In September 2015 we were hired for an interesting charter to visit the small lonely Ionian Island Strofadhes. The islands are way down in the south of the Ionian Islands, approximately 32 miles west of Kiparissia. The islands are part of the Zakinthos National Marine Park, therefore their waters are protected. This enables Turtles to swim around here undisturbed with their young. These small islands also have important bird colonies. They serve as a staging post for migratory birds. Cory’s Shearwater, Various Passerines, Turtle Doves and Quail are among the important species. See my blog on Flora and Fauna.
Luxury Charter Yacht, to Ionian Island Strofadhes
The luxury yacht Glaros was chartered by the, Renowned American Photographer, Robert McCabe who has been taking photographs in Greece since the early 1950’s. He was author of the bestselling book, Greece: Images of an Enchanted Land 1954-1965. Then a trip to Havana, Cuba in 1998 resulted in a book of colour photographs. Weekend in Havana: An American Photographer in the Forbidden City. He was joined on-board by his wife Constantina McCabe and his good friend James H Ottaway Jr.
Lefkada, is the home port of Glaros. You may, if you wish, join the yacht at another location. A small delivery fee will be agreed upon for this, before the charter. Robert wanted to visit the Ionian Island Strofadhes at the beginning of their charter. Hence he asked to join Glaros in Pylos on the mainland. From the home port of Lefkada to Pylos, meant a delivery of 120 miles.
So my trusty crew and I, Jo (hostess), Vangelis and Lefteris (deckhands), set off a couple of days before we were due to rendezvous with our charter clients. This meant we could make the journey in two parts and stop overnight, on the way. we motored south through the many islands. The weather forecast was good, it was flat calm with not a breath of wind. That night we anchored in Katakolou Harbour on the west coast of the mainland for an overnight stay. The next day we set off early before the first hint of daylight appeared. A few hours later I was sitting at the helm, with a cup of coffee and a croissant watching a glorious sunrise as we continued south in some typically wonderful Ionian Island weather.
We arrived in Pylos in the middle of the afternoon and tied up alongside the harbour wall. Robert and his guests arrived on-board a few hours later. They settled themselves into their cabins, then sat down for some well deserved refreshment. I then went to the local port police office to complete the necessary paperwork. Pylos is a nice place to visit, the small town has a lively square full of bars and Tavernas, the people are friendly and helpful. Unfortunately, I have one serious complaint about the place though. Raw sewage was pumped into the harbour, the night we were there.
The Ionian Island Strofadhes
The next morning we set off at first light for the Ionian Island Strofadhes, Once again I had a coffee while I watched another beautiful sunrise. The small islands of Strofadhes are low lying and they are not seen until you are a few miles off. The first thing we spotted on approach was a fort like monastery on its northern shore; constructed in the 13th century by an order of Byzantine monks. For a lengthy period the monastery was a wealthy place served by a whole community of monks. Today there is just one monk who farms the island and lives alone in the monastery.
We arrived off Nisis Stamfani in the middle of the afternoon and anchored off Ormos Panayia in 8 meters of water. There are large rocks on the seabed here and the water is so clear it looks like the rocks are just below the hull. Our clients went ashore in the speed boat, to see the Monastery and visit the monk. The monk was no longer on the island, unfortunately. Two caretakers, kindly showed Robert, Constantina and James, around the monastery. The wind was freshening from the North, so we lifted the anchor and moved into the shelter of Arpia Island to the north, so we could stay overnight.
Deep Blue Yachting, send you a preference sheet, when you book your charter holiday. This tells us the type of food you would like while you are with us. Robert and his wife had mentioned that they liked fish.
When we first arrived at Strofadhes we saw a small fishing boat pulling his nets. So later that day, Lefteris and I set off in the speed boat, in search of this fishing boat. The wind was increasing and the sea was getting quite choppy. We spotted the fishing boat behind some rocks and went over. The fishing boat had tied up at a small sheltered beach which was out of any wind and waves. The fishermen were from the mainland and they have a special license to fish on the islands. We bought some gorgeous fresh fish from them and headed back to the yacht. Myself and Lefteris, cleaned the fish and lit the barbecue. You can’t get fish fresher than that.
Book a charter with Deep Blue Yachting and visit some of the still unexplored Greek Islands. Please leave any comments that you may have and I will be happy to answer any questions.
Captain Cliff will answer all of your questions. Please leave any comments that you may have. He will also be happy to hear them. So feel free to express yourself.