Mediterranean 2009 - 4 Greece - Gulf of Patras and Ionian

They say the wind in the Gulf of Patras either blows from the west or from the east.  If you are in a yacht it will be on the nose and you will have to beat across the gulf to make any headway towards your destination.  How true these statements are.  We motored out of the Bay of Kolpos right into a 20 knot blow.  First one reef then the second.  The waves had not come up so the sailing was great.  Set the autopilot and sit back while Malua eats up the miles towards the southern coast, tack then sit back and wait to make some miles westwards. Of the 23 nm in straight line sailing we covered more than 30 miles tacking back and forth.  In the end we called into the island of Trizonia 38 22.085 N 22 04.536 E.  We anchored out from the harbour and watched as charter boats and others tried to Med moor in a strong cross wind.  I called out to a NZ vessel to anchor along side us but he ignored my advice however after almost an hour of re anchoring along the wharf they came out and dropped their anchor along side Malua.  We met up with them three times again and watched them go through the same process each time.  Don't people learn?Navpaktos

We were off westwards and again the wind was blowing in our face.  There was one other vessel out but they could not foil the foresail and were motoring into the wind as the sail shredded itself.  Charter boat crews!! We tacked back and forth and finally reached the walled town of Navpaktos.  We anchored out and took the RIB through the cities walls and set off up the mountain to look at the view.  On our return we dropped into one of the many bars along the waterfront for a quick drink.

The next morning we had a long distance to travel.  It started out with not a drop of wind as we motored towards the giant Rion bridge spanning the Gulf of Patras.  The pilot recommended that we call the bridge authority on channel 14 to get clearance, expecting to pass through the northern span that being on the starboard side of the channel.  The voice was very explicate that we where to use the southern channel.  rion bridgeWell here we go.  One always has doubts if the mast will fit under the bridge even when you have seen a large vessel pass under it only a few moments ago.  Well we just made it and continues westwards.  Thankfully today there was little wind so we stayed on the northern shore as a number of ferried raced into the Gulf.

Our plan was to come out of the gulf and head up the coast of the mainland to find a place to anchor. As we entered the Ionian sea the wind started to blow from the NW which didnt leave very many option so we chose to head for Ithaca and the port of Vathi which looked very sheltered.  Little did we know.

Ithaca is said to be the home of Odysseus of the Homer legend.  It was here that on his return in disguise his dog Argos recognized him and almost gave his presence away.  The bay is on the eastern side of the island but is entred from the west through a northern entrance which curves towards the east.  There are high mountains on all sides which makes the wind funnel down the mountainside and channel through the western gap.  We arrived to find part of the flotilla fleet at anchor.  VathiWe chose a good site between the small island with the church on it and the mainland.  No sooner had we secured the anchor when a port police called from the shore to say we where not permitted to anchor in that spot. We upanchored and motored further into the bay, finding a good place with adequate swing roon between the charter boats.  The wind started to rise as the balace of the charter fleet arrived.  It is always fun to watch the new skippers drop the anchor and wait for the boat to pull agains the rode which in most cases has only 2 to 1 scope.  Why does the anchor not set?  The other aspect is that they always want to anchor just upwind of your position.  Communications then takes place and they move.  Rather now than when it is dark.  That night the large inter island ferry arrived and turned in the very spot we had first selected to anchor.  No wonder the port police cane so quickley.  What do the Collision Regulations say regarding a anchored vessel - size counts!!  The wind dropped in the night and the following day was beautiful.

We were now heading north to Curfu and then on to Venice.  It is June and the charter fleet is hugh here in the Ionian, so we had to choose our anchorages carefully not to be crouded out as the sun set.  Our choise was the island of Meganisi.  From the chart there appeared to be many deep inlets along the northern coastline.  The looked deep enough to give shelter from the prevailing NW wind.  The cruising guide recommeded Abelike bay which is the middle inlet of the three.  We threw the anchor 38 40.058N 20 47.431 in fairly deep water 11.5m  right astern of Argos of Sydney and ahead of Bondi Tram.  A small world.  We had not seen them since Turkey.  We had drinks on Bondi and told the usual stories, "lies" and tales regarding our past journey.  Like every sailor does as the sun sets.

Charlie Girl was in the area and we established contact with Richard who was waiting for Charlie to return to the boat after a visit to the UK.  He recommended we hold up in Tranquil Bay or Ormos Vilkho which is on Lefkada and then meet them at Scorpios.

Tranquil Bay is anything but that especially during the season.  Yachts are anchored nose to tail. Tranquil Bay We chose Ormos Vikhol or Wycho Bay which is large shallow and very calm.  It does require you to take the RIB to get around but with the 8HP yamaha we plain over the water with ease.  It is a great place to stop but is overrun with British tourests and consequently the prices are high and the supermarkets expensive.  Not a good land base but the Wifi was free.  We met Gone with the Wind from Sydney who we had heard on the morning talk net.  It was good to put a face or should I say body to the voice.  

Here are some photos Ionian and Corfu

The next phase is: Corfu