L2I program “Giorgos and Panos swim” Lefkada to Ithaca July 8th – 14th 2019

Overview

Dates of trip

July 8th - 14th 2019 (6 nights)


Getting to Ithaca

Kefalonia is the nearest international airport to Ithaca. Easy Jet, Olympic Air, Air France, Alitalia, Air Berlin, Air Dolomiti, Aegean Airlines, Ryan Air, fly to Kefalonia from different European destinations. From Kefalonia it will be possible to reach Ithaca with local ferry Ionion Pelagos services within 30 minutes.


Accommodation

We stay 6 nights at Captain’s Apartments residence in Kioni, which is a nice and comfortable residence 2 minutes walking distance from the sea front of the town village of Kioni. There are 2 types of accommodation: apartments for 2-4 persons and studios for 2 persons, all with en-suite facilities. An optional extra night will be available in B/B if requested.


Food

Self catering breakfast each morning at 8:00 (food will be bought by the instructors);
Lunches will be a selection of sandwiches, fruit and snacks;
Traditional Greek dinners will be served 3 evenings at Mythos restaurant on the sea front of Kioni village (the rest of the evenings you will be free to eat in other restaurants in Kioni village).
We can cater for vegetarian and gluten free diets but please ensure you inform us of your dietary requirements on booking.


Equipment/Clothes
Each participant should bring a waterproof jacket, warm sweatshirt/jacket, walking shoes/sandals, sun hat and sun glasses.


Average temperatures and conditions

July: air temperature 27°C; sea temperature 24°C.
Sea conditions will vary according to the weather and currents. This all adds to the experience of being in open water.


Fees
Swimmers €1860 + €30 (club membership)
Non swimmers €980 + €30 (club membership)


What’s included (swimmers)

6 nights accommodation with breakfast – packed lunches – 3 dinners at Mythos restaurants; Accommodation in residence apartments ; Fully guided tour on the expedition; Swimtrekking instructors and coaching; 6 days of swims (3 days coastal and 2 crossing day); 1 main boat and 2 powerboats supporting swimmers during the 2 crossing days and 1 or 2 powerboats supporting during the coastal swims; Club insurance; Swimtrekking equipment; Swimtrekking T-shirt and swim hat.


What’s not included (swimmers)
Travel costs to and from the start of the expedition; Banks commissions; 3 dinners; drinks at the restaurant.


What’s included (non swimmers)

6 nights accommodation in B/B with 3 dinners; Accommodation in residence apartments; Fully guided tour on the expedition; Club insurance; Swimtrekking T-shirt and swim hat.


What’s not included (non swimmers)
Travel costs to and from the start of the expedition; Banks commissions; all lunches; 3 dinners; drinks at the restaurant.


 

L2I program “Giorgos and Panos swim” Lefkada to Ithaca July 8th – 14th 2019

An exclusive program that we are presenting for the first time. You will be exploring the stunning, blue waters that surrounds the rocky island of Ithaca and attempt the inaugaral Lefkada to Ithaca swim in memory of the dramatic swim of Giorgos and Panos in September 1944 (see the full story below).

You will be swimming along the beautiful coastline of Ithaca (3 days) finding the best spots sheltered by the winds.   These coastal swims will have a length of approximately 6/9 km per day. Itineraries will be decided by the Swimtrekking instructors that will be guiding the group during the swims. The crossing days (2 days) will feature a crossing test swim between Ithaca to Kefalonia (6 km from Polis to Fiskardo) and the Lefkada to Ithaca (20 km from Nira to Affalles).

The story

(narrative by Giorgos Koutsouvelis)

At the end of the second World War on September 1944 the resistance of Ithaca and Kefallonia decided to go to help the resistance of Lefkada to fight against the Germans.

From Ithaca there were 31 young  men who left the Island on a Kayki boat to get to Nira to meet with them.

WhatsApp Image 2018-11-25 at 09.26.35

d9f1cbcb-e22d-4ac9-9ff4-944dfa2d4ef3After waiting for all the others  over a day, my grandfather, Giorgos Koutsoubelis (Kondilatos) and Panos Kallinikos (Popoff) got suspicious. They decided  to swim to Ithaca  and to bring back  a boat who could take  the whole group of resistance  back to Ithaca.

From the lighthouse, they took the door plus a piece of wood of the floor, to support  them crossing the sea.

When they arrived at Affalles (North Ithaca) an army boat stopped them.

On the boat there were Italian soldiers and one Austrian officer. The two Ithacian made them believe, that they were two fisherman who had lost their boat to avoid  being arrested. They took them to Fiscardo and the next day back to Ithaca, to Poly Bay.

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In the meantime all the other resistance on Lefkada were killed. Giorgos and Panos were the only two who survived.

Exactly  that  day on Kefallonia, the Germans killed 2500 Italian soldiers.

