Argostoli Eufimia and back

Thu 7 Jul 2016 15:17

An uneventful and gentle sail/motor sail around the southern end of Kefallonia and up the east coast of the island to the point where across the Ithaca channel you can see the southern tip of the island of Ithaca, there in the north east corner of Kefallonia lies the pretty little harbour of Ay Eufimia. The pilot book made it seem doubtful that there was enough depth for us to Med. moor to the harbour wall so we prepared to anchor on the southern side of the harbour. But motoring past the boats already moored to the harbour we were assured by the Harbour Master that there was enough depth for us. So we danced a few circles whilst fenders and ropes were deployed ready for a Med. moor.  It being mid-afternoon the breeze had picked up and was gusting down from the mountains surrounding this charming spot but the charm of the place was not on our minds as we positioned the boat dropped the hook and motored astern into a gap between two other yachts whilst the cross wind attempted to embarrass us. However all went well and we slid in between two thirty footers making us appear gargantuan by comparison. Anchor chain tensioned, lines ashore adjusted, fenders rearranged, tender lowered and gear stowed, passerelle fitted, lowered and adjusted, power cables run ashore and fitted, rigging tidied and finally, thankfully cans of ice cold beer opened and fluids replenished. We chatted with George our helpful and friendly Harbour Master who runs Eufimia harbour with great conscientiousness and politeness and who became a firm friend during our seven day stay.

We decided to base ourselves here for a few days, whilst we hired a car, explored the island and awaited the arrival of Charles, Gemma and the children. We ate that first night at one of the quay side restaurants, Spiros, tucking into spicy Greek sausage, and lamb kleftiko both very good. During the meal we got chatting with a young couple on the next table who it turned out were on their honeymoon. They asked during the conversation who did we think owned the big yacht in the harbour! Needless to say they came back with us to Pamarzi for a Metaxa and a nosey. We had a lazy day on Tuesday but did organise the hire car for collection next day and provisioned up ready for the arrival of Charles and family. Charles rang to tell me that my ex Sales Manager Steve Ellis’s daughter had rung to say that he had died the week before. Like all of us the man had his faults but sad that his end came at the age of 60. The Taverna immediately behind us is called To Steki and it was there on Tuesday evening that we dined whilst being entertained by a trio of singers, guitarists and an excellent bazouki player.

 Next day in our hired Ford we drove across the islands precipitous mountain roads to Assos a very picturesque double bay on the west coast. Wonderful views and the water colours were amazing shades of blues, greens and turquoise.  Then on to popular Friskardo, too popular for my taste with hordes of day tripper boats and shops full of tourist tat but they do have a surprisingly good chandlery where I purchased fifty metres of very expensive, very yellow floating line. Why? The none sailors amongst you might ask. Well often in these parts (Turkey to) because of the deep and comparatively small bays the preferred method of mooring is to anchor and take a long (floating helps because it is light and is less likely to foul the tenders prop when you are setting it) line ashore. Returning to Eufimia we called in to the local butcher and purchased some of his excellent sausages for supper aboard.

Sami a few miles south down the coast next day was our first stop where we visited the Messalini caves. Underground caves flooded by water coming from the other side of the island and exiting back into the sea via a lake (the only one on the island) and waterwheel that sadly now powers nothing. All very interesting but a rather over rated and expensive experience. On next across the island to find a lush green valley between the east and western mountain ranges where vineyards nestle between tall and slender cypress trees and quiet villages huddle into the steep slopes. There were few sounds, the occasional clang of a goat hung bell, the buzz of an insect and the soft whispering of the warm afternoon breeze through the cone laden cypress.  We made our way to the Rombola winery a cooperative where many of the islands grape growers take their harvest. Confusingly the grape grown on the island is also called Rombola but it does make a very pleasant white wine that drinks well with fish. We were taken on a tour of the winery by a charming local girl, sampled their produce and inevitably brought a few bottles. On our journey back through this peaceful valley we passed and admired the Monastery of Saint Gerasimos (1506 – 1579) a very beautiful and well-kept building built above the cave where the chappie lived for five years. He was beatified in 1622 in recognition of his ‘divine’ ability to heal the mentally ill and the fact that his body did not decompose despite being twice buried and twice exhumed. He apparently put in many reprise appearances after the disastrous 1953 earthquake, obviously not a guy to be put down!

Fillets of veal that evening in the Paradise Beach restaurant which clings to the cliff side with sunset lit views across the channel to Ithaca. A brandy in the cockpit and an earlyish night before Charles, Gemma and the kids arrive.

I drove across the island next day to collect them from Argostoli airport and we had four days of fun and frolics (and the odd tantrum). We did a little sailing but the children loved the tender and were pretty good at driving it too. Charles brought with him a new cable for the davits and after a couple of greasy, sweaty hours of spanner work we had it all back together again and fully functional. We decided to sail (well motor as it turned out) back to Argostoli for them to catch their return flight to the UK. An uneventful trip but once anchored (I looked for advice from my Danish friend but he did not appear!!) the loggerhead turtles put on a show which kept us all entertained. Tony on Oyster 46 Scarcity emailed me to say that they too were coming back into Argostoli that afternoon. So of course we all met up and dined together in the evening at the Portside Taverna. Great fun and it was nice to meet Tony’s friends Don and Erica.

A bit of a clearing up day after we had taken Charles, Gemma and the children ashore and after a planning session that evening we decided to leave early next day for Vathi on the legendary island of Ithaca.