Issuu on Google+

The Ionian May 2012 Volume 3. Issue 3 www.theionian.com COMPLIMENTARY/∆ΩΡΕΑΝ Please recycle: give to a friend or neighbour when finished.

Focus on:Meganisi Page 10.

The Meganisi Challenge Page 12.

The art of crisis management Page 7.

Ruairi’s bravery award Page16.

Tribute to Danny Keane Page 19.

Flock to the sun Page 15.

Moaning to Mitikas Page 8.

Preveza and all that jazz Page 5.

May 2012 www.theionian.com The Ionian 1


2 The Ionian www.theionian.com May 2012


The Ionian Contact us: Email: admin@theionian.com Website: www.theionian.com Founding Publisher: Publisher/ Editor: Deputy Editor Business Advisor: Business Advisor: Greek Editors: Layout: Printing: Advertising: Subscriptions:

Justin Smith Barbara Molin Martin Stote Yannis Dimopoulos Ryan Smith V. Gigi and V. Lekkas Barbara Molin Graphic Arts Colleen Shears Barbara Molin

You can download The Ionian free as a PDF document from our website: www.theionian.com. The Ionian is published monthly. Published on the last day before each month, approximately. Publication is for informational purposes only. Although The Ionian has made every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, the publisher cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions it may contain. The opinions expressed by the contributors are not necessarily held by the publisher. Published in Canada.

Cover Photo: Two olive trees on a hill ©Barbara Molin. To purchase any of our photos or to submit your own for cover shot consideration, please email us at: editor@theionian.com Calendar competition: www.theionian.com

Where there is a will,

there is a way.

Courage, Strength Determination This month, we honour the qualities of courage, strength and determination in many of our articles. The ancient olive tree on our cover also is a symbol of these virtues - see how it grows in dry and rocky soil. Just like the Greek people, it taps its roots deeply into this land and draws on its nourishment for survival. Spring is now in full blossom in the Ionian, and by the time you read this, the first of the season’s tourists and sailors will be arriving at their villas and boats. But many of the birds, which like our human visitors spend the winter elsewhere, have beaten them to it, and in Flock to the sun, Venetia Gigi and Vasilis Lekka describe some of the birds that can be spotted here, and the phenomenon of bird migration. Now if that is not determination, courage and strength, I don’t know what is. We hope that our readers will find similar courage to follow the birds to Greece this summer. Next in line, we have two articles about Meganisi. In what we hope will be the first of a series spotlighting different locations in the Ionian, Coleen Shears’s Focus on Meganisi gives a flavour of the island, where many village traditions survive with determination regardless of the onslaught of modern times. And in Meganisi Challenge, yachtmaster instructor and author of a new cruising pilot also called, The Ionian, Dave Nairn gives useful tips on sailing around the island. Our deputy editor Martin Stote describes in Moaning to Mitikas an eventful taxi ride with his courageous wife to that fascinating little mainland town, and what they found when they got there. In The art of crisis management, Barbara de Machula, who lives near Palairos, refuses to be browbeaten by the Greek economic crisis, and explains why she thinks the resourceful Greek people will survive and even find the gumption to dance in the face of hardships. In Preveza and all that jazz, Photini Papahatzi fills you in on some of the musicians appearing at this month’s annual Preveza Jazz Festival, and the dates when they perform as the festival celebrates its tenth anniversary. And finally, our local hero Ruairi Bradley, who rescued a woman from an overturned catamaran is featured in Martin Stote’s article, Ruari’s bravery award. Courage, strength and determination exemplified. We would also like to take this opportunity to offer our condolences to the family of Danny Keane of IGR Yacht Chandlery in Nidri, Lefkada Island who passed away suddenly at the end of April. We offer you a small Tribute to Danny - a man who will be missed by many. Enjoy reading... ~~~_/) Barbara Molin

May 2012 www.theionian.com The Ionian 3


4 The Ionian www.theionian.com May 2012


among the countries that have participated in the festival. All the musicians and groups represent their respective countries and the event is held under the auspices of embassies and their institutes. There is a significant collaboration with the Municipality of Athens which organizes the European Jazz Festival at the same time, and groups that perform Photo: www.vagelakisphoto.com in Preveza perform also in Athens. The Preveza Jazz Festival attracts a far-flung and cosmopolitan audience. Supporters come from western Greece, Photini Papahatzi mainly the Ionian, Arta, Lefkada, and Agrinio. But it also attracts followers from many parts of Europe who arrive in Preveza while sailing their own and charter yachts in the Ionian sea. his year sees the 100th anniversary of Preveza’s independence, This year's programme of 10th Preveza Jazz Festival so far is which also coincides with the Preveza Jazz Festival celebrating its 10th as follows: birthday. The festival has become an important event by which the town Friday 25/5 9.00pm. has broadened its creative and expressive horizons towards a wider Maris Briezkalns Quintet (Latvia) Europe in the new millennium. Yuri Honing Wired Paradise (Holland) The festival started in 2003 mainly with Greek groups but expanded over ensuing years to accommodate the most promising names in Saturday 26/5 9.00pm. European jazz and beyond. Names such as Jef Neve from Belgium, Intravenus (Greece) Benni Chaves from Denmark, or Veronica Mortensen, who is of Greek Tubis trio (Poland) and Danish extraction. They and many others who have taken part in the There will be also an exhibition of photographs organised from the EFE Preveza Jazz Festival today excel on the international jazz scene. Photography club of Preveza. All the events are free. The festival is held under the auspices of the Regional Unit of the We look forward to see you on the 10th anniversary celebration of good Municipality of Preveza, which supports it as an important cultural music, on the waterfront of Preveza on the 25th and 26th of May, 2012. institution, which unites the diverse musical traditions of European

