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Galaxidhi, Gulf of Corinth


38º 22 N

22º 23 E

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We are in the Gulf of Corinth at Galaxidhi. Blog is complete to 21st September.


Monday 7th September. A prompt start for what turned out to be a frustrating day. First the log which we knew had been under reading since our summer break decided not to show speed at all.  The wind was fickle so it was a mix  of motor & poling out the genny to sail. Then when we got to Rhodes, our intended destination, at around midday the harbour was chock full. Not a total surprise as it is obviously a popular place, but then boats were already milling in the anchorage, & our final shot to tie up in the as yet unfinished marina was thwarted as there is now work in progress, & you cannot enter.



So, at our furthest point east, we decided to return to Simi. At least we had some good views of Rhodes harbour, but predictably the wind was now on the nose & had picked up, indeed the sea was quite rough off the NE corner of Rhodes. At least the bouncing brought the log back on side, but we motor sailed back west, as with the now shorter daylight hours we didn’t want the time the extra mileage of a beat would have taken.  So we anchored late afternoon, this time in Panormitis Bay on the SW corner of Simi after 38 nm (estimated).


This is a landlocked bay, used by some ferries, but also has a very large spectacular monastery on the shore, so there are trip boats & tourists coming & going.  The next day we strolled around & found the bakers & village store occupying parts of the monastery, & also that large parts of it were hotel accommodation for pilgrims. We also walked up the hill to a windmill which overlooked the narrow entrance to the bay & found the sea looking much calmer than when we arrived.

Wednesday 9th September. After cleaning the log impeller – a large barnacle had found a home – we made a prompt departure from Panormitis, sailing close hauled with full sails.  We were most surprised to see to the north a huge powerboat, that to our eyes looks like a submarine.  We saw it several times last year in the Balearics & Italy, but hadn’t seen it this year so far, but it is so large & distinctive it can only be the same one.  Very soon we had a visit from two dolphins who swam alongside. They seemed to be very large compared to most of the ones we see.  Later we reefed as the wind increased, then lunchtime we arrived at the little harbour of Livadia on Tilos. There a lady harbourmaster directed us to a berth (very necessary as it really was tiny) & there were actually lines tailed to the quay (for packing boats in I think) 23 nm.



 It seemed a nice town with a beach & promenade to the south, & we are told the island is good for walking. We didn’t try any as the forecast was for strong northerlies to set in,  So

Thursday 10th September found us with another prompt start motoring straight into a northerly 4/5 & lumpy sea in an effort to beat the regular afternoon increase in wind strength.

Mid morning as we approached the volcanic island of Nisiros at least 2 dolphins jumped alongside, & high on the island’s steep hillside the white town of Nikia was to be seen.  Arriving at the harbour of Paloi before midday we had an agreeable surprise as the harbour entrance had been rebuilt to face east. Its original opening had faced north into the prevailing winds & we had imagined an unpleasant, if not dangerous arrival.  The new direction must be better for everyone. Again there was a harbourmaster to direct, although there was rather more room than Tilos & there were no laid lines, so it was anchor & stern to the quay. 17 nm.

We had our usual recce of the small town, & swam off a black sand beach to the east.  Doug noticed an Ipswich registered boat, Combava, on the quay & the owner’s, Tish & Barry, (actually from Yorkshire) came for a drink on board

The following day (11th September) another early start, but this time to beat the tourists & the heat, we hired scooters & head up the hairpin roads to the volcano rim & then down to the edge of the crater.



From there it was on foot, first up to look at a very old crater, then down to one that still spits steam & sulphur, & has bubbling springs hot enough to boil an egg.



The tour buses were starting to arrive as we departed, onwards to the white villages of Nikia & Emborious, perched on the crater rim & with fantastic views down into the crater. Coming back downhill there were a few spits of rain & we returned to the boat instead of our original plan of more sightseeing. Jammy move as the heavens opened  & stayed open. We did manage a dash to join Tish & Barry on Combava, & all of us dodged the rain again to cross the road to a taverna for supper.

It rained most of the night & there was some most spectacular sheet lightning spreading across the whole sky.

The Saturday (12th September) the scooter man said ‘you lost most of yesterday – keep them for today’ – very nice.  When it did dry up mid morning we went along the coast to Mandraki, the main town on the island. It is reminiscent of Thira on Santorini, with its white houses climbing the hillside, & has a monastery & ruined castle perched above it. Further up the hill again is another (restored) Doric castle with huge walls & towers.



Scooters returned, the wind was still blowing so we were having a quiet evening on board. It was dark when Doug realised a large yacht (50ft) was coming in upwind of us, & we went up to help. It looked as if they had come in very nicely until we realised they had not put their anchor down!  With nothing holding their bow & the wind blowing on their side they were leaning (rather heavily) on us & threatening to drag our anchor too. Mayhem ensued as we tried to fend ourselves, the boat downwind of us, & get them to use their bow thruster to push their bow back through the wind. They seemed reluctant to do this & as a result did drag our anchor & push our bow downwind & stern into the quay. Dashing to try & fend the stern we found numerous other yachtsmen & locals leaning on our stern to keep it off the concrete quay. Then another local boatman arrived with a small rib & pushed the bow of the other boat round, so they could get off the quay. He certainly saved the day, but all the willing help was amazing. I’m thankful to say the other boat did not try to return to that gap, but went in a much larger one further down the quay. We pulled in 5 metres of chain & the anchor seemed to hold, we did not want to have to relay it in the dark on a windy night, but it did not make for a restful night, & yes it did hold for the rest of our stay.

Sunday (13th September) it was still blowing. We were still feeling somewhat battered by events, so it was a leisurely day, a lot of people came to ask if we & boat were OK, & we tried to thank the people who had helped, especially the man with the rib, & opted for an early night.

