Monday, 24 August 2015

Sailing Around The Ionian Seas Via The Levkas Canal, 1st - 23rd August 2015.

Vliho Yacht Club.       We base ourselves at Vliho to connect to the Internet, catch up on the blog and meet up with friends. We have celebrated Guy's birthday with a curry supper and watched Rugby matches and Grand Prix with other Sea Gypsies and locals. The Bay is very sheltered and we have come back on several occasions to shelter from strong winds or storms. The 'Blue Moon' made an appearance and lit the anchorage beautifully.

Guy In "The Office"! Vliho Yacht Club Doing The Blog.
Vliho Bay, Night of The 'Blue Moon'!!

 Levkas Canal.      Having sailed around the Island of Levkas to explore the Inland Sea we set off, this time back to Preveza up the Levkas Canal. A shorter route and an intriguing passage up between the salt marshes in the dredged channel to Levkas town and then into the canal in time for the hourly bridge opening. The boats, mainly yachts line up from either side until the floating bridge is lifted and then swung open and everyone races through.

Travelling North Up The Levkas Canal.
Bridge Opening At North End of the Levkas Canal.
The Fleet  Racing Through Now Bridge Is Open.
Sandbank And Dredger At Exit Of Canal.

Preveza.       We headed into the anchorage beside Prevaza Marina and spent a few days catching up with friends from Licata. After a few social days, with a trip to Lidl to restock and a trip to the laundry we went into the marina for a night to plug into the free electrics and fill the water tanks. Craig, Corrine and Molly from Sea Too were across the pontoon from us and made our stay entertaining as Molly danced in and out of a bucket of water to keep cool. With thunderclouds over head we watched the light display and had our first rain shower since leaving Licata! Lars and Marina on Mais and Dave and Alison on White Sands were in the Marina having repairs completed. Lindsay from Rosa Di Venti was at anchor in the bay with Lucifer, awaiting Dave's return from UK. 

Molly Cooling Off In Preveza Marina.
Where Are The Fish?

Parga.     On the 5th of August we set off north again towards Corfu. We tacked up north heading for Parga. We had passed by a week or so earlier and decided to try the anchorage for an overnight stop. With the wind rising to justify 2 reefs in the main and also a small amount in on the Genoa we made good progress then the wind died and we anchored at 2000hrs. We stayed a couple of nights and went round to the town by Water Taxi to explore the town and Venetian Fort which lies on a headland between the two bays. While in the town we saw displayed that there was a Festival with fireworks on the 15th August and we noted it for a return trip.

Storm Clouds Gathering.
Evening Skies In Parga, Valtou Bay
View East Over Parga From
The Entrance To The Venetian Castle.
Panayia Island Just South Of Parga From Castle Walls.
Guy Inspecting The Remains Of The Venetian Castle. 
A Visitor While We Were In Parga At Anchor.
View From The Castle, East.
View from the Castle Walls West Over The Anchorage.
Ginny Climbing Higher Into The Castle.
From The Seafront Lunch Spot Up To The Castle Ramparts. 
Yacht Exploring Parga Bay, No Ferries In Sight!!
Parga Town And Castle, See Later For Night Scene.
Our Water Taxi, From Boat To Town Day And Night

Corfu.      We raised the anchor and left the water skiers and inflated tow rides in the bay and headed for the calmer anchorages of Corfu Town. First to Gouvia and then Garitsas with trips to the town to enjoy a meal out at Marina's Taverna again and do some shopping and to buy Guy a new hat at last!! The calming influence of Corfu even remains at the height of the tourist season.

Lovely Sunset Along Walkway Below Old Town. 
Another Day At Garitsas Anchorage.
Long View On Such A Clear Morning
Guy Sporting His New Hat, At Last!!

Platarias.      Leaving the town anchorages we set off for clear turquoise waters for swimming and relaxing views of coves and fishing villages. We called into Platarias bay and anchored off the village going ashore for a delicious cold beer or two and a trip to the bakery, what for!!!? Baklava! The following day we set off to Paxos island and Longos anchorage. We had enjoyed our stay  here before and with strong winds coming in that evening we thought we would be well protected. Anchored up at 1800hrs we went ashore for a cold beer and supper. Sitting on the waterfront we watched an interesting cloud formation gather and then lift with sinister dark clouds below. With winds from the NW we weren't expecting it to affect us but it suddenly started to roll in from the East. We saw Kisti Two swing violently on her anchor and swiftly left the bar paying up and rushing down to the dingy. We boarded her and lifted the anchor to ensure we could ride out the winds. We motored out of the harbour and watched the progress of the storm and seas. We eventually decided to run back to Platarias on the mainland where we knew we could anchor with plenty of swinging room and so set off into the night to escape the storm over Paxos. After a long motor sail, we reached Platarias and anchored at 0300hrs and went below to sleep.

