Seven days in the idyllic Ionians
May. 8, 2005 02:00 PM
With its rich combination of history, culture, beauty, and cuisine, the Greek islands have long been a prime destination for summer holidays. The seven Ionian Islands – Corfu, Paxi, Lefkada, Ithaki, Kefallonia, Zakynthos, and Kythira (an island south east of Peloponese) – lie off the west coast of Greece, and are the greenest and most fertile of all, characterized by olive groves and cypresses. Here, Captain Tasos Keramidas of M/Y Iris suggests a seven-day cruise that will leave you yearning to return.
Day 1: Boarding the yacht in Marina Zeas
A welcome cocktail is offered to the guests, followed by a short briefing from the captain to ensure that everyone is familiar with the yacht and the plans for the coming week.
We depart for Corinth Canal, which is 3.2 miles long. The ancient Greeks built a diolkos, in order to avoid sailing round Peloponnese. About 1,000m outside of Poseidonia on the side of Isthmos on Peloponnese there is the “Plague of Nero” carved in stone.
After the liberation of Greece from the Turks the Greek government managed to complete the work and the canal was put into use in 1893. After passing the Dhiorix we cruise to the Alkyonides Isie where we enjoy water sports and lunch at anchor. We depart after lunch and cruise to the Galaxidi. Arriving into Galaxidi Harbor in the evening we take a stroll through the streets of this quaint little town. Ancient Delphi is easily visited from Galaxidi.
After breakfast, take time ashore to visit Delphi. This was a holy place of worship for the ancient Greeks, with its famous oracle dedicated to Apollo; it was thought to be the center (omphalos) of the earth. Among the articles exhibited in the museum is the famous statue of Iniochos, one of the finest bronze statues in the world. We depart after visiting Delphi and cruise to the ancient port of Nafpaktos where we drop anchor in the bay for lunch and a swim.
We depart after lunch and cruise to the port of Zakynthos where we stay in the harbor to enjoy Zakynthos by night. Zakynthos, the son of King Dardanos of Troy, gave his name to the island. The tall church towers with their bells and sharp pyramidal roofs, as well as the alleys decorated with continuous arches, give the island its unique color.
We depart after breakfast and cruise south of the island. Arriving into Lagana Bay, we drop the
anchor. The place is excellent for swimming, snorkeling, and waterskiing. The Bay of Lagana in Zakynthos is the most important nesting area in the Mediterranean for the loggerhead sea turtle (caretta-caretta). The caretta-caretta sea turtles lay their eggs on the sandy beach of Lagana Bay each June.
Lunch is spent relaxing and then we enjoy waterskiing, windsurfing, and snorkeling in crystal clear waters. Sailing across to Zakynthos on the northern side, we arrive at our last stop of the day at Antisamos Bay in Kefalonia Island, another spectacular anchorage. There we enjoy dinner and an overnight anchorage.
Morning swims will become part of your daily regime. After breakfast we depart for Afales Bay in Ithaki. This large sheltered bay creates a beautiful setting for swimming and snorkeling. We cruise to the southern side of Ithaki, arriving at Vathi Harbor in the late afternoon for dinner and overnight anchorage.
According to some sources, the island took its name from the word Ithi, which means cheerful. Others claim the name was derived from the ancient hero Ithakin. This is the home country and kingdom of the Homeric hero Odysseus.