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Ionian, Port Vathy, Ithaca - Updates from Cruisers

By Sue Richards last modified Jul 22, 2014 03:07 PM

Published: 2014-07-15 08:20:00
Countries: Greece

Posted 14th July, 2014
SY Funny Girl

We are with our Saling yacht Funny Girl in the harbour of Vathy at Ithaca.
(38 N 21.926 by 020 E 42.934)

We had no problems with mooring at the place where in the past there seemed to be problems (see reports below). There is only one sign stating that that particular space should be left open for more than 50 foot yachts, but now in the evening it is completely occupied with sailing yachts, even parts of the ferry landing are occupied with sailing yachts. Up to now, 3rd day here, we did not see a ferryboat, only a daytripper and that one found a place between the sailboats for some hours and left later in the day.

Greece_Ithaca_Vathy MooringThe drawings in Rod Heikels book are far out of scale. There is a place where he draws 3 yachts and in fact there is space for 40, all 12 meters or more in length. See pic. All the red arrows pointing at the quays are available for yachts. Rings or other pieces of metal to tie to. Wind gusts, especially with thunderstorms, but no swell. Depths along the quays are 2 meters or more, I saw all yachts stern to. Best space at the west sides. North part of the bay is more sheltered, but need long line to shore and 800 meters from city center.

The men of the water and fuel tanker lorries were helping us with mooring lines. We arrived at 16:00 with a lot of side wind (25 knots in gusts) but they were patiently helping us. I did not ask for their names, but it seems that attitudes to visiting yachts has now changed here.

No electricity and water and fuel by minitankers, water cost around 10 € for 100 liters, but be careful and ask 3 times before dealing.

Today it is the 14th of July and the quay is full of sailing yachts now at 23:00 hrs. We had yesterday a thunderstorm, with gusts of 38 knots, that seems to happen frequently over here. So 50 meter anchor chain in 10 meters of depth. Good holding in our spot, but the gusts are, again in our spot crosswinds. Keep a safe distance from the wall.

On the 2nd day here a man of the port police asked us to bring our boat papers to the office, they checked the papers, mostly (and only) the insurance, we did not have to pay anything. They were friendly (3 persons), spoke a little English and needed some explanation, for our insurance papers are in Dutch language. The whole visit took maybe 10 minutes, including jokes about the weather, it just rained.

Peter Ter Haar
Yacht Funny Girl

Posted 22nd September 2010

We have just spent a week at anchor in Vathi bay and have only just read the comments regarding using the quay for berthing and the reaction of the shore personnel.

There were no problems during our stay and in general yachts berthed stern-to in the recognised areas, but on three days/nights yachts just tied up anywhere and everywhere - even had 3 yachts rafted up at the Port Authority berth, apart from the area next to the ferry terminal which is reserved for yachts 50' and over (three mega yachts visited.

Maybe something has been done, but although we checked in and later checked out so we could get our DEKPA stamped, we didn't find anyone else who had been charged / checked with the Port Authority.

Claire

Posted 10th September 2010

Reading the messages below, I am absolutely not impressed. A daily problem in Greece. The Greek government set up an Ombudsman organisation, reachable under http://www.synigoros.gr/en_index.htm.

Having enough sailors filing complaints here might put pressure on local law enforcement.

KP

Posted 2nd July 2010

We just spent two nights in Port Vathy at the end of June 2010. We chose to anchor out as we usually do but both the wharf areas were full of small (40-50') sailboats and one or two small power boats. There did not seem to be any problem. This was the same each night.

It could be that the Port authorities have solved the problem or that there simply no mega-yachts due in those two days - I cannot say for sure.

There is ample room for 30 or more boats to anchor and Ithaka is one of the most lovely of the Ionian islands.

Rob and Dee Dubin
Ventana

Saturday, September 6, 2008
The Thugs of Port Vathy, Ithaca

As we do every year for 4-6 weeks, this year again my family and I cruised the Ionian Islands with our 40 foot motor boat. This year however we decided to go to Vathy Ithaca for a couple of days since we had not been there for the last four years. We always tied up on the North side of the port. This mooring area is not very good if the winds pick up in the evening which makes it difficult to keep the anchor hooked. So this time we decided to tie up on the east side of Vathy by the ferry but not on the ferry dock.

As we were about to let our anchor out and back up to the pier, two men appeared and yelled that we should move to a different spot further south. So we did and that same men helped us tie the first rope. As we were tying up they asked if we needed fuel or water and I replied that we were full since we just came from Lefkas where we had just filled up. So we tied the boat up and went to have lunch at one of our favourite restaurants.

When we returned to our boat there were not many boats left tied on that side. I thought this was odd since next to us there was a boat of six young people from the USA that we spoke to as we came in, and they said that they were staying until the next day. As the day progressed we saw more and more sailboats leaving - rather unusual to be leaving late in the day from one port to the next.

