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June 2010 - Greece, Eastern Italy, USA

June 26, 2010

Hi Everyone, We left Tranquail Bay, Greece about 9:30 Monday morning and traveled through the Levkas Canal before the weather picked up. We decided this was the last day of southerly winds for awhile so we wanted to take advantage of the favorable winds. Unfortunately just as we arrived at the 2 mile dredged channel back into Prevesa on mainland Greece we were hit with a squall. Winds were gusting 35+, pouring rain and goofy sailors trying to pass or turn in front of us. We were able to hover in the quay area of Prevesa until the worst of it passed then we moved into our anchorage. Now if we had only decided an hour earlier to head for Prevesa...oh well. We spent 3 nights at anchorage here. Nice town and we enjoyed hiking about and exploring areas we didn't visit the last time we were here.

Greece | Ionian Islands | Corfu Island |Garista Bay | Artemis anchorage below Old Fortress

On Thursday we moved 24nm to Parga also on the mainland. We enjoyed a quiet night but didn't go ashore as we had visited here 3 years ago. On Friday we arrived around noon at Garista Bay below the Old Fortress in Corfu Town. The marina made us move about 6:00 but then we tucked in closer to the castle so a shorter dingy ride ashore. It is so cool anchoring right under the castle and when we dingy to shore on Saturday we enter a moat and travel along side the wall of the fort.

Greece | Ionian Sea | Corfu | channel between castle and Corfu island where we park dingy

We pulled the dingy up on shore climbed a long stairway and arrive in the Esplanade.(mixture of park and town square) We hiked around Old Town had lunch. We went in search of a chandlery and the daily market. We found both near the New Fortress. Great fruits and vegetable market (not quite Turkey but good) and then we found a butcher and baker before heading back to Artemis. It felt good to stretch our legs again. We grilled a nice steak for dinner.

Greece | Ionian Sea | Corfu | Mon Repos Villa

This morning we left Artemis about 9:30 to go to mass. We've only found 4 Catholic churches in Greece, Rhodes, Kos, Chios and Naviplion. So it was a treat to celebrate. Father repeated parts of mass and scripture in French and English as well as Greek. After mass we hiked about and found our way to Mon Repos Villa (Palace of last King) just out of town and enjoyed a tour of the grounds and museum. We stopped along the seaside for a late lunch. We plan to stay in Corfu all week perhaps crossing to Italy next Friday or Saturday. Hope everyone is enjoying a nice summer weekend. Love and God Bles

Greece | Ancient Olympia | Sally and Al

June 19, 2010

Hi Everyone, Happy Father's Day to all of our family and friend fathers! We hope you're having a fun, relaxing day today. We had a fun day on Thursday. We took a little train from Katakolo, Greece to Ancient Olympia with two other cruising couples. Andy and Allison are British and Steve and Jenny are from Cape Town, South Africa. The Olympia site is lovely. The grounds around the ruins are green with lots of flowers and shady trees. We actually arrived at a good time as one cruise ship group was leaving and when we had finished and were going into the museum another group arrived. The stadium was awesome and has natural seating with hills on both sides of the track. The place where they light the Olympic torch was a photo moment. It was just fun to wander around and share the site with friends. Unfortunately the train employees decided to go on strike. So instead of a 30 min train ride we had to take a bus to Pirgo then switch buses. It was a beautiful ride through countryside we would not have s een but it took us an hour and a half to get back to Katakolo.

Greece | Ionian Islands | Zakinthos Island | beautiful coastline

Friday we motor/sailed 36 nm to north end of Zakinthos Island to Ay Nikolaos. It was a nice spot on the quay until about 9:00 the waves started rolling into the bay from the NW. Why we don't know as the winds came from the SW all day. So we bounced and rocked all night. Not a very restful sleep.

Greece | Ionian Sea | western Kefalonia

We left early Saturday for Argostoli, Cephalonia (Kefallinia) planning to meet our friends Andy and Allison. When we arrived the south winds would have hit us broadside as we tried to moor so we decided to go to the anchorage. About 1:00 we decided since we couldn't get ashore because of the winds why just sit at anchor. So we hauled anchor again. Put up the jib and mizzen and took off sailing. We saw that about 36nm miles away there appeared to be the perfect anchorage for south winds beneath a large Venetian fort. Now we had seen this fort from a distance while riding a bus on Cephalonia 3 years ago and thought how cool that anchorage would be... The longer we sailed the more the wind and seas built. By 6 PM when we arrived at Port Assos it was gusting 35 straight down into the anchorage from the surrounding mountains. There was another sailboat at anchorage but we decided to get out while we could.

