Week 2 of our cruise in Greece, on Almost Free, Sun Odyssey 349, beautiful name, thanks, Pavros. See week one.
Sunset at Patras, the West opening of the Gulf of Corinth, in the evening before we take the route back (photo (c) François 2016).
The most dangerous time of the cruise (for us men). We left Tamara alone on the boat. Only as a hindsight did I realize how our lives were jeopardized. We could not hold on very long when (if) T. would turn on the throttle fully...
Galaxidi was the harbor of our first night after Patras (about 40 miles away). The crew left me alone to watch some weird waves (maybe some wind was coming our way) and took a taxi to Delphi. In another hindsight (no wind came and Delphi was very interesting), I should have gone along (almost 50 years after my first (and as of today my last) visit.
Top image: reconstructed track to get into Ormos Dhomvrainas, the track is only indicative, we did not sail as close to the island. Second picture: sunset before the Ormos. It was night, pitch black, we navigated only with Navionics on my smartphone. We reach the anchoring point (picture 3). But all of the blue zone to the south and the east doesn't exist (i.e. it is much deeper than indicated on the map). We cannot anchor in more than 15 meters, as we need at least 3 times the depth of chain (45 meters chain for 15 meters depth). The anchorage point was less than 15 meters deep and the night was extremely calm, we slept like babies.
July 4th. We sail to Corinth Harbor, mostly under engine. About 25 nautical miles (we dock on an old pontoon, behind the 50 feet US boat visible on the picture on the right. End of the afternoon, we rent a taxi to go to Old Corinth and the Acropolis (but this one closes after 3 pm). We visit the archeological site (agora and its museum). The site is not so well preserved. The museum is worth the visit.
In the morning (July 5th), after a few harbor manouvers, we sail back across the Gulf. It is Tuesday and the Canal is closed for maintenance (we could see that the walls were fragile and fallen rocks need to be cleared, plus other operations which I do not know about). 15 knots of wind. After crossing the small part of the Gulf, we anchor in a nice bay near Melanga. We swim and snorkel for an hour. There is a small canal that connects the gulf with a lake on which there are many vacation ressorts. There is a strong current flowing into the golf.
We keep an ear on the VHF, in case the canal opens end of the afternoon. Which is the case. We hear boats asking to cross the canal. Earlier, Canal Operation answered the canal was closed. Some time later, the started answering, we will open at 3 PM. So we headed towards the canal and were sailing back and forth in wait. A small cruising ship (Island Sky) arrived near us.
Soon after, they opened the canal first East to west and a tugboat emerged pulling a small freighter accompanied with a Pilot boat. After dropping its towing line, the tugboat took the cruise ship in tow and the Pilot boat went along the cruiser to let a pilot aboard (maybe the pilot boarded the ship before the tugboat took on the line). Then we were ordered to follow Island Sky and at some point in the canal, after the cruise ship accelerated again we were called on the radio to move on faster. Big Brother is also watching you in Greece.
We anchored in the Sidherona Bay, again we had to find a shallower spot to anchor. Ouzo and swimmig. In the morning, an early riser took the sunrise over a small island. We sail then in direction of Epidaures (South East course). The course is not very flattering (the wind changed direction and we anticipated it in the other direction, close hauled, the wind was good (10 knots, stabler in direction) in the afternoon
July 6th: we anchored in front of Neia Epidauros (Epidavros in Greek). The sea was choppy (after a storm) but we managed to get the anchor to hold among other sailboats. We motored to the harbor with the dinghy to the restaurant and to get information for the visit of the archaeological site. It is easy, just reserve a taxi and off you go. Magnificent site. Some reconstructions (white stones) in the Agora are under way.
The last 2 days of the cruise.
The one event was crossing the route of a Bavaria 44. We were under sail, we saw this Bavaria 44 with full Genoa coming on our starboard (we had right of way). We started whistling, but the Bavaria did not change course, they were to ram us. Finally, a men lounging on the front deck heard us and noticed the helsman. As it passed behind has, we saw they had only the Genoa completely opened, and using the engine full blast. No worries, no look out. They were running into ferry lanes, with ferries and hydrofoil going from 20 to 32 knots. Unbelievable. One mistake on our side, no sorry, MY side, (probably an old racing attitude or practice on a lake with little wind), we should have turned the engine on (as we were only going about 3 knots, in hindsight, I felt we were not maneuverable enough to avoid the collision, as I write this, other scenarios to avoid the collision come to mind) .
The blue shirt is my sun screen.
Cargo ships in the wait, we have to keep 2 eyes open, as when they start moving is not predictable (there is often a fume of smoke of the generators, indistinguishable of the engines actually running).
The hydrofoil crossed our path 100 meters in front of us. Thanks to the AIS, we knew there was no collision route.
Nice vacation, I'd do it again anytime. Come along !