Athens to Messalonghi

From the Aegean to the Ionian – via the stunning Corinth Canal – this is a journey of several days with some pretty nasty weather black spots on the way. Once again, we’ll be storm hopping and trying to pick the best times and locations and once we’re back in the Ionian we’ll be on the home run!

We checked out of Zea Marina in the morning and left the harbour around lunchtime for the 5-6 hour hop to the Corinth Canal. This is an area we have been in many times before, so we’ve got our usual anchor spot picked out and plan to cross the canal the following day. We only have a couple of days of weather window, so there won’t be any hanging around to look at the scenery, but we’ve seen this all before.

The log wheel has packed up after a few days in Zea with all the gunk in the marina water – but after a few hours of sailing we manage to get it going again temporarily. The route means we are zig-zagging between the ships outside the Port of Pireaus – many of which seem to have been there forever. This is followed by the oil refineries of Rafina until we arrive at Corinith and drop anchor around 18h30 in Ormos Kalamaki just on the North side of the canal entrance. All set for the morning.

It was a stressful morning work-wise the following day with various issues to sort out – so we didn’t get away early! We refuelled at Isthmia Dock before crossing the Corinth Canal and knew we would be in for a night sail to Galaxhidi anchorage. We had a whole pod of dolphins under the boat for a large part of the way in the Gulf of Corinth – a bit annoying for the depth sounder alarm, but amazing! It doesn’t matter how often that happens, it’s still an exciting experience. We dropped anchor in Galaxhidi just before midnight – more night sailing experience under the belt, and when it’s a place we know anchoring in the dark is no problem at all.

The last leg of the voyage into the Ionian is also quite a long one from Galaxhidi to Messalonghi, so we pulled up the anchor and were on our way by 09h00. It was a lovely day with calm seas for most of the way and an easy and efficient navigation of the Rhion Bridge. The authorities request you to call them at several marker points several miles out and the bridge no longer scares me! I used to be convinced the mast would hit the top – but there’s more than enough headroom.

We arrived at Messalonghi and cruised up the long canal entrance at around 18h00. Still in familiar waters, it feels like we are running on auto-pilot now. The derelict marina is almost empty now and very few boats in the bay – its clear that most sensible people have laid up their boats already! We’re planning to hide out in Messalonghi for a few days hiding out the latest storm instalment – we had planned to leave on Sunday 17th October, but the wind came up very early in the morning to around 20 knots, so we decided to stay another day. We’re on the last leg now!

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