Friday, July 25, 2008

Aegean Sea, Greece

July 18th, 2008

Chios to the Gulf of Corinth, Greece

Our next step was to traverse the Aegean Sea. The first stop was all of 5 miles off the coast of Turkey. You never realize just how close all these lands are. No wonder they kept arguing over what belonged to whom. With the winds constantly against us we were only making short trips each day. Hopping island to island, we made quick one night stops on the island of Chios, Kea and then the south eastern point of mainland Greece at Sounia Point. Here is located a temple to Poseidon. We have been
busy dusting off the memories of Greek history from our childhood and some extra reading to find out that Zeus, Hades and Poseidon were all brothers. Splitting up the world evenly, Zeus took all the heavens, Hades the under world and Poseidon the water world. Being the savvy tourists we have become, we realized that adults had to pay and children got in free to view the temple. Quickly give the kids the cameras, make them run up the hill and take the photos, problem solved. As kids will do, they
even figured out how to use new settings on the maiden voyage of our newest camera.

This particular anchorage didn't look quite sound enough for an overnight so we moved up the coast to Vouliagmeni. The original modern marina to be built in Greece. We soon found out it wasn't really a place to anchor either and the price was much to high to stay in a marina. The bay is home to every water sport imaginable. They have club sports here for wind surfing, slalom water skiing, and Optimus dinghy sailing. We attempted to officially check into the country here and found it nearly impossible
to do. No one had any great answers on how to efficiently complete the task so after hours with no reward we gave up and found our way up to Piraeus, the town just next to Athens and the Acropolis, our destination.

Much like our experience in Vouligameni, Athens proved to be even more difficult at finding a place to rest our heads. There was either no room in the inn or marinas simply wouldn't answer their radios. We could hear them speaking to each other, we could float right outside their entrance and see them sitting in their towers. After two hours of burning precious fuel we tied ourselves up to the most likely place, walked up to the office and pleaded our case. They couldn't say no. For 35 Euros
a day, no water or electricity how could it hurt them. We are curious about the usual customers they keep though as an armed guard escort in bullet proof jackets and motorcycles helped the guests of the lovely large motor boat across from us, leave the docks.

Early the next morning we gathered our maps and attempted the metro system. Thank goodness it is a forgiving system since we got on the wrong one and still managed to end up in the right place. The Acropolis was fun to see but we have to be honest and say viewing it through and entire cage of metal scaffolding with thousands of our closet friends is a bit of a disappointment, especially after viewing Ephesus up close and personally. It was difficult to imagine Alexander and Aristotle sitting around
discussing the fates and muses. Again as savvy tourists, we are not ashamed to say that we have learned the art of dividing and conquer. Each person attaches themselves to tour group with an English speaking guide, we reassemble and share the bits of knowledge we have gained. The grounds and gardens are lovely to tour, the small museum we could enter had great artifacts to view, and the fascinating part would be the continuous archeological digs that are going on all around you. You can watch
them chip away at the earth and pull up still more shard of pottery.

Next stop, the Corinth Canal. Not having much information on it we weren't sure what to expect. Large container ships to small boats alike pass through a canal cut right into the rock that once joined Peloponnese and the main land Greece. At it's tallest the rock stands 63 meters high and the water only 8 meters deep. We motored right into the canal and figured they would let us know what to do. Luck was on our side this day. We tied up to the dock, the manager hung his head out of the traffic
control tower and with a megaphone hailed us up to the office. Bruce and Kelly boy ran up, we paid our fees of $250, and apparently couldn't get back to the boats fast enough as the canal manager hung his head out the window once more with the megaphone and yelled, "Captain, HURRY". A giant container ship passed just before us and we were to follow him closely. Bridges up ahead that lets auto traffic traverse the gorge were waiting on us all. The high stone walls are breath taking but I doubt
the young gal bungee jumping off one of three bridges that cross the canal had time to stop and look at them as we did. Tristan rode the canal with a birds eye view from the top spreader. The gates at each end of the canal rise up from under water, again to provide a road to cross and stop unwanted travelers when needed.

Once through the canal and into the gulf we used the wind as our friend to sail toward many other famous destinations such as the Delphi. Home to the most famous and heralded oracle of the time. Though she spoke in only gibberish, the priests would translate the persons future for them. On the Peloponesse side are such famous sites as Sparta itself, and the original site of the Olympic games in 1000 B.C. to name just a couple. We found a treasure of an anchorage on the tiny island of Trizonia.
Trizonia coordinates 38 22.053N,022 04.753E
A public marina that appears to have been started many years ago but never finished, and it was FREE. A joyous thing in our world. We found inexpensive and fairly reliable internet there with kind locals and fresh produce. A hike around the island, the Moorea crew painted their water line and the boys had the opportunity to ride the Kelly's bikes around the dock for 3 days. It was the perfect stay before we headed out into the Ionian Sea to round out our time in Greece.
until next time,
your Ohana Kai crew

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