Monday 14th September a very prompt start from Paloi, the church bells were ringing. We motored until we cleared the island then were able to sail close hauled for most of the trip to Astipalaia, the most westerly Dodecanese island 35 nm. Here we anchored in the long narrow inlet of Ormos Agrilithi to be joined by a couple of other boats. Doug found a wrecked fishing boat to dive on, I found a large curly shell under the boat which Doug collected from the bottom & we evicted a sea urchin from its home.



There were a few abandoned buildings at the end of the inlet, the usual sheep & musical goats, & when dusk fell lights from vehicles on a track on the hill high above us.

The morning (Tuesday 15th September) brought a, previously unforecast, wind from the SE, so our plans to visit Skala, the main town & port, had to change as it is not a good harbour for that wind direction. We decided to make the most of the easterly & carry on. We got a good view of the old hill town, Hora, as we came down the coast, then it was a mix of slightly cracked sheet sailing & some motoring in light winds. As we closed Amorgos, one of the most easterly Cyclades, we could see a monastery, white building against dark rock, perched halfway up a tall & seeming sheer cliff. A small pod (4+) of dolphins jumped alongside, then a squall blew up under the cliffs & we needed a reef in the main. More squalls caused by the 300+  metre high cliffs convinced us to stow the sails & motor the last part, winding our way through a narrow entrance into a the small almost landlocked bay of Kalotaritissa on Amorgas, where we anchored in amongst local fishing boats, & probably pinched someone’s space, but it was the only patch with enough depth for us. 43.5 nm.

Wednesday 16th September. The wind had gone back to the ‘regular’ northerly direction & was forecast to increase from the east first, so with it blowing a five in the anchorage we put our little jib on the inner forestay & 2 reefs in the main & departed. Ironically mid morning it dropped right off before picking up to moderate again. Around midday we dropped anchor at Mirsini, on Skhinousa island, one of the group called the Minor Cyclades. 14.3 nm.

Having a very small area to anchor in we (the ‘dog’ swam it, but I didn’t hold the rope in my teeth!) took a line to some rocks ashore to stop the boat swinging. The first time we have tried this so more learning curves. I had put on shoes to save my feet from black sea urchins (lots on the rocky shores in Greece), but still managed to get some spines in my hand as I used it to climb the rocks. Luckily I got them out with no serious consequences, but one either needs gloves, or, in some instances, to say ‘there are too many of the things’.



The little hamlet yielded supper, & in the morning we walked up the hill to the slightly bigger main town, which did produce fruit & veg.

So it was a mid morning departure on Thursday 17th September. With the wind now on the nose & a need to charge the batteries we motored northwards. In the straits between Naxos & Paros just S of Naxos Town we crossed our outbound track of several months ago. Mid afternoon we arrived at Paros ‘marina’ at Naoussa on the N coast of Paros island (26 nm). This is another development that has failed to complete. At least it hadn’t been taken over by the fishing fleet, who had their own harbour next door, but there were no facilities, therefore no charges. We phoned for a fuel tanker & were able to get water from a tap on the fishing harbour, & we were in an ‘alongside’ berth, something we’ve almost forgotten about.

Jobs done we went for our usual wander. The fishing harbour has as its outer wall a Venetian castle which is apparently sinking with the coastline.


The town has lots of narrow streets & tiny shops to tempt the tourists, & walking further afield we even found a relatively well stocked chandlers. Later we found a pleasant taverna for supper. Just as we were finishing the heavens opened, & everyone had to retreat under cover. At the first opportunity we dashed for the boat as we had left hatches open. There were no too disastrous puddles, but the rain soon came back so we’d saved ourselves a soaking as well.

The weather forecast was for strong winds to the east, developing westwards towards us. We decided to press on west & not linger on Paros, & felt sorry for the people on a catamaran moored astern of us who were very concerned as they were intending to head east.

So Friday 18th September was a prompt start for a day of lightish variable winds, so a mix of sail, motor & motorsailing, with the occasional yacht or ship in the distance.

At 6 in the evening we dropped anchor at Fikiadha on Kithnos after 50.3nm.

This was an intriguing bay as it was separated from another by a sand bar, rather like that between St Agnes & Gugh in the Scillies, but of course with no tide to cover it. Although latish we still swam, but although there were lots of little fish it was disappointing to see lots of rubbish on the bottom – the proximity to Athens effect, I suppose.



Saturday 19th September, another prompt start with a reef in the main, & rolls in the genny. Later, still close hauled, the wind eased slightly & we were able to go to full sail.  We had to tack for a tanker who showed no sign of giving way, & early afternoon were able to crack sheets. As we approached our destination of Poros there was a heavy rain shower, & we furled the sails to motor through the narrow straits between Poros Town & the Peloponnese mainland. Just before 4pm & clear of the straits we anchored in Navy Bay after 47 nm. A good sail, & ahead of the forecast bad blow in the Aegean. We had a relaxing evening on board looking at the surprisingly green island & watching the ‘Saturday Night’ arrivals on large powerboats out from Athens for the weekend. There were too many of them for the available spaces!

Next day (20th September) we went ashore to look around the Town, acquired a few provisions, walked up narrow stairways to the prominent clocktower & its viewpoint.



Then it was lunch & a stroll across the causeway to the main part of the island, before returning to the boat.  There were lots of spaces on the quay as the ‘weekenders’ returned to base.

Monday 21st September. After 2 nights at anchor we needed to charge the batteries & the wind had picked up again from the north, dead on the nose, so we motored the 2hr trip to the next island, Aegina, where we went stern to the quay in the ferry port. 15 nm.  We did our customary stroll to explore, & found a nice prom with horse drawn carriages & a Venetian tower further into town.