Tag Archives: Port Leone

Kastos and Kalamos

9 Jun

Perhaps, generally speaking, less well known to land based tourists to the Ionian as you only really visit these small islands if you’re on a boat. That being said, the main ports of each island are well and truly crowded with leisure boats and a couple of day trippers visit Kastos.

Kalamos is our favourite and we’ve spent the last week going between an anchorage and Port Kalamos itself. Somehow, George, a local taverna owner and (maybe unofficial) harbour master, seems to get everyone in. They’re sometimes rafted three or four abreast but they get in. It does mean, though, that if these crews want to go ashore they have to climb from one boat to the next (or have everybody else climbing over your boat) to reach the quay. But it’s probably worth it.

Fortunately, we were in the happy position of tying ‘stern to’ in the usual Mediterranean fashion. This is when you drop the anchor an appropriate distance from the quay and back up, tying the back of the boat, the stern, to the land with two ropes. Hopefully there is someone there to take these lines from you, wrap them once around a bollard or through a ring and pass them back to be secured on the boat.

Neil frequently gets involved with helping out, he enjoys the camaraderie. It was while assisting a rather nice 46 footer in next to Desi that he recognised its name and immediately identified the couple on board as Rod and Lucinda Heikell. Now those names might not mean much to those not involved with boats but, believe me, for any English speaker who has cruised the Greek or Italian waters (or Turkish and Indian Ocean come to that) they are definitely celebrities. When I was first learning to sail my instructor referred to “Rod the God” and the name has stuck with us. This is because he is the author of the yachtsman’s Bible – the Pilot Guides. Lots of them. You could say we were a bit starstruck but they turned out to be really easy to talk to.

Both islands have ruined windmills dotted around their coastlines. Some have been restored to a greater or lesser extent most notably the one near Kastos harbour which is now in use as a bar.

The anchorage we tend to use is the bay of the earthquake devastated Port Leone. A front line building has been restored with rumours it will be, or even already is, a taverna. If it is we have yet to see it open. The lights are on (literally) but there’s no one home. The church has also been lovingly restored. Otherwise, all the other buildings in the village remain picturesque ruins.

We spent a rather stuffy day in Kastos but didn’t linger. It’s certainly a pretty enough harbour that also gets very crowded and, like Kalamos, crossed anchor lines are to be expected. There’s no George equivalent to help you in, either. In fact they don’t seem to really want to encourage the small, private yachts. There’s nowhere to leave rubbish or shop to buy any supplies, not even bread. Maybe this explains the rather indifferent tavernas, even the beautifully located cliff top one. Just our opinion, of course.

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What Desi Did Next 

27 May

With some blowy weather forecast we headed for our ‘go to’ place in the the Southern Ionian, Sivota on Lefkas. As it turned out, the worst of the weather didn’t materialise, although there was obviously more wind outside the harbour, but we never mind spending time in there.

Eventually, though, the pretty little resort of Fiscardo called to us. We usually choose to tie to the rocks and dinghy ashore, preferring what tends to be a quieter spot with easy swimming access to the noise of the quay. This time, however, with the weather still decidedly changeable and the sea definitely failing my big toe test, the quay seemed a better option. The pontoon which only a couple of years ago provided extra space has now disappeared and the better spots were already taken up so we had no choice but to tie outside a taverna, the passarelle touching down amongst the tables.

Despite this and the incessant Zorba music, Fiscardo didn’t disappoint. It is probably my favourite stop in the Ionian, rather gentrified and with prices to match, but still worth the harbour dues. It even has a better class of tourist tat. This is the place to buy your chic summer dresses and thick Turkish towels if you don’t mind forking out the readies. I’m always tempted but compromised with a rather pretty fridge magnet. Now all we need is a fridge to put it on. Oh, and a kitchen, of course.

Next stop was Kalamos and the bay of the deserted Port Leone. Abandoned after an earthquake wrought havoc, it is now given over to boats and fishermen who have a habit of laying nets and almost blocking access, a real propeller hazard for the unwary or those arriving in the dark. Again it was a bit on the chilly side and the katabatic wind not particularly pleasant so one night was enough. The following morning we tootled the couple of miles to Port Kalamos itself.
There was a fair bit of wind as well as rain forecast for the Ionian with just a small patch of blue (indicating light winds) over Kalamos and neighbouring Kastos. This probably played its part in the frenzy that developed that evening. We’ve been here several times, often in peak season, and have never seen it so busy. Two flotillas, one of them unexpected, along with numerous charter boats and all arriving relatively late in the day (the owner occupied crews made sure to get in early) created, what turned out to be, very well organised chaos. This is all thanks to an amazing taverna owner who skillfully made sure every boat dropped enough chain and had a place to go to. How he managed it is something to behold. Inevitably there was anchor chain spaghetti the next morning but again George was there to make sure no anchor was uprooted. We’re not in any hurry to move off.

All quiet at the weekend – pretty Kalamos

Port Leone

9 Jul

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We’re definitely getting into the swing of things now. We find we go where the whim takes us, stay another day if we feel like it and generally change our mind at the last minute. After deciding to have an extra night in Sivota to visit a favourite taverna we altered our original plans again and headed for Port Leone on the small island of Kalamos.

After a gloriously lazy day tied to the shore we quickly calculated we easily had enough provisions on board to see out a second day. We’d filled the water tank before setting off so this was the only thing that might have proved a problem. So it was a simple decision to stay put. The water in the bay is crystal clear and wonderful to swim in while, touch wood, there’s just enough breeze to keep us cool. After the sweltering and crowded previous days this is such a blessed relief.

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There are other boats here, of course – this is the Ionian, after all, but the little village that was once here was abandoned back in 1953 after an earthquake. It has changed little since we were last here although now the church appears fully restored. They were fitting a new floor during our last visit and proudly showed off the progress. During our early morning visit today it was locked but services are held here and, if I remember rightly, the bell tower still carries the original bell.

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The views over the bay are amongst the best and a short walk reveals the two ruined windmills at the port entrance. We got chatting, although we didn’t realise it at the time, to writer Georgie Moon whose blog is definitely worth a follow:
https://georgiemoon2016.wordpress.com
She gave us a few tips for ports we could well try out over the next few days. When the mood takes us.