4 August, DELPHI, GALAXIDHI, MESOLONGION, GREECE, 38:21.68N 22:25.22E
4 August 2014, Delphi, Galaxidhi, Mesolongion, Greece, 38:21.68N 22:25.22E
22.7 We said goodbye to Willem, Julie and Monica, and our friend David joined us from Scotland, to go through the Corinth canal and on into the Ionian.
27.7 We said goodbye to friends and family on our favourite Greek island, Poros, filled up with diesel, water, and food, and quietly slipped away. Our first anchorage was at Korfas, on our way to the Corinth canal. Monday 28.7 we tied up to the Corinth canal dock to pay our dues, Euros 300 for our 15.5metre yacht, the most expensive 3.2 miles in the world, and by 1030 we were told to follow a large launch through the canal. We had been through the canal 24 years ago, in April 1990, on our yacht ‘Reverie’ after coming up the Red Sea with Gilbert and Olivia, then aged 8 and 6, and once through the canal we saw snow on the nearby mountain ranges. The canal looked the same, it was opened in 1893. Before that, for example in the time of Octavian, he had his triremes dragged across the isthmus to chase after Antony and Cleopatra. The canal cuts about 150nmiles off a trip round the Peloponnese, which we did in 2012.
We sailed west in the Gulf of Corinth, and stopped at a tiny hamlet, Ormos Vathi in Kolpos Domvrainis, where 10 small Greeks came to swim with Roland and practise their English. The following evening we anchored in Andikiron, and went ashore for delicious grilled octopus. I’m not sure why we have not tried cooking this ourselves, we have seen frozen octopus the size of footballs for sale in every supermarket. The temperature during these days was around 35’C, so we swam several times a day in the turquoise water. We sailed on to Ormos Anemokambi, with red soil and spectacular barren cliffs, but very deep water.
30.7 We motorsailed to Galaxidhi, a lovely town with a large church. This is one of the best harbours to leave a boat whilst taking a bus to visit the ancient ruins of Delphi, so at 0615 the next morning, we set off for Delphi, and arrived early enough to miss most of the tourists. We walked up past the rock of the fortuneteller sibyl and the navel/ omphalos of the world, past the ruined temples and amphitheatres, to the stadium at the top of this spectacular site, which looks down into a gorge with an aquaduct, 1.5 million olive trees, and down to the coast. Again, we had been here with our young, who were ‘ruined out’ but we had to see where Helen of Troy (and Sparta) and other ancient legends had their futures foretold. In Galaxidhi there is an excellent Maritime museum, with paintings of many of the 450 sailing ships that were owned by the people of Galaxidhi. The curator showed us a plaque from NZ, thanking the people of Galaxidhi for their help to kiwis during the War.
2.8 We left Galaxidhi for Trizonia, another harbour we had anchored in on ‘Reverie’ 24 years ago. That time we saw a huge superyacht ‘Lazy Boy’ drifting out of the bay, while we looked helplessly on. There is now a marina in the bay. From Trizonia we motored to the tiny medieval harbour of Navpaktos, and reversed in to have a quick look. From there we called on the radio for permission to go under the Rhion-Anti-Rhion bridge, and went under at 0930, with the bridge sparkling in the sunlight. It is the largest cable bridge in the world, we had watched a you-tube showing the difficulties of building a bridge in this part of the world. We carried on to Messolonghi, where we motored up the canal into the Harbour, and saw many large turtles. We went to look at the new marina there, and walked around the town, famous as it is where Lord Byron died, in 1824. We motored back down the canal, past houses on stilts, and the next night anchored in Nisis Petalas, the enormous wetlands of Greece, where birdlovers come for autumn and spring migrations, we saw Flamingoes and Pelikans.
Now we are in the Ionian, we sailed to the Dragonara islands and anchored in Port Kastos for a night, before we sailed across to Ithaka once more. There we saw the superyacht ‘Southwind’ that our son Gilbert used to crew on, anchored in Ithaka harbour.
From here we will head north to the Levkas canal, Prevesa and Corfu. We will leave Restless in Corfu, and fly to the UK, for a friend’s wedding in Scotland, and then Pip and Gilbert’s wedding on 6 September, on the Thames.