Melissani Boats

Have you ever wondered about the little blue rowing boats in Melissani Cave?
Each boat weighs approximately 1 tonne and has it's own name!

Every three years they are lifted out from the opening 36m high with a crane for essential repairs or a little lick of paint and TLC, then put back again in readiness for the season and the thousands of passengers that will embark the little blue rowing boats.

Excitingly our lovely Dennis is the man behind the crane!

Melissani Cave, one of Kefalonia's most popular tourist attractions is temporarily closed due to Covid-19, but the locals still prepare for a possible season and Dennis and his Crane play a part in that!

Γερανοί Βανδωρος translated Vandoros Cranes, was established by Dennis's late father Argyrios Vandoros in Kefalonia when Dennis was just a little boy. Dennis would often go to work with him.

Every little boys dream!

Now, Dennis and his brother Makis continue working on the cranes in the winter months when he is not on the Lady O and they have taken part in many important Kefalonian projects, including the recent expansion of the airport. In the summer ...he juggles both!

Dennis the Menace really is his name!

It takes approximately 4 hours for Dennis and Makis to set up the crane 30 metres from the opening and complete the task of getting the 6 boats in and out of the water.

One by one down they go back where they belong!

Tentatively lowered as onlookers stand by in readiness to release her from the crane

                                                        The boats are out of the water for about a month

The underground lake Melissani Cave, located not far from Karavomilo is uniquely exquisite. The 'b' shaped lake is 40x50m wide (narrowing to 3.5m)) and 36m high and was discovered in 1951 by Giannis Petrochilos.
A big part of its roof has fallen down revealing the amazing sight, but there are other caves on the island just like Melissani. Only the local explorers know where these caves are and it makes you wonder just how many more underground caves there could be, yet to be discovered!

Visitors reach the lake by an underground tunnel and hop on one of these beautiful little boats. The guides (often very entertaining), unhurried, create a gentle splash when the oar hits the water. Showing you both parts to the lake, first the sun-lit open lake, then the dark, narrow, almost hidden corner surprises you with a small island full of plants, birds, sounds, smells, echoes and has many stalactites covered with algae and moss. Just spectacular. All your senses will come alive.  
If you've not visited Melissani Cave you must! Go and admire this unique natural work of sculpture. Midday is the best time to visit as the sun shines directly above into the cave showing off the beautiful crystal turquoise colour of the waters.
During the peak of the summer season there is often coach loads of people in a very long queue so be prepared to wait (you won't be disappointed) or go early or later in the day when it is quieter.

As you sit on the little blue boat bobbing quietly on the lake and admire it's perfect reflection on the crystal clear water ... take a moment to look up, admire the stunning walls with plants hanging and the abundance of wildlife, and picture the little boats floating down like birds, settling on the water where they now stay for another three years!

Written by Eleni Nicolaou