Vathi 28300, Itháki, Greece.
GPS: 38°21’54.9″N 20°43’07.1″E / 38.365247, 20.718638
Vathi (Βαθύ) or Vathy or Port Vathi is the main harbour of the island of Ithaca in the Ionian Sea of Greece and lies at the head of a long inlet on the E coast, four miles S of Kioni and five miles S of Frikes. It is a popular destination for yachts of all sizes during the season, as it provides a number of berthing opportunities as well as a good anchorage off the town. Shelter in the harbour is relatively good in the prevailing W/NW winds, although there is usually a chop in the afternoon sea breezes which can become quite uncomfortable at times, especially on parts of the S quay. Sometimes during the busiest periods local agents attempt to reserve spaces for their clients on the main yacht quay, which has led to some minor confrontations in the past. The town is, nevertheless, a good base for hiring a car or scooter to visit the various attractions of the island of for replenishing stocks from its several provisions shops and supermarkets.
There are no hazards in the approach to Vathi, which is entered from NW from the larger Gulf of Molo. With fresh afternoon seabreezes, however, there can often be strong gusts off the mountains at the head of the gulf and it may be wise to reef down prior to entry or use the motor in such circumstances, especially as there may be a ferry leaving as you arrive. Vathi is a port of entry. The harbourmaster’s office and customs are on the customs quay at the S end of the harbour.
Harbour icon Main yacht quay 38°21.904’N, 020°42.998’E
The main yacht quay extends along the SW side of the harbour between the short ferry jetty at its N end and local fishing boat moorings at its S end. The jetty is clearly marked with yellow paint along its edge and supplied with plenty of yellow bollards as well as recessed stainless steel mooring rings. Around 20 yachts can anchor moor at the quay here in depths ranging from 4.0 metres at the N end to 3.5 metres at the S end. There are tyre fenders along the quay. The holding here is reasonable in soft mud and weed once the anchor is well dug in, but it can require two or three attempts to make sure it is holding. Shelter on the quay is moderately good in the prevailing NW winds but it can become uncomfortable (but rarely untenable) here if they are of any strength.
The section N of the ferry landing is used by tripper boats during the day, but can be used by yachts on anchor moor or alongside if arriving in early evening.
The customs quay, Vathi from S (note water taxi berth on S side)
Harbour icon Customs Quay 38°21.906’N, 020°43.087’E
The customs quay consists of a short jetty 200 metres SE of the main yacht quay, at the root of which is the harbourmaster and customs office. About 8 boats can anchor moor to new rings and bollards off the north side. An additional boat can come alongside the east end. Depths are >2 metres with the exception of the inner corner which has rubble near the pier. Shelter here is not as good as on the main yacht quay, especially with strong northerly winds.
Harbour icon SE Quay 38°21.900’N, 020°43.163’E
There is a further section of quay extending out from the SE shore of the harbour identifiable by an anshor on a plinth, where some 8-10 yachts can anchor moor in settled weather in depths of 2.25 – 2.5 metres. Mooring is to stainless steel mooring rings (a couple are missing). Shelter here is poor with strong NW seabreezes and it is probably better to anchor off in such conditions. There is more room to the east but depths alongside are less.
Vathi NE quay from the S
Harbour icon NE Quay 38°22.362’N, 020°42.840’E
This quay lies at the NE corner of the harbour, around 1.5 kms from the town along a shoreside road, past the fuel quay. There are two sections to it, an outer part that projects into deeper water, with big rubber fenders and depths of 5.5 – 6.5 metres along it, and an inner part tucked in just E with some private laid moorings in depths of 2.25 – 2.75 metres. On the outer part around 8-10 yachts can anchor moor, dropping in 10-12 metres, or raft up alongside on the W edge in similar depths. Mooring is to plentiful (if rusty) bollards. Shelter here is good in the prevailing winds, but strong S winds would cause problems. The inner part has space for 6-8 yachts, but several spaces are taken up by private laid moorings, meaning that a yacht will generally have to use its anchor here, laying well out in 6.0 – 7.0 metres to clear the moorings. Depths at the quay are 2.25 metres at the E end increasing to 2.75 metres at the W end, however, depths in some of the berths are less where your keel will be lying owing to silting and towards the E end can be little more than 2.0 metres. Although these inner berths offer the best shelter in the harbour, it is inadvisable to moor here if your draft approaches 2.0 metres or if there is any swell expected.
Yachts anchored off Vathi
It is possible to anchor off the town in 5.0 – 10.0 metres, where the holding is moderate to good in mud and weed once your anchor is well dug in. Shelter here is adequate in the prevailing winds and usually only uncomfortable until the afternoon seabreeze, which regularly gets up to F4-5 in the summer, dies down.
The harbour is located inside the bay, in front of the small village of Rina and it consists of a long quay. Depth is a little more than 2 metres but mind the cement blocks which reduce it in different points and keep always a distance from the quay. In terms of services, there’s nothing, just some water.
Some cement blocks reduce depth near the quay; ferries generate an intense wave motion in the bay.
Vathi has a small but interesting archaeological museum which is worth a visit (Mon – Sat 0900 – 1300, 1900 – 2200 E3). Nearby attractions include the Cave of the Nymphs, a dingy cleft in the rocks leading to a cave associated with the eponymous one in the Odyssey, which can be entered by a rickety ladder (take a torch) [Closed to visitors as of June 2014 –Dimrub 15:02, 9 June 2014 (BST)]. It lies up a side road 1.5 kilometres out of Vathi on the road N. The Fountain of Arethusa, with similar Homeric associations, is at the SE end of the island and is a long, dusty trek from the road along a dirt track. What some experts believe may have been the palace of Odysseus (at any rate, the remains are of the right Mycenaean period) is the mountaintop acropolis of Alalkomenes off the road a few kilometers further N from the Cave of the Nymphs. A hard uphill trek of around 1.5 hours brings you to the impressive walls of the settlement, with superb views N over the island.