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Lefkas Town, Ionian Islands, Greece




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We are currently in Lefkas Town.  Blog is complete to 30th September when we were in Ithaca.

On tuesday (22nd September) we caught the hydrofoil (commonly called flying dolphins) to Pireas, the port for Athens. Then on to the Metro to the City centre, to our surprise it was free that day, for reasons we never discovered.

Then it was time to ‘do’ the sites. We started with the Acropolis, it dominates the view from almost anywhere in Athens, but the Parthenon (the chocolate box view) on top of the hill, was very busy & part was shrouded in scaffolding for renovation – nice that it is being looked after, but a shame for the visitors, but there is no ‘right time’ for that sort of project. Then it was down into the City via more of the sites, including the brand new Acropolis Museum, that only opened this year, for lunch in the Plakka area.



Then it was on round the Agora, a very large site with lots of interest, & to the house of the winds, why would we be interested in that? And finally back to Pireas on the Metro (still free) & a Flying Dolphin to Aegina.

Wednesday 23rd September we did a quick provisioning run to the local supermarket, then it was a late morning departure, part motor, part genny alone for the short hop to Palia Epidavros, on the Peloponnese. 13.4 nm.

Next day (24th September) we took the dinghy across the bay to the little town & found a taxi to take us to Epidavros, about ½hrs drive away. There we looked round the huge (14000 seat) ancient theatre, with acoustics so good you can hear people talking centre stage, when sitting in ‘the gods’. The large surrounding area is being excavated, renovated & generally opened up, so we spent an hour there then got back in our taxi & returned to the boat.



It all worked so smoothly that by 12.30pm we were hauling anchor, to motor in light & fickle winds, northwards, past numerous fish farms, to anchor at tea time at Palion Kalamakion at the East end of the Corinth Canal. 20.6 nm.



We went ashore to suss the entrance to the Canal & looked at the submerging bridge – there is one at each end of the canal for local traffic, & they work by dropping down below the level of the canal.

Friday 25th September we left the anchorage just before 9am & were on the waiting quay by 10 past. After the paperwork was sorted & fees paid we waited until about 9.40am when the convoy (a tug pulling a small ship, followed by a yacht) from the other end came through the final sinking bridge, then it was our turn, & we were totally alone as we traversed the deep (80m in places) 3.2 nm long canal. There are several bridges over the high part & people were peering down as we went underneath them, as the sides carved in the rock are sheer & dramatic.



So mid morning we came out into the Gulf of Corinth, leading to the Ionian, a new sea for us!

Then it was a mix of motoring & sailing until tea time when we arrived at Galaxidhi harbour on the N side of the Gulf of Corinth & anchored stern to quay. 40.3 nm.

Saturday 26th September we hired a small car for a trip up high into the hills to see the sacred site of Delphi. It was an impressive road with many hairpin bends & views towards the mountains & back over the Gulf of Corinth.

When we arrived we found a plus, access was free as it was a World heritage Day, the minus was that the higher part of the site was off limits for ‘technical’ reasons, we don’t know what they were! Anyrate we duly explored what was still a very large site, which is set very dramatically in a cleft in the mountains, with fir clad valleys below. Its museum contains some most impressive statues.




We drove on towards Mt Parnassos (2457m) & explored the ski resort town of Arahova with its ‘staircase’ streets, before retracing our route back down to a very bustling ‘weekend’ Galaxidhi. People were promenading en mass, the quay was full of boats & there was group of yachts in from a club further down the Gulf, who were cruising in company.

Sunday (27th September) was fairly breezy so we settled for a day of chores & round tuits. We watched without envy as the Yacht Club group went off, most clad in oilies. Some of the boats were fairly small & we knew they could expect a nasty beat.  We thought our anchor might have dragged, so we relaid it, & with the wind increasing took a line to the boat upwind of us, who had already taken a line to the quay. Later in the day we took a stroll round some bits of the town we had not already explored & round to the far side of the harbour.



Monday 28th September we made a prompt departure from Galaxidhi, motorsailing until we cleared the bay & turned with the wind on the beam. Then it was fast sailing with the boat surfing at 8-10 knts. We put a reef in briefly when the wind started gusting force 6+ close to a towering headland. Early afternoon & just east of Patras we came to the new (2004) RionAndirrion suspension bridge. It is a very futuristic structure with 4 pillars & 3 channels for shipping, & one must radio for permission to transit the bridge. Surprisingly ferries still ply between N & S shores – they are apparently cheaper than the bridge tolls – so one is also watching for crossing traffic.



Safely through & now in the Gulf of Patras the wind came astern & with full sail we poled out the genny, until we reached the channel to Mesolonghi. This ran straight between areas of salt marsh & salinas until we reached the harbour where we tied alongside the concrete quay. A 53 nm trip that took us just 8hrs including the ‘parking’ at both ends.

The harbour area of Mesolonghi was very quiet, probably in part due to the end of season time of year. There is a marina, partially developed a bit further out, but a lot of the facilities are still incomplete.

Tuesday 29th September we got the bikes out & I set out to find someone who could decoke my ear, which had been playing up for a couple of weeks. I was lucky, especially as Mesolonghi turned out to be a much bigger town than I expected, to find some very helpful English speakers, who directed me to the hospital north of town, complete with note in greek for the hospital. So I was sorted & back on the boat in about an hour, & all done for free!

Then a provisioning run, followed by a cycle ride out alongside the channel through the salt pans & lagoons, to the little hamlet of Tourlidha where the channel meets the sea.



There were herons & egrets & people fishing, houses on stilts & we lunched on the local seafood before returning to Mesolonghi.

Wednesday 30th September. A prompt departure, but a mixture of sailing & motoring when the wind went light. Mid afternoon we arrived at Vathi, Ithica & anchored stern to quay. 39 nm.

The harbour got very busy as there were several flotillas arriving simultaneously, & space was at a premium so some of the smaller boats were really being ‘shoehorned’ in by the lead crews. Quite hard work for them, though it was good business for the shops & restaurants that evening.


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