39:50.35N 19:24.27E Othoni Island, Greece
Thursday, 7th July, 2011.
We were up early and were on our way by 6.15 a.m. and after 52.13 nautical miles we arrived at Othoni island, Greece at 12.45 p.m.
Just as we were going to motor out of the harbour where it was lovely and still and calm I said to Jim what was the weather forecast for the crossing. “ North 3 to 4 probably 5, if it is too difficult making the angle we will come back. Tomorrow it will be a 3 and we will have to motor”. Out round the harbour wall and past the headland, it was a good 5 with the usual Mediterranean short sea. The sun shone, Ariel crashed through the waves averaging 8 to 9 throughout. By 9.15 a.m. I had had 10 messages welcoming me to Greece and by 9.45 a.m. Jim could see the island and the mountainous coast line of Albania with 26 miles to go. We had reefed Ariel twice and had a small genoa sheet out and she romped though the water.
We arrived in this lovely little bay and anchored. The sea was like glass but one hour later the wind started and we were hoping by sunset it would disappear again when the sun dropped. We could not leave Ariel as it was rough. Just around midnight it suddenly went very quiet and the wind had disappeared as quickly as it had arrived.
When we left Santa Maria di Leuca, Italy we commented on the flat roofs of most of the houses. We have come into the lovely bay of Othoni and all the houses have red pitched tiled roofs, modern houses and garages! As the island is so quiet and small we were surprised to see cars and a couple of lorries on the island. No one lives on the west coast as it is 500 metres of sheer cliff face.
According to our Imray guide you are required to stay clear of the harbour due to ferries running which we did but could not understand why had gone in anyway. Going ashore after our morning swim the next morning we found a new harbour had been built for visitors a few hundred yards along the shore. Only one boat was there and as at today’s date the facilities of electricity and water have not been completed. The Othoni community numbers about 90 all year round but during the summer of 6 to 8 weeks peek time cafe owners come from the mainland and open up for the tourist trade. New pavements, walls, flowerbeds and walk ways have all been added this year to help increase tourism. Although it looks a biggish island 75% of the island is uninhabited due to mountains, trees and cliffs and therefore, most of the community live in the harbour area. All the houses are painted and it is a very pretty small village. We expect in 10 years time you won’t be able to recognise the place.
We stopped at one of the restaurants and strike up a conversation with the owner who was expecting a ship with 200 people to invade the island for supper. Local caught fish was high on the menu for the evening. We treated ourselves to lunch of grilled chicken and Greek salad as the beer was good and the view wonderful.