A southerly breeze carried us to the “heel of the boot” of Italy on Monday. We’re in Santa Maria de Leuca, a small summer resort town that is in the process of closing down for the season. A tall white lighthouse marking the Cape beams its light above the harbor at night. After sailing 160 miles in four days, we were ready for a lay day or two while waiting for the winds to become more favorable for crossing the Gulf of Taranto to the “sole of the boot.” Continue reading Gyatso in Italia…Again
An easterly wind carried us through the Corinth Canal to Galaxidhi, the same port we visited three years ago. The wind shifted to the west the following day, so we waited for it to drop before continuing westward to pass under the Rion bridge and into the Gulf of Patras.We spent five days catching up on some work we brought along, taking leisurely strolls through town and enjoying seafood dinners in the local taverna.
In its heyday, Galaxidhi was a major shipbuilding center. Its rich maritime history continues today in the form of a small harbor for fishing boats and cruising yachts like ours. Continue reading Passage through the Gulf of Corinth in Greece
We had a surprise visitor to Gyatso after dinner last night: an endangered marine mammal rarely seen in the Aegean Sea. We had just returned from one of the local tavernas ashore: cuttlefish in wine sauce for David and a hearty vegetable soup for me. It was already dark, the only light coming from the street lamps on the quay where we were rafted off the British yacht, Stratagem. Luckily, I had only a sip of ouzo to drink before dinner with neighbors Sandra and Ray, or I might not have believed my eyes. Continue reading Mediterranean Monk Seal Pays a Visit in Kithnos
We’ve been underway for just over a week and completed four passages as we island-hop our way through Greece. Although we are not in our usual leisurely cruising mode, we are quickly getting back into a routine of moving when the wind and weather allow.
Our days of open-ended cruising have come to an end, and the main purpose of this trip is to move Gyatso from point A (Marmaris, Turkey) to point B (Corfu, Greece). This requires a different mind set than when we were cruising full-time, one that has an end date looming in a matter of weeks, not months and years. We’re adjusting, but this early in the season, it is a real test in patience. Twice we’ve set out in hopes of making a passage but turned back when the conditions proved uncomfortable. We decided that we were pushing the schedule too hard and have settled back into our tried-and-true approach of letting the weather dictate our movements.
When it gets to this point with spring commissioning onboard Gyatso, David and I look at the “to do” list and prioritize based on one simple criteria: “Is it good enough to go sailing?” We just need to service two winches, stow some gear and return a borrowed bicycle for the answer to this question to be, “Yes!”
Later today, we’re planning to leave Marmaris Yacht Marina where we’ve been berthed for the last few weeks and move to an anchorage in Marmaris Bay to make an early departure Saturday morning. Gyatso will be sailing west to the Greek Islands. Our first planned stop is Symi, Greece. We hope to arrive in time to watch the super moon rise. Continue reading Preparing to Set Sail from Marmaris
Dates: 09/16/09 – 09/17/09
Distance: 29 nm
Sailed from: Corinth
We passed through the Corinth Canal and into the Aegean Sea today — a short-cut that saves five days of sailing at a time in the season when we really need it. We’re making a beeline for Turkey — as much as this is possible in the Greek Islands — to find a winter home for Gyatso. We didn’t mind that the weather was totally calm on this particular day.Continue reading Aigina, Greece
Dates: 09/14/09 – 09/16/09
Distance: 39 nm
Sailed from: Galaxidi
Two nights we waited here for the Corinth Canal to re-open on Wednesday (closed on Tuesdays). Laundry is on the line and provisions are onboard.
On the first night, we took a berth along the fisherman’s quay because according to David, the friendly owner of Striding Edge, the British yacht next to us, “The fisherman say the boat that takes this spot is on the other side of the island for a few days.” He gave us his extra mooring line until we could get our own secured which was much easier than setting our anchor in the small, crowded harbor. We invited our neighbor aboard for a glass of wine or two, and then we all went out for Chinese food. Although the food was rather ordinary, we all enjoyed the meal — Chinese food is something you don’t find very often in this part of the world!Continue reading Corinth, Greece
Dates: 09/10/09 – 09/14/09
Distance: 40 nm
Sailed from: Patras
Both of us are having a hard time imagining that we are actually here in the Gulf of Corinth in Galaxidi, a small harbor just a short distance from Delphi, the place the ancient Greeks considered the center of the world. After departing Patras this morning, we passed under the Rion Bridge and out of the Gulf of Patras. We were not sorry to leave that stormy body of water.Continue reading Galaxidi, Greece
Dates: 09/07/09 – 09/10/09
Distance: 42 nm
Sailed from: Nisís Petalas
Gyatso and crew were encrusted with salt spray by the time we arrived in Patras at 7:30 this evening. We spent the latter part of the day beating into 25-30 knots of wind with gusts to 35 and passing thunderstorms. The conditions didn’t quite match the forecast, but we’ve learned that anything can happen out here. We found a good visitors dock in the marina and after getting tied-up, we ate a light snack and relaxed in the cockpit — too tired to wash down the boat.Continue reading Patras, Gulf of Patras, Greece
Dates: 09/06/09 – 09/07/09
Distance: 37 nm
Sailed from: Levkas
We joined the parade of boats headed south in the Levkas canal after the 10:00 bridge opening. It was really quite amazing to see so many boats out on the water. When we reached the south end of the canal and entered what is known as the inland sea, we understood why the Ionian Islands are considered one of the greatest cruising grounds in the world. Gorgeous mountain views, beautiful water studded with lovely islands and numerous coves for anchoring or mooring for the night — some remote and others with tavernas and nightlife ashore. We haven’t seen such a nice cruising ground ourselves since the North Channel in Lake Huron or the Grenadines in the Caribbean. We pointed our bow south, however, making a mental note to return when we have more time to explore the islands. We found fair winds and a following sea in the more open waters south of Levkas, making our way comfortably with a reef in the main and the Yankee in 18-22 knots of wind from the northwest to the protected anchorage of Petalas.Continue reading Nisís Petalas, Greece