Heading back north

Heading back north

Todays blog post starts with a pangolin drawing. We connected to Rachel Shaw (@pipisinpangolin) via Instagram a while ago. She is a talented artist drawing cute pangolin pictures of to raise awareness of the pangolin situation just like us. Being asked if she wants to draw a sailing pangolin, Rachel immediately agreed and see what she has sent us! You might recognize the boat… We are so happy about the drawing and really like it. Many thanks Rachel!

She also published a book now – “It’s not my fault – a pangolin’s manifesto”. You can support her work and donate by buying a copy from a store near you or online. Check out the options on Rachel’s website.

Chibi drawn by @pipisinpangolin

Before we left Zakynthos to head north again, we had to test our new diving gear and went for a dive on our own (the first time). Ok granted, there was not much to see at Laganas. However it was fun to try out our gear and dive the first time without guide just the two of us. Despite Zakynthos being known as turtle island, we did only see one of them once. But hey, at least there are plenty of souvenir shops selling plush turtles. If you want to have a turtle guarantee, we can only advise to go to Argostoli where you will see a “Caretta-Caretta” turtle head sticking out of the water every few minutes..

Turtle in Argostoli

On the way back we sailed along the west coast of Zakynthos, past Navagio Beach and the famous shipwreck to St. Andrew’s Bay. The weather had once again played a trick on us and the few well protected bays on the west coast of the island were already occupied by other ships. Being very tired, we sailed to Argostoli the next morning to take the chance to explore the island by moto. Kefalonia is a nice island, which is not quite as overrun by tourism as Zakynthos. Highlight on the tour was the “Caverna de Melissanthi”, a partially open cave with spectacular water color.

Boat tours are offered in the cave

Our next destinations was going to be the Gulf of Patras and the Gulf of Corinth. On the way there, we stopped at a beach full of turtle nests. Very early the next day we rowed the dingi to the beach and actually missed freshly hatched turtles by just a few minutes! Only the fresh tracks were still visible in the sand. The way back to the ship became an ordeal, because strong wind had built up such high waves that it was hardly possible to move forward. Completely exhausted, wet, frozen and unnerved, we fell back into bed and allowed ourselves a short rest. Then we went on to the Greek mainland. The bay Petalas offered exactly what we were looking for: A quiet, anchorage, very well protected and hardly frequented by other sailors. Here we spent two very relaxed days, watching goats on land, even took a short walk on land and let the soul unwind.

On the way to Patras we anchored in another bay, once again directly near an airport, but besides that quite unspectacular. But once again our ship kept us on our toes. We had often heard from sailors that the engine would not start. With us the opposite was the case, it could not be switched off – at least not as usual via the switch-off button in the cockpit, but only manually directly at the engine. Of course, that would be a bit impractical in the long run. We immediately started troubleshooting and after checking the wiring, the button in the cockpit and installing and removing the stop solenoid, it turned out that ultimately only the relay belonging to the solenoid had a loose contact and had to be replaced. This is very relieving as the relay only costs a few euros and not several hundred like the solenoid. The next morning we wanted to go to Patras, but now the engine again did not start. The starter battery is already a bit old and the numerous operations of the solenoid was probably too much. Fortunately we were able to fix this with a little trick: The engine compartment ventilation is also connected to the starter battery, so Christian disconnected it. Now the voltage was enough for the start… We went to Patras under engine to charge the battery again. When we convert the house batteries to lithium in Nidri soon, a new starter battery will also be installed.

The stop solenoid

In Patras we spent three days in the old port moored at the quay with direct access to the city. Here, we enjoyed great sunsets every evening. Particularly impressive and recommended to every Patras traveler is to climb the nearly 200 steps of the St. Nicolaus stairs and enjoy the sunset over the roofs of the city with a delicious cocktail in hand.

Patras evening view

The Gulf of Patras and the Gulf of Corinth are separated by the Rio-Andirrio Bridge, which is the second longest cable-stayed bridge in the world with a length of almost 3km. For us it was the first bridge we crossed under with our Pangolin. Of course the bridge is high enough for our mast, nevertheless we found this short moment under the bridge quite exciting!

A stunning construction

We have found a very cozy place on the island of Trizonia and will stay here for a few more days. We are moored in an unfinished, small harbor with a few other sailors and some who have permanently parked their ship here. Trizonia is so small that there is nothing else except a few residential houses and some restaurants. The mainland is only a few hundred meters away, so if in doubt we can hop over in the dinghy for shopping.

The summer is slowly coming to an end. After many weeks without a single rain shower, a few drops fall now and then. We both have a sweater out, because especially in the morning it is now really fresh. For sleeping at night it is very pleasant and it is nice to snuggle comfortably under a blanket again. The weather becomes more unstable, strong winds increase and we meet less and less other sailors on the water.