Preveza and all that jazz

T

countries, and which can be powerful magnet for tourists in the region. The festival is one of the few such jazz festivals in Greece, and especially in western Greece, to boast an international character and reputation. The Netherlands, Sweden, Poland, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Denmark, Latvia, Hungary are

May 2012 www.theionian.com The Ionian 5


6 The Ionian www.theionian.com May 2012


And there is something else: In Athens, the crisis hit hard. And we saw a scenario that we never thought would happen. Many young people are leaving Athens to return to their villages in the countryside, rejoining their parents and grandparents, to help with the land, the olives, the sheep, and to reconnect with their traditions, the beauty and strength of Barbara de Machula which they are coming to appreciate all over again. I saw this happen around me, in our village. One day it was a day of an annual celebration. It was the first time that the festivities were held on the main square, by the harbour. There was an abundance of meat, wine, bread, and people enjoying it. The meat was donated by the local farmers, and it was heart-warming to see how the village enjoyed the party and each other. There was music, dancing, and everybody was there. The dancing went on all day, so elegant and beautiful to watch. Children and grandparents danced side by side, the spirits were high and I again fell in love with my beautiful village. I was so grateful to be a part of it, and the Greek system is a so proud of the Greek people. This is the very social one. Most way to handle the crisis. In tough times he Greek economic crisis has been expats feel a bit lost in you get together, share food and wine and the crisis. Is the dominating headlines across Europe for good times, dance the traditional dances situation better back months, and here in Greece itself it is difficult. and forget old disputes and differences. home? Is Greece We feel manipulated by politicians, big banks, Unite, share and enjoy. falling apart and will sudden taxes, and we fear that our children will I hope the hard work on the land will be we find ourselves in face lay-offs, or even we ourselves could fall rewarded by an abundance of crops, the middle of riots, out of jobs. Times are scary, the abundance of wine, honey, olive oil, sheep, cheese, and looting, hunger and the past years has turned to uncertainty. How everything they wish for. I also hope the violence? do we cope? tourists will come and fill the restaurants and For many elderly people, the times of war Of course there are the opportunity seekers will be remembered, and if we need to work we businesses, and that after the summer the crisis who will always exploit the bad times. Now is will continue only on TV and in the foreign fear for our jobs. But I would like to show a the time to buy land, a house, even a business, newspapers, in Europe far away. We have our more positive scene and if you have money break this negative outlook. little paradise that nothing and no-one can enough. But I know First of all, the most creative touch, precisely because we are in Greece. that many of my spirits will find a way to Barbara de Machula came from Amsterdam to friends are suffering, tackle the crisis. We have to Greece in 2006 to write and teach painting and not so much because think of ways outside the art. She lives with her husband in Palairos. of the lack of money boundaries of the usual. www.paintingholidaygreece.com or means, but because This is a challenge! of insecurity, the fog, And we are never alone. the fear that is fuelled I will tell you what by the media, and the happened to us. We had talk in the tavernas. a long winter. It was For expats in Greece exceptionally cold, we it is even more scary. Greece seems to be the had snow on our mountains, and ice on the centre of all evil, and suddenly seems to have road. (Well, just a bit, one morning). So, the power to demolish Europe’s financial what was needed? Stoves! And as the price balance by going bankrupt. Greece is the big of diesel has gone up, and the trees are for European monster, but the Greeks I see around free, wood stoves are the right choice me innocently continue to tend their sheep, nowadays. And my Peter happens to make their chicken, and to go fishing. them, with a wonderful hot/cold air pipe It is evident that the tavernas are somewhat system, and so we had a bit of income. emptier during the week, but at least the Greeks Some of the clients had difficulty in continue to enjoy their families and friends, and paying. After all, we are in a crisis. So we had to be a bit more patient, confident that the payments would come but might take a bit more time. But this is where the Greek system kicks in. Are you familiar with it? It is wonderful. When someone owes you money, you will get interest while waiting. This can be fresh eggs, olive oil, fresh meat, wine, honey, or firewood. The Greeks are generous. You will get a lot, more than your debt demands. So much, that you may not want any cash after all.

