Exploring the west coast of the Ionian Islands by yacht can be a risky proposition. The prevailing north west/west winds can, in the wrong conditions, make them a formidable lee shore with limited options for safe anchorages should the wind and swell pick up.
However, the weather was settled for a couple of days, so we headed around to the west side of Cefalonia to visit Assos, a town famed for its venetian fortress. We left Fiskardo at 6am with S/V Blueys and motored the 8NM around the north cape of Cefalonia and down the coast to Assos. It was flat calm and there were no other yachts around, just a few local fishing boats pulling their nets in. The sea on the west coast seamed alive with fish and we saw large tuna jump out of the water and lots of schools of smaller fish, their presence given away by hungry Cory’s Shearwater looking for breakfast.
Assos is a small town and its anchorage equally small, and as we arrived at 8am we could see a few yachts in the bay and moored stern too on the small wharf. Luckily Blueys and Vega managed to get a perfect spot, just off the beach and anchored in 5 m of wonderfully clear water. After coffee, we tackled the walk upto the fort.
In the late 15th century, the fort was built by the Venetian army, in order to protect the inhabitants of Assos from pirate raids. The stronghold was of great strategic importance and made Assos a capital city of the north side of the island. Nowadays, there are only remnants of the wall and other parts of Assos castle, as well as the church of San Marco. Some of the best preserved areas are the gate house and the arched gateways dotted around the main wall.
After visiting the fort we spent the afternoon snorkelling in the numerous caves that dot the steep rocky coast line and chilled drinking excellent milkshakes ashore. I had a fresh mint and coffee shake…it was fantastic.
So, if you get the chance, put Assos on your Cefalonian itinerary!