CORFU TO AYVALIK 2003

 

 

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A comment has been made upon every harbour and anchorage in which we stayed.  Those entries that include a correction to the pilot are marked with a sidebar.  The page numbers given in brackets following the heading for each entry refer to the following Pilot:

 

Greek Waters Pilot 8th Edition by Rod Heikell published by Imray Laurie Norie & Wilson in 2001.

 

 

Ormiskos Valtou (Igoumenitsa Creek) (page 62)  39º 31'.3N  20º 11'.0E  We anchored in 5m in the third bay (most easterly) at the head of the creek tucked well behind the protective headland.  This is a superb anchorage in a beautiful rural setting.  Holding is excellent and protection from the sea is 100%.  There are no facilities ashore but there are some interesting walks.  The water carries a heavy burden of silt so it is far from clear.  Some boats anchored in the second bay: it is less well protected and much deeper.  There is a fish farm in the first bay.

Mourtos (page 63)  39º 24'.7N  20º 13'.8E  We anchored in the NW-facing bay off the channel just SW of Mourtos harbour.  We tied back to the SW shore.  We walked to Mourtos harbour which is undergoing considerable enlargement with the construction of a new outer wall.

Mongonisi, Nisos Paxos (page 60)  39º 11'.0N  20º 12'.5E  We anchored in the centre of this tiny bay and tied back to the quay on the SE corner.  It is shallow (< 2 m) and there is a sunken yacht close by.  The quay on the NE side is low and rough and rock bound.  Beware!

Ormos Vlikho, Nisos Levkas (page 81)  38º 41'.2N  20º 42'.5E  This superb anchorage is the saving grace of the Inland Sea.  It is fully protected from all wind directions, it is relatively shallow (5m to 6m) over its entire area, holding is excellent and there is enough room for all comers.  It should be marked on every cruising sailor’s chart of the area as the place to head if the weather turns foul.  On top of that, the surrounding scenery is stunning and nearby Nidri has everything one could wish for, chandlery included.  The only fly in the ointment is that its landlocked geography produces a trap for jellyfish, some of which grow to huge dimensions, and somewhat murky water.  Many people anchor in Tranquil Bay or in the centre of the channel into Ormos Vlikho in order to be closer to Nidri.  If you are happy in a crowd with 10 metres between you and your neighbour that’s fine, otherwise, keep on going into Ormos Vlikho.  We made a couple of trips to Nidri Town Quay where we moored bows to our anchor, stern to the quay for long enough to go shopping.  It is a good place to stock up as there are several close supermarkets dedicated to supplying yachts.

Port Leone, Nisos Kalamos (page 105)  38º 36'.0N  20º 53'.4E  An absolute delight – one of the gems of the Ionian!  We anchored in the SE corner of the bay and tied back to the shore as the water is quite deep.  The SE corner is much better protected than it appears from the chart and is completely protected from the sea.

Limin Petala (page 108)  38º 23'.7N  21º 06'.1E  This deserted anchorage tucked behind Ak Aspro on the mainland coast is one of the few all-weather, fully-protected anchorages in the area.  The bay is shallow (we anchored in 2.6 m) but the holding is superb in thick alluvial silt

Mesolongi (page 155)  38º 18'.8N  21º 25'.0E  A very interesting harbour approached up a long canal.  There was plenty of space alongside the harbour wall, particularly in the NW corner, but we chose to anchor off the western bank of the pool.  We did not go ashore.

Patras Yacht Harbour (page 157)  38º 15'.6N  21º 44'.0E  Visitors are put on the outermost pontoon which is subject to some swell from the ferries but is otherwise secure.  You have to pay for a minimum of two nights which for us was €27.80 including electricity, water and showers.  We were alarmed by the very large number (100+) of immigrants who seemed to spend their days watching the lorries boarding the ferries and looking for a chance to slip into one.  However, they did not come onto the pontoons and they disappeared over night.  There is excellent shopping in the city: we were lucky enough to be driven to a large supermarket by a fellow CA member who lives there.  We were also visited by a Laundrette owner who took away our washing and brought it back the next day, clean, dry and folded, for €9 per large load.  (Tel: 26104 or 20505)  Our main reason for visiting Patras was to enable us to travel by train to Dhiakofto from where we caught the rack-railway to Kalavryta through the Vouraikos Gorge: a very worthwhile journey.  As seats on the rack-railway are very limited we went to the station the day before and booked our tickets. (€14 each for the return journey to Kalavryta.)