The art of crisis management

T

May 2012 www.theionian.com The Ionian 7


grip my arm. I pondered on how enjoyable it was to relax and enjoy the passing scenery, noticing things that I had never seen before; a particularly whimsically coloured house or restaurant, the gypsy shanty town knocked up out of old packing cases and doors just before we crossed over to the mainland. The interior of the car was redolent with the smell of antique leather, and the noiseless air conditioning created an atmosphere of silky, restful ease. I was just about to point out an ostrich farm which was zipping past us in a confused blur, when I noticed that Sue was clutching my arm. In fact, she was gripping it quite hard. I thought for a moment that she had Martin Stote noticed the ostrich farm too, and was exceptionally excited by it. Then she let out a Photos: Sue Smith little scream, followed by a whimper. I noticed the taxi driver stiffen slightly in his seat. I glanced down at Sue. She was slumped beside me, and her face was crumpled in an expression What is strange is of terrified beseechment. I thought, if anything, that Sue always love the taxi that our speed picked up slightly. As the driver remains perfectly gunned on along the road, she let out another drivers of Lefkada. I love their big, comfy cars, calm when we are on a boat, and professes to squeal, this time slightly louder. The driver the way they drive with one hand, elbow stuck have every confidence in my ability as a became even more ramrod straight. He shot a out of the window. The nonchalant way they skipper. I find that strange. I can't remember the furtive glance towards us in his mirror. The car talk on their mobiles as they power around last time I wasn't sure what to do next in a car; responded even more impressively to his bends. The exuberant music that always expertise, barrelling down the road crackles from the radio. But my wife She is fine on planes. I have never like a bullet. Sue moaned, and Sue has other ideas... whimpered, and let out a shuddering seen her chide an airline pilot for We once had to take a taxi from gasp. Then the penny dropped. "For Lefkas to Mitikas. Sue is not a good travelling too fast, or not keeping far God's sake, Sue, shut up," I hissed. He passenger in a car at the best of times. enough away from the plane in front. thinks we’re having sex. She is fine on planes. I have never seen her chide an airline pilot for travelling The only time we had seen Mitikas too fast, or not keeping far enough away from before had been the previous year on the day sadly, I can't always say the same in relation to the plane in front. She feels no such inhibitions we had sailed into Kastos, and then only from a boats. when travelling with me, and our car journeys But the driver of the taxi we took to Mitikas, distance. It had been then a distant, low-lying together are sometimes querulous affairs, with smudge of a place, indistinct in the heat haze me protesting my innocence as she berates me being a stranger, was protected from such across the water. Rod Heikell, in his pilot, persecution by Sue's sense of social etiquette. for risking our lives at every junction and referred to it as "an agricultural village" only He was also a very good driver. And he had, roundabout. recently touched by tourism, an isolated like many of his colleagues on Lefkas, a beautiful car. I know a big Mercedes when I see community hemmed in by the surrounding mountains until the recent construction of the one. This one was so big, and so comfortable, new road. and so plush, with its squashy beige leather Our driver dropped his speed to little more seats and interior, that I wrote down its exact than a fast walk as we negotiated the long, specification. It was an E 220 CD1. It was built narrow road that snaked along between shops, like a tank, accelerated like a Formula One bars, banks and tavernas a short distance up racing car, and was as noisy as a feather. I

Moaning to Mitikas

I

thought it was fantastic, and settled back to enjoy my 55 euros worth. Sue had other ideas. Off we sped up the Lefkas coast road, the driver overtaking small mechanised builders’ trucks and scooters with sweeping disregard for oncoming traffic, relying, quite reasonably, I thought, on the size of his engine to power him out of any trouble. Sue started to 8 The Ionian www.theionian.com May 2012


giving me one of those, “You’ve done it again” looks. The proprietress threw open a pair of ceilinghigh, dark wooden shutters. And the explosion of light, colour, and images nearly knocked us off our feet. She opened the doors behind the shutters. We had our own balcony perched right over the sea. Across the water, the mountains of Kalamos rose, majestic in the afternoon sun. Between them and us small yachts left tiny silver furrows in an indolent sea. Mitikas turned out to be exactly what we had hoped it would be, a totally authentic little Greek town. We had a wonderful week. It was right at the end of the season and we met very few other tourists. We wandered the colourful main street and back streets, and watched the local fishermen at work. One afternoon we watched for an hour as a couple of guys loaded hay bales from a lorry on the quay onto a small cargo boat, presumably bound for Kastos or from, and parallel to the sea. Every now and then an alleyway leading down to the shore would open up momentarily, offering a tantalizing glimpse of silver, mirror-like water. The sheer colour and variety of the merchandise and the bustle of the street that was now rolling gently past our window was mesmeric: fish with mouths agape on a slab, red and yellow plastic chairs stacked high outside a budget supermarket, galvanized buckets, bins and pails. A couple of hotels. A smattering of tourists among the olive-skinned crowds. The old men were out in force, hunched over taverna tables, smoking, gossiping, and finding even a Lefkas-registered Mercedes taxi interesting enough to stare at. We had booked for a week into a hotel we had found on the internet. It was, from memory – this was a few years ago- about 30 euros a night. When we arrived, it was an unprepossessing building from the outside. The proprietress led us up a dark back staircase. My heart started to sink. She led us into an equally dark room. My heart sank lower. Sue was Kalamos, piling the bales so high that the wheelhouse was almost lost to view, and the boat appeared recklessly top heavy. The smell of the hay was soporific, the essence of ripe meadow. We sat on our balcony with a couple of cold beers and watched the passing yachts and the changes in the weather, swam off the modest but quiet crescent of a beach, and drank in the bars. And more than once I said a quiet prayer of thanks to the god of Greek taxi drivers. Martin Stote, 63, a retired Daily Express staff journalist, has been sailing with his wife, Sue in the Ionian for eleven years, initially with Sunsail, and now on their own 42-foot syndicate yacht Kanula. They love the islands for their beauty, and the generosity of the people. He is the Deputy Editor with The Ionian.

