Boats & Bikes at Ithica - a Holiday with a Difference
Having spent such a great week with Phil in 2018, sailing out from our Geni Garden Apartment, we decided to continue the Luggering about in the Sun adventure for this summer, but with a difference.
Our own Lugger is based on the East Coast of England and sailing there can be somewhat tedious, waiting of the right tidal conditions, decent weather and whether we can spare that right time in between work commitments. In Greek waters there are no tides to consider, the weather is good so one can sail each day, certainly getting more time on the water in one week than we did in an entire summer season at home.
To add to this adventure, Phil recommended a 2-week visit to Frikes on Ithica, staying with Peter at the Frikes Bay Apartments, and this for June. “Two weeks of sailing in the warmth of the Greek Ionian” gasped Richard in delight! We had read previous accounts in Phil’s reviews of the exploits of the Wilson Family's many visits to Frikes.
We had so many questions for Phil on the ins and outs of the logistics etc, but he had it all organised. From the collection by private taxi from Preveza, delivered to the Gialos Taverna for a stunning lunch and ice cold beer, one night there with an early start and a speedy trip south in the B Class ex RNLI Rib Warrior Spirit to Frikes. This took us through the Meganissi Channel before leaving the island and striking out across the open water for the island of Ithica, this taking a mere 45 minutes. We were just in time for one of Peter's breakfast specials in his outside eating area overlooking this traditional harbour of Frikes, where Heulwen our Lugger was moored awaiting our arrival. What a start to this 2-week adventure!
The apartment was as described in reviews - so good, with a comfy bed and Peter and his staff were so attentive. To cap it all in the evenings we would sit out on the balcony with a glass of wine and watch for hours the comings and goings of fishing boats and visiting yachts.
In June we found the wind somewhat unpredictable to start and for the first few days sailed with the Jib and Mizen only. This worked well and the Lugger is happy with that since she is not a performance boat. We did have a surprise on day 4 after leaving Kioni under full sail, when suddenly, without notice the wind gathered speed and all hell was let loose, throwing us all over the place. Without further ado, the mainsail was down in the bottom of the boat, engine dropped and on full power, kicking us through the waves and making headway back to Frikes, needless to say totally wet through but exhilarated after the adventure. Richard announced it was time for an early well-earned beer, to which I agreed wholeheartedly.
It was at this stage we realised that we were not going to fully explore Ithica by boat as by sheer coincidence we came across a customer in the bar below the apartment with a big odd-looking electric bike.
“What is this?”, we asked having not seen an electric bike close-to before, and certainly not expecting one on this tiny quiet island in the Southern Ionian. They turned out to be a fleet Dimitri had for hire and new this summer. Well that was it, we summoned Peter over and a deal was done for 2 to be delivered the following morning. They certainly were ideally suited for the poor mountainous roads. We covered all the roads, lanes and accessible paths on the island, dividing our days between sailing, snorkelling and riding these bikes, visiting the beautiful church at Stavros and as far as the town of Vathi. The views from the high mountain road were just stunning, looking over the water as far as Zanti some 30 Km south and across to the main Kephalonia land mass. What an experience! This is well recommended.
Alas, time was up to leave Frikes. We packed two small rucksacks with a pre-made lunch for the sail back north to Lefkada. It was planned that Phil would return in the Rib Warrior Spirit to take our bags but since we only had these two small sacks we decided it was not necessary. However, the Rib did meet up with us as we entered the southern end of the Meganissi Channel.
We returned home tanned and relaxed, which is how a holiday should make you feel.
Thanks Phil again for a wonderful experience.