From a damp & cool Athens

Jim / Elaine Soens
Sat 26 Sep 2009 20:16
37.55N   23.39E
Seems a long time since Kefalonia (on reflection it was a week ago today -  must be why it seems a long time ago)  We all enjoyed the shower after tying up on the quay which is on the roadside all along the main street. J & E were pleased to see their Albanian friend and his English wife who were just trying to get their cafe business off the ground (straight across the road from where we were tied up) the last time they were here 4 years ago.  They are doing well and give a good service to the boating folks.  Had a very good meal in a nice local restaurant and then a coffee on board and retired to a flat and still bed & a welcome early night very Happy Bunnies.  Spent the next two days tidying up and doing some food shopping and walking around this charming little town. 
Left on Monday and had a beautiful calm and warm day for our sail to Ithaca and the quaint main town of Vathi where we anchored in the bay which is surrounded by the town.  Dingy ashore for a walk round the town (hardly more than a village) and dinner. While chomping on a piece of bread I managed to break a sizable piece of a tooth.  Asked the waiter about a dentist and he offered me a container with toothpicks.  Had to explain it was a tooth Dr. I needed.  Fortunately one about 100mtrs down the road and was open at 19.45hrs  Waited 50 mins to have him tell me all he could do that night was a 2 min. grinding job to take away the sharpness of the break and was relieved of €40.  Thought dental in the UK was expensive!!   Returned to the restaurant to find that my sardines (whitebait) and chips had been delivered to the table 5 mins. after I left.  Returned it to the kitchen to have it heated and it returned microwaved! Yuck! but couldn't be bothered having any more agro at that time of night. The others had a bad meal too so we are not doing the best with restaurants!!
Left the lovely Ithaca early the following morning with nice calm sea and warm morning. Lasted for about an hour and Yes, you've guessed it, all hell broke loose again. Banging and crashing through the waves all the way to the very impressive Rion Bridge at the entrance to the Gulf of Corinth.  Anchored in a  thankfully, peaceful bay for the night.  Following day, Wed. 23rd. completed the sail to the Corinth Canal arriving in much calmer seas and warm weather at 16.00.  Only waited 30 mins for our turn to transit the canal.  Traffic is one way so sometimes there is a long wait if you miss the slot in the direction which you are traveling. We were quite impressed with the canal, which is quite short (3 miles) but steep sided. The cost for this short trip is an unbelievable €200. Anchored on the south side for the night and the following morning set off for Piraeus the port of Athens.  Arrived here in Marina Zea at 12.00noon.  Very large marina with some amazing boats tied up.  Some like small liners and the height of luxury. Elaine flew back to the UK on Thursday night for the funeral of her nephew who very sadly died suddenly last week.  She returns tomorrow night, Sunday, and we will start the last leg of the trip through the islands to Turkey on Monday, weather permitting.  In the meantime Jim is nursing a very sore knee which he damaged again yesterday so is only able for light duties.  D & I have been taking the advantage of the unexpected stop in Athens to check out the city, which we have never been to before, and it's history. Visited the Acropolis and some of the old temples yesterday. Weather has cooled down a lot and a bit showry today.  Just our luck but the forecast is not good for Monday.  Oh well, will let you know next time.
From the Happy Wanderers