May 2012 www.theionian.com The Ionian 9


Focus on: Colleen Shears

L

ast year some friends of mine walked from Port Vathi over the top of the island of Meganisi via the village of Katomeri, to the beach at Limonari for a swim. They passed several tiny, ramshackle little cottages, as well as some smart new villas, a pen of large white hens scratching in the earth, many gnarled and ancient olive trees. They spent the whole day on the beach and never saw another person. The mouth of the cove opened onto a beautiful seascape. As evening approached they walked back, the damp air suffused with the smell of wild herbs. On the outskirts of Katomeri they were greeted by three or four elderly village women, all dressed in the obligatory black, who asked, by sign language, and smiles if they had enjoyed their swim. One of my friends indicated that her back was playing up. At which the women launched into a protracted dumb show, explaining their various personal aches and pains, amidst much laughter on all sides. This is the picturesque island of Meganisi, off the east coast of Lefkada opposite the village of Nidri, where the traditional lifestyle of the Ionian islands still survives. Meganisi remains a very unspoilt island, with a population of just 2,000. The villages are full of old stone houses with tiny back yards, many of which still have the traditional water collection tanks and the old bun shaped wood burning ovens. The streets are just wide enough for the small village bus to navigate, squeezing around tight corners, collecting people from the harbours and taking them up to the villages of Spartohori and

10 The Ionian www.theionian.com May 2012


Meganisi

Katomeri, the capital village of the island. The third village, the main harbour of Port Vathi, backed by a pleasant square, is surrounded by shops, tavernas and coffee shops. This is where fishermen mend their nets and prepare their boats. The novelist Hammond Innes based one of his books “Lefkas Man” in the area. It makes interesting reading for visitors. Over the centuries Meganisi has been occupied by the Turks, the Venetians, the French, the Russians and the British. Today's island is a combination of traditional agriculture and fishing, with low key tourism. The agriculture is mainly olive farming and oil production, sheep and goats for making feta style cheese and of course, for meat. Most people have small gardens where they grow vegetables and salads, and many also grow grapes and make wine for the house, “spitiko krasi”. Fishing is an industry now in decline as fish stocks drop. Some of the local men are taking the boats to other areas, returning every few weeks to see the family. Tourism is growing on the island and package holidays are now available with accommodation in hotels and villas. However for those not staying on Meganisi, it is well worth a day trip on the ferry from both Nidri and Lefkas town. Take the little bus to see the villages, sit by the harbour and enjoy the unique atmosphere. This island is a small step back in time and pace but it has something for everyone: delightful anchorages for yachtsmen, good beaches like Agios Ioiannis or Faros and in the high summer a free rock music festival in Port Vathi. Enjoy it for a day, or stay for a week or more. It will delight every time. Colleen Shears has lived and worked on Lefkada Island since the summer of 2000. She was joined by her two sons and grandson who is in full time school in Nidri. For the past three years she has been living on her partner John's boat and they sail the Ionian in spring and autumn each year. Photography by Rebecca Telford: landscapes, marine, portraits, villas, hotels, businesses, baptisms and weddings. E-mail: zoomingreece@gmail.com

May 2012 www.theionian.com The Ionian 11


The Meganisi Challenge David Nairn

Meganisi Island commands a prominent

position in the inland Ionian Sea and a circumnavigation of the relatively large island provides an adventurous sail capable of rousing the Viking blood in every sailor. An anticlockwise day-sail offers the best use of the wind and it's an excellent start to a sailing holiday. The beauty of circumnavigating Meganisi is that if anyone on board fancies spending a day exploring the island on foot they can rendezvous with the yacht later at its evening destination. There's plenty to do in the northern part of the island, like visiting the Tuna Shrine at Little Vathi, searching for the sunken airplane, chilling with a cold drink and generally soaking up the ambiance.

