The Rion Bridge crosses the 1 mile wide gulf at its narrowest point. With a span height of up to 45m large ships can pass and its not a problem with our 19m air-draft (overall height).
Nearing the Rion Bridge
You do have to get permission on VHF from the bridge control and it has a reputation for strong winds as the narowing chanel compresses them. It went from15 knots from the west to 20+ knots from the east as we approached. Other than dodging a couple of ferries who charged out of their berths at us, it was a normal passage through the southern span of the three.
Our mast passes under the bridge. It looks close but there's c15m clearance
Navpaktos is a very small harbour about 10 miles beyond the bridge. Originating from Medieval times you enter between two towers into a tiny semi-circular harbour with tall harbour walls and the town spreads up the hillside to the castle above. We did peak our bows in after another couple of boats had entered but whilst we might have squeezed in, the risk of an anchor tangle put the Admiral off, and we anchored outside in the clear bay.
This is when our newly restored outboard would perform for us... well, it didnt. After an initial roar it declined to play, it won't even start now, so we are back to square one with that.
The afternoon we rowed in to the harbour against the stiff breeze and had a wander around and climbed part way up the hill to the first level of the battlements (the main castle was a step too far in the heat of the afternoon). It's a very pretty place and was heaving with tourist by the coach load at that time of day.
Given the lack of co-operation from the outboard, we decided to move Splice to a small pontoon just outside the harbour entrance where we could walk ashore that night. This was accomplished in quite strong winds which, though due to die down around 19-20.00, hadn't read the forecast and it was 21.00 before we were comforable enough to leave Splice and venture ashore.
By now the town was very quiet, hardly anyone around at all. We didn't want to go far from Splice as she was not very sheltered and chose to eat overlooking the harbour in a very pretty taverna but with the expected tourist prices. The food was moderate and afterwards neither of us slept well that night with the late meal and the less than secure location of the boat. We decided to leave fairly early the next morning as the wind was increasing again and the swell would follow. Navpaktos though, is well worth a visit, maybe a smaller boat or by land would be more relaxing!
We had a very pleasant 3 hour sail downwind with 15 knots of westerly blowing us along. Using just the big gennaker on our bowsprit we made 5-6 knots on a bright sunny day. Even though there was other yachts and commercial traffic around the Gulf is wide here and we had plenty of space. The engines came on as we entered the narrower waters between Trizonia island and the mainland and we rounded the corner into the horseshoe shaped bay around 12.30.
The quiet quayside in Trizonia
Trizonia has a part built marina in its larger bay and the village is built around the adjacent smaller bay. We don't know why the marina wasnt finished but, having seen similar issues elsewhere, our guess is that European Union development money was put in to build it, on condition that the local government finshed it off. They clearly didn't and there is no power, water or management here and the concrete pontoons are starting to crumble, leaving very rough edges to moor against. Having said that it's a fabulous harbour with almost all round protection in a very attractive bay.
The view fron the hotel balconty of the'marina'. Splice moored in the centre of picture
There are a number of sad, abandoned boats here but it's free, there are a couple of tavernas open and the small hotel up the hill has a great balcony on which to drink a beer and watch the bay. No complaints from us and we've slept well for our couple of nights here.
Main photo: Navpaktos harbour at night