Nisis Trizonia (page 162)  38º 21'.5N  22º 05'.5E  We moored alongside the inside of the inner breakwater of the ‘marina’.  Like so many harbours in this area it is unfinished and unmanaged but the shelter is good.  There are no services on the breakwater and few bollards.

Itea (page 169)  38º 25'.8N  22º 25'.5E  Yet another unfinished, unmanaged ‘marina’.  Some yachts were visited by the Port Police but we were not, despite staying for 4 nights.  Heikell is far too hard on Itea:  not only is it the perfect place from which to visit Delphi by bus but the harbour enjoys perfect protection and the town makes a useful place to stock up.  We had no problem with dust.  There was no water in the ‘marina’ during our visit so four of us joined our hoses together and got water from a building site.

There was much evidence of work to the infra-structure including the construction of toilets, showers and an office.  It seems likely that this will soon become a full-service marina with commensurate charges.

Andikiron (page 171)  38º 22'.6N  22º 37'.9E  We anchored off the front in 15m on 45m chain.  Despite being close to the town we had a quiet night.  Although there was a military area west and south of the town we could see no sign of a base in Ormos Gramatikon.

Ormos Vathi (page 172)  38º 12'.0N  22º 55'.9E  We anchored in the SE corner of this very deep land-locked bay in a small shallow patch off a tiny beach.  It is the most deserted spot we have visited anywhere in Europe with no sign of human life in any direction.  Magnificent – and it’s not listed in the pilot!  By contrast, a new commercial quay for loading steel onto coasters has been built at nearby Naoussa on the NE side of the approach to Ormos Vathi making it no longer suitable as an anchorage.

Corinth (page 177)  37º 56'.8N  22º 56'.1E  New pontoons for small craft have been laid in the harbour severely restricting access to the wall.  The pontoons are fairly full with local boats though we did see at least one yacht squeeze in amongst them.  There is good shopping in the town and free water on the quay.  We saw nothing of the Port Police.

Corinth Canal (page 175)  37º 54'.9N  23º 00'.6E  Transit through the canal is awe-inspiring and something everyone should do at least once.  We were charged €107.  Mooring at the east end where you stop to pay is tricky, especially if you have low freeboard.  There is a very high jetty on stilts leaving only free air to rest against!  A small section at the eastern end of the jetty has wooden beams bolted below the over-hanging concrete though you have to be brave enough to ignore the gesticulating Port Police trying to insist you come alongside closer to their office.  It is very important you have enough cash to pay your dues as plastic is not accepted.  Anyone with insufficient funds has to travel to Corinth and back by taxi to go to a cash machine – an expensive option!

Korfos (page 197)  37º 45'.3N  23º 07'.7E  We anchored at the head of the bay in 7m on 35m chain.  We did not go ashore.  A useful anchorage though somewhat open to the south.

Ormos Vidhi (page 208)  37º 31'.2N  23º 24'.2E  We anchored in the third bay on the northern side of Ormos Vidhi on one occasion and in the second bay on another.  Both are deserted bays in delightful surroundings though too far from Poros for a visit without a fast dinghy.

‘Derrick Bay’, Ormos Skindos, Nisos Dhokos (page 215)  37º 20'.8N  23º 20'.2E  We anchored in 4.4m at the head of the bay and tied back to the shore.  A deserted, idyllic anchorage though open to the NE.  We were there in a flat calm so it rates as one of our favourite anchorages of the year.

Akra Sounion (page 195)  37º 38'.6N  24º 01'.3E  We sat out a NE gale just below a small chapel in the bay immediately north-west of Akra Sounion.  We anchored over sand in 5m on 35m chain.  The anchorage was subject to severe gusts but the holding was good and we held well.  The setting just below the 5th Century BC ‘Temple of Poseidon’ is superb.   We did not go ashore.

Olympic Marina (page 313)  37º 41'.8N  24º 03'.7E  We spent two nights here sheltering from gale-force winds.  It is a modern, full-service marina with a huge area of hard-standing ashore.  Understandably, being so close to Athens airport, it has prices to match:  we paid €38/night.  There is a reasonable chandlery on site but nowhere to buy food.  We walked to Lavrion (4km) and got a taxi back. (€4)

Ormos Thorikou (page 317)  37º 44'.7N  24º 04'.9E  We anchored in the NE corner below the chapel in 4.5m.  The bay is well protected from the north but noisy and potentially very smoky from the power station that dominates the bay.  We did not stay for the night.

Porto Rafti (page 317)  37º 53'.2N  24º 02'.7E  We anchored in 5m at the head of Ormos Markopoulou off the small harbour of Rafti.  This is a very wide, open anchorage that feels very exposed but which, never-the-less, gave us good protection from the prevailing NE wind.  We did not go ashore.

