Kioni on Ithaca- 24th July
Surprisingly, day one in the Ionian with Linda and John and we were actually lucky enough to get the white flappy things out and sail the majority of the way to Kioni. We even saw a load of jumping fish which Mark attempted to entice onto his hook, but they were having none of it determined to keep his score for the whole trip to date in the Med at one tuna. Still he does keep trying. The journey went quickly and our luck held as we arrived in Kioni and found a space on the small town quay.
Following lunch and a relaxing afternoon, where we all swam off the end of the pier to cool down, and Linda looked around the village taking photos of rusty things and seemed to be attracted by any window that had at least a couple of decades of peeling paint – it seems that for a professional photographer, the more dilapidated the subject the better. Today was also the Jenkins wedding anniversary so we celebrated Linda and John’s with a bottle of champagne sitting on the back of the boat – very civilised. Linda, who has the female’s innate ability to spot a retail opportunity from great distances, found a beautiful silver and opal bracelet, which John bought as an anniversary gift, lucky Linda. We finished night two off by taking them to the best spit roast restaurant in the Ionian, yummy.
Our next stop was the short distance to Sivota, as we wanted to show Linda and John one of our favourite villages and take them to our fish restaurant – a large red snapper was again the dish of choice. We moored in our normal spot opposite the bar Liotrivi and relaxed on the boat as Linda and John were getting acclimatised to the heat.
We chose Nidri as our next stop as it a busy, bustling touristy town and a complete contrast to the little villages visited so far. We anchored up in Tranquil bay and got the dinghy across to Nidri spending a few hours walking around, stocking up on fresh food and finishing off with a Gyros lunch, naughty but nice. Gyros if you are not familiar with it, is a wrap surrounding chips, meat (chicken or pork) and a bit of salad and Tzatziki dip, the net result is however a tasty lunch for around 2 euros. That’s what we call good value.
We then moved down to Vlikho and anchored up in the bay for the night near to our favoured watering hole. As we dropped the anchor, Mark noticed a yacht next to us that looked like Macnoon, one of the yachts that had travelled down from Plymouth with us to Portugal over 2 years ago. As Mark was saying “wouldn’t that be funny if it was Mike and Sue on Macnoon”, John got the binoculars out and declared that it was, what a small world. The coincidence of the meeting was made even odder as the last time we met Mike and Sue in Spain 2 years ago, Linda and John were also with us then. We agreed to meet up later and in the meantime all decided to cool of with a very brief swim – there were a few jelly fish about making our dip shorter than we would have liked. We spent a delightful evening having a few drinks catching up with Mike and Sue in the little blue bar on the very edge of the bay, watching the sun set behind the massive mountains which are the backdrop to this area.
The Abelike bay was the most isolated of spots we chose, giving Linda and John their first experience at long lining, we positioned ourselves just off the little beach where Hudson would swim – obviously supported by Mark or myself, he is still not brave enough to stay in the water on his own. The rocks were a perfect place to snorkel so Linda got to use her waterproof camera and some fish were quickly digitally captured for posterity. We were lucky as although there were other boats in the bay, they were the only other signs of civilisation, it was very tranquil. This was Linda’s favourite place overall, she liked that you can jump off the boat into the crystal clear water and she could, as she lay in bed, look out her bedroom skylight up at the stars untouched by any light pollution. We took the dinghy round to the other bay to the taverna for our customary evening drinks, and finished the evening eating garlic and chilli King prawns. The next morning we made the 20 minute walk over the hill into Vathi for some fresh bread and breakfast, giving Linda and John another pretty village to admire, before we set sail to the last of our stops, Marks favourite Kastos.
Kastos – 28th July
Kastos is a must in the Ionian and we were lucky to be able to visit as the location was perfect for the final return trip to Mesolongion. Again we long lined so we could just jump off the boat into the cool waters. There were unusually, some heated arguments between our neighbouring boats as they argued quite loudly about how they should be attached to the shore and not swing into each other. It was all a bit too much considering where we were and surprisingly did not involve any Italians, and you all know what we think of the Italian “sailors”. We took Linda and John to the windmill bar on the headland which has a wide view over the Ionian to the hazy mountains on the mainland, watching the yachts enjoying the afternoon breeze.
We followed this with a stunning meal of fresh tuna, the boys had tuna kebabs, I had the tuna steak and Linda tried the homemade Moussaka. The evening concluded with a visit to Mark’s favourite bar, where Alex greeted us as regulars and we sampled some of the islands local beverages.
Back in Mesolongion, we prepared for Linda and John’s departure and saw them off in the taxi taking them to the bus station. Bye Bye. It was time for chores to start, cleaning the boat, washing clothes and preparing for the next set of arrivals, Adam and Laura on Sunday.