Greece | Ionian Sea | Kefalonia | Friskardo bay

Out came the jib and up went the mizzen and away we went again. This time for a port we had visited by bus 3 years ago and we knew it was secure in southerly winds. We arrived in Friskardho about 7:15 lots of boats so we had to anchor deep and take a long line to shore. Finally we could sit back and enjoy a beer.

This morning we got up and moved again about 24 nm for Tranquil Bay by Nidri town on Levkas Island. We were looking for a place to sit out some weather that is due to hit the Ionian Islands tomorrow. We've been in this bay before too. Hope everyone is enjoying a nice summer weekend. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

June 16, 2010

Hi Everyone, Happy birthday to Sally's brother Pat and Happy 3rd Anniversary to Mary and Christopher. We've traveled much faster around the Peloponese than we had anticipated. Last Friday after our coffee we went bump onto the dock. All the boats med moored suddenly dragged anchor and we had to pull off the dock. We made a quick decision to skip the castle hike and to sail off. All went well until about noon then the wind really picked up so we dropped the main and sailed with the jib and mizzen. Unfortunately the wind came more on the nose we sailed off for a while but decided we wanted to arrive before dark so we motor/sailed into Porto Kayio.

Greece | Peloponnese | Methoni | Venetian Castle and Bourtzi tower seen from Artemis anchorage

Sunday and we wanted to skype the kids so we headed off early for Methoni (52nm) Too close to sail alone so we motor/sailed The winds gusted 35+ as we approached the islands off Methoni. Fortunately once into the bay we were able to pull the sails down without too much trouble. Nice anchorage off a village and neat castle. Lots of fortifications a long the Peloponeses. No "open internet" on board and our 3G isn't strong enough for skype. We traveled a long hard day and no skype. On Monday we walked around the fort and town. We enjoyed an ice cream in the park on the waterfront and once again Al said "I could live here" It seems we have visited very few places that he hasn't said that:-)

Greece | Peloponnese | Ancient Olympia

Yesterday we sailed to Katakolon another long hard day with the rail in the water and the engine running for a better heading. We could have sailed it but once again we decided to late then we were going to make a long passage (55nm). We were going 4kts against wind and current with engine running. Fortunately the winds switched more westerly and we picked up a kt the last 2 hours. Two huge cruise ships were leaving the harbor as we approached. I wonder if this is the usual stop or if the ships are staying out of Athens with the unrest there. We dropped anchor outside the harbor around 7PM and enjoyed a quiet evening. We moved into the harbor this morning. The first thing we did was give Artemis a BATH and fill our water tanks. Showers felt good. Tomorrow we plan to take the little train to Ancient Olympia where the Olympics were held. We don't have skype so still can't call anyone. Happy day. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

Greece | Poros | Poros Town | Argos on right at Poros Town Marina

June 11th, 2010

Hi Everyone, We had a pleasant surprise when we went into Poros Town in our dingy. We found our Dutch friends Ton and Gerry on "Argo" whom we haven't seen since the EMYR in 2008. We had a nice time catching up and later they joined us and Eirene when we went in to dinner. Had a fun evening at the Suckling Pig Restaurant and enjoyed some nice spit roasted pork. Al and I spent time Monday wandering around the beautiful town of Poros.

Greece | Peloponnese | Nafplio | Palamedi Castle over Cape Acronafplia

On Tuesday we motored in the morning so we did a drive through Hydra Town. Gorgeous spot put the boats were moored two deep so we decided to move on. The winds picked up so we decided to sail up to Navplion. We actually sailed for 5 hours! Navplion is a fortified city at the top of the Gulf of Argolis on the Peloponese. It was the first capital of Greece after it was liberated from the Turks in 1827. But then the capital was transferred to Athens in 1834. It's located in a gorgeous setting on a small peninsula with 85m hill on the south and 216 m Palimidi to the north. The fortress on Palimidi is reached by climbing close to 1000 steps carved or set in the rock, from the town. Fantastic views of the plain of Argos, the seahore and the fortified island of Bourdzi just 500m off Navplion jetty. Both were lit at night and quite beautiful.

Greece | Peloponnese | Ancient Mycenae | Al in Dromos leading to tomb

Greece | Peloponnese | Ancient Mycenae | Circle Graves

We were tied alongside so we felt comfortable about renting a car to visit Argos and Ancient Mycenae yesterday. Argos is one of the oldest cities in Greece and according to Homer Diomidis was king of Argos during years of the Trojan War. We visited the ancient theater, agora, and nymphoniam. The theater was unique to us as all of the seating for 20,000 people was carved out of the hills rock rather than rocks set in place. We didn't visit Larissa castle above the city but did note Mt. Artimission (1771m)as we drove to Ancient Mycenae about 8km from Argos. Most fascinating to us were the tholos tombs in Mycenae Era. The circular chambers were built into the slope of a hill and then a "dromos" or a di tch sloped downward to the opening of the chamber. The Treasury of Atreus (1330 BC)is the largest and the most impressive of these chambers. It's dromos is 36m long and 6m wide. The chamber doorway is over 5m high and held double doors with a triangular opening over the lintel. The diameter is 14.5m and the height 13.2m. It was quite impressive to stand inside and then it had a smaller treasury room attached. It was built with 34 horizontal courses of rock one overlaying the other with no cement. Each course was of a decreasing diameter until one final rock place on the top. The Lion's Gate entering into the acropolis of Mycenae was impressive too. The site a nice museum displaying finds from the various tombs and Grave circles. We met a nice family from Virgina and had a fun visit as we toured the site.