Equipment

Each participant should bring 2 goggles, wetsuit, waterproof jacket, warm sweatshirt/jacket, walking shoes/sandals, sun hat and sun glasses. Swimtrekking will provide the swimmers with swim hat and t-shirt.

About Ithaca

Ithaca (popularly called Thiaki) is a rocky island separated from Kefalloniá by a channel 4 km/2.5 miles wide and almost cut in two by the long Gulf of Mólos on its east side; the isthmus joining the two halves, at Mt Aetós (380 m/1,247ft), is only 600m/660yd wide.
In the north of the island rises the Ani range of hills (Mt Neritos, 808 m/2,651ft), in the south Mt Stefani (671 m/2,202 ft). Much of the island has been marked by karstic action, but agriculture is possible in a few fertile valleys. This island belongs to the Ionian group of Islands and it has captured the imagination of the historians it is referred to as the homeland of Ulysses, the legendary hero of Homer. Ithaca island is small but beautiful, covered with lush green vegetation that extends up to its white pebbled pristine beaches. The “Captain’s Apartments” will be our accommodation base  which is located in the small village of Kioni. It is a very picturesque village that has remained unspoiled from major tourist development. The village has been characterised as a ‘traditional settlement’ and therefore very strict planning rules apply. Kioni Bay is a popular destination for sailing boats. Beaches on Ithaca island are small but they all have a relaxing atmosphere. Surrounded by lush greenery and with crystal blue water, the good thing is that some of the beaches in Ithaca can be accessed on foot and almost all are in good distance one from the other. Frikes, Dexa and Agios Ioannis are among the most beautiful and popular beaches on Ithaca island, however, there are many other small and calm coves waiting to be discovered on this lovely island of the Ionian Sea.

Dates of trip

July 8th – 14th (6 nights)
Minimum number of participants required: 7
An optional extra night will be available upon request.

About the trip

Start point: Kioni, Ithaca, Captain’s Apartments .
Start time: on the arrival day meet your Swimtrekking Instructors at the residence Captain’s Apartments at 15:00. Check in, briefing and first acclimatisation swim in the evening.
Finish point: Kioni, Ithaca, Captain’s Apartments .
Finish time: on the departing day last breakfast @ 7.30 and transfer to Pisaeto for the first ferry to Kefalonia.

Typical day Swimtrekking

Breakfast and briefing;
Pack up your essentials for the day before heading out for the morning swim;
Short walk or take our vehicle to our start point for the day;
On crossing days you will walk to the port of Kioni or drive to the port of Frikes to take our boat for the day;
Once on the shoreline we kit up before beginning our morning expedition;
We’ll stop off in a cove for lunch, after which you have time to spend exploring the inland wilderness of Ithaca or just relax on the beach;
Once lunch has settled and everyone is ready to cool off in the water again, we continue with our afternoon swim;
We work up a final appetite by the time we get back to the residence having dinner in Kioni village.

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The Crossings

L2I – Giorgos and Panos swim

Location

Lefkada – Ithaca

Distance

20 kilometers (straight line)  subject to weather conditions from Nira (Lefkada) to Affalles (Ithaca).

Itinerary could also slightly change  subject to wind and currents conditions. Normally in this area and during the summer winds pick up from the North (NW – NE) after 2pm. We should try to finish the swim before 2 pm. However north winds, if not to strong, will push the swimmers and help them to reach the finish point.

Days of crossing

We will have a window of 5 days from 9th July to 13th July but ideally we should attempt the crossing on either 12th or 13th July. In case of bad weather conditions, an alternative itinerary will be organized along the coastline.

The day of the crossing

We will aim to  start the swim by 6am. . The crossing will take place only  if the weather conditions are favourable (neutral or favourable currents; maximum Beaufort scale 2), agreed by instructors andauthorized by our local boat pilot.

I2K – Ithaca to Kefalonia (test swim)

Location

Ithaca – Kefalonia

Distance

6 kilometers (straight line) according to weather conditions from Polis beach (Ithaca) to Foki beach – Fiskardo (Kefalonia).

Itinerary could also slightly change subject to wind and currents conditions. Normally in this area and during the summer winds pick up from the North (NW – NE) after 2pm. We should try to finish the swim  before 2 pm. However north winds, if not to strong, will push the swimmers and help them to reach the finish point.

Days of crossing

Ideally we should attempt this crossing on either 10th or 11th July. In case of bad weather conditions, an alternative itinerary will be organized along the coastline.

The day of the crossing

We will aim to start the swim by 9am. The crossing will take place only if the weather conditions are favourable (neutral or favourable currents; maximum Beaufort scale 2) agreed by instructors and authorized by our local boat pilot.

Groups

All the swimmers will be taking part in a noncompetitive swim. Therefore, the instructor will form groups with a maximum of 5 swimmers, Each group willbe assigned to 1 boat. Each group will have a different speed and swimmers will always need to stay together and working as a team/look out for each other.

