Argostoli, our starting point in Greece, sits on a large sheltered bay on the south west of Kefalonia, Ionian Islands. We spent our first 2 nights anchored in the bay alongside four other boats from Ragussa, all at the start of their 2020 Greek cruise. We enjoyed exploring the town and also met the resident turtle who frequents the quay every morning as the fishing boats return. The town was a great place to provision the boat ready for our next trip. Lovely fish & fruit markets lined the streets.
At 11.30 am on 7th August we left Kefalonia originally expecting to sail west to Ithica. As we exited the bay the wind was perfect for a sail to Zakinthos so we altered our plans and headed South arriving in the bay of Ay Nikolaos on the northern tip at 16.05.
We were welcomed on the Quay by a friendly character who informed us that he also owned the nearby taverna and we would have free use of the Quay, toilets, showers & washing machine as long as we ate in the restaurant….. Great deal as Judith had plenty of washing to catch up on and laundry can cost from between 3 & 9 euros a load!! We spent the afternoon relaxing and swimming in this beautiful little bay, ate in the restaurant in the evening and then left the following morning to head further south. We decided not to visit Zakinthos town as there were many tourists around and we were still a little nervous about the level of Covid in the area, so we found a sheltered bay and anchored for lunch and an afternoon swim.
At around 16.45 the wind picked up and was perfect for a sail across to the mainland. We headed off towards Katakolon where we planned to anchor just outside the harbour. There was a beautiful navy hulled yacht anchored nearby and as we motored past, the guy onboard shouted that the holding wasn’t so good due to the weed. As we had our new Rocnor anchor onboard, we ignored his advice as we were itching to try it out in this type of grounding and we are happy to report that the anchor performed ‘as advertised’ perfectly!
Katakolon is used by cruise ships as a base to visit the famous historical site of Olympia nearby. Normally they see up to 300 cruise ships in a season but due to Covid the only cruise ships were the ones being stored on the dockside and the town was almost completely deserted! How would the businesses survive!? We would have loved to have visited Olympia but Judith had broken her toe before leaving Sicily and would have been unable to walk around the site. We would have to return another time. We spent the second night on the Quay in the harbour, (noisy because it was Sunday and the locals all seemed to party on Sunday), topped up with ‘free’ water and departed the following morning 51 miles southwards to Bay of Navarinou.
The Bay of Navarinou is an enclosed bay where the town of Pilos sits on it’s shores. Pilos was largely built by the French and when walking through the square you do actually feel as if you are in a French town. We anchored in the far end of the Bay below Ak Korifasion and it’s Palaiokastro (Castle) and took the tender ashore before walking to the summit to take in the views. The views were certainly worth the struggle for Judith with her toe! If you have time check out this link
On returning from our walk we noticed the beautiful blue hulled boat, Dulcinea, anchored nearby and decided to head over to explain why we had ignored their advice. This was the start of a great friendship when, for the next few weeks, we travelled to virtually the same ports together.
We spent two nights in this Bay just enjoying the clear blue water & paddle boarding before moving Money Penny across to the town quay at Pilos to take a walk around the town and then moving on. We must add that the Greeks are such friendly people and one experience of this in Pilos was in the local chandlery. We called in for an extremely small purchase of only a few euros and left having been given fresh orange juice on our arrival and a free bottle of the owners home produced olive oil on departure! Throughout our time in Greece we were to come across some wonderful local characters.