By this time some mega yachts were coming in to tie next to us. So I got off the boat to move our ropes a little so as not to interfere with theirs. The man with the fuel truck brand Ellin Christos Skliros approached me and told me in English that I should move our boat so that bigger yachts can take my spot. I informed him that I speak Greek and so he started to tell me that I must move out. At first I thought he meant to move a little more, but he wanted us to move out of the area. As he continued to demand that we move I became agitated to say the least. He kept telling me that the port was for the locals and the mega yachts only. The fact that we were there first and tied up made no difference to him. After calling each other a few unpleasant Greek names I told him that I was going to report him to the Coast Guard office. His reply was that the Port Authority or the Coast Guard was not going to do anything about it because he has being doing this for all these years and I was not the one that was going to change that, and “who do you think you are? So! go ahead”

I walked into the Port Authority office to tell them that we were being harassed by a fuel man who was demanding that we move out and anchor in the middle of the port or just plain leave Vathy all together. His response was, " I have told him before not to be doing that" As I am trying to get the Port authority officer to do something a local shop keeper walks in with the same complaint, that this has been going on for years and the authorities are doing nothing about it so now that a boater is complaining, they should do something about it. He also told the officer that these local thugs have been running all the small yachts off to make room for the large ones and that the restaurants and coffee shops are losing business because the rich passengers that charter these mega yachts do not even get off the boats since it is all provided for them inside. In addition the crews never spend any money in the port. The only ones that benefit from the mega yachts are the fuel man, water man and the agents that make themselves look good to the companies they represent by making room for these big boats at the expense of the smaller ones on the pier no matter what time they come in. He explained to the officer that the small yachts are not complaining because they think the thugs are representatives from the port authority and therefore give no resistance to the thugs.

After the local shopkeeper finished his version of a long complaint I asked the officer to come or send someone to take care of the problem with these thugs and left the office.

As I was walking back to my boat I was accosted by the water-truck man who I found out later is Nikos Skliros, brother of the fuel truck man Christos Skliros, and who is now yelling obscenities at me and threatening me and my family as he follows me back to my boat. As I am telling him that this is Coast Guard business and not his, he reaches down to untie our ropes and send us adrift. I informed him that my boat is in Greece with a foreign flag and not even the Coast Guard can touch my boat without a valid reason, much less for mooring on a public dock. While I am asking the water-truck man to please leave us alone and move on, his brother comes back and he too starts to yell obscenities and make threats. Two other men start to get involved who later I was told by the locals are mega-yacht agents representing the Kostopoulos and Delapontas agencies, agents for the boats that are coming in to tie up.

Now I am in the middle of a huge fracas with four men who want their clients´ boats to tie in our spots and all smaller yachts to leave. After about five to ten minutes, two coast guard officers arrive and try to diffuse the situation but the four thugs are getting angrier and are telling the coast guard officers that these smaller boats are not wanted here and should move. The officers are now in the middle of this fracas trying to appease the local thugs, who they feel have to live with them in the same town, and the tourist boaters who the local business depends on for their income. Finally they manage to get the thugs to leave the boaters alone and move on down the pier to sell water, fuel while the agents are helping tie their clients´ boats up.

While all this is going on, the rest of the smaller yacht skippers want to know what is going on. My wife informs them that these four men want everyone off this pier so that the mega yachts can have our place.

The boat next to us with a British flag, a retired policeman, told us that in previous times when this has happened and no one was willing to move, these thugs have cut peoples mooring ropes in the night and have sent boats adrift in port causing damage to themselves and other boats that they slammed in to. He said that he was going to sleep outside on the stern of his boat to make sure that nothing happens to his ropes, and he did just that.

The next morning I paid a visit to the port authority commander to let him know what took place the day before while he had left for the day. I began to tell him of the anarchy at his port and that these four thugs have taken control of a public port which should be open to all EEU boaters including me with a Holland flag. He informed me that he had no idea of the event and that no log entry was made. I told him of what I had heard from other boaters, that ropes were cut in previous times when these people did not get their way by chasing off the boaters in their way. His response was that this problem has been going on for a long time and that he was powerless to do anything about. I left his office very disappointed to say the least.

Greece has been loosing tourism to Turkey in recent years due to high prices and the arrogant attitude towards foreigners. In my opinion this is an indication of how tourists are treated and that is why the decline.

I was told by the boaters who witnessed the thug-challenging event that they will be telling their friends and letting other boaters know by writing to the Greek Water Pilot editor and other boating publications. My family and I will also be telling our friends, who may be planning a visit to Ithaca of the treatment we had in July of 2008 and not ever returning there ourselves.

TOM RENTZIOS

Email received 2008-22-07

I fully underwrite tom´s remarks on Vathi, happend to me as well. Yachties should keep away.......

Christian Baumgart

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