The Mythical Ionians, from Odysseus to Onassis
“The sapphire waters of the Ionian Sea welcome you to paradise. Whether it's your first or 50th visit, the Ionians hold something new for adventure-seekers, food-lovers, culture vultures and beach bums alike. Carpeted with olive trees, pines and vineyards, the Ionian Islands are fertile and green, a stunning setting for award-winning white-sand beaches and peacock-blue waters. The celebrated beaches of the Ionian Islands are famous the world over. On land, you can explore monasteries and mountain villages and seek out waterfalls, hiking trails and scenic routes by car or motorbike."
Day 1: Lefkada
"Immerse yourself in the magical world of Lefkada, a jewel of an island in the Ionian Sea. Lefkada (or Lefkas) is easily accessible, hospitable and lively. You’re bound to have seen photographs of Lefkada’s world famous beaches. But when you arrive, you’ll quickly realize that they’re even better in real life. Annually awarded with Blue Flags, there is windsurfing, kitesurfing, paragliding, scuba diving, or sailing around the surrounding islets, like Skorpios… there’s no end to the activities on offer here."
Day 2: Kefalonia
The Melissani cave lake on Kefalonia
"Kefalonia - a paradise for sea activities." "You’ve probably seen the beaches of Kefalonia before on posters and postcards or in films [Captain Corelli's Mandolin] because they are among the most gorgeous in the Mediterranean... Kefalonia is the perfect island to explore by boat, with endless private beaches and bays of exceptional beauty, such as Myrto and Makri Gialos. For lovers of action and activities, Kefalonia offers all sorts of water sports at the large organised beaches, as well as sea kayaking and scuba diving."
Day 3: Ithaca
Ithaca is the home island of Ulysses from Homer's Odyssey. Only 16 nm from our base on Lefkada, we should have less trouble reaching it than he did. Vathy has been the island's main harbor since the 16th century. "Apart from its mythical essence, it boasts an incredible natural beauty. Similarly to its neighboring islands, Ithaca is covered with lush green nature and it offers exotic beaches with emerald waters."
Day 4: Meganisi
"The remote island of Meganisi Greece is located between Lefkada and the Greek mainland. Untouched by tourism, it provides amazing beaches with crystalline waters and secluded coves that can only be reached on foot or by boat! Except for its two traditional villages and the small number of facilities they offer, the island is totally unspoiled!"
Day 5: Zakynthos
"Sitting in the heart of the mesmerizing Ionian sea, Zakynthos is one of the most exotic Greek islands. Housing the world-famous Navagio (Shipwreck) beach and the endangered sea turtle species Caretta Caretta [Loggerhead], Zakynthos (or Zante) is among the most popular and most beautiful islands in Greece."
Zakynthos is also home to the spectacular Blue Caves, and like Navagio Beach, accessible only by boat. It is the second most visited Ionian island after Corfu. Despite this, most sailing tours don't visit. The majority of tourists come by ferry, then pay another boat to take them to the sites, often one too large to enter the caves. We'll not only sail there but be able to take our dinghy inside!
The dragons of Zakynthos (Blue Caves) taking a drink!
Corfu: I realize that Corfu is likely the Ionian island with which you are most familiar, and therefore on your radar. But is larger and more distant than the other Ionians, and therefore not possible to include on this one-week sail. Its size and popularity make it easier to visit on its own, however, as there are many flights and ferries to it. You may even arrive in Greece via Corfu rather than Athens. I will arrange a day trip before or after our sail for those interested.
FWIW, while a beautiful island, I was disappointed in Corfu. Its popularity, especially among the British, made it feel like a British colony-- it was difficult to find a breakfast that didn't include beans and tomatoes! I certainly felt that I was in a tourist spot (and I drove around the entire island).
About Greek names: Most of these islands have more than one name or spelling due to the Venetian influence and translation of Greek. For this reason, the I and Y; C and K; and F and PH are often interchangeable, i.e., Cephalonia/Kefallonia is the same island. Corfu (Kerkyra), Zante (Zakynthos) and Lefkada (Lefkas) may be better known by their Italian names. Unfortunately, many villages have the same name! So if you read about Vathi/y, the Greek Springfield, be sure you have the right one!
I've chartered a spacious 50' German-built Bavaria yacht with a capacity of 12, but I'll only take the first eight to send deposits ($500 per person).
Reserving your spot
Cabins are selected in the order of deposits received.
$2,900 for a double cabin. Singles can pay $1,450 to share a cabin with separate berths, or $2,400 for their own cabin.
Repeat crew members, or those reserving before February 15th, save $75. Payment in full is due 60 days before the trip.
Payment may be made via Paypal, Venmo (Edward_Laucella) or Check:
Edward Laucella, 1118 Winona Ave., SW, Roanoke, VA 24015
Questions?: email@example.com, or 407 687-8194
The airport in Preveza is very close to the base on Lefkada/Lefkas. The best airfares from the U.S. are typically found by finding a good fare to somewhere in Europe, preferably a city where you may want to layover, then connecting to Athens, Corfu, or Preveza. From Athens I can arrange transportation as a group.