Back in Kefalonia (5th-14th September 2016)

It’s 7am and the cockerels have been crowing for about 1 hour with the growing light. The big yellow “Speedrunner III ” ferry slipped out of the harbour with little fuss, heading to Patras on the mainland. Now the blue ferry is loading with lorries clanging on the ramp. Church bells are ringing and the early traffic noises are starting in the town.

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Speedrunner III, Sami

We are back in Sami in Kefalonia, having left Messalonghi on the 5th September. We had to motor all of the 40 miles across as there was no wind. Since then there have been quite a few thunderstorms which made us take shelter. The sea is lovely and warm for swimming but the harbours are pretty full with flotillas and charter yachts, as well as cruisers like us, so finding a berth is often challenging.
Our friends Fiona and Gordon arrived on the 7th September from Scotland and unfortunately their first full day was spent sheltering from a thunderstorm.

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Thunderstorm and torrential rain in Sami

We also spotted a leak from the water trap on the exhaust of the engine, which filled the bottom of the locker with about 4 pints of water. On top of that, the anchor winch remote also broke!! Not a great start to their holiday, but Gordon, being a plumber, felt quite at home looking for leaks!!
The welded sections of the water trap, which is 31 years old were leaking and Andy managed to plug the leaks temporarily. The anchor winch remote wiring was completely corroded, which was very disappointing as the remote was just over 1 year old! Andy managed to rewire it so it worked and our next visitors will hopefully bring a new one out. Thank goodness for all the tools and spares we carry and Andy’s expertise to fix most things.
At last we could set off for some of the islands. We stopped for one night at Ay Efemia, to take on diesel, show Fiona and Gordon paradise beach and eat at a favourite restaurant. Then we headed up the Ithaka channel and across to Kalamos. It was Saturday so Kalamos harbour was relatively quiet as the flotillas turn around at weekends. George was on hand to take our ropes as usual.

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Kalamos harbour on a quiet day

We walked to the windmill beach and had a swim in the fairly rough water and a drink at the small beach Taverna which had not been open in May. Showers and food at George’s Taverna completed the day.
We left Kalamos on the Sunday morning after a leisurely start. Fiona and Gordon went to the shop to get a few provisions. The shop is like the ones you used to find in the Scottish Highlands, with floor to ceiling shelves, stocking everything from a needle to an anchor. There had been a local wedding the day before and the young couple went off in a speedboat with horns blaring and lots of selfies being taken.
We motored out of Kalamos and anchored for lunch and swimming in One Tree Bay (with two trees), just opposite Vliho on Lefkada. It was busy and again there was a beach bar ashore. Luckily the “muzak” was bland and not too intrusive.

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Fiona at One Tree Bay

We ended the day anchored in Vliho with Prosecco and a BBQ on the boat in the quiet. No sailing all day though as the wind had deserted us.
Our next port of call was Vathi on Ithaka. It was very overcast with no wind so we motored past the caves on Meganissi’s west coast and then anchored off Arkoudion island, where we had read that the snorkeling was very good. It did not disappoint, with 10-15 species of fish, octopus and black sponges all in beautiful clear water. The sun even came out while we were snorkeling and the afternoon wind meant we could sail to Vathi. As we left the anchorage we saw lots of small flying fish. As usual, the wind blew up to 15 knots on the nose just as we were coming in to Vathi. The small quay was full of Sailing Holidays yachts but luckily our friends Lynn and Keith had kept us a space next to them and Andy managed to squeeze our way in. A lively evening followed, with good food and company at Dimitris Taverna. Fact of the day was that mink are wild all over Ithaka, perhaps not so bad if they keep down rat numbers!!

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The motley crew at Dimitris quay in Vathi, Ithaka

The next day we had to get back to Sami for Fiona and Gordon’s flight on the Wednesday. We nosed our way into Ay Andreous but we were beaten in by a large yacht which left no space in the tiny anchorage, so we had to move on. Gordon steered us safely through the shallows at Pigadi but the swell meant we couldn’t stop there for lunch either. Third time lucky and we managed to get into Ay Andreas on the south side of Ithaka. Gordon swam our stern line ashore and we all snorkeled. There were less fish than at the previous snorkeling site but I saw an octopus which I only spotted because it changed colour and there were a few colourful red starfish as well.
We arrived back in Sami just before 5pm. A walk, swim and lovely meal finished the evening.
Fiona and Gordon were leaving at lunchtime for Argostoli airport the next day, so we had a leisurely start and brunch ashore.

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Brunch in Sami

Two bags of laundry went to be washed and we felt a bit lonely back to just the two of us.
Today, Andy has fibreglassed the leaking exhaust water trap and it’s now curing on the quayside.

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Fibreglassing the water trap

The forecast looks reasonable for the next few days so we will leave tomorrow and hopefully explore a couple of new anchorages before coming back to Kefalonia to pick up Trina and Joe on the 25th September.

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