CAPE LEFKAS, also called CAPE DUCATO, is at the southernmost tip of Lefkas and is visited only by the more adventurous Lefkas holidaymakers. It is a long and dusty 16km drive along a poor road to the cape where the poet Sappho reportedly jumped to her death from the sheer cliffs.
Cape Lefkas was used for human sacrifices in antiquity. Lunatics and criminals would be pushed from the 70m high cliffs into the sea in a bid to purify their souls. Hope it worked. The priests would sometimes tie birds to the victims to slow their fall. I bet that worked. A lighthouse, built in 1913, now stands on what was a temple to Apollo.
Jumping from Cape Lefkas became an irregular practice among fashionable Romans when rejected by their lovers. They aped Sappho's example, although most constructed primitive parachutes to soften their fall into the sea where rescue parties waited. Today it is often used as a launching pad for hang gliders.
It is assumed that Homer is referring to Cape Lefkas as the "white rocks" in his epic poem, The Odyssey, but this has never been fully vouched for. The white limestone crags on this inhospitable part of the island were probably what gave Lefkas or Lefkada (White) the island's name.
From Cape Lefkas there are great views across to Ithaca and to Kefalonia which is only about 4km away. The waters around here are popular with scuba divers and there is a dive centre based at the lighthouse
The wide variation in water temperatures supports some interesting marine life including large lobsters. The rocks are also home to several large moray eels.
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