Ormos Vasiliko, Nisos Megalo (page 320)  37º 59'.0N  24º 15'.2E  A beautiful, deserted bay open to the south but well protected from the north.  We anchored over clean sand in the centre of the bay in 5.5m.  Our anchor held well for two days in NE5/6 whilst we replaced our alternator.

Boufalo, Nisos Evvoia (page 323)  38º 17'.8N  24º 06'.8E  An extremely pretty though rather small anchorage in a fully-protected pool off a tiny village.  We anchored in 6.5m on 25m chain.

Khalkis, Nisos Evvoia (page 325)  38º 27'.9N  23º 35'.4E  Whilst waiting on the south side to pass through the bridge we anchored just west of the railway station clear of the no-anchoring zone and went ashore by dinghy to a small boat club immediately west of the bridge.  The bridge staff were not in their office until 1800 but once there were helpful and courteous.  We paid €18.  Once through at 0130 we moored in 3m alongside Khalkis Town Quay on the starboard side.

We were very pleased we had done a recce whilst ashore as there are many obstructions both on the bottom and on the wall leaving few places to moor in safety.  Unfortunately, the one safe spot was alongside a very noisy, all-night restaurant.  There are good shops to stock up and water on the quay.

Nisos Atalandi (page 327)  38º 41'.1N  23º 05'.5E  We anchored in 3.4m in the cove on the west of the island entering south of the islet and enjoyed a peaceful night in tranquil surroundings.  There are no facilities ashore.

Ormos Vathikelou (page 331)  38º 55'.8N  22º 56'.7E  There was a large ferry laid up in the SE corner of the bay obstructing the most suitable anchorage so we anchored a little further north in 10m and tied back to a tree on the shore.  A delightful spot with no facilities ashore.

Ormos Vathoudhi, Gulf of Volos (page 334)  39º 10'.0N  23º 12'.8E  We had intended to anchor east of Nisos Alatas, south of the Sunsail base but all the useful space was taken up by permanent moorings.  We continued around to the south of Nisos Alatas and re-anchored in the un-named, east-facing bay on the Trikeri Peninsula looking towards the western side of Nisos Alatas.  We had the bay to ourselves and enjoyed a peaceful night.  A good anchorage.

Ormos Khondhri Ammos (page 338)  39º 07'.0N  23º 13'.0E  We took shelter from strong easterly winds in this spectacular bay below high cliffs.  We anchored in 6m at the eastern end of the bay and tied back to the rocks: not an easy manoeuvre.  Powerful down-draughts forced us to make an early departure the following morning.  It served its purpose – just - but shelter is very limited.

 

THE NORTHERN SPORADES

 

Ormos Koukounaries, Nisos Skiathos (page 340)  39º 08'.3N  23º 24'.2E  a large bay over clean sand with a few rocky/weedy patches.  The bay is open to the south but well protected from the prevailing NE winds.  The harbour in the NE corner is very tiny indeed – don’t even think about it!  There is a very interesting, well laid out Natural Park just behind the shore-line and there is a small general store behind that.

Skiathos Town Quay, Nisos Skiathos (page 340)  39º 09'.7N  23º 29'.7E  We moored bows to our anchor, stern to the quay for a few hours in order to go shopping, water ship and take on fuel.  We obtained the latter from a garage ¼ mile up the hill to the north of the quay: the proprietor put it into cans, drove it down to our boat and poured it all in for us and charged only the pump price.

Ormos Panormou, Nisos Skopelos (page 344)  39º 06'.5N  23º 40'.0E  Our most beautiful anchorage of the year – quite stunning!  We anchored in the southern arm and tied back to the shore.  There are some delightful walks ashore.

Ormos Vasiliko, Nisos Peristera (page 348)  39º 11'.8N  23º 58'.4E  We anchored in 10m in the bight in the NE corner of the bay.  The surroundings are a little stark but the shelter is good.  We saw no sign of a ferry being de-commissioned or of litter ashore.  There are no facilities.

Ormos Plantis, Nisos Pelagos (page 349)  39º 21'.2N  24º 04'.5E  The undisputed jewel in the crown of the Northern Sporades!  Ormos Plantis is a land-locked bay approached through a spectacularly narrow channel.  Once inside you are surrounded by open countryside populated only by wild Ibex.  If you are passing this way it is an absolute must!  We anchored in 8.5m in the centre of the SE arm.

