It was an early morning start and an 8 hour voyage to the amazingly impressive Rio-Antirrio Bridge. An experience not to be missed and I am sure crossing it by road will be as impressive. Seeing it from a distance and getting closer, observing the details will always stick to my mind. We sat on deck as if we were glued to it and later had to lie on our backs for some of the photographs!
The Rio–Antirrio Bridge is the world’s longest multi-span cable-stayed bridge. Its official name is the Charilaos Trikoupis Bridge (named after the prime minister that initiated the bridge). It crosses the Gulf of Corinth near Patras, linking the town of Rio on the Peloponnese to Antirrio on mainland Greece by road. It is a 2,880 m (9,449 ft) long bridge (approximately 1.8 miles) and it has two vehicle lanes per direction, an emergency lane and a pedestrian walkway. The bridge was finally inaugurated on August 7, 2004 (after a 7 year build period ) a week before the opening of the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. Olympic torch bearers were the first to officially cross its length.
Having to find solutions for several site difficulties, this bridge is widely considered to be an engineering masterpiece. These difficulties include deep water, insecure materials for foundations, seismic activity, the probability of tsunamis, and the expansion of the Gulf of Corinth due to plate tectonics.All I know, it certainly is impressive in every way! Through the eyes of a scientist, engineer and a traveller!
Prior to crossing the bridge, yachts have to contact the bridge authorities about 5 and again 1 Nm away in order to get instructions of exactly where to cross underneath the bridge. Our instructions was for instance to cross with three pillars on the port side and one pillar on the starboard side. Look out for the car ferries that is still finding enough business to zap back and forth between the two towns on either side of the bridge.
The prime spot on the front deck.
Eight hours is a long time when it is totally windless and hot! With pristine water around us, we could make water and do two loads of washing. As soon as we entered the Gulf of Patras, with no traffic around us or any wind, Johann stopped the engines and we all took turns to hang onto the little ladder at the back to cool off. The current was surprising strong and it took some holding on not to become a dot in the blue ocean! The boat was still moving at 2.5 knots without wind or engines! A fun and very refreshing way to cool off! For a split second I thought it would have been a great opportunity to practice our manoeuvres for “Man Over Board” … who would be the guinea-pig … not me! 🙂
It was great to pull into Trizonia at last. Although a small island just off the mainland in the Corinth Gulf it is the largest island in the Gulf and the only one currently inhabited. A small but friendly town awaited us, and no … we did not take a walk through town. We were simply too tired to bother, found Kalypso Fish Tavern and sat down for a beer and something light to eat. An early night and a big day is awaiting us! We will be heading towards the town where we will pick up another sister of mine! Very exciting!
We arrived at Galaxidi, ready to anchor, when a scrawny, lanky looking shirtless bald man waved us down to the dock. Strange character! Alleged Harbour master.! He helped us dock and collected 10 Euro for the electricity and water. We could not believe our luck! How cheap is that? It appears that that is his little money making scheme – luckily 10 Euro is not the end of the world. We often afterwards have seen him helping to wash off pavements, emptying bins and again helping boats to dock. He is just part of the legends of Galaxidi. We were happy to contribute to his upkeep.
We found it still super cheap when we had to pay port authority their 25 Euro for the 3 days! How they can justify such a low fee with water and electricity included is beyond me! I have to say, the power points were dangerously dodgy! Some were hanging on only the power cables and some power points were broken and put together with duct tape – you still need to put a hand inside the broken box to fish out your power point. Very dodgy in deed.
It was a side on berth and the only one on that side, right in front of a big covered area (it looks like a community shaded area). What a lovely little town with a wonderful paved walkway around to the other side of the horse shoe bay. The shops are mainly on the street immediately next to the harbour / docks. A whole collection of restaurants. Some surprisingly modern looking ones too! All the meals we had ashore were great. A big attraction for me was the duck boathouse! (See my pictures) Those feathered guys own the harbour! They get fed but often swam to the table and chairs right at the dockside or swagger up to the nearby restaurants by road to beg for some interesting titbits. A duck in seawater is odd …but on a boathouse? That is super cute!
Sightseeing was certainly worth the effort. Wondering around town will lead you to a wonderful orthodox church and a few very interesting shops. The small streets and steep alleyways take you past some really old buildings. Galaxidi has a charm of its own that makes it a popular base to visit Delphi from there.
That was exactly of the main reason we have chosen to go to Galaxidi. The other was to pick up our next visitor, Annemie (my sister) that flew in from South Africa to Athens and bus on to Itea,( the next town, only a 20 min drive from us.)
Although we were super impressed with our side on spot and being the only boat on that short dock, the first night a nasty wind came up and brought equally nasty waves along , braking happily all over the stern steps onto the dock, rocking us from side to side! It would have helped facing the wind (we did when we came in, but the wind changed 180 degrees that night!) Even then it would have been an ongoing struggle to secure the boat and make it comfortable. Early the second morning we changed position and went stern to where we were less exposed to the waves.
The Meltemmi did not give us much of a break the next day and Johann did not feel comfortable leaving Scolamanzi for the day. We canned the idea and decided to leave it for later when we are in a marina in Athens. It is after all only a 3 hour bus trip away. It was such a happy time with 3 of the sisters on board! Lots of fun and laughter, sun bathing, swimming and snorkelling became the second favourite pastime …the first would have been taking pictures! I don’t think I have too many pictures of them without some kind of photographic tool in hand! What matters is that we all had a wonderful time and Johann was as pleased as I to have them on board!