Fed Up Waiting For Parts - Off To Messolonghi!
20 May 2019 | Messolonghi
We waited in Vlikho Bay for a few days trying to identify where we could get an ignition coil for the outboard, but it became clear there wasn't one in Greece and even when we tried the USA and UK, no-one seemed to have one. Eventually Chris found one on Ebay and decided to take the risk, his money was accepted, the order confirmed by the seller and our son Mitch would bring it out in early June when he visits us. We were fed up waiting around so that would have to do, we were leaving.
Unfortunately the forecast for the whole week was for fairly strong southerly winds..... right on the nose. Our plan was therefore to cross to the eastern side of the southern Ioanian basin and try to sneak south under shelter of the coast and islands where possible....or just take the bashing if we couldn't. We set off across to Kalamos where we knew we would get shelter for the night. This was quite a good sail as the wind was on the beam and a not overly strong force 3. We arrived off Kalamos around 15.00 to find the wind was shifting to the west making the run south somewhat off the direct wave-train. We had plenty of light as sundown was 20.30 so we put the engines on and pushed south to Limini Petala, a passage anchorage we had checked out the previous year. Arriving about 18.15 we found 5 other boats in the anchorage and 2 more joined us as the evening progressed. We had a comfortable night in a very large shallow bay hidden behind a large rocky island. There's nothing there apart from a few goats and a distant fish farm.
Just before 10.00 the next morning we lifted the anchor having tried to work out the best timing to round the corner in to the Gulf of Patras by looking at multiple weather forecast websites. Whilst the wind continued in the south we were only facing around 15 knots and the islands broke up the waves somewhat so our progress was only a little bumpy. Around midday we turned the corner into the Gulf which brought the wind onto our quarter, a more comfortable point of sail.
Our target destination Messolonghi is unusual in that the port is up a 3 kilometre channel, around 7m deep but narrow. We knew that commercial ships call here, so checked the AIS before entering and started slowly up the channel. It turned out they are dredging the channel and we shortly met a tug coming down with a large barge of mud tied to its side, there was just enough room to pass, we then had to pass the dredger itself, moored in mid channel. It was difficult to see which side to pass (and there were none of the normal visual signals dredgers dispaly in most of the world... this is Greece) and we were glad the crew started to gesture to port, until we spotted their mooring line across the gap... luckily they dropped it to the channel-bed as we passed!
Messolonghi has a large deeper water anchorage and port at the top of this narrow stretch and we secured ourselves to the public quay in the NE corner with a few other boats. Our first new port this year, it had taken a while to get going.
We stayed a couple of days, i'ts a pleasant enough port with a 10 minute walk in to town. We had a nice simple meal in 'OAAXYMA Taverna' run by a very nice chatty family and managed a bit of provisioning. Whilst there we got an email that the seller of the ignition coil had cancelled the sale and refunded us, no explanation. So with no hope of the outboard resurecting, Chris spent an afternoon on the phone, in Greek taxis and in a workshop 18k from the port, finding another enginner who was sure he could fix it. He stripped the carburettor againand poked about. When reassembled it ran perfectly in his test tank under load for a while. Great, it cost E50 for the taxi and E25 to the engineer but that was worth it. (Until the next time we tried to use it of course).
We were awoken at 07.30 the second morning with loud engine noises in the harbour. Scrambling out of bed we found a large cargo ship very close to the yachts moored on the quay and clearly he had meessed up his approach to the cargo dock. There was a very stressful 20 minutes as he manoevered, including one crew abandoing their yacht as his bow came within feet of crushing them. He eventually got himself secure but there were a few stressed Yachties wandering around that morning!
Main Photo: along the channel to Messolonghi there are a number of waterside homes on stilts