Three nights in Itea were very nice. We did get one German
sailboat who decided in a completely empty marina they were to berth right
behind us and wanted us to move when the realized the generator exhaust was
facing them. The generator is needed since there is no electricity at the
marina. The “asked” use to move our boat further down the quay to
give separation. We said no since we had rented the quay and they actually
were not supposed to be there. After a negative response from us they tried to
blare there stereo and run their engine to make fumes for use. Sorry to say
this is becoming typical of German sailors we are meeting, not all but a
significant number. They feel they have the right to go anywhere and force others
to make adjustments. Never had this with a British, French or Italian (though
they are different!) flagged boat. Anyway our agent set them straight about
where they were berthed.
So we left Itea and our helpful and cheerful agent at 7:00
AM. As planned actually there was no wind. The prior two days were strong
winds and a one day gap was coming so a quick sprint to Athens was planned.
Heading south into the Corinth Gulf we hit a few gusts of strong wind but
The highlight of the trip was passing through the Corinth
Canal. The mainland of Greece has an inland sea that almost bisects the
country. Like a miniature Panama Canal this canal was built to shorten the
distance from the Ionian sea and the Aegean near Athens. It saves about 100
miles by using it. During the past centuries they actually started work on the
canal with slaves but never made any real progress. The current canal is by
today’s standards small but a great shortcut for sailboats and small
Being cut through soft limestone the canal is closed on
Tuesdays for dredging and wall repair. Seeing the sides of the canal I am glad
they perform this work. Soft limestone and boats wakes do not mix well over a
The process is simple to pass through. A call on Channel 11
to inform them of your position. They confirm your LOA and ask you to take a
waiting position ½ mile off the entrance on the west side. When the westbound
traffic clears they allow the eastbound boats to enter. At each end of the
canal are hydraulic bridges that they lower to allow the boats to pass. In the
center sections where the wall are very high two car and one train bridge cross
over top at 54 meters in air height.
Once in the canal they will ask the boat to make 7 knots
speed. There was a normal 1.8 knot current against us so we ran the boat at
8.8 knots, not the most economical speed but well within our capacity. Running
along against the current and the canal only being 25 meters wide means slight
movements of the wheel produce large changes in direction and the walls loom
At the east end you are required to stop at the dock to show
the ship’s papers and pay the toll. Not cheap but better than 100
nautical miles around the cape.
After the canal we headed to Athens and Zea Marina. As we
left the canal I discovered that my chart plotter software ended and did not
cover the rest of the trip. Hum. We had paper charts but they did not have
the details I wanted. So of course the iPhone came into play. I had already
downloaded all of the Med charts. So with the GPS giving us position and the
iPhone providing the details we easily and safely made it to the marina. New
software is on order for the chart plotter. Always good to have two or three
backups and in this case we had the iPhone, paper charts and the pilot book
giving detailed directions and landmarks.
Zea Marina is well protected, good help from the marina in
berthing and located with mega yachts. Not bad.
So far we have covered 2,200 nautical miles on the trip. We
spent the last two weeks at anchor or at Itea tied to a quay. However this is
the first time in two weeks we are plugged into shorepower and have city
water. All electricity and water in the past two weeks were self produced. Keep
in mind the water maker is good and makes enough so we did not have to be
skimpy. Showers and laundry were fine. Just didn’t wash the boat much!
Entering the canal making 8.5 knots. Fenders downs and
mooring lines ready in case.
One of the two hydraulic bridges lowered to allow the
passage over it
Beginning of the higher wall section
One of the car bridges
Catamaran following us, not much room for error.