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Ionian Islands, Lefkas Base, Yacht Charters Guide

Corfu, Paxi, Lefkada, Cephalonia, Ithaka, Zakynthos..and the smaller ones..

HISTORY

No look at the Ionian would be complete without mention of Homer and the Odyssey. The Odyssey tells the storey of Odysseus and his travels and adventures throughout the Mediterranean in around 800BC. The Trojan War concluded when the Greeks succeeded into bringing a wooden horse into the city of Troy. Greek soldiers were hidden inside and opened the city gates to the Greek army who sacked the city. Odysseus and the other Greeks could know return to their kingdoms across the sea. To say Odysseus's journey was eventful is rather understating the matter.

On departing Troy in what is now north west Turkey he sails south through the Aegean Sea. On reaching the southern tip of Greece he is blown off course to the lotus eaters in what is thought to be Libya. The it's on to Sicily where he runs into Cyclops. This one eyed giant eats two of the crew before they escape. More trouble in the Laestrygonians - Corsica or Sardinia. Here the fleet is attacked by giants hurling boulders and more of the crews are devoured. The survivors head east to Italy and the enchantress Circe. She entertains the

sailors and then with a wave of her wand, turns them into swine. Odysseus is protected by the herb that the god Hermes has given him. At some point in the journey reference is made to the pillars of Hercules. And this is supposed to be the Rock of Gibraltar and Jebel Musa in Morocco. These two mountains sit either side of the straights that are the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea from the Atlantic Ocean. Now he must pass the Sirens whose sweet singing lures sailors to their deaths. Odysseus plugs fills the ears of his crew with wax and then lashes himself to the mast so he cannot steer the ship onto the waiting rocks. Passing through the straits between Sicily and mainland Italy they run into Charybdis, who swallows the sea in a whirlpool, then spits it up again. And Scylla who uses each of her six hands to reach down from her cliff and pluck a sailor from the deck and then promptly, yes you guessed, eats them.
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More misfortune as they upset the god Zeus who sends a thunderbolt to destroy the ship. Only Odysseus survives, washed ashore on Malta, the home of the nymph Calypsos who detains him against his will. Zeus, the king of the gods, sends Hermes skimming over the waves on magic sandals with orders for Odysseus's release. But when nearly home again another god, Posiedon, sends a storm to wreck his vessel and he is washed ashore on Corfu several days later. He falls asleep in an olive thicket and is woken to the sound of female laughter. This is the Princess Nausicaa come down to the riverside to wash her wedding dress. Odysseus approaches her and she agrees to help him try and finish his journey home. She introduces him to her father and when he has heard Odysseus's story he orders him sped home to Ithaca. Once home he finds the island full of suitors for his wife's hand, after such a length of time Odysseus is believed dead. He and an ally fight and win a battle against overwhelming odds with a little help from the gods. And then Athena tells the contending parties to live together in peace down through the years to come.

THE IONIAN SEA

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This is perfect cruising ground! Green wooded islands rise out of sparkling blue sea, and the weather is invariably good throughout the summer months. The afternoon breeze makes it an ideal area for sailing and there are many places of historic interest to visit.

Here, too, are quiet sandy beaches in picturesque coves where you can anchor for a stroll in the cool shade of an olive grove, or enjoy an afternoon of water sports such as swimming, snorkelling or windsurfing. In the evenings you can tie up on the quay at one of a number of holiday resorts in the area such as Nidri or Parga and join in the nightlife there, or if you prefer you can visit a small village and sample traditional Greek hospitality at a local tavern. Summer nights in Greece are quite magical and what better way to enjoy them than to have your own beach barbecue beneath the bright stars.

In this area sailors can have a great time since normally you have nice winds during daytime and calm easy nights in harbors or Bays of Ionian sea.

The Ionian islands have a high incidence of winter rains and the islands and coast maintain their fresh greenness throughout the summer even though from late April to early October there is very little rainfall and almost continuous sunshine. The sea is warm and clear. The summer weather patterns are fairly constant. The moorings are generally calm and the breeze that get up around mid-day rarely exceeds Beaufort 5, creating superb conditions for sailing. By evening all is quiet again. oceanis_43_sailing_new.jpg

THE IONIAN ISLANDS

To those of you who visualise a Greece of sunbaked rock dotted with dazzling whitewashed houses, the Ionian comes as a gentle surprise. This is not the Greece of the popular travel brochure but a shaded green country, sheltering red tiled Latin houses, an eccentric collection of Italian and French architecture and English tastes (in Corfu the locals play cricket and you can buy currant buns and ginger beer) welded together into a whole that is indubitably Greek.

Ever-green cypress, pine, elm, green fields, flowers even in height of summer, and everywhere the dull dark sheen of the olive, characterize the lower land while higher up the slopes are covered in pine and the tenacious Mediterranean maquis. If the wind is in the right direction you can smell the pungent herby aroma a mile out to sea. The green luxuriance of the islands is in direct contrast to the high eroded mountains of Albania and mainland Greece that form the eastern boundary to the Ionian. The Ionian Islands located on the western side of mainland Greece, are seven main islands that are different from other islands by their fertile land (blanketed with olive groves sustained by the winter rains) and clear blue waters. The mixture of different civilisations and cultures is harmoniously welded together into one piece that is undoubtedly Greek, in a complex of islands where the most beautiful beaches of the Mediterranean can be explored.

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The Ionian Islands are constituted of seven islands (Greek name Eptanisa meaning seven islands) and are: Corfu, Paxi, Lefkada, Cephalonia, Ithaki, Zakynthos These beautiful Greek islands are the western borders of Greece with Europe and were the apple of discord between the European conquerors that wanted to occupy them through the centuries. 


Each one of the seven Ionian Islands has its own unique natural wonders and impressive monuments, scenic villages and towns that show the wonders of the past. These islands are in the Ionian Sea on the Italian side of Greece, with the exception of Kythera which is south of the eastern Peloponessos. Because they were occupied by the Venetians and the Italians instead of the Turks, the islands have a different architecture and character than the islands in the Aegean Sea.

WIND AND SAILING CONDITIONS

The wind and sailing conditions in the Ionian Sea are ideal and predictable. From May to September the wind blows from North-West at Force 2-5. In Spring and Autumn the wind is less strong and blows usually from South-West. It arrives around noon, blows between force 3 to 6 (10 to 25 knots) and dies down at sunset. There may be strong gusts on the leeward side due to the high land (e.g Eastern side of Ithaka and Zakinthos.) * Travel Notes

One starting point for your cruise is from Gouvia Marina, about 15 minutes from Corfu International Airport. Corfu is the northern-most of the seven Ionian Islands. Proceeding south from Corfu you come to the islands of Paxi and Antipaxi, Lefkas, Ithaca, Kefalonia and Zakynthos, and the island of Kythira.

 

These are our Sailing Suggestion for this region (Ionian Islands)...