Through the Gulf of Corinth to Delphi - 29 May to 12 June

Murray and Chreanne left in a taxi at 10:00, and we set out towards Patras immediately, as there was a useful NW F4. But it didn't last, and by noon we were alternately motoring and sailing in variable F2. By 14:00, we had a good breeze, which took us all the way up to Mesolongi, where we moored on the north, commercial quay.

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James & Hanneka Rion Bridge
As we were tidying up, an elderly gentleman and his lady came by and asked some increasingly detailed questions about Razzmatazz. I asked him why, and they introduced themselves - James Wharram and Hanneka Boon. They joined us for a drink, and proved a fund of fascinating anecdotes and opinions. So we spent the following day in port, visiting James and Hanneke on their giant Spirit of Gaia in the marina, where they showed us their plans for their latest boat to be launched in the autumn. Then we checked that Manati, our Swiss friends' laid-up boat seemed ok, and cycled to Etoliko, a village on an island in one of the lagoons.

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Best berth in Nafpaktos! And looking down from the castle
Next morning, a gentle westerly took us wing and wing up to the bridge over the gulf, and then gave us a reach to Nafpaktos. Nafpaktos has a lovely walled, medieval harbour with space for half a dozen yachts. Luckily for us, there is a shoal patch just to port by the entrance, perfect for Razzmatazz and inaccessible to keel yachts. Nafpaktos also has a splendid castle high above the harbour, and we climbed up next morning. We thought it the best castle since Sintra, near Lisbon. It is a public park, with free entrance in the morning and early afternoon. Nafpaktos also has a cafe on the quay which runs a disco until 04:00! However, we slept through most of it.

We hoped to make it all the way to Galaxidi, for Delphi next day, but a fickle wind dumped us just by Trixonia, so we motored into the bay, where we found ample space to anchor in the shallow, southern bight. Launched the dinghy and explored the tiny village and abandonned marina.

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Looking across the anchoarage to Trixonia marina Galaxidi north bay
In the morning, we set sail up the gulf, soon finding a stiff south-easterly that allowed us to make best speed with a reef tucked in all the way to Ak Andromakhi, then a slower run up to Galaxidi.We chose to anchor in the bay to the north of the village rather than go to the town quay. And very lovely it was, with a taverna owned by a lady who was also a university lecturer in Athens and her artist brother. But after a quiet night, we woke to a nasty north-easterly 5 to 6, blowing straight into the bay. So we upped anchor and motored (sorry!) the 3 miles to Itea, where we found space to moor on the outer quay, with the wind still howling, but flat water.

The forecast was now for 3 or 4 days of nasty weather, so we hired a car. First I toured the town, and got a quote higher than I wanted, then went on the net and got the same motor for a reasonable price!

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Delphi from above Temple
In the morning, we arrived at Delphi at 08:00, opening time, and were rewarded by having the whole site to ourselves for an hour. Spookily magnificent! Then we used the car to explore inland in Sterea Ellada, along mountain roads half crumbled down the precipitous slopes until we arrived at a fertile plain stretching away to the horizon. We also visited Amfissa, only a few miles inland from Itea, with another fine ruined castle and a lovely little museum with artefacts from Delphi.

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At anchor in Trixonia Heinz and Angie on Razzmatazz

From our car excursions we'd decided that sailing further into the gulf didn't seem so attractive. So, when we'd handed back the car, we set sail east, reaching Trixonia again after a slow sail, and dropped anchor in the south bight again.

Elias (Greek publisher of superbly detailed charts) said one should visit the islet St Iannis and swim in a landlocked pool there. So we dinghied across and inspected the stagnant pond, then failed to find the rock alledgedly just north of the islet. After lunch we decided to explore the marina more thoroughly. We saw a Woods catamaran, and approached the lady on board. She invited us to come back later when her husband, who could answer our questions, would have returned. Heinz and Angie, a German couple, had bought the boat as a bit of a wreck from an Englishman who'd been overtaken by ill health. They'd made a beautiful job of fitting her out. We invited them for a sail next morning, as they had yet to explore the joys of sailing a sporty cat.

So, next morning, we circumnavigated the island with Heinz and Angie, with a nice beat to windward and a fast reach setting Mr Blue, our gennaker. I think they really enjoyed it. Hope we meet them under sail next year! Then, rather than set sail in a fickle wind late in the day, we walked to the ends of the island.

Was hard work digging the anchor out of mud next morning! We thought of sailing on past Nafpaktos. But a thunderstorm encouraged us to anchor on the mudflats nearby, and then we decided to go in and bag "our spot" in the shallows by the entrance, alongside Astra of Hamble, CA members with a motor-sailer. Got the bikes out and explored the supermarkets, including Lidl and Carrefour, a short ride west from the town.

This little cruise ended with an uneventful overnight on Mesolongi quay.