This year we are sailing in the Ionian, where there are lots of places to explore. We try to go to locations that are slightly off the beaten track, where flotilla boats don’t venture. Nothing wrong with flotilla boats, but sometimes it’s nice to be among just a few other yachts, instead of 20 or 30 jostling for places.
The island of Kalamos is part of the Ionian group, but along with its smaller neighbour Kastos, gets forgotten when you ask people to name islands in this area of Greece.
Most people might be able to name Corfu, Kefalonia, Lefkas, Zante and maybe Ithaca, but they are less likely to have heard of Meganisi, Paxos, Kastos and Kalamos.
Kalamos is west of the Ionian mainland, east of the islands of Meganissi and Lefkas. It is a small island, 5.5 miles long and just over 2 miles wide. It is mountainous, and covered in dense pine forest. The main town and small harbour are on the east coast.
Another area of Kalamos which is a popular anchorage for sailors, is the large bay of Port Athene on the southern tip of Kalamos. There used to be a thriving settlement here, and the area was known for its limestone works up to the 1950s, when an earthquake destroyed the water supply and the village was abandoned. Ruins of many old houses, as well as an ancient olive press, still remain.
There are a dozen or so stone cottages in various states of disrepair, and an attempt is being made to restore the main big house on the waterfront. There is a significant sized church here, painted bright yellow, which is tended daily by local,women, and attracts many pilgrims on various Religious days throughout the year. The small taverna which used to serve visiting yachtsmen is no longer there.
We are currently moored in the quiet bay, and lucky enough to be lying stern-to on one of the little jetties, so we can easily get ashore without having to use our dinghy. The water is crystal clear and it’s easy to see all sorts of fish swimming beside the boat – and I spotted a bright red starfish! Last night the only sound was that of the wild goats bleating as they climbed down to the rocky shore at sunrise.