provides access through a narrow channel. There is a stone dock along the entire length of the town, where all vessels moor backwards with bow anchors out. There are no mooring lines and no dockmaster. There are no reservations, first-come-first-serve ensures plenty of entertainment. A large part of the quay wall is marked with yellow paint. Yachties are only allowed to moor there from 5.00 p.m. because these areas are reserved for excursion boats. Towards evening, ‘Lara Croft’ comes in person and collects moderate mooring fees, depending on the length of the boat. For us it was €29. There is electricity and water (not potable) for an extra charge and a small lorry with diesel comes by several times a day. Refuelling couldn’t be more convenient, but it’s about 10% more expensive.

Our berth was  right in front of Alex`Cafe, our ‘landbase’ for 3 days. 5 metres away from our boat. In the ‘Taverna Academy’ we learnt a lot about Paxos, the properties and life in general. Alex the owner – who incidentally met Onassis himself and wears the same black sunglasses – provided us with fresh eggs from his chickens. Did I mention that Greeks are the friendliest people? Not a day goes by that we can’t confirm this again.


Gaios, Chess on the main place

It’s fun to stroll through Gaios, a charming little village. There are three supermarkets and a vast selection of tavernas, right by the water or in squares and alleyways. In a fishing shop, we made a new attempt to improve our previously pitiful fish catch with new bait. ‘You’re guaranteed to catch something’. Let’s see if it’s more than flotsam.

Top-quality harbour show

The harbour show began in the afternoon – free (unintentional) entertainment. The task: mooring with a bow anchor out, backing into a gap on the quay, which in the best case is as wide as the vessel. To do this, you have to place your anchor and chain exactly between the anchors and chains already docked on your right and left and then steer the boat straight to the dock between these chains on the seabed. To do this, of course, you need to know where the other anchors and chains are. Normally you look at the bow for the other chains and have the crews of the docked vessels show you their chain run. This maintains a good relationship with the neighbours.

However, if you find this too annoying, simply throw everything overboard and rattle backwards. Usually accompanied by loud shouting and clamour. My personal favourite was a chartered 50 monohull, which dropped anchor and chain blindly at crazy speed, came to the quay at full speed, only to be immediately expelled by an excursion captain. Yellow zone, not for yachties. While hauling in his chain and anchor, he caught the fat chain of the same excursion boat in his anchor. The mono got stuck and the excursion boat lost its grip. My first Greek swear words followed – in a chorus of many boats. After a long fuss, a few helpful hands from dinghies helped and the charterer disappeared from the bay at Mach 2.

Quai at the village, Champions League on Rivercafe

If you don’t want to go to the quay wall, you can anchor south outside Gaios Bay within sight. Our anti-cyclical planning worked, because from Tuesday onwards there was no more space for boats. Alex told us that it only gets ‘really crowded’ in July/August. Grateful for the heads up, we set off in the morning to sail 15 nm to the Greek mainland. Another smooth sea, little wind. And once again a destination to dream about. More of that next time / Holger Binz

1 thought on “Calm sea, no wind”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top