Four Days exploring the Gulf of Corinth
So there I was, standing on an empty ferry quay in Aigio when suddenly a very large Seafarer Flag rounded the headland. Minutes later I stepped aboard Eugenia and was greeted by a warm welcome from the Saronic Gulf & Corinth Canal Flotilla lead crew.
I had travelled to the harbour on the North Coast of the Peloponnese in order to spend 3 days taking photos & video of Seafarer’s brand new route. In fact, due to travel restrictions, this was only the second week of running! We had 4 days to cruise back to the base taking in the atmosphere of the Gulf of Corinth.
Located on a small island just off the coast of the Greek mainland, this village boasts a large harbour on one side, and on the other is a wonderful, relaxed bay which faces the mainland and is surrounded by small restaurants and a church on the western end. I only had an hour to explore this small village but wished I had longer to while away the time around the bay, hike in the hills, swim in the crystal clear waters and really relax away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The harbour was huge for a place of its size, offering plenty of space for easy mooring. I was also struck by how great it would be for families with lots of fun opportunities for activities in a small, tucked away setting.
After a bit of motoring and a cracking sail we started approaching the town of Galaxidi. The town sits in a natural harbour surrounded by mountains and numerous islands making for a stunning approach with the sun just entering golden hour. We kept our sails up until the last minute before heading in to take a look at the seafront which rises towards a wonderful church at the highest point. We moored on the town quay and the lead crew had a bit of a chat with the guests. I headed out on a paddleboard to have a look around the harbour while watching an old gaff-rigged sailing dinghy crisscrossing the bay.
The dipping of the sun behind the mountain signalled that it was time for a beer. We settled down for a cold one (oor two) whilst watching the mountains of the bay turn pink with the setting sun.
After waking up early to take some shots of the town, we set off on a calm Greek morning to the port of Antikira. It is set in a natural harbour and boasts a small quay with a traditional lighthouse on the end. We moored up in the crystal clear waters and were greeted by local boys having a great time diving in and swimming in the harbour. We only spent a short time in the town but we were made very welcome wherever we went.
Another decent sail took us to the uninhabited Alkyonides Islands at the eastern end of the Gulf of Corinth where we anchored in a wonderful bay with our guests and two other boats. There are 3 islands in the archipelago and the largest boasts an abandoned monastery and what looks like a small fort! Depending on the wind direction there are a number of anchorages but beware as the two islands are linked by very shallow waters.
Upon anchoring, we immediately launched the dinghy and went for a bit of an explore and a snorkel. There were some amazing rock formations where the two islands joined and the waters were clear & turquoise. The setting sun reminded us to head back to the boat where we spent a happy night gently rocked to sleep at anchor.
Back to Corinth
As we were not in a rush to leave we took the opportunity to swim in the clear seas and get some diving practice before beginning the 15nm trip back to Corinth in a light wind. On our way we stopped to peek through the Corinth Union Canal to Lake Vouliagmeni. A great spot to anchor up and explore. On arrival back in Corinth it was time to back up hard drives and get ready for the final group meal in a lovely small family taverna just out of the centre of the city.
Having never sailed in the Corinthian Gulf before I was surprised at the range of amazing destinations to visit and how quiet it was. Hours would go by without seeing another yacht and even the busiest destination, Galixidi was quiet with lots of space on the quay. Despite having a thriving maritime history this area is so often overlooked and therefore is great for those looking to explore an area less well known but with all the usual charm found all anywhere in Greece. The sailing was mixed: most days started quite still but picked up to around 20kts later in the afternoon. One thing that was instantly noticeable was how flat the sea state was even when the wind increased. I’m not sure why this was but it made for some very comfortable sailing.
I would like to thank Callum and Louise for having me on their boat, the lovely Eugenia for three nights and I look forward to joining them in a few weeks to see the Saronic Gulf.
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