Flisvos to Galaxidhi with a Narrow Bit in the Middle
Our short stay at home, the seven days seemed to pass very quickly, would have been even shorter if our taxi driver Harry had had his way as he turned up punctual as usual at the appointed hour but a day too early! On Monday he reappeared and had to endure some gentle ribbing from us all the way to the airport. Our flight, only slightly delayed and with a taxi pre-arranged at the Athens end we were back aboard Pamarzi by 22.30.
Having left the U.K. in brilliant sunshine we awoke next morning to torrential rain but once it had cleared we got on with boat jobs and later visited a local supermarket who delivered the provisions to our berth early that evening. Another day another thunder storm but it didn’t delay our departure preparations. A final meal at a favourite restaurant that evening and farewells said to our tiny, charming, violin playing, Bulgarian waitress (Delilah) who had looked after us whenever we ate there.
Just after 10.00 next morning we left our berth to sail over to the Peloponnesian side of the Saronic. The sea still pretty choppy as we navigated our way around myriads of anchored tankers and container ships no doubt hanging around awaiting their turn to load or unload in Piraeus. Our destination a well sheltered bay called Korfos, where we arrived just after 13.00 in breezy conditions but we got the hook down in about twelve metres and paid out fifty metres or more of chain. There were strong katabatic winds howling down from the surrounding mountains swinging Pamarzi about so we decided to eat aboard and tuck in to some of our tuna steaks. Come 22.00 the winds fell away and we enjoyed a quiet and peaceful night.
I went ashore the following morning in search of a bakery to buy bread and croissants. I was successful but other than the bakery, a mini market and a handful of tavernas the village had little else to commend it. A lazy day aboard sunning and reading but in the late afternoon those pesky katabatic winds picked up again and swung us to and fro around our chain for most of the nigh and the following day. Thankfully they finally died down that afternoon so we opted to eat ashore at one of the quayside tavernas. I was just tying the tender up when I heard my name called from an adjacent yacht. It turned out to be Keith a Cruising Association member who I had met in Poros a couple of weeks ago. Lynn and I were enjoying our aperitifs looking out over the bay. The light was fading and the mast lights of Pamarzi where showing against the darkening sky, she looked terrific but then a little twenty something foot yacht hove into view and proceeded to drop her hook not twenty metres from Pamarzi. I jumped into the tender and planed out to them politely but firmly(very!) explaining that our thirty five tons of yacht was attached to nigh on sixty metres of chain and would undoubtedly collide with them if they did not move. They promptly raised their hook and moved to the shallower (and much more appropriate for them) anchoring spot that I had suggested in the almost deserted anchorage. Why oh why we ask ourselves do they choose to endanger our boat and theirs when there are so many other places to anchor! Answers by email or postcard will be accepted.
Sunday the 1st of July and we rose early to prepare for our departure. The new gypsy that I had fitted to our windlass effortlessly wound in our chain. Unfortunately it also wound in a woven plastic sack and several tens of metres of fishing tackle all of which had to be cut away but by 09.30 we were on our way heading north to Ormos Kalamata a bay next to the eastern entrance of the Corinth Canal. After a quiet night anchored in the bay I tendered over to the Canal control tower next morning where I completed the paperwork and handed over 366 Euros. The officer though was both polite and professional and I explained to him that this would be our first transit. Most yachts go through the canal in convoys sometimes behind a commercial vessel. The officer told me to weigh anchor and report on VHF channel 11 when we were ready. I did not realise at the time that despite other yachts arriving he had arranged for us to transit solo. So we had the whole of the five kilometres to ourselves, great for the photographs and the memories. We could not help a giggle when we recognised at the western end the road bridge had been raised for us and the traffic queued back on either for some distance.
The North West wind that had blown though the canal dropped to a dead calm as we entered the Gulf of Corinth and we motored the thirty odd miles to the historic village of Galaxidhi. Motoring between two islands and around a forbidding looking rock (although clearly marked) we entered the narrow harbour with depth warning alarms shrieking but with the harbour mistresses shouted assurance we crept in dropped the hook and reversed to the quay just next to an ancient series of harbour steps. Georgia for that is the Harbour mistresses name (the same name but certainly not the same shape as our daughter) welcomed us to her charming village. After all the usual docking procedures were completed two yachtsmen dripping with sweat in the forty degrees plus sunshine gratefully snuck under Pamarzi’s shady bimini and devoured a beer or two.
Later that evening we emerged from the cool, air conditioned interior to dine at what turned out to be a very good waterside taverna, where three excellent courses and a carafe of most acceptable house red was less than thirty Euros.
Mount Parnassos towers to over eight thousand feet above the olive tree clad plains and blue waters of the Gulf of Corinth and high on its slopes sprawls the remains of ancient Delphi. This was our destination for the day, the views as we wound our way up the mountainside were spectacular our hired VW Golf balked a bit at some of the inclines and hairpin bends insisting on nothing more than second gear but she got us there. One can clearly understand why the ancients regarded it as the centre of the world and the sense of history was palpable as we climbed amongst the temples, stadiums, theatres and monuments. Apparently finds date back to 4000 BCE, Neolithic times but the height of its fame was from 700 BCE to 394 BCE when the words of the Oracle coloured decisions of state. The games here were almost as important as those held at Olympia and the site was active till the mid 600’s CE, thirteen hundred years of history. Much of the beautiful statuary and other finds are housed in an excellent museum adjoining the site.
It was then back to the boat for a relaxed afternoon and evening planning our further passage through the Gulf of Corinth and on to the Gulf of Patras.