Sailing the Ionian Sea

Based in Kalamata for almost a decade of years, one of the things, that I got hooked in, was offshore sailing. My first “date” with Ionian Sea was in Ionian Regata 2010. It was, though, five years after when two couples (us) decided to have ten days of vacation sailing the Ionian Sea. Research, planning, arrangements and preparation took us a while back then but it really worth the pain. So, come aboard and let’s all sail away…

Ionian Sea

The Ionian Sea is part of the Mediterranean and lies on the west coast of Greece, south of the Adriatic. According to greek mythology it was named after Io.

Sea is, usually, calm enough with light winds during summertime on the contrary of Aegean’s meltemia, so it is ideal for some lazy sailing with inexperienced passengers onboard. There are, also, several lovely islands to stop by. That’s exactly what we did.

The trip

We started our trip from Kyllini port, near the city of Pyrgos in Peloponnesos. If time is not a factor before you go, you might like to visit the surrounding area.

We did make the trip from Kalamata only the two skippers since it would be a bit harsh for our girls to take the 14 hours trip up to there. Our days off to work were limited so we had to plan accordingly.

On our first day we sailed to reach Poros in the east coast of Kefalonia. Certainly it is not the most picturesque place in the island but served our purpose for the rest of the trip. Yet, we tasted the best steak ever in Taverna Agrapidos, – nonetheless the friendliest owners as well- and a lovely drink in Remetzo Cafe. By the way, I had already been on the island once before for an entire week and it surely worth a second visit.

Next day we head north to classy Fiskardo. A luxury and cosmopolitan harbour village with unique architecture. Picturesque and one of the must visit places in the Ionian Sea. Plenty of options for quality drinking and eating but not recommended if you are on a tight budget. Either if you arrive late and is hard to find a mooring spot or you like to avoid the hustle, you can anchor in Foki Beach.

The next morning we visited the famous Porto Katsiki and Egremnoi Beaches in Lefkada. I am pretty sure that you have seen some photos of these outstanding white sandy beaches with Maya’s blue coloured waters. Later in the evening we moored in Sivota bay, in the south part of the island. Place was pretty popular amongst sailing society mainly for the protected waters and the quality of mooring facilities. Avoid Vasiliki at any cost; we had really bad experience some years ago when we stopped during Ionian Regatta; overpriced and not tourist friendly at all.

Next day we went off to Meganisi Island. We past nearby the once Onasis’ island, named Skorpios; the very first and only private island in Greece for many years. In the north part of Meganisi, there are numerous small gulfs to anchor; place is like fiords. Yet for our overnight stay we preferred Vathy.

After a rainy day we reached Kalamos island; where we spent the next night. The island is pretty small with under 600 residents but it’s covered with trees making intense contrast with the surrounding water.

Our trip continued via Kastos and Atokos islands (highly recommended an overnight stay if you are not tight on schedule!) to end up in Vathy, the so-called capital of Ithaki island. Odyseus’ homeplace is, also, an island worth spending some days more and wander around.

Last day of the trip, back to our starting point Kyllini. Short stop to offload the girls and here we went our long way back to Kalamata; definitely the most challenging day/night of almost 20 hours in a row in the sea.

The Aftermath

First of all, days off from work were limited and, so, our schedule was tight; not ideal for vacations on a sailboat.

Secondly, Ionian Sea and especially our trip is highly recommended for inexperienced crew/passengers; you can rent the boat in Lefkada. Alternatively, go for Argosaronikos islands. Be aware that the rest of the Aegean might get tough and challenging even in summertime.

Finally, I will, always, consider this trip as a lifetime experience and I will seek to have something similar in the near future; after all, one of my dreams is to end up living and travelling in a sailboat.

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