From Athens to a Second Visit to Galaxidhi
An uneventful albeit delayed flight back to Athens on the 1st July and around midnight I was considering how to board Pamarzi without a passerelle from dock to boat. When we had left her I had stowed the passerelle away and raised the tender on the davits for security reasons and had been collected from the boat and taken ashore by a marinero. Unfortunately there were no marineros on duty at midnight and the motor yachts on either side of Pamarzi were too far from her for me to board via either of them. The only solution was a leap from the dock into our tender and a scramble down onto the after deck. This accomplished I lowered the tender and reset the passerelle so that Lynn could board so shortly before 01.00 we were both on board sipping small brandies before retiring.
A day of domestic chores below for Lynn, the washing machine going most of the day, whilst I sallied forth, by taxi, into the city to find a Vodaphone store where I could reload the sim card in our Greek router. Mission accomplished and back aboard my day was spent washing Pamarzi free of the accumulated Athens dust and grime and preparing her running rigging for our departure on the morrow.
We left our berth in Faliro Marina (AKA Athens Mega Yacht Marina) around 10.15 and motor sailed on slight seas across the Saronic Gulf bound for Korfos on the Peloponnesian mainland. We had wended our between numerous, anchored tankers and cargo vessels, many stacked high with containers waiting to load or unload in Piraeus and were heading between the small islets that litter this gulf when we saw three large black ribs rafted together near to two black poles. Binoculars revealed the black poles to be periscopes and it became obvious that a naval exercise was underway. Needless to say we stayed well clear to avoid the wroth of the Greek navy.
It took a couple of attempts before we got the hook satisfactorily set in twelve metres and laid out forty five metres of chain just off the waterside tavernas. We were setting the snubbing line when we heard shouts from shore telling us that we were too close to the boats moored on the quay in front of the tavernas. A quick double check with our range finder showed our stern to be 115 metres off shore and as it was very unlikely that any of the smaller yachts moored there had more than eighty metres of chain in total and probably no more than sixty metres out, we ignored their protestations. Shortly after a deputation rowed out to us but when appraised of these facts withdrew their complaint and left us in peace. As the sunset over they bay bathing Pamarzi in a golden light we dined at Korfos Taverna on quite delicious sea bream. And as night cloaked the bay of Korfos Pamarzi’s mast lights (also known as our Christmas tree) made an impressive display illuminating our nigh on ninety foot mast and spreaders.
I tendered ashore again next morning to purchase croissants, doughnuts and bread and by 10.20 we had breakfasted and were lifting our hook for the short passage to Ormos Kalamaki at the eastern end of the Corinth Canal. Some sailing and some motoring saw us dropping the hook there 14.00. We swam and lazed the afternoon away our only neighbour and elderly, English, solo sailor who waved to us from his equally elderly yacht as he anchored in shallower water three or four hundred yards away.
I rose next morning before 06.00 and tendered the half mile or so to the canal entrance and the canal control tower, where after parting with three hundred and sixty two Euros I was told to stand by on VHF channel 11 and be ready to follow a tanker under tow through the canal. A much slower transit this year as we followed the tug and tanker, staying about eighty metres astern of the taker just in case of a problem. It was pleasantly cool in the deeply shaded cut of the canal and we again marvelled at the human ingenuity that cut this deep passage through the unforgiving rock.
Before 09.00 we were out of the canal and in the Gulf of Corinth enjoying a breakfast of toast and scrambled eggs as we motored on slight seas our destination The charming little village of Galaxhidhi where we arrived mid-afternoon, just about the hottest time of day and so in forty degrees we went through our mooring tasks and thirty minutes later having rigged the starboard side and aft sun screens gathered our breath in the now cooling cockpit fervently hoping that the modest sixteen amp power supply here would be sufficient to run at least one of the air conditioning units. As long as we turned off the other power consuming systems aboard we could run an aircon unit so showered, cooled and dressed for dinner we ventured ashore. Hardly had we been ashore for more than a couple of minutes almost tripping over the two geese that parade the quayside here, when Lynn recognised Doug and Sandie, fellow sailors from Marina di Ragusa who were moored just down the quay from us; great to see them again. They are on their way east so having come from that direction we were able to offer some thoughts and suggestions for canal transit and moorings.
An excellent dinner was had at Zygos a restaurant remembered from last year, Greek salad, spicy home-made sausage in variety followed by calves liver, potato wedges and half a litre of their house red cooled for under thirty Euros and enough liver left to takeback for lunch next day.
We decided to stay in Galaxidhi for a few days and on our second day a small thirty foot yacht docked on our starboard side skippered by the elderly Venetian owner and crewed by his young teenage grand-daughter and the ship’s cat Felipe. We had fun chatting with Sandros throughout the day but on returning from supper learnt that Felipe had not returned from his evening wanderings ashore! All the following day Sandros looked and called for him but to no avail. Sandros was making light of his absence but it was obvious that he was very concerned. It was therefore a joyous event when in the early evening an unperturbed Felipe swaggered back aboard to be clutched to the chest of an almost weeping owner. We were so pleased for him and it was thus with a light heart and a full crew that Sandros set sail next morning.
That morning being the 7th July my seventy second birthday, cards were opened and all day long electronic messages were received, how nice people can be. A catamaran called Lady Soul started to come in on our port side and I helped the skipper, a charming German guy by the name of Claus with his mooring lines. We met Clause and his English friend Charlotte and her two children Max, fifteen and Katerina, thirteen again that evening at Zygos and we had a jolly time together. Lynn and I were entranced by Max and Katerina lovely, polite, confident, charming youngsters. The owner of the restaurant made a fuss of me as it was my birthday and without my knowledge Clause paid for the meal a refused any reimbursement, his kindness left me speechless and I do hope we all meet again.
Another couple of pleasant days were spent in Galaxidhi but the time has come to leave and continue our west bound travels and as I write the sun is just coming up over the western hills and I must start preparations for leaving our next stop the island of Trizonia.