On the Way to the Corinth Canal

N37°57’00″ E22°58′00″

Bodrum, Turkey to Bridgetown, Barbados

5,176 nautical miles to Barbados

July 26, 2013

Corinth Canal, Greece

Corinth Canal

The Greek experience started just as I expected. “I am closed” said the 2nd official on Friday at 2 p.m. as I was buying the 30 Euro Greek Transit log. “Come back on Monday for your receipt.” Makes you wonder, early weekend and what happens to the receipt-less 30 Euros?

The harbour master in the old port of Kos was no better. “Moor only there,” pointing to a location opposite the ferry dock where the swell rolled in and the buses were running.

However, Vodafone was great and we have internet connection in Greece for 2 weeks for 20 Euros.

Heading west, the Meltemi lived up to its reputation, quickly picking up to 25 knots plus. Fortunately not quite on the nose, but close hauled on the starboard tack. The wind was generally a little west of north and we were heading a little north of west. The seas were short, 1 to 2 metres and we bashed into them for 4 days with green water up the front windows and spray right over the boat. We had good speed for Van Kedisi, 6 and 7 knots, except for a frustrating time north of Amorgos where we tacked back and forth over the same patch of water so many times we figured we were wearing it out. We got accustomed to the bashing, the spray and learned the hot coffee stagger. Not everybody would have enjoyed it as much as Dean and I did.

We sailed 12 hour days and arrived at Poros on the Peloponnese peninsula just south of Athens 4 days after leaving Kos. Our stops were at Levitha, Mirsini on Skhinousa and Vathi on Sifnos. The trip from Mirsini saw a 50 knot gust and sustained 40 knots for several hours. We got calibrated quickly and when the wind dropped to 29 we called for more sail. Approaching picturesque Poros with the narrow channel the wind veered and we were able to ease the sheets a tad and sail at 8 knots in relatively calm waters – a Hollywood sailing finish, except for the white dried salt on everything.

A couple of days of summer holiday sailing brought us to the Corinth Canal where Dean’s wife Marie joined us with parts and repair materials from West Marine. I could have easily justified another season in Bodrum to get everything installed, checked, repaired and tuned, but it is well known that if you wait until everything is done you never leave.

We have been off the boat so little that the Greek language has not been required yet. Indeed, I may leave Greece without learning a single word of Greek.

The church bells sound here morning and evening. A change from Bodrum where we left the marina with the sound of prayer call – next prayer call – Morocco, inshallah.

“Van Kedisi this is Corinth Canal Control. Are you a tanker?”
“Corinth Canal Control this is Van Kedisi. No, I am not a tanker, I am a 12 m sailing catamaran.”
Patient lady’s voice on VHF channel 11.
“Van Kedisi this is Corinth Canal Control. Are you at anchor?”
Oh. Yes.
Ha ha.

The narrow deeply cut canal was cool. We did the 140 Euro transit alone. I slowed down to avoid a bungee jumper. We considered flying the spinnaker but thought the nice lady in Control would not be amused.

The wind gods were good in the Gulf of Corinth and we flew the spinnaker in light easterlies down to the island of Trizonia. We anchored off the sad marina with the sunken boat and decaying cruisers – the end of a lot of dreams.

Navpaktos with its tiny medieval harbour and several levels of castles was much better. At the square where everybody congregated the waiter brought us roast pork appetizers with our beer. He complained about the government – and I hope he meant the governments of the last decade or so who all continued the hypocrisy of civil servants making 3 times the going rate and retiring with pensions at 53.


More Photos from the Aegean

It was a long uphill slog into strong Melemi winds as we crossed the Aegean Sea from Bodrum, Turkey to the entrance to the Corinth Canal in Greece. Here are a couple more photos of our passage.

Sailing Upwind with White Caps in the Aegean

Sailing Upwind with White Caps in the Aegean

Reaching Across the Aegean on a Sunny Day
Reaching Across the Aegean on a Sunny Day


Over 50 Knots on the Way to Sifnos

36°55.83 N 24°41.44 E

Bodrum, Turkey to Bridgetown, Barbados

Vathi, Sifnos, Greece

Dick and Dean in Greece

We are in Vathi on the Island of Sifnos. Anchored boats all dancing in the 30 knot gusts through the bay.

We have spent a couple of days close hauled and taking lumpy seas in 30 knots of northwesterly. Today was different. We had 25 knot northwest to start. Then we got 43 northerly. When it dropped to 29 knots I said something I would not have anticipated “It’s dropped to 29, we need to put up more sail.” Later we got 40 knots steady with one gust to 50.8 knots. We got wet and the decks and front windows have been fire-hosed.