Photo: ŠRebecca Telford

Little Vathi is within easy reach of all Southern Ionian charter bases and on your first day after you've spent a frenetic morning on the town quay enduring the smog and noise, listening to the handover briefings, and acquiring provisions, you've already lost half the day. Mutiny can be avoided with a quick-fix sail to peaceful and beautiful surroundings where everyone can relax with a swim and Karnagio Cove is the ideal place to slot into the holiday groove and spend your first night dreaming of the pleasures ahead. George's Taverna in Karnagio is much more than just another taverna. It really is a complete destination and lies to starboard when making the final approach to Little Vathi (34°40.0'N

020°46.7'E). A quick phone call will reserve a free yacht berth and brothers Panos and Zois could talk down an errant 747 if need be and will happily guide you and your vessel into a secure berth without anchor-stress or any embarrassment. With the handing over of the lazy lines comes the realisation that you've landed in a little paradise, equipped with an intimate beach bar attended by Alex and her menagerie of cute animals, and the food and service at the taverna are excellent. Setting-off the following morning for your circumnavigation you'll find the winds in Meganisi Channel can be fickle or even nonexistent. It often reminds me of back home in Scotland in the Kyles of Bute where you can have yachts on a reciprocal course passing each other on the same tack! This head-scratching phenomenon is made possible by the confluence of breezes in the confined channel. So, if you want to get somewhere and prevent building frustration at your yacht's ability to remain 'in irons' no matter what you do, then switch on the 'donkey' and go exploring. Rest assured the wind will come later and you may even find some useful breezes as you clear the channel's southern entrance. The channel hosts the yearly Southern Ionian Regatta and in previous years there's been difficulty with yachts clearing the channel and crews suffering in the sweltering cauldron

12 The Ionian www.theionian.com May 2012

formed on one side by the heights of Lefkas Island. Last year the start line was shifted south of the channel and the winds filled nicely. The Bavaria 38 I was helming had a good position on the line and I made it to Arkoudi Island in one tack and stayed as tight to the wind as possible, playing the traveller in gusts and only had to ease the mainsheet once as the wind accelerated around Arkoudi. It really is a fun event but still I was quite pleased with our time. We had 4th overall placing, and the kilo of wine prize for first charter yacht over the line. What was even more satisfying was to have kept up with racetrimmed vessels in what was the runt of a charter fleet litter with shortened rig, batonless roller main, absence of tell tails, and three close friends who had just set foot in a yacht for the first time. It's possible to sail and tack within spitting distance of the shore, and intrepid adventurers will be rewarded by impressive sheer cliffs, overhangs and caves. As you ghost along propelled by the occasional zephyr, you are accompanied by the sound of birds, cicadas and other wildlife clinging to life along the rugged spine of the island. Stay alert as the frequency and strength of these early puffs provide clues as to the force and onset of the approaching afternoon winds. Before their arrival, you'll usually have time to explore and find a secluded lunch stop where you can cool-off with a swim. Meganisi's western coast is often completely overlooked by yachts looking for a temporary stop but there are secluded anchoring opportunities tucked away here and there.

If it is not too congested, Thilia Islet in the Meganisi Channel is a convenient place to hang on the hook, go for a swim and wait for some wind, although if you want to explore the cave, it's much better doing so in a calm sea. There are several temporary anchorages around the Islet, but you must be careful to avoid the shoal patch on its southern shore. If you fancy exploring the cave, there's the wonderfully hidden Mermaid Clare's Cove immediately south of the cave, long-reported to be a haul-out spot for these mythical creatures, which were probably misidentified monk seals. Whatever the truth, after a visit, you'll appreciate why mermaids would find the spot very appealing and when you do you'll possibly not twig immediately that the Greek experience is starting to work on you and the line between


real life and mythology will become more blurred the longer you sail in Greece. Drop your hook at the cove entrance in around 7-10 metres or tuck your vessel inside the cove where the water is much shallower with convenient rocks that you must attach a line to.

This whole stretch of coast is studded with tiny pebble beaches backed by interesting geological features and very clear water. Away from the immediate shoreline there are no hidden dangers lurking beneath the waves which makes it possible to take a close look at the coastline. Near Meganisi's southern cape and offering more protection, you'll find Kefali Point Cove where it's possible to overnight, with the swell and winds passing it by in the small channel between the southern tip of Meganisi and protected from southerly weather by the off-lying Kithros Island.

