Sailing in the Corinthian Bay

Since sailing enthusiasts today are on a continuous quest to find some nice destination for a sailing holiday, it’s a real struggle to find a beautiful port or even a picturesque route without it being agglomerated. However, that doesn’t stop these modern sailors from seeking relentlessly, just like the old sailors kept exploring the sea for new routes and new lands.

A good tip for a scenic destination would have to be of a place that’s also quite cheap and yet not so popular, giving you the possibility to avoid the summer crowds. A good place to start, especially if you’re a beginner skipper, is the Mediterranean Sea. These old shores are very well chartered so sea charts are often very accurate thus giving good directions, while also offering a range of conditions (virtually no tides, predictable winds and good weather) that mean you won’t have too much trouble at the helm.

A good example of one such “undiscovered treasure” is the Corinthian Gulf, generally considered by veteran pleasure skippers as a mere passage between the Aegean and the Ionian Seas, rather than a stop point for a sailing vacation. Most prefer to make the journey through it as fast as possible, and preferably at night.

Day 1

We recommend starting from west to east, seeing as how that is the general direction of the prevailing winds. The entry point to the Bay is the Corinthian Bridge, or “Rion Andiron” as it’s locally known and that should be the starting location of your sailing trip. Visible from great distances thanks to its size (2.8km long), the bridge is a busy passage point for both commercial and leisure traffic, which is why the locals enforce a couple of rules and regulations.

Please remember to contact the Rion Traffic Authority on VHF radio channel 14 when 5 miles out from the bridge and then again when 2 miles out. They will give you directions from the Coast Guard about which route you should take, since there are only 5 channels reserved for smaller yacht charter boats that pass through the area. As a side note, note that there are some other touristic sights in the region, like the two medieval fortresses on either side of the channel, to the south and to the north.

When you enter the bay, head to the north shore to the small but very beautiful harbor of Nafpaktos, which is located in a semicircular cove which provides good protection from northern and western winds. The name of the harbor is Mezolongi and it has a perfect horseshoe shape. The entrance to the harbor has two large piers on either side, where the yacht charter crew can visit a large ancient temple as well as a fortress dating back to Venetian times.

Mooring here is somewhat troublesome, since the draft is just 5m and there isn’t too much room to maneuver. However, you’ll find that there are many other yachties who venture to drop anchor here due to the beauty of the city. There is another large fortress on a nearby hill, overlooking the harbor, an aqua park where the kids can enjoy dolphin shows just 500m from the sea and, further down the coast to the southeast there is even a beach where you can get a tan.

Day 2

Keeping to the north shore, the one on the mainland, your sailing route will take you to an island called Nisos Trizonia, just off the shore of Glyfada. Here, you’ll find two harbors, with a common entrance facing east. That means that here you’re boat will be well protected from northern, southern and western winds but that during eastern winds will bring a swell in the marina. The water is deeper on the outer piers, suitable for those with bigger draft vessels.

The harbor here is also used by small fishing boats, as is another small harbor to the northeast. It’s recommended that you visit this harbor by foot, since it’s within walking distance of the first. Here, you’ll find a quaint settlement, with a few beautiful restaurants that offer a view of the channel. The visitor will be glad to know that he can find basic repair facilities here at moderate prices in case his vessel needs them.

On the mainland, a good mooring spot is the neighboring bay of Ormos Ay Saranda, to the northwest. Within this bay there is the small village of Paralia Saranda, a real sailing gem, since it offers everything you’d expect from a holiday in Greece. Just a couple of houses constitute this authentic Greek village, but there are some restaurants which offer traditional food at very low prices due to the fact that the region is not frequented regularly by summer crowds.

Mooring in the bay is possible since there are depths of 7-12 meters as well as a sandy bottom. The reason why you and your group should moor here is because it’s free and it offers good protection from all winds except from the south. But since the prevailing winds blow from the west, you’re going to be safe, and you also get to see a very wild part of the Greek shoreline, one that seems to have been untouched by man.

Day 3

Setting sails again along the coast, you’ll come across your next stop, this time a larger city, Galaxidi, which is also located in a nice, mountainous region. The only thing a skipper will have to keep in mind is that the neighboring mountains can produce gust wind effects, especially later in the day, between 3 o’clock in the afternoon and 8 o’clock at night. Though not powerful, these gusts will make approach difficult.

The harbor itself in Galaxidi is rather shallow but it does provide good mooring while also offering the tourists some nice views and good conditions. Among these, you’ll find here gas, electricity and water, all for very low prices. The downside is that at night you’ll be bothered by the noise coming from the nearby bars that play loud music late into the night. Also, sometimes in the summer when water temperatures get really hot, pleasure boats will struggle with algae in the water which can clog filters quickly if not checked regularly. But taking into account the fact that the Oracle of Delphi is in the region and this is also one of the largest ports in this part of the bay, mooring in Galaxidi is somewhat imperative.

Day 4

Your trip is now taking you closer to the Corinth Channel, a busy waterway that spares sailors from circumnavigating the Peloponnese peninsula. You’ll discover that there is a lot of commercial traffic here and it’s also quite expensive, but the advantages are that you save time and you also get a one-in-a-lifetime experience. Cruising your boat between the almost vertical rock cliffs that go up to several tens of meters in some points will make it all worth it. Just make sure to bring your camera.

Before arriving, contact channel authority on VHF channel 11 and wait for instructions. Once at the channel, moor at the indicated pier and proceed with paying and, if necessary, ask for assistance with the crossing. Be careful though as this costs extra and implies nothing more than having an official boat sailing in front of your craft.