We also gave two young ladies from France a ride back to Argos. We found a Lidl's grocery store our favorite beer and wine stock up store. Then we happened upon a lion carve d in high relief on a niche of rock above Naplion in 1834. It was to commemorate the dath of King Otho's Bavarians who had died in and around Nauplion. It was about 20'long and 5'high. It is more detailed but not nearly as old as the one we saw in Kea.

Greece | Peloponese | Monemvasia

We left Navplion at 0530 this morning for Monemvasia about 56nm down the Argolis Gulf of Peloponese. Early start because a cruise ship was due in and we needed to get off the quay. We saw it at anchor as we headed out of the harbor and expect it was waiting for daylight to enter the harbor. We sailed for an hour so far and hoping the NW winds will pick up again so we can sail some more. We motor sailed the whole way arriving at 1500 and tied up med moor at Marina Monemvasia across the bay from old town. Hope everyone has a great weekend. We have great internet so we'll try skype. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

Greece | Kea Island | Korissia | Artemis, Sally and Al in Kea marina

June 6, 2010

Hi Everyone, We actually got to sail most of the 22nm to Kea Island on Thursday. We arrived in Korissia on NW end of Kea and found our friends Pam and Steve on "Eirene" anchored there. We hadn't seen them since April 10th when they left Kemer to start their cruising season. It was great catching up on each others news and cruising experiences.

Friday we took a taxi to the Chora (Ioulis) and hiked around. It turned into a true bush wacking Kemer type hike as we went off road looking for the smiling Kea lion. Amazingly enough we did stumble upon it. It was carved into the rock in the 6th century. It has to be a good 20' long. We then enjoyed a nice lunch before catching a taxi back to Korissia and our boats on the town quay.

Greece | Poros Island | Poros Town | Looking over Navy Bay Artemis at anchor

Yesterday we motor/sailed in the rain 42nm to Russian Bay on Poros Island. It's a small island a short distance off NE top of Peloponesse town of Galatas. We moved this morning a short distance to Navy Bay closer to Poras Town to try for better internet. But no luck so far. Perhaps later in the afternoon it'll improve. We haven't gone ashore yet to explore because of the rain yesterday and the wind today. So we'll probably stay on here atleast part of the day tomorrow. It sounds like a great town to visit. We are having cocktails with 3 other boats tonight. Maybe the wind will cooperate and we can grill. Hope everyone has a nice Sunday. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

Greece | Northern Sporades | Skyros Island | Linaria harbor | Al and Artemis

June 2, 2010

Hi Everyone, We were at Skyros Island at Linaria bay/harbor for three days. We stayed at anchor the first night Sunday but then southerly winds made it choppy. Can't believe all the southerly winds we keep getting. So we moved into the harbor and found a spot along the inner quay Monday morning. It was a bit tricky as the car ferry comes in and then there's a spot for the Coast Guard boat. So we had to drop our anchor short behind the Coast Guard mooring watching out for other debris on the bottom. All looked good and we held fine for a day and a half until the wind switched and blew NW straight into the harbor. We started to drag but we weren't in any immediate danger because we were tied to a fishing boat too. We decided to move out to the anchorage for the night as the forecast was calling for thunderstorms and more NW winds. Smart move...when I pulled up the anchor I found a foot long rock caught in the fluke. It would never have reset itself. So glad we decided to move out to the anchorage as we rode out the winds comfortably.

Greece | Northern Sporades | Skyros Island | Skyros Town | Chora

We were going to rent a scooter for the day but he wanted 25 Euro with no insurance (none available)and the thing wouldn't even start. So we took the bus up to the Chora instead and had fun exploring the winding paths up to the castle. Unfortunately earthquakes have made it unsafe to go inside.

Greece | Evia Island | Karistos harbor | Artemis moored on quay

Today, Wednesday we left the anchorage by 0600 and arrived in Karistos harbor on the southern tip of Evia Island around 1600. We need a little nap after the late night/early morning storms and leaving so early. We plan to grill some pork chops and enjoy an early evening. Hope all is well and everyone is enjoying a short work week. Love and God Bless Sally and Al


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