Papa Nikolis sea cave is one of the largest, with its own folk history and mythology and it's possible to anchor at the cave mouth, although it's slightly on the deep side and it is prudent to leave someone attending the vessel while exploring the cave by dinghy. The cave apparently provided refuge for the famous Greek WW II submarine Papanikolis against marauding German and Italian aircraft, and there are also stories of it being used as a secret school by the Greek Orthodox Church to keep Greek language, religion and culture alive during periods of oppressive Turkish occupation. Whether or not there's any truth in these stories is open to speculation but it doesn't detract any appeal from this impressive geological feature. There was an absence of submarines on my last visit and the only occupants were a herd of day-tripper goats that had worked their way in to avoid the oppressive heat from the mid day sun. There's a wee sandy beach at the back of the cave and I have happily shared the cool

limestone environment with the whistling and chirping of the resident birds, which last time were accompanied by the strange Pan-like echoes of the bleating goats. As mid-afternoon approaches, you'll notice the zephyrs rise and wavelets build into something more substantial which is your cue to get the yacht ready for action as the afternoon winds will be with you within half an hour. This weather is magnified by the reflection of it bouncing off the sheer coastline cliffs and a confused sea can develop in rough conditions making it a dangerous lee shore. Never underestimate just how quickly the wind can develop and the chop increase. Sailing has begun and you'll find yourself on a beam and broad reach for the rest of the day. The westerly winds funnel down the small channel between Cape Kefali and Kithros Island and it might be prudent for short-handed crews to use just the genoa and avoid having to gybe the mainsail over. You often get a little respite from the swell at Kefali Point where some rocks disappear into the deep but don't get too close to the rocks here as you'll sometimes find fishing nets close inshore. From this point you'll be able to power reach to Meganisi's northeast coast which is probably one of the fastest stretches of water in this part of the Ionian Sea, with winds which have accelerated over the mountainous spine of Meganisi coupled with very flat water in the island's lee. It's surprising how much localised wind you'll find here, and it can be very exciting trying to hold on to the sail you are carrying as you accelerate along with the threat of being rounded up from a broad or beam reach. It's definitely not the time to make a cup of tea! As you approach the island's north-eastern coast, the wind will either drop off completely or will start to head the boat off-course as it blows more from the north. Bays and coves around the north-east of Meganisi provide excellent overnight anchorages, but quay and jetty space occasionally get congested during the season's height. However, you're always guaranteed a protected anchor spot in the complex of bays and coves around this coastline. The three main bays, Atheni, Abelike and Kapali are all accessible and it's surprising how roomy they are but you must be aware of rocks and shoal water extending from Elia Point, Makri and the shoal water between the Nisopoula Islets and Meganisi. A secret passage runs on the inside of the Nisopoula Islets providing a shortcut between the bays but it shouldn't be attempted without local

knowledge. My personal choice of anchorage is Atheni Bay where you might find some space on Jimmy's and Spiro's Taverna jetty, or the quay at the head of the bay. Otherwise anchor off in 7-8m taking a line ashore where necessary. With any luck, your shore party will be waiting at the taverna or cafÊ bar ashore, and with everyone armed with their different tales of the day's exploration, you'll find excellent company in the tavernas. Invariably, you’ll have the night rounded off with some Greek dancing. By this point you'll know you made the right decision in coming to Greece and be looking forward to an action-packed fun holiday. Happy sailing. Dave Nairn is a Yachtmaster Instructor. He has written and published pilot books for areas he has sailed in and is available for RYA tuition, charters and deliveries. www.ioniansailingpilot.com Photos and artwork by author unless otherwise noted.

May 2012 www.theionian.com The Ionian 13


Being delivered in late May, buy 2no 115amp deep cycle marine batteries..£290 85 Watt solar panels..£395 Rutland 914 wind gennies £590...........

All delivered to your boat/yard

14 The Ionian www.theionian.com May 2012


reduce the energy used in migration or the risk of predation. The primary physiological cue for migration is a change in the length of the day. These changes are also related to hormonal changes in the birds. Exactly how migrating birds find their flyways is not fully understood. It is thought that they use the sun for direction, the air currents for saving energy, while recent experiments indicate that they orientate along the Earth's magnetic field via special light receptors located in their eyes. However, journeys are often exhausting, pushing birds to their limits. During a migration a bird loses nearly half of its body weight. Migratory birds therefore rarely fly Venetia Gigi and Vasilis Lekka to their destination non-stop but interrupt their journey frequently to rest and feed, or to sit out a spell of bad weather. The Amvrakikos Gulf and the small Eurasian Hoopoe wetlands of the Ionian islands, are highly important stopover sites during birds’ it. From the first records migration en route from Africa to Eurasia, as it of bird migration (3000 is the first land after an exhausting journey over years ago) by Hesiod, the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean Sea. he swallows and white Homer, Herodotus and So, have your cameras ready and your eyes storks have started to arrive in Aristotle until today, bird open. the villages and small towns, migration routes have of the Ionian, and their nests – been studied by a variety those lovely little suspended of techniques. cups of mud, often under an Ringing (attaching a eave, for the swallows, and small, individually those huge tumbleweed-looking constructions numbered, metal or plastic tag to legs or wings) Venetia Gigi and Vasilis Lekkas, marine for the storks – symbolize the welcome arrival is the oldest, and colour marking, and the use of biologists, share their knowledge and passion of spring. radar and satellite tracking are the newest. for nature and the marine environment by For nature lovers, the wetlands of western The social acceptance of birds as messengers offering Eco Cruising trips from Preveza to Greece this season are ideal for spotting many of life was accompanied by the knowledge that Amvrakikos Gulf and the Ionian Sea. different bird species that travel here to pass the migration had an important role to play in Photos by Vasilis Lekkas summer in a warmer climate with abundance of ecosystem functioning. Avian migration is a www.eco-cruising.gr food and suitable nesting sites. natural process, whereby different birds fly over eco.cruising@yahoo.gr Eurasian hoopoe, Upupa epops, is one of distances of hundreds and thousands of these species. May is ideal for watching big kilometers to find the best ecological conditions flocks of glossy ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) and and habitats for feeding, breeding and raising ferruginous ducks (Aythya nyroca), herons and young. black-winged stilts, and endangered and rare When conditions at breeding sites become species such as the slender-billed curlew unfavourable due to low temperatures, (Numenius tenuirostris) which are heading for migratory birds fly to regions where conditions the rich wetlands of Amvrakikos Gulf and the are better. Approximately 1800 of the world's Ionian islands. 10,000 bird species are long-distance migrants. Humans have always been fascinated and Migratory birds have the perfect morphology inspired by the phenomenon of birds’ migration. and physiology to enable them to fly fast and In almost all cultures, flocks of birds have across long distances. Apart from physiological announced the arrival of spring for centuries, adaptations, migration sometimes requires and the yearly rebirth of nature associated with behavioural changes such as flying in flocks to

