LEFKAS CANAL, NORTH ENTRANCE
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The north entrance has a bad reputation as many boats are running aground every year, even though there are warnings in most cruising guides.  It is not difficult to navigate safe thru the entrance if you know what to expect.  If you have not read the cruising guides it is easy to make a mistake.

Navionics Lefkas Canal entrance

Lefkas Canal entrance (Navionics)

When we were anchored in Corfu we heard a Pan-Pan relayed by an English boat.  He was relaying a Pan-Pan from a German boat, that was taking in water and sinking in Lefkas canal.  It was a painfully slow reaction from the Greek radio operator.  He kept asking over and over again for the call sign of the English boat.   I´m not sure why they did not understand, the relayed Pan-Pan was correct and  very clear.

After  10 minutes I guess the English boat got fed up as it was silence on the channel.  Later  a Italian boat broke in, and loudly explained the situation, perhaps not accordingly to the book, but very efficient.

If the boat in distress eventually got help I do not know.  His grounding  gave me  a reason to read up on how to enter the canal safely.  I did find this Blog that describes the situation quite well.

Coming from sea:

You will see red marker on your port side.  Stay away from that side, as there are rocks and remains from and old wall from the fortress.  The red markers are marking the rocks and the wall from the fortress.

Groundings have been reported even when you are on the correct side of the red markers.  Stay away from this side of the channel.  

Stay as close as you dare to the sand-spit.  (On your SB when coming from sea)  There are no markers on this side (even if indicated on some charts) which means you have to eye ball the depth which is not easy as the water is not clear.  It might feel strange to stay close to the obvious shallow part,  but at least it is reported to be just sand in case you go to close.  With an eye on the echo sounder it should not be a problem to stay at a safe distance from the sand-spit. 

It is situations like this, I find the forward looking echo sounder useful.

When we got in to the canal there was a barge digging in the area of the underwater wall from the old fort.  Some rocks came up when he was digging.  I´m not sure if the operation is standard dredging or that they are actually trying to remove the rocks and underwater wall?  We could see large stones  coming up!

Dredging in Lefkas Canal

Dredging in Lefkas Canal

After the canal there is a low bridge that opens at the top of every hour during the day until 21:00.  We decided for the marina even if there were empty spaces along the community dock.  The people at Lefkas Marina are very friendly and helpful.

 

 

 


Comments

LEFKAS CANAL, NORTH ENTRANCE — 6 Comments

  1. Mr. Vaslav MARKEVITCH, MARCO VINCI RESEARCH, Climate, Mountain skying and ocean sailing specialist, brought up in England in the early Fifties. on said:

    Bella.Luna.Roland-(Kefallonia)-29.05.14

    Dear Roland and Mrs.

    Never too late I hope ? Have been away from my computer when I saw your posting from Kerkira. Fine. I was about to warn you to skip the island of Lefkas. Lefkas has a bad reputation…in more ways than one, as you found out. The other reason is that when Greece declared its independence from Turkish rule in the XIXth century, Lefkas was one of the only islands that was pro Turkish !

    Apart from that, if I’m not to o late (?) I’d é9ke to give you a few tips about Kefallonia, which I know very well and visited many times with my children. Not only was it the first island and part of Greece to win independence, but I t has a rich history and is one of the most beaztiful and interesting islands to visit of th whole Mediterranean, with Venetian, French (Napoleon loved it) and English influences, before being briefly occupied by Italians in WW-2, who often befriended the inhabitants and defended them against German Wehrmacht !

    From North, best aim for Fiskardo isthmus, but head south for best well protected waters of inner port of Sami. The Gulf of Sami is interesting all over, including Sghia Ephimia where there I s a narrow isthmus of land. The whole island is about size of Menorca, with a very varied nature. The highest mountain, about 1’800 m., is covered with an endemic “black pine” forest, unique of its kind.

    At its base, just south of the port of Sami, over a small pass, lies the very special monastery of Aghios Gerassimos, much visited by all Greeks, because the saint was reputed for his many miracles. There are narrow cripts which can only be visited if you are able to squeeze yourself down a hole in the ground. It’s already quite a miracle to get in and out again !

