We flew into Preveza on the Ionian Coast excited for a week of sailing. EY Sailing, based in Lefkada, offered us an excellent deal for cruising the Ionian islands and were amazing hosts, showing us beautiful spots as we sailed between islands, enabling us to enjoy Greek hospitality to its fullest.
We were met by Costas at the airport. He took us to an air-conditioned minibus and, after a short transfer, we pulled up right next to our boat, Lito, a Bavaria 44 cruiser (44-foot long). Perfect for enjoying the Mediterranean and island hopping, it had plenty of space for all eight of us. Elias, our skipper and and co-owner of EY sailing, greeted us on the comfortable yacht. Having set ourselves up in our cabins we joined Elias on deck and had a relaxed but thorough briefing on the important parts of boat living. This not only featured sailing aspects of the yacht and safety, but also free-diving and spear-fishing, something that EY also focus on. Elias made us feel completely at home and continued to tell us about the Ionian islands, Greek food, and island lifestyle. It made such a difference to have a local skipper who was passionate about sailing and water activities, who offered such amazing local knowledge and sincere hospitality.
“It made such a difference to have a local skipper who was passionate about sailing and the water”
Moored up stern to, right by the town, we ventured into Lefkada for our first dinner, eating at a reasonably priced restaurant, considered one of the best in the area. Octopus, squid, mussels, and local fish were washed down by Greek wine before we headed back to the yacht for our first night aboard.
After a good night’s sleep and a Greek coffee the next morning, we could sense that we had a great week lined up. When we got to unfurl the sails the yahct was surprisingly agile and light for its size. Lito was a joy to sail and easy for even our less experienced crew to handle. Throughout the week we stopped off at other islands – Kastos, Ithaca, and Kefalonia. Kastos was a tiny island of only 40 residents during the summer and fewer in the winter when the facilities close. We went ashore and enjoyed a drink in at a table alongside an old windmill and then went swimming from a rocky beach nearby.
At Ithaca we had several stops. A larger island than Kastos but still only just over 3000 inhabitants. Again great food, refreshing swimming but also an archaeological museum with ancient Greek items that have been found on the island. Naturally, touring the Greek Islands with a local free-diver led us to some absolutely beautiful swimming locations, both under and above the water. The icing on the cake was watching Elias go down and spear our dinner which he prepared on board (later in the trip we took another catch to a restaurant who cooked it for us).
“We visited a secret location I can’t even reveal in this article – one that has to be seen to be appreciated”
Kefalonia was another stop, a much larger Ionian island with a population in excess of 30,000. We took the opportunity to visit a well known tourist site, the beautiful lake of Melissani Cave on Kefalonia – a water-filled cave with a collapsed roof open to the sky. Another incredible location was what Elias knows as Crack End, almost unknown to others visiting the islands, and a secret location that I can’t even reveal in this article – one that has to be seen to be appreciated! Throughout the week we split our time between these island outings and boat living. Diving in from the deck into crystal clear water, swinging from the halyard, “hydro-massage” (being pulled along behind the boat), and swimming to beautiful locations only accessible from the sea were all truly exhilarating.
Our friends at EY sailing gave us an unforgettable experience out on the Ionian Sea, and we’re certain to be returning next year. Feel free to email ICYC, and ask us any questions about the Greek tour, China Cup Regatta, the EDHEC Regatta in France, and weekend trips we run regularly down in the Solent. We also hope to bring in some educational courses to let our members learn about sailing before even hitting the water or to gain the qualifications they’re looking for.