Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Above operating temperature

My brain is a temperate climate brain. It can tolerate high temperatures in the middle of the day, but it needs a fresh morning start and a cool down in the evening to stay primed. Neither of those are on offer at the moment, so as of yesterday, after staying the distance with George Eliot in Middlemarch, I'm running with Tom Wolfe. His pre-digested prose doesn't use up as much mental juice as processing George's sophisticated take on her times.

We wake to a below decks temperature of about 30 degrees C. The day is long, and the sun always shines. Its heat begins to build from about 8.30 am and pumps furiously till about 5.30 pm. After then, it eases back a little and if you're onshore, that's when people begin to circulate, heading for the beaches and the bars. No-one thinks of eating until well after 9 pm.  I'm not interested in food much beyond tomato, cucumber and sweet onion salad. That's becoming a bit of a problem for us when we're at anchor, since I'm the cook. The sun's hot shadow trails late into the night and it's not till midnight that exhaustion opens the way for sleep.

Fishing boats return to port early in the morning at Mesolongion

Early evening on the town quay at Galaxidi

The sun sets over the Gulf of Corinth

Alex's mission in Piraeus, where we are docked for a couple of nights, is to get the Magna barbecue in working order - I tell him it's what I need to kickstart my enthusiasm for cooking dinner. We're missing vital fittings, and the gas bottles have to be filled (gas and gaz - now there's a language barrier that needs to be crossed in the Med). He's just come back from scouring the ship chandlers around this seedy old port town. Alex loves to shop, and he's pleased with his tidy haul which includes replacement Lewmar blocks amongst various other treasures. Piraeus, he tells me ominously, is our last "Euro" town before Turkey. After that, where will I buy camomille tea bags?

At Rion, the world's longest cable-stayed bridge spans the "waist" between the Patras and Corinth Gulfs

Light wind sailing
 We've come to Piraeus via the Gulf of Patras and Gulf of Corinth and, of course, the Corinth Canal. I do love to say these names. I'm completely open to being seduced by the ancient world, not that I know anything about anything. We've anchored in Mesolongion, in amongst the salt marshes, and off the beach at Alkonidhes, near an abandoned monstery. We've squeezed into the smallest and narrowest of  harbours at Galaxadi. I've wrangled with port authorities and Alex has wrangled with other people's anchors (a nasty consequence of reversing into the town quay at Galaxidi just a little bit crooked was that our anchor was laid to the right of where it ought to have been, and some one else dropped theirs over the top of our chain....you had to be there, or else be an avid reader of Yachting Monthly, to appreciate the dilemma).

If there is one place where you wouldn't want your engine to fail, it's in the Corinth Canal (we still think like that). But it didn't, and that little shortcut has brought us through into the Aegean Sea. From here, it's only a few short hops to the west coast of Turkey.

We follow a freighter into the Corinth Canal

Motorists wait for the submersible bridge to open after we've entered the canal

Alex steers Enki in a straight line

The Aegean is at the end of the 3.2 mile canal

1 comment:

  1. I'm a bit behind, but VERY cool that you went through the corinth canal!