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Our Wakes: 2018

Gulf of Corinth (June 2018)
Western access to canal
Eastern entrance Canal
Images familly Fabrizio ( Boat Dizzie)
The Corinth gulf between the Greek continent and the island of the Peloponnese is about 90 miles long and 12 miles at its widest point At both ends of the Gulf there are important engineering works that today attract a lot of people. On the West side is the Rion-Antonion suspension bridge. This bridge is 2,250 meters long and is supported by 4 pillars 660 meters apart. When it was inaugurated it was the longest suspension bridge in the world, but 4 month later it was beaten by the French bridge at Millau with a span of 2,460 meters.  Despite this it is still a very impressive bridge as numerous challenges needed to be addressed. The bridge connects two tectonic plates that move apart by several mm every year. It is placed on a bottom of bad quality so special techniques had to be invented to ensure the pillars do not move. The depth of at the bottom is 60 meters, which is also unique. The bridge is ready to withstand an earthquake of force 7 on the Richter scale and can be hit by a tanker of 180,000 tons cruising at a speed of 30km/h. Lastly, the bridge is able to cope with winds of up to 180 km/h. Today the bridge is impressive and can be seen from far away. One often encounters currents of up to 3 knots and to go under the bridge, every boat must request permission by VHF. At the other end of the Gulf is the Corinth Canal. It is an artificial waterway built to avoid going around the Peloponnese Islands. The first attempt to build a canal here was in 69 BC when the Roman emperor Nero ordered one, but works was suspended when he died. The construction of the current canal was initiated in 1882 and in 1893 the canal was inaugurated. Today, more than 11,.000 boats, mostly leisure craft and small cargo ships pass through the canal. The dimensions of the canal are 6,343 meters I length, 24 meters in width and 8 meters in depth. Along some of it the cliffs are very high, 52 meters in height. Terus did not go through the canal as it is quite expensive (300euro). We will pass through it later when we have a good reason to do so. The real reason why we went into the Gulf of Corinth was that we wanted to visit the ruins of Delphi. The site dates from the 6 century BC and according to the legend, it was selected by Zeus who decided that it was the navel of the earth.  The oracles of Apollo were also issued there. Needless to say, in those days it was a sacred place. Today the ruins still demonstrate how much the site was venerated. The backdrop to the site is very beautiful with mount Parnassus reaching to a height of 2,457 meters. I recommend that you visit the site early in the morning when it opens. At that time the sun is still behind the mountain and the temperature is very pleasant. Once you have visited the ruins you can go to the museum that contains a lot of beautiful artefacts. The majority of tourist will arrive when you get to the museum. The site is classified as a world heritage center. While travelling in the Gulf we really appreciated two places: the island of Trizonia, a small island that lives thanks to the pleasure yachts. A few restaurants cater to visitors. When we were there, the harbor was free but today the authorities have decide to clean the harbor and remove a big wreck that has been there for more than 10 years. They will no longer allow boats to stay for free, either. We hope the rates will be reasonable so that the place remains attractive. We also like the harbor of Missolonghi. It is located on the west side of the Gulf before the suspension  bridge. This place is located in a vast Laguna and you need to follow the channel marked by buoys to reach the jetty. The place is very quiet and little cargo boats only arrive once and a while.  There are no cranes or other heavy equipment in the harbor. Pleasure yachts can for a small fee tie up to the jetty, or else they can drop anchor and stay free of charge for several days. A lot of turtles come up to the surface to breath and in the evening you can see a lot of fish jumping out of the water. Due to the turtles and the presence of birds in the Laguna it is now a natural reserve.  You can find a marina at Missolonghi, but unfortunately it is closed as the new owner does not have the required permits. The reason is that the authorities are not sure that the marina has taken enough precautions to prevent  pollution from the yachts.  In the city there is a statue of the English poet, Lord Byron. The statue reminds visitors that he died in Missolonghi in 1824. Lord Byron is well known as the poet who wrote “Don Juan.”
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