Flock to the sun

T

Egret

Pelicans

Young Black-winged stilts

May 2012 www.theionian.com The Ionian 15


Ruairi’s bravery award Martin Stote

Vicky and

R

uairi Bradley is to receive a top bravery

to the relatives of one of the yacht club staff who kindly provided us with accommodation for the first two nights and especially to Mike and Elaine Jones who took us into their home for the rest of our time in Vliho, and whose company and Ruairi Bradley good humour was invaluable.” The Ionian told in its October issue last year how Ruairi sped out into the bay on his RIB in the early evening of September 20th as the storm subsided to check on yachts, and found the upside down catamaran. He said then, “I swam under the hull and found my way to the cabin through all sorts of debris. The mast had broken. There was a lot of stuff in the way, that’s why it took so long to get in.

award after he dived into the cabin of a catamaran which capsized last autumn in a freak storm in Vliho Bay, Lefkada, to rescue a terrified woman who could not swim and who was clinging to life in an air pocket. Ruairi, 38, who runs the Northwind yacht guardianage service from Vliho Yacht Club, had to fight his way through a tangle of The Proberts rigging to access the cabin of the catamaran Sanyassa, which had completely turned photo by Rod Heikell turtle, to reach Norma Bradley, 67. She and her husband Clive, 75, a retired British GP, were on board the 37 ft Prout Snowgoose Elite, which was at anchor in the bay, when the storm struck with hurricane force 100 mph winds leaving a trail of devastation. A French yachtsman was killed after he fell from his boat. Clive Probert was thrown into the sea as the catamaran capsized, and managed to scramble back on to the overturned hull, where Ruairi found him standing in shock. Now Ruairi, whose wife Vicky runs Vliho Yacht Club, is to receive the Royal Humane Society’s bronze medal for his courage. The award, for which he was nominated by the Proberts, has been personally approved by the society’s president, Princess Alexandra. Ruairi told The Ionian, “I have to admit I feel “It was pitch dark and I managed to find the very good about it. It was supposed to be woman’s legs and then felt my way up to the awarded in May but I can’t make that. I think it air pocket. It was all done by feel. I found the will be awarded in October at Buckingham woman standing on the ceiling as everything Palace.” was the wrong way up. She had only two The yacht club’s website has been inundated inches of air. She was very cold with messages of support and congratulations and extremely shaken.” for Ruairi since the award was announced. He The Proberts, from Lancashire added, “I have received a lot of goodwill from in the UK, are highly people who have read about it.” experienced sailors who had Clive Probert told The Ionian, “No words can been on the final stages of a 14ever express our gratitude to Ruairi for his year circumnavigation, had actions that day. The award he is to receive is notched up 54,000 miles at sea, fully merited. Apart from the rescue, the help visited 54 countries, made and support of Ruairi and Vicky and all the friends around the world, and Yacht Club staff afterwards was essential for us had built up quite a following by to get through the succeeding days while we describing their various were trying to reorganise our lives. adventures on a website, “The kindnesses and support we received Sanyassa World Tour. They from the yachting community, virtually all of relived the rescue on that whom were strangers, was incredible and too website, and told their story in numerous to list. We were particularly grateful 16 The Ionian www.theionian.com May 2012