Swimmers

Each swimmer mustweara swim hat for the crossing of the assigned group colour.

Swimtrekking instructors will take care of the drinks for all the swimmers during the crossing and feed them regularly every 30 minutes or as necassary. Swimmers are free to prepare their own personalized drinks/feeds.

L2I-map1

Getting to Ithaca

Kefalonia is the nearest international airport to Ithaca. Easy Jet, Olympic Air, Air France, Alitalia, Air Berlin, Air Dolomiti, Aegean Airlines, Ryan Air, fly to Kefalonia from different European destinations. From Kefalonia it will be possible to reach Ithaca with local ferry Ionion Pelagosservices within 30 minutes.

Accommodation

We stay 6 nights at Captain’s Apartments residence in Kioni, which is a nice and comfortable residence 2 minutes walking distance from the sea front of the town village of Kioni. There are 2 types of accommodation: apartments for 2-4 persons and studios for 2 persons, all with en-suite facilities. An extra optional night will be available in B&B for the ones that would like to chill out one more day in Ithaca.

Food

Self catering breakfast each morning at 8:00 (food will be bought by the instructors);
Lunches will be a selection of sandwiches, fruit and snacks;
Traditional Greek dinners will be served 3 evenings at Mythos restaurant on the sea front of Kioni village (the rest of the evenings you will be free to eat in other restaurants in Kioni village).
We can cater for vegetarian and gluten free diets but please ensure you inform us of your dietary requirements on booking.

Temperatures and conditions

July: air temperature 27°C; sea temperature 24°C.
Sea conditions will vary according to the weather and currents. This all adds to the experience of being in open water.

What to bring

On top of your normal clothes you should bring with you: a waterproof jacket, warm sweatshirt, walking shoes/sandals, sun hat and sun glasses.
There are cash points on the island in the town of Vathi and in the villages of Stavros and Kioni.

Places of interest

Vathy
The chief place on the island of Ithaca is the sheltered port of Vathy or Itháki, probably founded by the Romans. It is charmingly situated in a bay – generally accepted as being the cove of Phorkys, in which the Phaeacians put the returning Odysseus ashore (“Odyssey”, 13, 96 ff.) – defended by two Venetian forts.

Itháki Archeological Museum
The Itháki Archeological Museum contains artifacts from the excavations at the Heraion sanctuary. The collection of small votive offerings is one of the richest in Greece. The largest free-standing sculpture to have survived from ancient Greece is the museum’s star exhibit.

Cave of the Nymphs
Two km/1.25mi west of Vathy, on the slopes of Mt Áyios Nikólaos, is the Mármaro Spília, a stalactitic cave and ancient cult site which is identified as the Cave of the Nymphs (“Odyssey”, 13, 107-108). Mt Aetós – Castle of Odysseus
Five km/3 mi west of Vathy, on Mt Aetós, is the acropolis of an ancient city (seventh century B.C.), perhaps Strabo’s Alalkomenai, which was excavated by Schliemann and is popularly known as the Castle of Odysseus.

Fountain of Arethusa
Six km/4mi south of Vathy on a difficult path is the Fountain of Arethusa, beneath the Ravens’ Crag (“Odyssey”, 13, 408-409). Farther south is the plateau of Marathiá, with extensive plantations of olive-trees, from which there are good views. Eumaios’s farmyard (“Odyssey”, 14, 6) is supposed to have been in this area.

Palaiokhóra
Three km/2mi south of Vathy is the site of Palaiokhorá, the capital of Ithaca until the 16th century. Stavros, Greece
The numerous ancient finds made in the vicinity of the village of Stavrós, in the northwest of the island of Ithaca, have suggested this as the most likely site for Odysseus’s town and palace.

Panayía Kathará Monastery & Museum
Six km/4mi south of Stavrós is the monastery of the Panayía Kathará, from which there is a magnificent view; festival celebrated annually on September eighth.
The monastery also houses a small museum.

Pelikata
Excavations at Pelikáta revealed signs of a Brzone age settelement. Pólis Bay
Below Stavrós, to the southwest, is the beautiful Pólis Bay, the only harbor of any size on the west coast of Ithaca. A cave on the west side of the bay was a shrine of Athena and Hera in Mycenaean times. Offshore, near the coast of Kefalloniá, lies the tiny islet of Daskalio, identified as the island of Asteris where the suitors planned to ambush Telemachos (“Odyssey”, 14, 6).
1km/.75mi north, on Mt Pelikata above Pólis Bay, are remains of a settlement dated between 2200 and 1500 B.C.
1km/.75mi farther north is the chapel of Áyios Athanásios. West of Stavrós are the picturesque inlets of Fríkes and Kióni. Átokos
Átokos, 10km/6mi northeast of Ithaca, is the rocky and uninhabited island of Átokos.

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