Calm Evening And Picturesque View at Beer Time In Platarias.
Amazing Cloud Formation, Is It Coming Our Way?

Mourtos And The Sivota Islands.      With a lie-in the following morning we left Platarias at 1100hrs to move just down the coast to Mourtos and the Sivota Islands. We anchored in Monastery Bay and stayed to enjoy the lovely clear water for keeping cool, the passage of boats past our 'windows' and a trip into town.

Evening Parking Place Before A Drink And Meal In Mourtos.
Sinister Looking Sky Over Monastery Bay Anchorage, Mourtos.
From Anchorage Towards Mourtos Marina And Town.

Lakka.      We continued our 'beach holiday' by returning to the clean, clear waters of Paxos, but to Lakka this time to relax and enjoy the surroundings. We took the opportunity to drop back on our anchor and moor stern too to the rocks for a secure stay. Lakka is a stunning bay but can get a little overcrowded. The restaurants and cafe are great fun however.

Safe Anchorage In Lakka Bay.
Midday In Lakka Before The Rush Hours Begin.
Kisti Two At Anchor And Tied Back To the Rocks For Safety.
Morning Calm.

Return To Parga For Fiesta.       After a couple of days in Lakka we set off back to Parga to join in with the festivities on the 15th August. With a water taxi ride round to the waterfront of town we joined the crowds building up for the light display and fireworks. We secured a table for supper at 'Ponte' from where we had a ringside seat for the evenings parade of people,  the band and light display on the rocks below the castle and on the island opposite and the fireworks. Amazing, see below! A fun night with no drunkenness or rowdiness anywhere. 

Parga Alight, Awaiting The Fireworks.  
Fireworks Above The Bay.
What a Show!!!
Grand Finale.
The Light Show On The Venetian Castle Accompanied By A Band .
Early Morning Sun Ripples On Hull,
Well Polished Guy. 

Levkas Canal, Back To The Inland Sea.      From Parga we sailed south again and with an overnight stop in Prevaza Marina for fresh water and electricity we proceeded back into the Inland Sea via the Levkas Canal this time north to south. Once through the Canal we set off eastward to explore the coast of mainland Greece, to Palairos and Vounaki with some spectacular scenery. We headed around to Kastos Island for the evening and to our anchorage in what we call Two Windmill Bay! While at anchor the 'hat' flipped overboard and Guy instantly dived in to rescue it! We then enjoyed a wonderful sail but had to put in 2 reefs and reduce the size of the Genoa. We planned to sail back to Vliho but had another evening in Kastos again as winds suddenly increased to 26Knots from 12knots. Such gusts are normal here and can cause chaos, but we saw it coming thankfully. T
Through The Bridge En Route To Lekas Town.
Early Evening In Kastos Bay.
Hat Overboard, Rescue Successful.

The Inland Sea, Glorious Cruising.
Mountain Range On The Greek Mainland, South of Vounaki.

The Dragonera And Echinades Islands.    We started a glorious morning sailing south with the wind around the Dragonera and Echinades Islands. We planned to sail back to Vliho but had another evening in Kastos again as winds suddenly increased to 26Knots from 12knots. Such gusts are normal here and can cause chaos, but we saw it coming thankfully. The reef-ometer at work!! It was a fun sail and good to shake out the cobwebs. Guy had his bit of adrenaline.

Sailing Towards Dragonera and Echinades Islands 
Lake Kariba 'Kopje'?
No, Just Greece.
Guy And Hat Bonding Together.
Route Between the Echinades Islands.
Sunset Light On The Mountains.
One Of Guy's Sparkly Water Pictures!
Kastos Our Haven From The Strong Winds.

Return To Vliho.      We left Kastos and enjoyed a lovely challenging sail back to Vliho. Winds go up and down in strength like a yo-yo as well as changing directing by as much as 180" within a few seconds. This all keeps us on our toes and provides for challenging sailing. We met up with friends again in Vliho and while walking along the pavement to a restaurant to celebrate our 34th Wedding Anniversary, we suddenly saw Kisti Two travelling backwards at a lick in a strong gust of wind, he anchor dragging!!!! Dont panic!!!! Guy returned with John to find Kisti Two had re-anchored some 50 meters back. A quick re-anchor, more chain out and we resumed the meal. The next night, we watched England V France Rugby warm up match - not impressed! A very poor performance by England in its warm up preparations.

Vliho Bay.