February’s edition of Yachting Monthly magazine. Clive told on the website how as the squall struck he moved into the cockpit to engage the engine, but was thrown into the water as Sanyassa heeled past 90o in the waves. He wrote, “I was scared that I would be blown away from Sanyassa but the wind and waves soon got less and I was able to make my way around aft of the port hull and reach the upturned swimming ladder and climbed up onto the inverted hull. “The last thing I had seen as I was flung across the cockpit was Norma disappearing down below sent there by the force of the water. I shouted her name and banged on the hull and at first heard nothing then I heard her shouting for help. Almost immediately I saw Ruairi Bradley coming towards us at full speed in his RIB.” Norma wrote, “The water then started to come higher and higher inside the boat. I was very frightened and thought I was going to die and thought of my family.....then the water stopped. It was up to my chest. “I had no idea if Clive had survived and I was afraid I was trapped and alone and no-one knew I was there. I started to scream and shout for help as loud as I could. I was afraid the storm was still carrying on and I did not know how long the air pocket would last. “Then I heard Clive call my name and I thought, ‘Now I have a chance.’ I saw a dark shape below me and pulled it up into my air pocket. I know now it was Ruairi Bradley. He told me...I would have to take a deep breath and hold it for about five seconds. We swam out and I remember banging and crashing things and then we were on the surface and I was being held in a life-saving hold.” The couple have since sold their catamaran. Norma said on their website, “I am deeply saddened by the loss of Sanyassa and our sailing lifestyle. Our new life will be very different but the new experiences will bring lots to look forward to.” They have been thinking of possibly continuing to travel by exploring the UK in a caravan. Sanyassa after the storm


TO ADVERTISE e-mail at: advertising@theionian.com; More information: www.theionian.com. Tell our advertisers where you found them.

May 2012 www.theionian.com The Ionian 17


18 The Ionian www.theionian.com May 2012


Tribute to Danny Keane Family, friends and customers have been united in grief following the death on April 19th of devoted family man Danny Keane, the highly popular, good-humoured and ever-helpful proprietor of IGR Yacht Chandlery in Nidri. He was 63 years old. Danny had just celebrated his birthday, and in March he and his wife Sue had celebrated 30 years of marriage. He is survived by Sue, their son Tom and his wife Debbie, who married last year, and their daughter, Amy Jane Keane, Danny’s granddaughter, whom he adored. Debbie, who works at Vliho Yacht Club, said, “Danny absolutely loved Amy and was a very hands on 'Pops', even changing Amy's dirty nappies. Many people will remember seeing them both in the shop on his baby sitting duty days.” Relatives and friends also found much to smile about as they remembered the highly eventful life of a witty and sociable man who had always enjoyed the spirit of adventure. Danny, originally from Brighton in the UK, joined the Royal Green Jackets in the British Army as a young man, followed by a short spell in the French Foreign Legion. He also ran a village post office and shop, drove buses in Brighton, and taught special needs children and English. He and Sue left

Teignmouth, UK, in 1992 on a 33ft MK1 Moody called 'Moody Magic' when their son Tom, born in 1987 was four and a half years old. They sailed slowly around much of the Mediterranean, arrived in Greece in 1995 and never left. Some of Danny’s customers contacted The Ionian with their memories of the man for whom nothing was ever too much trouble. Robin Lamb, who sails with his wife Helen on their yacht Sundowner, said, “I was only talking to him a couple of days before I heard of his death. He was as lively and helpful as usual. I have always found him informative and entertaining. You can’t ask for more.” He told how he had visited IGR a number of times for advice about problems with his heads, eventually apologising to Danny for the time he had taken up discussing the subject. Robin said, “ ‘Worry not,’ Danny chuckled. ‘It’s the yottie’s favourite topic,’ and he recalled limping into some harbour en route for the Ionian Sea. He had been caught in a storm and the boat had been rolled through 360 degrees. “He had bent spars, mangled rigging and a distraught wife. Tom, who has just presented him with a grandchild, was then just a babe in arms. It was quite obviously a boat in some distress, but the first thing that the man who took his lines asked was, ‘What sort of heads have you got?’ “When Danny, bewildered by the question, gave his answer he was asked ‘That’s the sort I’ve got, does it do such and such?’ ‘So you see,’ Danny told me, ‘toilet talk is all grist to the mill.’ ‘Good heavens,’ I responded, ‘I’ve been out in bad weather but nothing approaching what you were out in, nothing that would roll a boat.’ ‘I wouldn’t recommend it,’ he said. ‘It absolutely ruined the Sunday roast.’ I left IGR, as usual, entertained and informed.” And Colleen Shears wrote, “The thoughts of the whole community are with his family. Danny was much loved and respected by everyone who knew him, for his great wit and sharp sense of humour, his ready laugh, his kindness and his devotion to his wife, son and daughter in law. “And not least of all his great pride in his new grandchild. He loved life and found something good in each and every day. We thank you Danny for every joke shared, every spare part searched for, and every May 2012 www.theionian.com The Ionian 19 glass raised.”


20 The Ionian www.theionian.com May 2012


The Ionian May 2012