Trizonia – Ithaca - Italy

Sun 21 Jul 2019 11:25

So it was on the 10th July that we left our Galaxidhian anchorage, setting out just before 10.00 for the short passage to Nisos Trizonia. It was good to get out on the water again but as expected the wind was on the nose so it was motoring all the way.

We dropped the hook at around 13.30 in almost exactly the same spot as last year taking care that it was well dug in and laying out forty metres of chain even though there was only three and a half metres of water under our keel. We kept a look out all afternoon to make sure that no one anchored too close and we hoped that they had all got their anchors similarly well in. Unfortunately that was not the case and one of our neighbours dragged during the night and came perilously close to Pamarzi. Strong winds, a big thunderstorm and spectacular lightening later in the night further contributed to a night of little sleep.

Boat jobs were the order of the day next morning and with the wind still blowing strong there was no shore leave. But at last on Friday morning we awoke to calm conditions so we took the tender ashore and enjoyed a very pleasant breakfast in one of the little tavernas on the other side of the island. Full of bacon and eggs we returned to the boat put the water maker on and gave Pamarzi a good wash down. By midday the wind had picked up again so much to Lynn’s chagrin we could not dine ashore and the weather forecast shows that another storm is expected so it looks as though it will be Monday before we leave for Ithaca.

And so it was over the weekend with the wind howling, tumultuous black clouds, thunder and lightning and torrential downpours. Our anchorage was fine but we were on constant watch for other boats and indeed several more dragged their anchors. Fortunately the bay is well protected from the swell so despite the confinement and the need to be vigil we were comfortable and safe enough.

Monday 15th July dawned fine and calm as had been forecast so it was up with our mud and weed caked anchor and by 07.00 we were motoring on slight seas out of the bay and westward heading for Vathi on the island of Ithaca some seventy odd nautical mile away. It was an unremarkable passage with light fluky winds that saw the mainsail in and out a dozen or more times as we sought advantage of any breeze. As we approached the beautiful Rion Antirion bridge that separates the Gulf of Corinth and the Gulf of Patras huge ‘islands’ of debris started appearing presumably washed down the mountains by the heavy storms of the preceding days. We later learnt that the little town of Navpaktos was particularly badly hit by heavy flooding. Having radioed ahead, as is required, when we were five miles from the bridge we were given permission to proceed via the span to starboard of the central span. Even when you know that there is plenty of height it still seems as if our mast was close to scraping the underside of the bridge!  

We arrived at a very busy Valhi around 16.00 and anchored in the bay there being no room on the quayside. Satisfied that our holding was good we took the tender ashore to dine on spit roast lamb at Nico’s where we were welcomed like old friends.

As we had anticipated a place on the quayside became available next morning and by 10.00 we were med moored and trotting down the quayside to breakfast at Steve’s Taverna where again we received a warm welcome and a good breakfast.

During the day a charter boat with three young South African couples aboard and a girl South African skipper indicated that they would like to berth on our port side, I helped them with their lines and once they had settled in we spent a most enjoyable time chatting with them about South Africa and recommending (this was their first visit to Ithaca) restaurants and places to see. The afternoon brought yet another storm and rain in biblical quantities. It started to ease around 19.00 so we took a chance and headed ashore to dine at Sirines yet another favourite restaurant. All the tables were booked when we arrived but they very kindly found a table for us. The food as usual was delicious and the ambiance in the courtyard surrounded by flowering, sweet smelling climbers was delightful. Those of you who are old enough to remember the American television, detective series of the seventies, Starsky and Hutch will recall that Hutch was played by David Soul. Well looking much older, he is seventy five now, and rather infirm he dined with two ladies on an adjacent table. On another table a were a very nice Rumanian family with whom we got chatting and we learnt a lot about the Danube Delta apparently a still wild and beautiful place with good hunting. We exchanged emails and hopefully will visit that part of the world – next year?

I walked into the town next morning to the bakers to buy still warm croissants and bread and after breakfast returned to the village to get my haircut and in the process learned about my barbers life and family on Ithaca.  Later in the day Lynn met up with her friend Evagelia who works at an ‘objet d’aft’/jewellery shop, they met on our first visit to the island.

A supermarket shop next morning to top up our provisions which kindly they delivered to the boat, followed by a visit from the fuel tanker to top up our tanks with three hundred litres of fuel. After the huge number of boats seeking a berth over the last couple of days it was strange to find ouselves alone on the quayside. Alone that is until about 16.00 when boats started to arrive. A shout from a thirty footer with an English skipper asking if he could dock on our starboard side dragged me from my book. Fine I shouted I’ll take your lines. In they came but seemed to have put very little anchor chain down. They asked me if I thought twenty metres was enough. I told them that I had sixty metres down and that maybe thirty/thirty-five metres would be better for them. They agreed and went out again to remoor and I waited on the quayside to take their lines. Back they came laying out chain and then the anchor woman (his wife) on the foredeck shouted “we are on the rope!” and moments later “It’s all gone!!”. Amusingly the skipper shouted, “Gone where?”. It turned out that their anchor rode had not been tied on at the bitter end so anchor, chain and rope had all sunk to the bottom of the bay!  I helped them get the boat secured side on to the quay and they sought the help of the harbour master to find a diver to retrieve their tackle. The diver finally arrived around 19.00 just as we were going ashore for a final dinner at Sirines. Apparently it took him over two hours to find and retrieve their anchor and get them remoored. A salutary lesson that I am sure they will not forget.

Up early the following morning we were motoring away from Vathi before 09.00 at the start of our one hundred and eighty mile passage across the Ionian to Crotone on the foot of Italy. A lovely passage on slight seas and although we had to motor sail for most of the way on the final morning as I woke to take the watch from Lynn at 06.00 after taking a couple of hours sleep the breeze picked up and with all sail up and the motor off we were sailing faster than the breeze, champagne sailing!

We saw some wonderful sunrise and sunsets during the crossing and perhaps the most spectacular moon rise that we have seen as it peeped up above the horizon just past full but blood red! It was two tired but content sailors who docked Pamarzi at 10.30 at Yacht Kroton Club, Crotone, Italy