On Friday, we found ourselves motoring to the mainland port of Preveza. This is a non-tourist town for the most part, a working city of Greece. For us it was the right place to purchase a new Manson Supreme anchor. For other sailors, we are finding the Ionian Islands to be a well spring of ship chandlers. We were able to moor alongside the Town Quay and easily lift the anchor onto the boat.
Back to Anthony and Cleopatra, about 64 BC, Mark Anthony and Cleopatra came to these isles to fight Octavian Caesar and Agrippa in battle. Despairing of defeat, Anthony and Cleopatra lost their nerve and raced back to Egypt, ultimately to commit suicide. Caesar commemorated his win by building a fortress, Nikopolis about six miles from Preveza. Aptly, the largest marina in the Preveza area is the Cleopatra marina in Aktion across the harbour from the Town Quay.
Lefkada is an unusual ‘island’. It is surrounded by canals, which separate it from the mainland and nearby salt marshes. There are a surfeit of bridges, some are artistic and others look very industrial.
Lefkada is like other Ionian cities and towns with small lane ways and alleys even in the newer areas. Housing is remarkably different in Lefkada. In 1953 there was a huge earthquake, many towns in the area were leveled. Here in Lefkada, they continue to build the first floor of houses in stone or brick but all of the second stories are built using corrugated iron. There is even an earthquake safe town clock. Between rust, a myriad of colours and graffiti, Levkada certainly has its own style.
Yesterday found us motoring over to Lefkada in almost no breeze. We had to arrive at the canal which separates Lefkada from the mainland, in time for the opening of the “floating bridge” coming past ruins of castles and shallow silt dredged canals. We were very happy for the lack of the wind in these shallows, we had all sails stowed before we attempted to file into the ‘waiting room’ of yachts.
This canal was begun by the Corinthians in the 7th Century BC, according to Heikell. Augustus improved it during the Roman occupation, the Turks and Venetians added a bridge and its ruins are nearby. To draw breath here in the Ionians is to absorb history.