Log #23c Levkas & Ithaca (Ionian Islands)

November 3, 2001 in Log Series 20 - 29, Logs by Series, Series 23 Greece, The Logs

Log #23c Levkas & Ithaca (Ionian Islands)

Adams on Milos (The Cyclades), Greece
Nov. 3, 2001

Covers the period Sept. 26 to Oct. 1, 2001
Sent 17/12/01

c, the main town on Levkas (38 50.0N,  020 42.7E) was a major stop as we expected our new stove, a copy of Rod Heikell’s Turkish Pilot, mail from Judy’s sister Jacqui, and mail forwarded from CA House in London, our European address. All had arrived except the stove. Oh well, we could continue to cook on only one and a half burners for a few more days, as we had been doing since April.

Bill and Jean on Soleil Sans Fin will be staying in Levkas marina for the winter. Especially as there is a half price fee until January, as the marina is not finished yet. However, it has water and electricity on the docks, and an increasing number of winter cruisers checking in. Levkas town, also known as Levkadas, was devastated by a major earthquake in 1948, and in rebuilding the houses, concrete block was used for the lower walls, but the upper floors were constructed with painted sheet metal or corrugated iron panels, a low cost alternative, not unattractive. Damage from the 1953 earthquake was minimal.

We found a good internet café that had a good deal of an iced coffee and an hours’ internet time for 1000 drachmas (about $4.25 Canadian). The main pedestrian mall had a wide range of stores, chandleries, markets, tavernas, rental agencies, bakeries, phone shops and other services. Along the waterfront were Contract Yacht Services, Levkas Yacht Centre, the bus terminal, port police, several tavernas, and the road over to the new marina, about 300 metres away. There was no “farmers’ market” and the meat, fruit, and vegetable stores were only OK, and not open in the afternoons. Perhaps we were spoiled by the lovely farmers’ market in Corfu town.  We considered staying in Levkas for the winter rather than going on to Turkey. From Levkas there are several other interesting locations on Levkas as well as other Ionian islands that could be visited in day trips: Meganisi, Skorpios (Aristotle Onassis & Jackie Kennedy), Ithaki (home of Odysseus), and Kefallonia (of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin). However, we decided to stick to our original plan to go to Kemer in Turkey, near Antalya.

Rather than wait around, for we didn’t know how long, for our stove to be delivered, we decided to join Bill and Jean in a trip to Nidri, down the coast from Levkas town. We did some re-supply shopping prior to departure, but when we returned to Veleda, Judy found a piece of paper tucked in our bow anchor roller from the local port police. It asked us to bring our papers to their office. Warning bells started to ring, as they would probably ask for our transit log. The boat next to us did not get such a request, yet they were flying the red ensign and did not have a transit log either. The paper was a standard form, and did not indicate the boat’s name, so as far as I was concerned, I never saw it, and we left in a couple of hours to join Bill and Jean in Tranquil Bay across from Nidri.

When we planned to dinghy over to visit Bill and Jean across from where we were on the town docks, and incidentally get a shower at Levkas Marina while there, we found that Sprite’s Mariner engine would not start. This was the first we had tried to start it since having it fixed in Dubrovnik. Aaarrrgghhh! Next day we tried to take it to Contract Yacht Services who indicated a Mariner Dealership over town. Walk all the way across town to find out he would be unable to look at it for a week. Back to Contract Yachts. Recommended to try Levkas Yacht Centre. OK, they were busy but next day they could look at it. Next day they took it off Sprite and put it in the shop. I described the starting problems. He gave it a good carburetor cleaning, taking it apart, putting the parts in a solvent, reassembling, spraying a solvent/lubricant in before first starting it, starting it up to inhale the solvent and then waiting an hour or so before the final check out start up. It worked! He modestly claimed to be the best outboard mechanic in Levkas. Good!

Next day we were off with Bill and Jean 8.5 miles down to Tranquil Bay in Nidri (38 47.1N, 020 42.8E), where we rafted together on Bill’s anchor, with a line ashore to a wreck to limit our swing. We were to come back to this quiet, well sheltered bay several times over the next week or two while we waited for our stove to arrive. Next day we (Bill, Judy and I) dinghied in Sprite a couple of miles down the bay into Vlikho to a used chandlery where we got some used charts of Greek waters, and an anchor roller that we have since attached to our starboard quarter to feed out our stern anchor when doing bows-on Mediterranean mooring.

Leaving at noon hour, we motor sailed most of the way the 21 miles to Vathy on Ithaki (38 22.4N, 020 42.9E), to a partially built concrete dock in the northeast corner of the bay, across from town. The word Vathy means capitol, and there are several towns called Vathy on different islands, usually the only or main town on each. However, this Vathy of Ithaki (also spelled Ithaka) is noted as the home of Odysseus as written in Homer’s Odyssey, from which he took off for 10 years to the Trojan war, and took 10 years of wanderings before returning. We are enjoying a book by Tim Severin, “The Ulysses Voyage” (an out of print 1987 publication by Arrows Book Ltd. ) in which he retraces with much historical and archeological information the route Odysseus would have taken when returning from Troy, in a re-created 52 foot Bronze Age sailing galley. Ulysses is the Roman name for Odysseus.

We tried to start Sprite to visit the chapel on the island in mid harbour dedicated to Odysseus, but the Mariner would not start! Aaarrgghhh! That evening we had a lovely barbecue on board Acuna, a large motor yacht. Their upper bridge deck where we ate was as large as a dance floor. After living on board a 10 metre sail boat for over three years, this 50 foot yacht was immense, like a floating condominium. Next afternoon I tried Sprite again, and after a while it started. Possibly it was warmed by the sun, and cleared out the gas line. This reminded me of a technique to clear the gas line deposits by running the engine dry if not going to use it for a period of time, like several days or weeks. So I ran it dry, and it started up well next day on the first pull. I have been running the engine dry every night since then and it seems to have solved the starting problem AT LAST!