April to June 2015 (Trip miles 363, Total miles 8467)
With the winter coming to and end and a new crew aboard we made preparations to depart Lefkas Town and head eastwards. We spent first couple of weeks in the Ionian islands of Lefkada, Megonisi, and Ithaca getting everyone orientated.
The islands further south would have to wait for the future as there is a possibility our cruising permit may not be renewable within Greek waters and we may need to get to Turkey on a “visa run” for the vessel. We have yet to find an official who can supply a definitive answer.
From Ithaca we headed towards Patras at the Western entrance to the Bay of Corinth, stopping at Mesalongnion, (known as being the place where Byron died) for fuel and water before passing under the Patras suspension bridge into the Corinth Basin. Our planned stop at Trizonia was well on track, until the gentle westerly that had been pushing us along most of the day grew teeth.
The last 2 miles of having to round the island to enter the harbor provided the new crew with a peek at how fast conditions can go from well pleasant to borderline unmanageable, with gusts of 50kn + pushing forward speed down to 0.5 knots at times. Thankfully we had chosen our harbor well and found an alongside berth with complimentary helpful yachts to take our lines and help us get settled.
Our next port was Itea, where we again managed to find an alongside berth although with no services available. With more bad weather incoming and the vessel safely secured we prepared to settle in for a couple of days. As luck would have it the ancient site of Delphi was a couple of miles away, so we rented a car and got our first look at what Greece is famous for.
With weather on our side again we made for Kaito just west of Corinth and made ready to traverse the Channel the next day. With a flotilla of rental boats as company headed to the channel entrance and radioed our intentions. After an hour’s wait we were given the all clear and passed into the channel, the 3miles of channel was unexpectedly narrow considering that massive cargo vessels get pulled through by tug boats, there was also quite a strong head current and with the wind from behind that made for a couple of unnerving moments.
Once safely on the eastern side we took advantage of the wind and sailed to the town of Korfos where we spent a quiet night on anchor before heading to Piraeus on the outskirts of Athens.
Greece has surprisingly few private marinas when compared to other mediterranean countries we had traveled to. The vast Majority of harbours and ports are state run and it’s a bit of a mixed bag, with the season in swing it is often not possible to find a berth, let alone one with electricity or water.
With the prospect of having to spend extended time on anchor especially once we arrive in the very popular Cyclades; wind generators seemed to be an obvious choice. The planning and installation took around 2 weeks, and reinforced my faith in Greek workmanship, we received excellent service at very reasonable prices, after letting off a crew change we left Piraeus behind having made a good friend who we hope will join us at some time during the summer.
Aegina was our next destination, we spent a couple days on anchor enjoying the extra power available and awaiting the arrival of additional crew. With our new crew member onboard sails were up to the southern tip of mainland Greece near Sunion south of Athens our jump off point for the Cyclades.
Bridge at Patras - Western edge Bay of Corinth
Taverna on Trizonia
Looking over the complex at Delphi
The temple of Apollo
The sanctuary of Athena
Aigina looking west towards the northern Peloponnese.