After a final stroll around Aegina and saying goodbye to Natalia who runs one of the fruit and veg boats (she somehow managed to sell us far more figs than we could consume in a month!), we departed at around 9am.
It had been a fabulous few days and will be remembered fondly by us both.
Our next stop was Nea Epidhavros, a small harbour not too far away on the east Peloponnese. As there was no wind it was a motor over. On arrival, the harbour was lovely – nestled at the bottom of green hills.
We were directed to an alongside berth which took a bit of moving of fenders as there were mooring rings sticking out at the perfect level to punch a hole in the hull. Once settled, the berth was fine, a bit of swell in, but nothing significant.
There was a promising-looking taverna close by which overlooked the harbour, and we whiled away much of the afternoon sitting on the shady terrace watching other boats arriving.
Later on we chatted with some of the other crews, a small flotilla and a British couple with their own boat. Boaty types are generally friendly and keen for a natter, its a great way of picking up tips on various places.
Our departure the following day was amidst chaos, there were two motor boats waiting for our place and some arguing going on with the harbourmaster trying to give instruction from the shore. We slipped our lines as quickly as we could and escaped the frenzy.
There wasn’t a bad breeze and we managed to get Doris sailing a bit, she prefers not to go to windward, but we persuaded her to have a go. We were heading north, to Korfos, and arrived in the middle of the afternoon. The quayside is owned by tavernas and we tied stern-to where directed. We met an interesting couple, Judy and Giannis, who lived in the village and spent some time chatting with them.
After a walk around the bay we felt we should eat at the taverna. This was an eventful evening as there was a coach load of formidable ladies from Athens who were proving quite demanding. The waiting staff were literally running around trying to get everything out. We were in no hurry and were quite content to observe the drama, this only increased when the kitchen caught fire. The old ladies were left unattended whilst the staff were re-deployed to extinguish the flames. The amount of smoke pouring from the building was considerable but they did eventually get it under control and somehow we even got our food. The fire brigade put in a cursory appearance once everything was back to normal.
We spent the next morning (5th) doing a few jobs and set out in the early afternoon. The plan was to get close to the entrance to the Corinth canal, spend the night at the anchorage there and go through at first light so we had plenty of time to find somewhere to stay once we were through. Getting close to the canal entrance seemed like a good photo opportunity and at this point, it dawned on me that I had left my camera at the taverna (my back-up camera, I had already drowned my other one earlier in the trip!). It was close to 6pm, so we turned round and high tailed it back. We were lucky as the wind and waves were with us. Cy had to gun both the engines for the entire 15 or so nautical miles to get us back to Korfos before nightfall where I was reunited with my camera.
Our second departure from Korfos took place at first light and we arrived at the entrance to the canal at around 9:30. I went ashore to pay the (rather high) transit fee and we were told to standby for instructions on VHF channel 11. By this time there were four or five yachts all waiting to head through. It wasn’t too long before a tug and a large motorboat passed us and we were called to follow them. All the vessels were sent through in a convoy. The canal is quite an experience, cut through a narrow part of the land, it is steep sided with bright blue/green water sparkling in the sunshine.
Once through, we slowly headed towards the Gulf of Alkionidhon north of the canal and checked out places to anchor. The first bay we tried was too deep for us so we carried on round and found a spot in about 4m depth just off the village of Alikis. It had been a still day with no wind for sailing, but a strong breeze developed in the evening. Our anchor dragged a little, but re-set itself and we remained secure for the night.
Thursday 7th September was another windless calm day, so more motoring. We had decided not to rush through the Gulf of Corinth so it was another relatively short hop to the town of Andikiron. The town has a super harbour but seems to be off the popular route as we were the only yacht there, amongst the local fishing boats and small ferry. We were able to top up on groceries, diesel and have a pleasant stroll along the quayside in the late afternoon. It is a fairly busy place and I suspect the local economy is based around the two large factories on the opposite side of the bay rather than tourism.
It was a bit noisy during the night with a few lads drinking on the pier, and at 3am we were woken by what sounded like intruders on the boat. After a bit of yelling through the hatch at them, we realised it was another yacht tying alongside us. In the dark, this would have been a much easier way for them to moor. We duly apologised and went back to sleep.
The next stop on our slow cruising was Galaxidhi. Again, it wasn’t too far so we didn’t rush in the morning. It was necessary to motor most of the way, but to Cy’s delight, a strong breeze developed for the last couple of miles and we were able to sail.
We arrived into Galaxidhi along with two other boats and although the inner harbour was full, we all found space on the quayside at the entrance. Not long after, a huge motorboat also arrived and then a big catamaran squeezed in the space next to us.
It was another lady harbourmaster and she did a great job of directing people and finding space for all the boats. Cy spent a while chatting with her finding out some of the history of the place and we resolved to get up early the next day and have a good explore before leaving.