So, after Zakynthos we managed to do some good sailing inside the Gulf of Patras, passed under the beautiful Rion suspension bridge and sailed all the way in the Gulf of Corinth towards the Corinth canal.
Well, to be honest, “sail all the way” is not completely true, a few days we looked at a perfect wind forecast, started sailing for one or two hours, then the wind would completely die down and we would have to motor for four or five hours. Not that cool.
But to compensate not being able to sail that much, we are actually doing a pretty good job in finding nice quiet bays to anchor our Ipanema.
Apparently there are a lot of spinning dolphins around this region and we were lucky enough to see them four times around the Gulf. Amazing. Really cool as they jump maybe twice their size all the way out of the water – but as we are not National Geographic photographers, we didn’t manage to get any real descent picture of the show going on around us… oh well, but we enjoyed it!
The crossing of the actual canal is a truly amazing experience. The water is super clear and there is a strong current inside it, it is also quite narrow with tall beautiful rocky walls on each side, and some bridges that go over it along the way, making the scenery even more special.
There were half a dozen yachts crossing with us, and the canal authority kept telling us all on the radio to move faster, even though we were at 8 knots (which was a speed record on motor for us until that day).
After we crossed the canal, we anchored in a nice little bay so I could go check on our starboard engine as it had been lowering its RPMs every now and then. I changed a couple of filters to see if it would work better, but… of course… I screwed it up even more. Now it wouldn’t even start. So we stayed in this bay on Salamis island waiting for Monday to come, so we could have a mechanic in Athens look at it. We motored (with one motor only) all the way to the Alimos Marina in Athens where Eugene, a great friend of mine, helped us out! His mechanic fixed the problem that I created but the problem before still persists and we don’t really know why.
The greatest thing about Athens was meeting up with friends. First was Eugene, a fully Greek guy who I met a few months ago when I was trying to buy a boat around here. A true entrepreneur who owns his own boat fleet and manages a few others, he knows the boating Greek market as no one, and I REALLY trust his ideas and advices. Certainly a great guy, who in the middle of his busy season and with a few weeks old baby son at home, managed to find a lot of time to help us out.
That same day, our next-door neighbour from Rio arrived to visit us for a few days. Ale came into our lives when she saw us arriving at our building carrying a tiny little puppy in our arms, she met us and Feijao the same day we got him, he was just 2 months old and she immediately fell in love with the crazy little bugger. That day we realised we were literally next door neighbours, and became good friends, practically family. Ale, beyond super beautiful and charismatic, is one of those people who lives life intensely, can laugh about good and bad situations and loves telling the funniest and most embarrassing moments she gets into. So having her in the boat is always a pleasure.
And then we met Laura and Diego, they are friends from my childhood neighborhood in São Paulo who are now living in Athens. In fact, we were more like acquaintances but with a lot of really good friends in common. Well, we just couldn’t believe how kindly they took care of us while we were around Athens. During the time we spent together we felt like we knew them forever and we really want to have them back on the boat. They have such high spirits, so much good energy… what a fun couple!
We are now anchored on Sounion Bay, right in front of Poseidon temple (god of the sea) , on the most Southern tip of the Athens region, getting ready to cross to the Cyclades islands. Not a bad backyard at all.
And our little rascal Feijão continues to do great, he seems to be loving his new life at sea. His new thing now is to jump into the dinghy boat, that hangs on the back of our catamaran, every time he does something wrong and we tell him off. He even fell asleep in there the other day. I guess he thinks he is the Captain of the dinghy. Well, he probably is by now.