We're headed West through the Gulf of Corinth. The following is a summery of the stops along the way to reach the Ionian Sea
We spent the next 6 days in this bay with the small village of Epidhavros ashore. We have shifted gears and are in neutral. Our time was spent reading, swimming, and eating ashore with friends from other boats. Many evenings started with sundowners on various boats around the bay. We enjoyed walks around the area, especially up to the Greek theater. The source of our only excitement was a large power boat that kept insisting on anchoring on top of our anchor. We tried without success to explain that this won't work. He finally tied his stern to the shore in such a way that when the wind shifted we swung very close to him. For those non sailor readers it's important to understand that there are rules to the anchoring game. Number one rule: When arriving in an anchorage you must anchor in such a way that you stay clear of all boats currently anchored. This guy didn't read the rule book. Or most likely he felt that he was far above and beyond the rules. We were unable to convince him to follow the rules so we upped anchor and moved to an area that was already quite congested. As soon as we moved he pulled up his anchor and re-anchored exactly where we were... anchored....Hmm. I guess that was HIS spot.... He left the next morning, so we returned to "our" spot.... Then in the afternoon, he returned to start the dance all over again. So we played anchor tag with this bozo for about 5 days Hey! What else would we do for entertainment? We are rendezvousing with Judy's granddaughter, Sarah in Itea in a week or so and so, we should move on.
After an uneventful overnight stop in Korfos we got underway early for the Corinth Canal
. This canal is the most expensive per mile to transit in the world. Lucky for us, it's only 3.2 miles long. Still it cost us almost $300 US for the 30 minute transit. The canal cuts through Greece saving a lot of sailing miles. After hundreds of years of attempts it was finally completed in 1893 after being started by the French finished by the Greeks. In the very early days the Greeks and Romans drug there ships across the Isthmus. Today you just hand them your credit card. The feeling is like sailing through a tunnel with the top removed. The walls are 250 feet above and the channel is only 75 feet wide. The walls are vertical.
Gratefully, we emerged through the canal to find nice sailing conditions, not a gale on the nose! We laid a course for Andikiron 25 miles away. As we approached the wind began to scream right on our nose (OH, here it is). We poked into the little harbor to find it full and dangerous to approach in these high winds. A quick look at the chart showed a promising anchorage around the corner. Thirty minutes later we were anchored in calm tranquil waters in our own private cove. We spent 2 days here doing the usual walking, eating, and swimming
Itea is mostly an agricultural town but it has a surprisingly nice city marina. We tied to the quay in the well protected harbor. After we put our bikes together off we went on a reconnaissance. It just so happened that there was an International Optimist Dinghy Regatta happening. When we returned to Freebird over 500 dinghies with kids at the helm were sailing out to the race course. Some of the kids looked like tiny tots, just one per boat. Amazing. On the horizon they looked like tiny butterflies. Fun to see!
One of the key attractions of Itea is it's proximity to the ancient ruins of the fifth century BC city of Delphi
. We became acquainted with Grant and Lorraine on the catamaran Matariki moored on the quay with us. They invited us to join them in their rental car for a visit to Delphi. We spent an memorable day with them roving through the ancient metropolis. This is truly a place to see, perched on a precipice overlooking the basin below.
Finally it is time for Sarah to arrive from Seattle. She's been touring the Greek Islands with her cousin and is scheduled to arrive back in Athens. We are a little worried because all transportation has been shut down by a nationwide strike. There are massive demonstrations in the streets. She has been stuck on the island of Ita waiting for a ferry for a few days. With help from their guide they managed to snag a ferry back to a different port Athens. We decide to rent a car and organize a rescue mission. We charged up our trusty GPS navigator and plugged in her hotel. Two hours later we snatched her from the clutches of the chaos. Okay, I might be over dramatizing a little. It turned into a piece of cake and there wasn't a demonstrator in sight...Happy Reunion! We stopped at McDonalds on the way back for a little comfort food.
Poor Sarah, she had a nasty head cold after partying for the last 10 days. We hung around the marina for a few more days while she recuperated. Not a problem, we're used to being in neutral.
No wind, motoring as usual, we continue on our way West. Our route takes us across the West end of the Gulf of Corinth and under the Rhion Andirrion suspension bridge
. This bridge is an impressive site. It's the longest cable stayed bridge in the world. At 2,252 Meters long, it's a true architectural wonderment to behold.
Delightfully, the anchor goes down and the monotonous drone of the engines are silenced. We're anchored in the pleasant little harbor of Missalonghi. Our friends, Tim and Rose arrived the day before and have hauled Rendezvous Cay out of the water for some minor repairs. We head straight for the marina bar for a cool refreshment with some new and old friends. We're then whisked away by car to the village by the entrepreneurial restaurant owner for a delicious dinner in his "other" quaint uptown restaurant. The intense conversation around the table went something like this: "blah blah blah.... heads'.........blah blah blah. ... bilges...into the night......poor Sarah......
At 0600 AM the next day we're off to the Ionian Sea