Izabela has a brand new anchor. It hangs proudly from her bow like a shiny new diamond pendant. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to take a photo before it went into the water so you’re seeing it after its first launch.

We sailed back to Nydri from Meganisi, excited to go anchor shopping despite the searing heat. The marine shop was a considerable distance from the Town Quay where we’d berthed and the hot sun was beating down on us as we walked. It’s not only mad dogs and Englishman that go out in the midday sun but also crazy Australian sailors, I thought, as we trudged along. The guys looked at every anchor and had a very long discussion about the pros and cons of each. Once the decision was made it was time to poke around and see what else we might need. The marine shop sells new and second hand boat equipment and was full of interesting things to consider. We’ve been talking for a while about getting a paddle board for the boat and spotted a second hand kayak in excellent condition for just 150 euros. It was too good to pass up. The guys were very keen to install the new anchor but had to wait until we’d raised the old one and were back on the water, so I took the wheel for the next leg of our trip.

We’d initially planned to sail to Vasiliki at the base of Lefkada island but the south-westerly wind was strong and would probably mean a very rough night on board. We decided instead to sail to the nearby island of Ithaca and look for somewhere on the east coast away from the prevailing winds. Ithaca sits to the south east of Kefalonia and is the second smallest of the Ionian Islands. It’s often claimed to be the home of the mythological hero Odysseus, in Homer’s Odyssey, although this has been disputed.

After a very rough crossing, we arrived at Ithaca and eventually settled on the town of Frikes to berth as it was in very protected bay. It was a relief to be out of rough sea. We launched our new anchor and our skipper, who normally dives in to check that it’s held, was very happy to report that this one would definitely not move.

As we sat in the cockpit contemplating whether to go ashore a very Aussie accent greeted us and asked if we’d sailed all the way from Australia – a question we get asked every few days. He was visiting from Sydney as his family were originally from Kefalonia, and we chatted about the islands.

Frikes is small and charming. It has a number of tavernas on the waterfront which were all full. After walking around the town, which took all of 10 minutes, we settled into the Seafarers’ Bar for a pizza and a few drinks. The small bar was very popular and played music that everyone was dancing to. The next morning as we prepared to depart, another familiar accent greeted us. This time it was the husband of the owner of the Seafarers’ Bar. That explained the Hawthorn jumper on the wall of the bar! Ithaca is clearly a popular spot for Aussies.

From Frikes we sailed further south to a small cove with a beach where we dropped our anchor and went for a swim and a paddle on our new kayak. We decided it would be a nice way to spend the night rather than go to another town. We found a bay nearby that was well protected from any wind that might spring up and tied up to a rock, a common practice in the Greek islands. We were having a lovely time until the police arrived and ejected us! Apparently someone on the beach had complained as we weren’t meant to be so close. The police were very apologetic and a bit embarrassed about having to tell us to leave. We found another cove nearby and enjoyed more swimming and kayaking at our own private beach. We spent a quiet night on the boat, listening to music and checking out the star constellations in the clear, dark sky.

Ithaca is spectacularly beautiful with limestone cliffs and hills covered with eucalyptus, olive, cypress and oleander trees. Wild goats roam the hills – when it’s quiet you can sometimes hear them bleating. Its tiny coastal towns have pretty white and pastel coloured houses with brightly painted shutters.

The water is clear and blue and perfect for swimming. This morning we threw bread out to a school of sea bream and watched them swarm to the surface to eat it. They continued to swim around us even after we’d jumped into the water.


Today we sailed across to Euphemia on the much larger island of Kefalonia where we’ll restock and prepare to head further south.