Kincsem is at the dock here, waiting for the arrival of Rieke and Benno. The Admiral, Rainer and Almut departed a couple of days ago and I had a tight schedule. However, the key component of that schedule, doing 5 dives with a local dive shop here to qualify for the PADI diving license, got eliminated by Medicane Zorbas. Due to that storm, the visibility underwater was so bad that I cancelled dives 3 to 5 after a horrible day in the water for dives 1 and 2. If you can’t tell where up and where down is and can’t see your instructor who’s 2 meters away, it’s just not fun. Added to that was a recurring problem I have with my left ear which won’t equalize well. I’ll have to see a doctor before I try this again.

But no problem: it’s easy to stay busy on Kincsem. Stainless steel is a troublesome material in the Med with its extremely high salt content. Little rust spots appear very soon after TLC has been applied. So I’ve been trying various polishes, hoping that the effects would last longer than a few days. Now I’m on polish no. 3 and I worked for 6 hours to get most of the SS done on deck. We’ll see whether it’s any better that nos. 1 and 2! All the while at the dock, I’m under the “supervision of the local men. There are a lot of them in the mornings, cleaning the fish caught overnight or more accurately, chatting while doing some cleaning of fish. And in the afternoon, the whole town seems to wander the docks and the men stop by, chatter away while pointing at various parts of Kincsem. Some of them try their English on me or tell me of times they lived in the US …..

After Porto Heli and Zorbas, we had a few nice days for a change. First we anchored in Ormos Mandraki, a nice bay on the island of Hydra. We took the dinghy to Hydra town which was great fun. The town has no cars (except fire trucks) or mopeds - it’s donkeys only. It also controls development very well - you just can’t build anything that’s new. No pools, no villas, just nicely refurbished old buildings. I understand the real estate prices are the highest on the Greek islands. From one of the many harbor cafes, we could admire med-mooring with boats three deep, which looked like a lot of “fun,” even in no wind. You can imaging the spaghetti of anchor chains if each boat has a bow anchor down and ties the stern line to the boat behind it! It gets even better if, like in Hydra, there are two opposing piers so that your anchor has not only the chance to snag the anchor of the other boats behind or next to your boat but also the anchors of the row of boats opposite! It is probably no accident that there were only charter boats in that harbor!

The next day was even more touristique. We anchored both in the morning and in the afternoon for a swim, and we sailed leasurely through the mile long harbor of Poros, a beautiful town that we wished we had time to spend some time at. But we had to get to the canal of Corinth. We reached the canal the next day, in the pouring rain. But after we had filled the diesel tanks from an enterprising Canadian whose tanker truck was parked on the docks of the canal authority and had paid the extremely high canal fees, the sun came out and we had a great trip through the canal. The canal is only 25 m wide so traffic only moves in one direction at a time. The canal is over 200 years old but plans to build it were first drawn up in Roman times. It’s understandable, though, that Romans did not succeed in their quest to build it. Only after the discovery of dynamite did it become feasible to break through the masses of rock, which in some places is 70 meters high.


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