As we drove towards Valisiki on the island of Lefkada for our 3 day Greek sea kayaking voyage, Jules turned to Rob and said “we probably should have at least emailed them to see if we could go kayaking…”
In true Robboy and Jules adventures style, we were hoping that things fell into place, or rather we just didn’t quite get around to finalising the details that we had formulated in our heads.
We arrived and found a local camp ground, put up The Rock (our small tent) in under 5 minutes and walked into the main part of town looking for Ionian Sea kayaking adventures as the address just said Valisiki. After half an hour we had no luck so called the number we had and with a very bad line managed to agree to meet by the ferry boat in ten minutes. Shortly after George road up on his big BMW motorbike.
George: Did you book?
Us: Ahh, no.
G: Hmm, you want two singles?
U: If possible?
G: For tomorrow and for 3 days?
U: Yes please.
G: No, sorry only a double kayak is available, but I can have it ready for you tomorrow. We meet at 8am by the beach and I will give you the briefing then…
So we breathed a sigh of relief that we had managed to get away with it again and went in search of some dinner and World Cup football before early bed (as 8am start was a bit earlier than we had been used to).
8am and we were at the beach just finishing packing our last few things and scraping out the bottom of a warmed pot of spicy baked beans. George found us and showed us the twin kayak and our assorted equipment laid out ready for our briefing. An hour later we were pushing our boat out onto the oily slick of the Ionian Sea and paddling out into the harbour without a cloud in the sky or a breath of wind.
Most of the sea kayaking companies require you to book guided tours, and this was one of the only companies that allowed you to self-guide which is what we were preferring to do. So we set off with our maps and written instructions to follow the coast around to a hidden beach, lunch in a harbour, a cave that you can kayak into and then across to the Island of Meganisi to set up our camp for the two nights. The only bit of safety advice George gave before we left was to spend the morning kayaking as in the afternoon the wind picks up about 2pm and can make the sea very choppy.
Our day was going well as we enjoyed a lie on the deserted, hidden beach and a long lunch at a nice Taverna in the harbour, but as we set out, we realised that the day had raced away and it was already 2pm and we still had to cross a bay, see the cave and then cross the strait to our camping spot. As we left the sheltered harbour we were hit with a strong wind and the chop was already getting up. Added to this was the passing wake of ferries and sailing boats which made for some exciting paddling. We quickly realised that we needed to work with the wind as a few waves crashed over the kayak and started tacking into the wind until we got into a position that we could see the camping beach in the distance we needed to head towards. We passed the cave and could see that it was too dangerous to enter so carried on (luckily with the wind) and made good time to the other side of the strait. Whilst paddling across we had to avoid being hit by quite a lot of sailing boats, in particular one amusing German boat where the crew were all bronzed, naked old men (and I kid you not, one was doing push-ups on the deck)…
Our camping spot was fantastic. A large olive tree to shade the tent, white stones straight down to the water, and 300m away was another George with a Taverna right on the shore.
We had a fantastic 3 days kayaking, swimming, eating and drinking around the coast of the Greek Islands.
The amazing blue/green water of Greece and the peace and quiet that the kayak offers to explore it.
Spartochori village – high above the port, a lovely traditional Greek village still with it’s original charm
Calypso Restaurant (or similar – we only knew it as George’s Taverna) – Run by George (thanks for the eggs, olive oil and vinegar as well as the amazing lamb chops) Link to George’s blog (in Greek) – (Meganisi News)