Chalkida night bridge
We walked up to the Port Authority office in the afternoon to pay for our passage through the channel once the bridge was lifted. At 9.15 p.m. we let go our lines and headed out to the bay before the bridge so we would be ready when they called us on the VHF radio. We were anchored and changed the lights from steaming light and bow and stern to anchor light. We had been hoping for an early opening but it was 1.30 a.m. when we got through. The bridge disappears back under the road on one side. Quite an amazing piece of engineering.
A bridge has spanned the fast flowing Evripos channel since the 6th century BC. According to legend Aristotle was so frustrated as his inability to understand the ever changing currents that he threw himself into the water.
It was amazing how many people at the time of night were on the bridge watching the boats go past. We were told the boats from the north would go first and on checking in the afternoon where we would go once through there was only one customer but at least 8 came down including a huge cruiser.
The boats from the south were not told to move but the eager ones up near the bridge decided to go through without any instructions. At least three boats went without permission. There was shouting and radio communications as a tanker which had been anchored in the bay was heading straight for the bridge and there is no stopping them. Hooting of horns, boats up the front all moving over to get out of its way and more hooting. Obviously, the nearer you got to the bridge the less room there is to manoeuvre and shouting started from several boats.
We followed along nearly at the end of the line as we knew once the other side it would take several minutes for everyone to moor against the quay where there were only roughly six spaces due to the ballast and rocks in the water which have never been cleared. We had spoken to a English gentleman on an Oyster who said we could raft up against him for the night which is what we did. He was waiting for the boats to arrive and helped us with the lines.
The current through the bridge is very strong even at the slackest tide and Jim had to use the full throttle to steady us as we went through. There must be a slack time during the day but due to the cars having to be stopped and the small streets the only time it opens is at night but shut on Fridays.
We were told that your boat name would be called and you would proceed through the passage but it was a complete free for all with only one Port Authority policeman on the bridge organising it.