Gulf of Corinth

Dean and Marie French are friends of Dick and Marian. They are Dick’s crew for the trip from Greece to Palma de Mallorca, via Malta and Sicily (with perhaps further stops along the way). These photos were supplied by Dean from their passage west in the Gulf of Corinth and the Gulf of Patras as they headed west from the Corinth Canal.

Looking Down on the Corinth Canal

Looking Down on the Corinth Canal

Looking West in the Corinth Canal

Looking West in the Corinth Canal

A Dolphin Rides the Bow Wave

A Dolphin Rides the Bow Wave

Nafpaktos, Greece from the Water

Nafpaktos from the Water

Looking Down on Nafpaktos Harbour

Looking Down on Nafpaktos Harbour

Mesolongion Harbour

Mesolongion Harbour

Mesolongion Harbour Dock

Mesolongion Harbour Dock

Dean and Marie

Advertisements

Arriving in the Ionian

Bodrum, Turkey to Bridgetown, Barbados

4,886  nautical miles to Barbados

August 2, 2013

Argostoli, Greece

Van Kedisi Sailing

For a change, we had a flat run through the fields south east of Navpaktos, past alfalfa fields, sheep and goat pastures and corn a couple of metres high. We reached the Ionian tacking into a light westerly after a night at Mesalonghi, up the dredged canal with houses on stilts. Won’t do well with global warming.

Typical light winds continued in the Ionian to our last stop, Argostoli, site of the book and movie “Captain Corelli’s mandolin.”

The cruise ship at the dock meant the square was full and the outdoor bars were busy. In Minnesota, Marie’s bank manager’s mother asked her, “How many crew will there be on this ship you are going cruising on?” “Two, when Dean and I get there.”

Quay at Argostoli

Quay at Argostoli

Greek internet ends today so it seems like the right time to head out into the forecast light northerly winds and set a course of 246 for Malta, 330 miles away.

Dick

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.”
Pause.
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.

Dick

Leaving Bodrum for Kos

N36°53’45″ E27°17′18″

Bodrum, Turkey to Bridgetown, Barbados

5,390 nautical miles

Kos, Greece

Dick Driving the Dinghy in Bodrum Harbour, Turkey

Dean French arrived at the Denizce Bar and Restaurant at midnight.

Farewell to David, Nuket and Elaine at Yildiz Yachting, Bodrum, marking the “end of an era.” Leaving Turkey on my 67th birthday seemed the right thing to do.

The sail to Kos was a nice reach with the wind increasing to 27 knots from the west to get us dialled in for the next few days to get to Corinth to meet Dean’s wife Marie.

Dick