    Another rare geological visit is the underground water link between one part of the island and the other.

    The main capital town is Argostoli, on the West side of the island, with the airport. Years ago, there was a direct weekly Lufthansa flight from Düsseldorf.

    Farther south, is the vullage of Markopoulos, known for its annual “snake miracle” : from times immemorial, once a year, without any human intervention, hundreds of snakes, both venomous and harmless, come into the village and end up inside the church and on the altar, and apparently no one gets bitten nor hurt. I haven’t tried it.

    Other nice ports : on West coast north of Argostoli and West of Aghia Ephimia, is the most isolated one : Asssos. Just south of it are some beautiful usually empty beaches. In some grottoes, seals have been seen. On the South East coast, just opposite the Peloponessoss mainland, is Poros, a small unassuming port.

    Just east of Gulf of Sami,. lies Ithaca, with a small port closed on most sides, reputed op be the home of Ulysses. I have my own different theory about that.

    How to get around on land ? I would not opt for renting a car, because people there drive recklessly! I was there both with and at other times without my car. There are plenty of relatively cheap taxis you can rent by the day, and many cross island buses.

    Kefallonians are reputed strong minded and independent, even a bit crazy, according to other Greeks. I was “adopted” by them as being “as crazy as them” one August Summer, over 25 years ago, when on the Sami waterfront, for a bet, I danced a Californian Indian Rain Dance (I haad learned it from an Indian shaman) to make it rain…it hadn’t rained for 10 months, but that evening in Sami I won my bet : after some initial “golfball” hailstorm, it rained for the best part of two hours ! Needless to say we had quite a party and ouzo flowed.

    Wishing you all the best, whatever you may do ?

    Vaslav MARKEVITCH
    MARCO VINCI RESEARCH

    Email : marcovinci77@gmail.com

  2. Dear Marco,
    You obviously have never been to Lefkas!!!!!
    The people are as friendly as anywhere else in Greece and there is plenty to see as well.
    Roland noticed the start of the dredging which now appears to be taking most on the sandpit away and deepening the basin south of the marina.
    What the politics of the day were in the 19th century has little on nothing to do with today’s tourism. Today there are literally hundreds of privately owned and charter yachts because of the excellent sailing and facilities for them. Lefkas wines are excellent , anything else you want???
    Regards
    Bruce
    (14year summer resident)

  3. Dear Bruce,
    We had a great time in Lefkas and met many friendly people. Sailing in this are is spectacular.
    Recommendations on good wine is welcome.

    I´m not sure the aim is to remove the sand-spit? That would probably be impossible as mother nature will build a new one. I think the mission is to dredge the channel and in best case removing the rocks that are lying close to the channel.

    • Hi Roland,
      We have been watching the dredging and there are definite markers for the planned reduction of the sandspit, also, I hear what yousayabout mother nature but about 5 years ago the local authority dumped several hundred tons of the stuff they are now removing and that gradually found its angle of repose in the channel.

  4. Mr. Vaslav MARKEVITCH, MARCO VINCI RESEARCH, Climate, Mountain skying and ocean sailing specialist, brought up in England in the early Fifties. on said:

    Hello Bruce, your comments may be right and different from mine today. I was in Lefkas many years ago in the days that Onassis and Jacqueline Kennedy were alive on Skorpios. I did not sail there like you in your own boat, but ferried across from mainland Astakos port and drove around the whole island, which obviously is seen differently from land. I only saw much misery then, and joylessness, in contrast with other parts of Greece. In 1958-9 I had already come across Onassis, but then with La Callas and Churchill (puffing and painting) on board the Cristina: a very different scene. As a teenager was one evening a merry guest of douglas Fairbanks Jr. and with budding Jane Fonda we danced on tables and broke crockery under the watchful eyes of Dad Henry. Population was still scarce and authentically fresh before th crackdown of the Colonels. That same authentic freshness I later felt was lacking both in Lefkas, Kerkira and Zakinthos, but very much present in Kefallonia, which I hail as one of the best well preserved islands. So, like the French say : “Bon Vent” and have nice experiences too ! Marco &

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