Gulf of Pa­tras and Gulf of Corinth

Yachting Monthly - - CRUISING GROUNDS -

T he two gulfs are like long lakes sur­rounded by high moun­tains. While the pre­vail­ing wind is from the west blow­ing through the gulfs, there can be gusts off the high land on the north­ern side, es­pe­cially around Itea and along to Kol­pos Alkion­id­hes. In the ap­proaches to Corinth there can be strong gusts from the north-east de­pend­ing on whether the Meltemi is blow­ing in the Aegean.

Pe­tala Is­land – If you are headed down from the In­land Sea then the an­chor­age be­hind Pe­tala Is­land is a good spot to use be­fore head­ing into the Gulf of Pa­tras. Noth­ing here ex­cept a well shel­tered an­chor­age and some peace and quiet.

Meso­longhi – From Pe­tala it is an easy sail to Meso­longhi, where you chug down a dredged canal to the town and choose to an­chor out (clear of the ap­proaches to the com­mer­cial

har­bour) or get a berth in the ma­rina. It’s a bit of a hot, dusty walk into town, but there are some good tav­er­nas and cafés in the cen­tral square and nearby pedes­tri­anised street.

Pa­tras – I tend to give Pa­tras a miss as the ma­rina is a lit­tle dis­tance from town and you need to walk through the docks to get there. That said, there are restau­rants and bars aplenty around the ma­rina it­self.

Nav­pak­tos – The most per­fectly pre­served me­dieval har­bour around, but tiny and you can’t bet on get­ting a berth in here. Large yachts (over 12m) should not at­tempt to en­ter here as there sim­ply isn't room. You can an­chor off the beach, though you tend to roll around a bit.

Tri­zo­nia – This small is­land ly­ing just off the coast has a shel­tered an­chor­age and a small ‘ma­rina’ on the east­ern side. Sadly, much of the ‘ma­rina’ is taken up by yachts which have ei­ther been dumped here and left, or never go any­where. The small vil­lage is an en­tranc­ing place with sev­eral tav­er­nas. If you can’t get in here there are a num­ber of good an­chor­ages along the north­ern side at Kal­lithea, Era­tini and Panor­mos.

Galaxidhi – A lit­tle gem and you shouldn’t miss it. The har­bour is not very big and can get crowded, so ar­rive here early rather than late. If you can’t get in you can an­chor off, though it is not the most com­fort­able. Al­ter­na­tively, go to Anemokambi just around the corner or across to the ma­rina at Itea. You can ar­range a trip to De­los from Galaxidhi and you should do so for the drive up there and the spec­tac­u­lar site it­self.

Ki­ato – Not the most pre­pos­sess­ing spot, but a use­ful stop when head­ing for the Corinth Canal. The small yacht har­bour at Corinth can be dif­fi­cult to get into and you shouldn’t bank on get­ting a berth there. It’s just over 10 miles from Ki­ato to the Corinth Canal.

Corinth Canal – Call up on VHF Ch11 (Isth­mia Pi­lot) to see what the state of play is. Yachts nor­mally go through af­ter any com­mer­cial ves­sels. You may have to hang around for a while, de­pend­ing on sched­ules. You pay the canal dues at the Aegean end, at Isth­mia. There is a quay with large rub­ber bumper rails and you should make sure you put springs on and leave some­one on board as any ves­sels, es­pe­cially tugs and ships, push a fair vol­ume of wa­ter in front of them when they come into the canal. The canal of­fice is con­spic­u­ous nearby. Canal fees for a 12m yacht are around €180 in­clud­ing VAT and can be paid in cash or by credit/debit card. ‘Nav­pak­tos is a per­fectly pre­served Me­dieval har­bour but you can’t bet on get­ting a berth’

Pe­tala Is­land, north of the en­trance to the Gulf of Pa­tras, is a good jump­ing off point from the Io­nian

The Rion-Andirrion bridge spans the strait be­tween the Gulfs of Pa­tras and Corinth

The Corinth Canal, com­pleted in 1893, turned Pelops Is­land into a proper is­land

Castel­lated walls guard the en­trance of the tiny har­bour of Nav­pak­tos

Few peo­ple fail to fall in love with Galaxidhi. It's a gem that should not be missed

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