Rob and Jacky Black
Sat 1 Aug 2009 16:13
38 26.9N 20 41.5E
We left Argostoli on Tuesday morning and motored round the southern tip of the island heading north. We passed several places which could have provided a safe anchorage overnight but decided to press north while the wind was so light and eventually chose a small bay just south of Sami to stop in. There were a number of other boats here but all were gone by 2000 apart from a trip boat which had decanted about 50 people on the beach for a swim and BBQ. They too departed at 2200 along with some very loud music which only started when they had all boarded - thank goodness! We had a quiet night though there was some swell and the wind kept changing direction so Rob slept in the cockpit keeping an eye on the echo sounder to ensure we didn't go aground!
The following morning we spoke to Andy on Grand Slam and agreed to meet them in Kioni on North Ithaki. We set off after a pre breakfast swim and motored up the coast checking out several anchorages on route to use in the future if time allows. We entered the harbour of Kioni around mid-day - it is really pretty with quite high hills mostly wooded and very green, and a small waterfront community with cafes and restaurants. We duly reversed into a spot on the quay alongside an Italian boat and a couple of English chaps helped with our lines. Once secured with the passarell in place we settled down to lunch and watched as the place gradually filled up with flotilla boats which provided good entertainment for most of the afternoon! Unfortunately Grand Slam didn't get in until the quay was full so in the end they came in bow first, along side us and were able to get on and off their boat via us. The idea of this was suggested by the very nice charter skipper on the boat next to us - Harris who is a Serbian/Greek. Apparently this method is used often to squeeze in more boats!
It was lovely to see Andy Pam Liz and Ju after several months and catch up on everyone's news. Needless to say several beers later we all decided to have a siesta and after supper we were entertained onboard Grand Slam.
Kioni has a small cafe with a computer connected to the internet available at 2 Euros per hour so we made use of this to check emails and the weather etc. There was a shop which sold a wide variety of food stuffs, fresh and frozen produce as well as beer and wine. Water was available at 5 Euros to fill up but only when the waterman came between 0900 and 1100 each morning. We all decided this was a pleasant place to be so stayed for another night and I had several swims from the outer jetty wall - the water was incredibly clean here unlike some of the harbours you see. Thursday night was obviously when the flotilla boats came in and the harbour was really crowded we were again entertained to a spectacle of poor mooring techniques and rather dreaded the thought of having to get our anchor up the next day. We made plans to head off the following morning to 'One House Bay' on the tiny island of North Atoki which lies due east of Kioni. So after some last minute shopping and topping up with water we headed out under engine.- - fortunately all the charter boats had gone so no problems with anchor fouling after all! The morning was rather misty and there was no wind so we had a quick if uneventful passage across to Atoko. The bay we had selected proved to be quite busy by the time we arrived but we managed to find a spot to drop the anchor over sand and were soon swimming and snorkeling in the lovely clear water. The chalk/ limestone cliffs were spectacular showing the folds of previous earth quakes brilliantly. The island is almost dome shaped and we were soon to feel the results of this as the wind got up and started to whistle down on us. Eventually most of the boats had left and we were beginning to think along the same lines when we realised that Grand Slam were dragging their anchor badly. They recovered their anchor and set about re- anchoring when we realised we too were dragging and it took quite a quick maneuver to get us free before we hit the cliffs on the leeward shore!.
We watched Andy trying to re-anchor but decided that 27 knots with stronger gusts perhaps was not conducive to this and so both skippers agreed to head back for Ithaki in search of better shelter. After trying out the anchorage in the bay to the east of Vathi which proved to be very deep we finally headed for the town itself where we anchored safely although the wind was still blowing from the SW around 20 knots for a time.
There were a number of large motor boats on the town quay as well as a sprinkling of yachts but we were happy to anchor and the bay seemed to be well protected from any swell. We spent a quiet night - our only disturbances being the odd small fishing boat and a very large super motor yacht which arrived and anchored quite near us around 0130. Hope to explore the town tomorrow.
38 22.1N 20 43.1 E