The area on the mainland around the entrance to the Patras Gulf does not have a lot of suitable places to stop with shelter – it is a lowland area with lots of marshes, and a lot of shallow water. We are heading towards the Corinth Canal to get us back into the Aegean as quickly as possible to beat the arrival of the Meltemi – so we’re skipping the other Ionian Islands where we have spent so much time in earlier years anyway.
The harbour and marina of Messolonghi is an easy distance from Astakos and it’s a place we’ve never been to before. Some other blogs we follow recommended it and it seems to be the standard stopping place on route to Corinth – so this year we decide to try it. The harbour looks very small on the chart – but there’s a marina there as well. The harbour is approached via a long, dredged out canal which takes you through the marshlands – the entrance is not easy to spot, but is well marked and the channel has buoyed markers all the way up. Commercial ships DO come up here sometimes, so there must be enough depth and space!
We left Astakos at around 09h30 – early for us, although most sailors are already half way through their day by then 🙂 We wanted to enjoy the journey and see the coastline – and there wasn’t much wind at only around 5 or 6 knots, SE – so we motored along quite happily and tested out the new function of TimeZero on the PC with automatic routing which you can send to the TZT – apart from making the mistake of making course adjustments underway and swinging the boat around a few times, all went fine!
We entered the channel up to Messolonghi around 15h00 and enjoyed the views of the houses on stilts on the marshes as we passed – we dropped the anchor at 15h30 in the bay which did turn out to have plenty of room and ideal depths of around 5-10m. We could then watch the sunset as we barbecued on board – there are a few restaurants in the bay but we didn’t venture onshore! The marina has plenty of space – and looks a bit abandoned although there are several boats on the hard standing and some in the water, there doesn’t seem to be much life here.