Once you’ve past the Channel, head south into the Saronic Gulf. At this point many holidaymakers would choose to sail directly east, towards large ports such as Pireus or Athens, but it’s worth mentioning that the eastern coast of the Peloponnese peninsula has a lot of things to offer to the water-bound tourist.

For the final night, for example, you can moor in the small bay of Korfos, located in the region of the Nisida islands. This bay is very well protected from the winds thanks to its position carved deep into the coastline. The bay provides good mooring for sailing boats, with depths between 5 and 10m and with a sandy bottom which offer good holding anchor. Since it’s just 2.5 hours from the Channel, it pays to moor here as there are no fees, but sadly there are also no facilities.

From here, you can head to any of the major ports in Greece, or continue exploring the Saronic Gulf at your leisure. The important thing to remember is that the Corinthian Bay has plenty of undiscovered potential and for those that like sailing and that venture here, it can be a cheap yet beautiful holiday aboard a yacht.

Updated Bay Area Real Estate Prices

When looking at the average home price in the Bay Area, $616,000, and then looking at what $616,000 affords you (a 4 bedroom home in Stockton or a studio apartment in the Mission District of San Francisco) it is best to make sure you have the down payment and can make mortgage payments, and buy. Even more importantly, don’t talk about the price of buying a home, the inflated real estate market, or the size of your potential new abode with anyone outside the area–unless they live in Boston or New York City.

“Low” and “High” are the two words you hear most when talking about real estate prices in the San Francisco Bay Area. Low inventory and low interest rates are driving up home prices, asking prices are high, and bids are even higher. Even after the dotcom bust of 2000-2001 when everything in the area seemed to be deflating, home prices continued to rise and it hasn’t stopped. In addition, in most Bay Area counties, a half million dollar home usually needs some work. It is rare to find a home for $500,000 or under that is ready to move into or livable. With high home prices only getting higher, and low inventory the investments you make in your home, whether with upgrades or more drastic remodeling projects, will only help the resale value.

Often Bay Area residents living in San Francisco and Silicon Valley turn to the East Bay for more affordable home options. However, prices are rapidly increasing in Contra Costa and Alameda counties, too. Alameda County’s median home price rose 20.6 percent from September of 2004 to September of 2005, and now homes are selling for an average of $579,000. According to the East Bay Business Times:

The Bay Area real estate market seems to have settled into a steady state, with few indicators pointing to any upcoming change.” said Marshall Prentice, DataQuick president. Supply and demand seem stable. We are keeping an eye on rising mortgage interest rates which could slow things down somewhat before the end of the year.

Home prices in the Bay Area are high, and thinking about them can get you low, but when you look at the natural beauty of the area, the proximity to the ocean, the mountains, wine country, and numerous cultural outlets it seems are fair price to pay. The Bay Area is one of the fastest growing communities in the country, and has relatively low crime rates, respectable schools, and location, location, location; you can understand the booming real estate market.

With home prices in the Bay Area getting higher and higher and the inventory getting smaller and smaller, buying a home in the Bay Area is proving a solid investment regardless of cost.

South African Garden Route Mossel Bay Town Travel Information

The town of Mossel Bay is along the Garden Route in South Africa between Mossel Bay and Storms River, the Garden Route runs parallel to a coastline which features lakes, mountains, golden beaches, cliffs and dense indigenous forests.

The Garden Route has a well-developed tourist infrastructure, making the region popular all year round. The harbour at Mossel Bay is one of the most modern commercial and recreational harbours on the southern Cape coastline.

The Information Canter at PetroSA (formerly Mossgas) informs visitors about the project and the production of synthetic fuels from Mossel Bay’s offshore gas fields. Other attractions include the Attequas Kloof Pass, Anglo-Boer/South African War blockhouses and the Bartholomew Diaz complex. Great Brak River offers a historic village with many opportunities for whale and dolphin watching along the extensive coast. Game farms hosting four of the Big Five enrich the wild and bird life.

Situated halfway between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, beautiful Mossel Bay is a coastal village and harbour of the World Famous Garden Route. This popular holiday town is surrounded by a sunbathed peninsula and the refreshing waters of the Indian Ocean.

It is a busy summer destination as well as an ideal winter retreat. It is blessed with a mild climate all-year round but its most important feature is its status as the historical capital of the Garden Route.

Well-traveled pleasure boats dock regularly as well as other international seafarers using the modern docking facilities. Mossel Bay is a rapidly growing tourist destination as more and more travelers are discovering the Jewel of the Cape Garden Route. Bortholomeu Dias CrossBack in 1488 a man called Bartholomew Dias threw anchor in the Bay of St Blaize. “Aguada de Sào Bras” as it was originally known. This town was then developed as a busy export harbour for wool, ochre and ostrich feathers.

The many beautiful historical buildings in the town is evidence of the long ago happenings which the town as it is today. In 1601 the Dutch navigator, Paulus van Caerden, renamed it Mossel Bay, as he found that mussels were a most welcome addition to the diet of his crew. Today, mussels gathered in Mossel Bay each spring are rated by gourmets among the finest in the world.

Old Post Office Tree

Due to its rich history, there are many museums in the town to visit, there is the Maritime Museum which focuses on the sailing and ships of the early days of discovery, it is home to the impressive life-size replica of Bartolomeu Dias’s caravel, the ship in which he sailed into Mossel Bay in the year 1488. It also displays ship models of a bygone era, route maps to the East.

The Granery is another museum which has a permanent display of fresh specimens of wild flowers found in this region, and a good selection of photographs of the many mountain passes that link the coastal area to the Little Karoo. The Shell Museum houses a very large collection of shells, and demonstrates how they were used by man through the years as tools etc.

See more about the Garden Route [http://www.travelinsouthafrica.co.za]