Ithaca is the smaller neighbour to Cephalonia and takes its name from Ithacus, son of Poseidon. It isn’t large and due to the prevailing winds coming from the NW, most of the anchorages or harbours are on the east side.
We went across from Ag. Effima on Sunday morning looking for a lunch time stop along the bottom but none really took our fancy until we saw Gidaki Bay on the SE coast not far from the capital of Vathy. It was a lovely stop for about an hour but then we moved on as we knew some strong winds were due and wanted to be well dug in somewhere safe.
We went round to Vathy bay where we anchored just outside of town that gave us a bit more protection than the main anchorage. There was only one other boat in there when we arrived but by the time dusk came, there were about 5 more including one or two super yachts. We also had one French 54 footer decide to anchor very close to us. Given the blow due, we had put out quite a bit of chain and were worried that with his length, he would be too close when the wind swung. He didn’t seem to be bothered so we put out fenders and set the alarm for when the wind was due to change. In the end it was fine but didn’t make for a great night’s sleep.
Mind you, sleep was difficult anyway as a wedding reception was being held in the garden of the hotel opposite where we were anchored and the music didn’t stop until 3am! However, it was all quite sweet as they had been married in the church on the island in the middle of the bay so everyone was delivered to and from the church by boat with horns blaring and red flares being set off.
The following morning we were going to go into town but the clouds had started to gather and we knew a storm was due so we left quickly to make our way up the coast. First stop was Kioni, a small village with a town quay that our friends, Caron and Yvonne, had recommended. It was lovely but a real bun fight to get a space on the quay with one boat literally cutting us up to get there in front of us. We decided that we really didn’t need that level of stress so went 5nm North to Frikes.
Frikes is a forgotten harbour. Boats seem to go past it and not bother stopping, preferring Kioni or Vathy. It’s named after the pirate Frikon who had his base there for a time. There is a harbour wall where you can moor inside and alongside and be protected from the wash of passing ferries and any swell. Luckily, there was space for us as it was only midday. It felt so nice mooring like this as it’s so rare in the Med yet so common in the U.K. Around 3pm the heavens opened and it poured on and off until around 9pm. The winds also increased and we had gusts of 34 knots in the harbour, much more than forecast. However, it is known for its gusts which is why they built windmills up the hillside in the 19th century.
Ferries still come into Frikes despite its sleepy nature (which is quite nice actually) at least 3 times a day and stay there overnight. There is a plaque in the village commemorating the taking of a German gunboat in WWII by partisans. It brings home to you that these islands have been occupied by many and not always benevolently.
Not letting the bad weather stop her, Liz decided she was going to walk back along the road to Kioni. Unfortunately, the rain hadn’t finished but, being well prepared, she had an umbrella with her so kept relatively dry.
The wind calmed down after dusk so we had a peaceful evening on board. We set off this morning for the mainland to explore the coves and islands north of the Gulf of Patras. We are now anchored in a little bay with four other boats on the mainland with only the lapping of the water and cicadas for background noise.