The morning we left Patras was still quite windy. We first passed the Rio–Antirrio Bridge. You first have to call on the VHF and they indicate to you on which side of the bridge you can go through. Thijs was happy as he had one of the most successful conversations on the VHF in Greece. Often in Greece it sounds like the other person is using their VHF under water and for once it wasn’t the case. After the bridge we could sail (run on the genoa) until we reached our destination. Even on only a reefed genoa there was enough wind to reach 6 knots through the water, which is close to our hull speed (maximum theoretical speed). We first anchored in front of the beach next to Nafpaktos as it was very windy and we didn’t feel like entering the tiny harbor in these conditions. The harbor itself is really nice as it is an old Venetian fortress. In the evening when the wind decreased we followed another small sailing boat into the harbor. We didn’t know what to expect as we read that there is space of 4-6 sailing boats and it fills up quickly in the summer. It was not the case for us as there was only one other sailing boat (the small sailing boat we followed) and a few fishing boats there, and for the first time ever we where the biggest boat in the harbor (who knew this day would ever happen). We tied Halcyon Days to the quay and quickly realized there were some festivities in the city. We managed to arrive the day of the folk festival, which means lots of people in the streets dressed in traditional costumes, and songs and dances in the harbor not far from our boat. We first had some dinner in a taverna and walked in the old streets enjoying the atmosphere. We waited for the festival to end (the music was very loud and we were tied up very close to the speakers) by having drinks in a bar with a view on the quay and the festival. We felt lucky we decided to enter the harbor after all. Nafpaktos was worth it.
The next day we sailed on to Galaxidhi. It’s one of the two harbors from where it’s possible to visit Delphi. Galaxidhi itself is quite nice and looks a bit like the south of France (we were reminded of île Sainte-Marguerite). In Galaxidhi we met with Peter and Monica (sailing Lilly Marie) again. The next day we rented a car and went to visit Delphi with them. On the way to Delphi we saw a turtle trying to cross the road. We stopped the car on the side of the road and Thijs went to rescue the turtle by carrying it to the other side of the road. Delphi was really nice and worth the visit. The museum was also very interesting. We tried to imagine how impressive Delphi must have looked 2000 years ago. Later that day we were invited for drinks by Oda and Onno, a Dutch couple living almost permanently since last year aboard their sailing boat Off Course. They are sailing with their son Jasper who is only 1,5 years old. We have to thank them for their tip on how to anchor easy with a line to the shore. We tried it and it works! We also met an Austrian couple Hubert and Eli. We actually saw them for the first time in Nafpaktos as they were the ones sailing the small sailing boat named Ondine (25 ft), we had a beer with them too, sharing experiences sailing a small boat in the Med. On the downside, we also saw the catamaran of the French ass***e who scratched our boat in Bonifacio a year ago. We wisely decided to ignore him.
After Galaxidhi we sailed to Kiato which is located about 10 NM away from the Corinth canal. We moored in the fishing harbor. We went to the closest beach and could relax there. There is nothing special to say about Kiato. It seemed to be a bit touristic because of all the beaches close by but the city itself is not particularly pretty. We did manage to buy a 12V fan, which makes life aboard in 30+ degrees celsius a bit more pleasant.
The next morning was the big day: we would finally go through the Corinth canal. We called on the VHF a first time about 2,5 NM away and were told to call again when we were 0,5 NM away (again a pleasant and clear VHF conversation). We called again close to the entrance and were told to wait 45 min (the waiting time can be up to 3 hrs). We decided to anchor next to the entrance while waiting for further instruction from the canal. When we heard on the VHF that we had to go soon, we lifted the anchor and got closer to the entrance. Finally we could get in and luckily there was only one fast cruise ship ahead of us and one sailing boat behind us. The canal walls are made of limestone and have to be maintained regularly (the canal is closed every Tuesday). It was an amazing experience to go through it. It’s 4 NM long, only 25 m wide and and at its highest point the walls can reach a height of 80 m. At the end of the canal, we had to stop to pay for the fee. It went pretty fast and smooth at the office. We were happy to have finally reached the Aegean sea!