 

KHALKIDHIKI

 

Porto Koufo (page 369)  39º 57'.6N  23º 55'.0E  Another land-locked bay, this one approached through a dramatic entrance with high cliffs on both sides.  Finding a suitable spot to anchor is a little tricky as the bay is very deep but we found room in 10m to the west of the jetty.  The latter is very run down and has a number of what look like abandoned yachts tied to it so we kept well away.  There are very limited facilities ashore but some delightful walks up onto the cliffs at the southern end of Khersonisos Sithonia – the ‘middle finger’ of Khalkidhiki.

Nea Marmaras (page 367)  40º 05'.5N  23º 47'.1E  We moored to the outside of the outer ‘yacht pontoon’, bows to our anchor, stern to the pontoon.  Although this was built for visiting yachts and originally had buoys to which to lie, many of the buoys have gone and those that remain are in use by local or charter boats.  We were hesitant to drop our anchor amongst old moorings but by using 50m of chain we managed to avoid any problems.  Nea Marmaras is a tourist resort with plenty of shops from which to stock up.  There is water on the pontoon and a mini-tanker brings diesel.

Ormos Mesopanayia (page 372)  40º 12'.3N  23º 46'.9E  We anchored in the large bay on the south of Nisos Dhiaporos in 4.7m over sand.  An idyllic anchorage off a beautiful, sandy beach.

Ormos Kriftos (page 372)  40º 13'.4N  23º 46'.9E  Ormos Kriftos is the long bay cutting deeply into the northern side of Nisos Dhiaporos.  The chartlet in Heikell is wrong and shelter is much better than it appears: Nisos Ambelitsi runs NE/SW and completely encloses the entrance so the head of the bay is fully protected from the sea.  A good anchorage, but not as pretty as Ormos Mesopanayia.

 

 

Mirina, Nisos Limnos (page 392)  39º 52'.3N  25º 03'.2E  We anchored on the eastern side of the harbour just off the narrow beach.  We walked to the castle on the top of the cliffs to watch the sun set over Mount Athos.  Should President Bush ever wish to inspire awe in anyone again he would do far better to bring them here than to drop bombs on them:  a truly awe-inspiring sight.  Mirina is a tourist town with plenty of shops and an Internet Café – a rare find in these parts.  We watered ship from a tap on the quay before leaving and paid dues to the Port Police.

Dhiapori, Ormos Kondia, Nisos Limnos (page 394)  39º 50'.8N  25º 09'.8E  We anchored in 12.5m at the head of the bay just north of the fishing-boat jetty.  We enjoyed several walks from here, one through the Natural Park on the Fakos Penisular and one to the Gallipoli War Cemetery at Portiano.  However, our stay in this other-wise deserted and beautiful anchorage was marred by excruciatingly loud music from the Taverna at the root of the fishing-boat quay which played from 2200 to 0500.  It would appear to be Limnos’ one and only Night Club!

Moudhrou, Nisos Limnos (page 395)  39º 52'.3N  25º 15'.8E  We moored alongside the southern face of the commercial jetty just ahead of a coaster unloading gravel.  The berth was secure and protected from the prevailing wind but noisy and dirty.  We bought food in the village and took on water from a tap on the quay.  We paid dues to the Port Police.

Sigri, Nisos Lesbos (page 403)  39º 12'.8N  25º 50'.8E  We anchored in the bay to the south of Sigri in 8m.  The bay is beautiful with some interesting walks ashore but the holding is variable and it is not easy to find a good spot. 

Apothekes, Kolpos Kallonis, Nisos Lesbos (page 405)  39º 04'.7N  26º 04'.7E  We anchored in 8.5m off the mouth of the river ENE of Apothekes.  A good, well-protected anchorage with superb holding in alluvial mud.  WARNING:  The shoal off the western end of Nisos Erimonisi is much larger than shown in Heikell.

Skala Loutra, Kolpos Yeras, Nisos Lesbos (page 407)  39º 00'.5N  26º 32'.7E  We anchored in 9m towards the head of the bay.  Shelter and holding are both good: we sat out some very strong winds here.  The entrance to Kolpos Yeras is very interesting.

Mitilini, Nisos Lesbos (page 398)  39º 06'.0N  26º 33'.8E  We moored alongside the eastern side of the harbour and our lines were taken by a smiling Port Police Lady!  Just as you think you have got a country summed up something like this happens!  The berth was totally secure but noisy from the road around the harbour.  There is good shopping in the town and there are ferries to a number of destinations including Athens and Ayvalik.

 

Footnote:  From Mitilini we cleared out of Greece and crossed to Ayvalik in Turkey where we left Retreat ashore for the winter.  We travelled home by coach and ferry to Istanbul from where we flew to Heathrow.