Galaxidhi a Bridge and a Legendry Island

Mon 16 Jul 2018 06:17


We liked Galaxidhi a lot but it was time to move on and our next stop was to be the island of Trizonia further west down the Gulf of Corinth. An uneventful journey but there was no space for a boat Pamarzi’s size when we surveyed the rather run down marina on arrival. I say marina when what I mean is that the remains of a half built marina languish after the EU loans were not repaid and worked ceased a decade or more ago. However the bay looked a good prospect, it was pretty breezy when we dropped the hook but we got sixty metres of chain out and the Rocna bit through the thick bed of roots and held well. There was plenty of swinging room so despite the blustery conditions we were comfortable although we decided against a spray filled journey ashore in the tender and ate aboard. By late evening the wind and swell died away and we had a very peaceful night. Peaceful that is until five am when the still morning air was broken by the insistent braying of a donkey (other than cats and dogs the only animal on the island) his calls echoing across the glass like waters of the bay, perhaps to an imagined mate to end his loneliness.

We took the tender ashore after breakfast and walked to the north side of the island, a journey of some three or four minutes! The bay on the north side was very pretty, a few tavernas and a single shop encircle a shallow harbour with berthing for a handful of bright blue painted, traditional fishing boats, with a small pebbly beach at the far end. After some rather good iced coffee we strolled around the coastal path, no danger of being run over as there are only two vehicles on the island. After a pleasant meal ashore that evening in one of the tavernas we were preparing for bed when an Italian flagged boat came in and started to anchor much too close to us. After a shouted warning he did move but was still uncomfortably close so we put on all the mast lights and sat up for an hour or so to make sure that his anchor was not dragging across the weed bed, we had seen at least three other boats during the day fail to get their hooks through.

Saturday the 7th July my 71st birthday and after a bacon and egg breakfast ashore Lynn took the water taxi across to Glifaldha on the main land whilst I got on with some boat jobs. She returned two or three hours later unimpressed with the place, “Run down and no decent shops” was her response to my “Had a nice day dear?” My birthday supper was a delicious slow cooked veal dish at another of the bay side tavernas.

We had enjoyed some lazy days in Trizonia but at 07.30 on the 10th July we upped the hook and with the donkey still braying set off for Navpaxtos further west. The enormous structure of the Andirrion and Rion Bridge hove into view when we were still fifteen miles off, its cable stayed tracery shining like some gigantic spiders web in the early morning sunshine. Navpaxtos is situated in a wide open bay some five miles from the bridge. It boasts a tiny horse shoe shaped medieval harbour with a narrow stone turreted entrance. Much too small for us but as weather conditions were set fair we anchored off the beach in about ten metres and laid out plenty of chain. Once settled we took the tender into the little harbour. The setting is magical, a green wooded hill above the harbour is topped by a Venetian castle and the verdant slopes are laced with castellated stone fortifications. We spent a pleasant couple of hours sipping iced coffee under the shady plane trees that encircle the harbour.

We were up just after 05.00 next morning to prepare for our transit under the bridge. Permission must be sought when you are five miles distant and dependent upon your air height you are directed as to which span you are to progress under. After several attempts to raise them on VHF radio channel 14 they finally answered around 06.30 and directed us to take the central span. When the bridge was completed in 20004 it was the longest cable stayed bridge in the world but has since been exceed by the French   Millau Viaduct and a cable stayed bridge in China. However from the water its two thousand two hundred and fifty two metre length is pretty impressive. It is forty five metres high in the middle of its central span but our twenty nine metre mast looked terrifyingly close as we went under. Not the most comfortable conditions as we headed directly into a stiff westerly breeze and the seas piled up as the two knot current opposed it. It pretty much stayed that way for all of the fifty odd miles to Vathy on the legendry island of Ithaca. We were grateful to get the hook down in a good spot off the town and relax.

We decided to spend a few days in Vathy and whilst drinking our coffee in the cockpit next morning we saw a good spot on the quay had become vacant. Actually we later realised it is pretty much the same spot that we have berthed at every time we come here. We quickly prepped the boat for a med moor and forty five minutes later we were secure in our new berth although the sweat was still running off us as we resumed our coffee drinking. The forty something foot motor boat on our port side turned out to be owned by George and Gertraud from Germany, although George hails originally from Greece. They were a charming couple and we dined out with them on a couple of occasions and we all hope to meet again in the not too distant future. Their son Alexander is working in the UK for the McLaren Formula 1 team as an aerodynamicist, I’d love to visit that facility. 

There are no power or water connections on the quay but we had been using the water maker and our tank was full so I was able to give Pamarzi a good wash down and get rid of a week’s worth of accumulated salt and dust.

We breakfasted ashore next morning at a little Taverna owned by the strangely named, for a Greek, Steve who remembered us from previous visits and cooked up bacon and eggs for us. Then down to the local supermarket for a provisioning shop. I went back to the boat with the driver whilst Lynn went to see her ‘friends’ in some of the local shops. I had not been back long when I heard a crash and a splash. I looked to our starboard side to see that the French owner of the neighbouring Hanse yacht was (fully clothed) in the water. Apparently the fixing on his passerelle had failed and both he and the passerelle tumbled in. We pulled both out, I’m glad to say unharmed by the experience, from the rather murky water of the dock.

The north west wind blew strongly all day and was forecast to continue for another twenty four hours. The howling through the rigging and constant movement of the boat does get on your nerves after a while. We had plenty of chain out but the wind was so strong that it was pulling our bow around, despite maximum tension on the anchor chain, and causing the stern lines to snatch . I doubled up and lengthened our lines and took up a meter or so of anchor chain to make sure that Pamarzi stayed well clear of the dock.

We managed to get ashore to pick up our hire car and spent an interesting day exploring this rugged and mountainous (as high as 3000 feet/900 metres) island. The views were absolutely magnificent across the gulfs and islands of the Ionian

The forecasts proved to be correct as when we woke on Sunday 15th it was flat calm. We loosed our lines around 07.30 and headed out away from this legendry island towards Astakos on the mainland.