28 June 2013 | 37 54.9N 23 0. 68E
We had a good week with Pete and Chiara. The night crossing from Crete was so much better than the one we had over and we spent the next few days doing short day sails, stopping at Ormos Palaio, Ermioni and ending up in Perdika on Aegina. These are all lovely little Greek bays where we swam off the back of the boat and sat in the sun watching the fisherman go out. In the evenings, we ate fresh fish and drank local white wine in one of the tavernas (or travernals as we now call them, showing our Bristolian heritage!) They have now left us to get the ferry to Athens and back to work, poor things!
We now have 15 days to get up to Croatia where we are being joined by my niece for a week. We hadn’t quite realised how long this would take us and will have to press on. We think it will take 7 quite long days and then a 48-hour trip. Hopefully the weather will be good enough for us to get there on time. Forecast for the next couple of days is winds of 15-20 knots. Trouble is it’s coming from the North meaning we’ll have to motor into it as usual. Missing those trade winds of the Pacific!
Yesterday we went through the Corinth Canal which was a great experience. It’s 3.2 miles long and 25 mts wide and the limestone which it is cut out of rises to 79 mts above sea level. The limestone is crumbling into the water so it has to close every Tuesday for maintenance and dredging. Apparently this canal was started by a French company in 1881 and finished by the Greeks in 1893, but it was never a financial success as its narrowness made it impossible for most ships to pass through it. In 1944, when the Germans were retreating from Greece, they set off explosives to block the canal and dumped the bridges and locomotives into it to hinder the repair work. Now it is mostly used by tourists and cost us 171 Euros to go through making it one of the most expensive canals per mile in the world.
We stayed in Kiato last night which is a commercial harbour. Wherever we stop in Greece, locals will be fishing off the quay. Last night about 40 people, all ages but mostly male, were beside our boat hanging about, chatting and smoking, staring at us while we ate dinner. A few would leave and then some more would turn up on scooters carrying a fishing rod, net, seat, box full of fishing stuff, phone, radio. Lots of loud banter but very little fish-catching happening. There were a few still there at 3am this morning. We think they just come down to get away from their wives/girlfriends/mothers. Interestingly, a few might be drinking iced coffee but no one is drinking alcohol. Don’t think that would be the case in UK or Australia, do you?
We were up early again this morning and have motored against the wind for about 7 hours to our next stop, Trizonia. This is a lovely little fishing hamlet surrounded by olive trees and vines with a pretty little square full of the usual tavernas overlooking a small boat harbour. The wind has now come up and we have 30 knot gusts. Forecast is for higher tomorrow so we may have to stay here until at least Sunday. Life’s tough sometimes isn’t it?!