The first edition of our sailing adventure
Our life as Mediteranian Sea Gyspys
summed up in one awesome three week delivery flotilla, 300 NM, with 30 people and 12 boats.
This story paints a picture of what Stacey and I have been up to for a while.
We live on a 9.5 m Sailing boat in Greece, along with Jake our Engineer; Stacey (Hostess) and I (Skipper) make up lead crew Delphi, showing keen tourists usually from the UK & Ireland around the Greek islands for a couple of weeks at a time.
Today we leave our base in Epidavros and head a small distance of 8 NM over to Vathi. Epidavros is a famous Greek town, where the ancient city hosts on of the most important and impressive outdoor amphitheatre in Greece. In July we watched a couple of theatrical shows of the classic Greek tragedy’s such as Oedipus (he kills his father and marries his mother), not bad considering the venue is around 2000 years old.
As it is day 1 we spend about two hours refreshing our 30 guests on how to use their one of eleven 32’ - 50’ boats, which they will call their home, transportation, and main source of entertainment for the 3 weeks it will take to get to Corfu.
Once they listen to us ramble on about sails, engines and toilets, our guests stock up on necessary food and drink (they all mostly get Gin and Ouzo, and a lot of beer) before departing to Vathi.
Having explained in our morning briefing on how to get there, where and what the wind will be, and most importantly what to watch out for to make sure you have a good day and don’t crash/sink or get stuck, our guests up anchor and head south towards Vathi.
Vathi is a tiny town with 4 tavernas and is set on a volcanic peninsula.
Clear water and a relaxed Greek hospitality makes this an awesome spot.
On arrival to Vathi, we found that there would be enough room for 4 or 5 boats, and as we are 12 I needed to be creative.
Knowing the weather will be calm overnight, I successfully moored 12 boats on about 15m of quay space (each boat is at least 3m wide and 10m long). Stacey doubted my ability thinking that it would be too ambitious to crowd the harbour with our fleet.
All boats in and after a beer and some rum, our friends from Sirocco (another lead crew) visited for dinner. Mostly kiwis, we enjoyed the company and ended up having a bit of a laugh.
In the morning everyone assembled at a taverna for a spot of breaky and all important coffee or freshly squeezed orange juice, then let me explain the plan for the day and Stacey the things to once they are moored up.
Another easy day planned, light winds and a short hop, 9 NM north east to the amazing island of Agistri.
The name Agistri means fishing hook in Greek, and they say that tourists are hooked because they same people have been coming to Agistri for 50 years! It should be a good day on the water with some nice lunch stops (as long as they avoid the underwater cables that supply power to the island).
After breaky, Jake and I helped people set off, then we said goodbye to Vathi for the last time.
The taverna owners gave us a brown bag with a plastic bottle full of their local red wine to say thank you for bringing tourists to their town.
A little bit of sailing on the way to Agistri, but a bit slow for our liking we motored there to make sure we are first in and moor everyone up correctly before our big day to tomorrow (don’t want any issues lifting anchor and there are a number of permanent underwater chains and anchors in the harbour).
I was very happy to see the harbour was quiet on arrival, not much creativity needed today, nice and easy.
The boats trickled in slowly in, last one arriving around 5pm.
A couple of boats had noticed some problems, a small rip in a sail, a faulty light (they had to go toilet in the dark) and a fridge that wasn’t cooling down as good as it should be, so Jake and I got stuck in and sorted it all before our 6pm briefing, as we had an 8am start tomorrow.
After briefing the group went up to a taverna where we had arranged a group buffet meal with Greek music and dancing.
The taverna is owned and run by a very attractive Greek/Australian family and even after doing the same event a number of times over the season as a crew we still enjoy it every time.
After singing, dancing and enjoying probably too much wine, off to bed as we are up before 7am.
Overnight wind picked up and I was up a couple of times checking to make sure the boats are as safe and comfortable as possible.
Boil the jug before sunrise, a strong coffee or two later to help recover from the wine we were about helping boats leave Agistri for the Corinth Canal, 20 NM North West. The North Easterly wind didn’t ease overnight, making it a cracking 7 knot sail, arriving at the Corinth Canal faster than expected.
After a bit of admin with the canal we were entering bang on midday, exactly as planned.
The Corinth Canal is simply awesome.
The wind had dropped fully and the sun was out (it still is no where as hot as July’s 35-40 °C), but a great passage through an awesome masterpiece of nautical history. We cruised through at about 4 knots; I climbed the mast to take some photos and everyone enjoyed the 3 miles in a different world.
Goodbye Eastern Greece and the Saronic Gulf, Hello Corinth and the next step west.
Leaving the canal the Corinth Gulf was calm with a light breeze that picked up from the North.
This made for a pleasant sail through to Kiato, making today’s whole journey 33 Nm.
As expected the wind brought swell, so the mildly protected harbour of Kiato made it a comfortable gentle rolling sleep.
Toady we are off to Galaxhidi, a popular spot for tourists and a town rich in history, nearby is the ancient sight of Delphi, the place that our boat was named after.
Delphi was the centre of the Greek universe and where the Oracle lived.
On our journey we saw turtles, dolphins, and but didn’t catch fish or get any sailing.
Stay tuned for the next part of our journey, including some angry people on a private boat!!