Keeping in tune with the rest of our trip, we left Athens for Kefalonia around 5am. We took a taxi to our studio apartment, dropped off our bags and headed straight to the port to catch the ferry over to Zakynthos (locally referred to as Zante). Despite the lack of sleep, we were excited to see the bright blue water, and we watched the sun rise over the coast of Kefalonia. It’s a two hour ferry ride to Zakynthos. The boat ride is less than exiting, and seemed to be going a lot slower than we had grown accustomed to in Norway. Nonetheless, the water is mesmerizing.
Our main reason for this particular excursion was to see Shipwreck Beach. It constantly shows up on those amazing earth pics accounts, and we are a sucker for hype. Arriving in the port is less than thrilling. It’s gorgeous, but you are swarmed by people trying to get you to buy their boat tours. They aren’t shy about it. The problem is, if you don’t have a private boat lined up, you probably don’t have a choice but to use them. On the flip side, they are in direct competition and you can haggle the price down a bit. We didn’t even try, but just by talking to another company first, the next guy offered us less. Many of them say “glass bottom” on the side of the boats, which is a straight lie. Maybe there are one or two, but I looked on several and none of them had any glass whatsoever.
All of the boat trips offer a stop at Shipwreck Beach and the Blue Caves. The caves, in my opinion, was just an added bonus. It’s about a 3 hour round trip. 2:20 of that is spent traveling between the places. They advertise it as 45 min on the beach and 15 min at the caves, but those numbers were stretched for their sales pitches. I have to admit, Shipwreck Beach is beautiful and truly a unique place. Its a truly secluded beach in which a ship from the 80’s beached on, leaving it to rust out for the past 30 years. It’s now just a shell, covered in tourists and graffiti. Naturally Kim and I climbed the mast to take pictures, despite the non stop verbal disapproval of an old overweight lady. Spoilers: The mast is still quite sturdy, and no one really cares what anyone else does so have fun. I snagged a small white stone from the beach as a little keepsake.
The blue caves are not as impressive. They are cool, and again, the water is incredible. The formations are really not that unique to that location, and you can find similar caves throughout the Greek Islands. You’re able to see the ocean floor clearly through 30 feet of water. Being able to get off the boat and swim around was fun, and something I may not get to experience again for decades. I could have spent all day floating around those caves. Unfortunately, as Kim found out, they are not keen on letting people use the life jackets, unless you plan on actually wearing them.
The rest of the day was relaxing, but a bit of a bust. We did not have any transportation, and the boat back to Kefalonia did not depart until 7pm. We had a fantastic lunch at an ocean side restaurant that served an amazing grilled salmon. After lunch, we took a nap on the beach. We had way too much time and were stuck with little to do. Bringing a car over on the ferry would have been an ideal situation, but we weren’t fully aware of our constraints at this particular destination. We also realized that we were two euro short of being able to actually take the ferry back. The ferries do not take credit cards, and the port does not have an ATM, and cash back at businesses is not an option. As soon as we realized it, we started walking toward the next town, since we didn’t really have a choice. We made one last desperate attempt to find cash and stopped at Nobelo’s hotel/restaurant. The young man working was so incredibly kind, rather than ignoring our problem like the rest of the business owners did, he shelled out the cash and told us not to worry. They also have homemade ice cream, and a beautiful outdoor seating area, and a very small private beach. I highly recommend taking your business there is you are in the Agios port area.
If I were to plan this trip again, I’d either plan for better transportation around the island, or skip it. The beaches are cool, but Kefalonia has more to offer and quite frankly, the beaches are nicer.