Last time we left our readers hanging on the shore in Itéa, after a wonderful trip to the temples of Delphi. It’s about time to wrap up our October journey on the Bay of Corinth, but before settling down for the winter in Mesolonghi, we still had time to visit the town of Galaxidi. It’s situated opposite Itéa and it took us less than an hour to motor across the bay.
On the western side of Itéa we investigated a strangely red, large terraced area. Seen from up close, you start to notice industrial structures, conveyors and excavators. It’s a bauxite mine – bauxite is a source of aluminium – and because it’s so close to a historically significant and touristic area, it’s been very well landscaped to blend in with the surrounding hills. Still, there was something eerie and threatening about it, that made us imagine armies of orks forging their weapons underground.
Galaxidi has a protected harbour, where most of the winds blowing in the Bay of Corinth never reach. However, it’s open to the north, and northerly winds can bring choppy waves into the bay, making life on the quay quite uncomfortable. Boats use their own anchors to moor, and park stern towards the quay. This practice, called Med mooring, apparently inherited from the fishing boats, is all very nice when you have a modern boat that’s easy to steer and outfitted with a bow thruster. Our boat is a more traditional type with a longish keel, heavy build – and no bow thruster – and she likes to turn to port when in reverse instead of going in a straight line. We mostly stay away from marinas where we have to Med moor, and that’s what we did this time, too. We found a good place to anchor outside the town and rode our dinghy into the marina.
Galaxidi is a very pretty town of some 2000 inhabitants, a few minimarkets, and a bunch of restaurants, bars, and cafes catering to the tourists. It was the end of the season, but the restaurants where full of people in the evenings. Boats filled nearly the entire town quay.
Marina ducks have their floating house anchored in the bay.
Galaxidi used to be a busy, wealthy maritime trading base with a large merchant fleet in the 18th century, and again in the late 19th century after the town had been rebuilt after great destruction in the Greek war for independence. Many large townhouses and mansions remain from the time of prosperity, one of them now housing the Maritime Museum. It happened to be closed every time we walked past – maybe it was already hibernating. Many buildings boasted ship’s figureheads and other symbols from the town’s golden age.
On the opposite shore of the bay, there’s a handsome pine forest, with a nice walking path. All along there are little coves to choose from if you want your own private beach.
At the tip of the cape we found a statue, a memorial to the seafarers’ families.
There are no more merchant ships in Galaxidi, but a few fishing vessels and a large number of prettily painted, colourful fishing boats. The water was very clear and we could see a lot of marine life from the town quay.
The water was still +24°C, so we enjoyed swimming in our anchorage, and admired the town silhouette on one side and rugged mountain landscapes on the other side of our boat. The sunset painted the mountain tops in pink and violet hues, and it was quiet and calm.
After a few days, it was time to head home, towards Messolonghi. On our way there we stopped again on the island of Trizonia, covered in an earlier blog post. On the 1st of November we arrived in our winter base, Marina Messolonghi, succeeded in our first attempt at Med mooring and settled down to marina life for the next few months. The end of October was not only the end of our sailing season, but it also seemed to be the end of the Greek summer. Only a couple of days into our marina existence, a thunderstorm rolled in from the sea. It was the biggest we had seen since trying to dodge its cousin in the Ionian Sea on our crossing from Sicily to Kefalonia. It turned out to be the first of many autumn thunderstorms, and rainy days have been quite frequent. Still, when the sun shines, it’s very warm and pleasant. We’re making our Christmas preparations in what feels like a Finnish midsummer!
- Ambracian Gulf and Vonitsa – Towns, Castles and Nature’s Wonders September 9, 2020
- Castle Tour Continues – Corfu October 23, 2020
- Paxos – Limestone and Little Villages October 29, 2020