Noticed a few threads this year on boats that will pass through the Corinth Canal, one of them was us. Well we have just passed through there and thought I would jot down some notes for others. We were travelling west to east.
Firstly the canal authorities web site is difficult to find as searches come up with Noonsite, World Cruising Club
, Wikipedia etc, the official site can be found at www.aedik.gr
and once inside there is an English
Be careful, prices on their web site and on Noonsite do not include the Greek VAT at 23%. Also, it is a 24 hour operation and they are not closing on Tuesdays as stated on their web site. The call sign they use.is "Port Control" which differs from the Imray Guide.
The canal authority can be contacted on VHF
channel 11 and I can comment that from the western side they have good range and a clear signal. We called about 12 nm out as we weren't sure how we got a time to go through and it was around 1530 so wanted to see if we needed to anchor
. They came back straight away with good English
and said we should be able go through that night.
Their procedure is you call in 5nm out and again 1nm out and wait for instructions, it is all a bit ad hoc and depends on traffic. We only had to stooge around for 50 minutes for a large motor
yacht to arrive and when they give you the order you go through, it all happens in a hurry so be prepared.
We had had light NW winds for several days to this point but once in the canal we had 25 knots apparent on the nose and the water
inside was pretty choppy as we were the last of 4 boats. To help things though, there was a 1.5 to 2 knot current
running with us.
We heard another boat call up from the eastern side and asked hat speed he should maintain and control wanted 7 knots, however leading our little convoy was a tourist catamaran
that seems to spend the day taking passengers for a joy ride back and forth and he took us through at 9 to 9.5 knots and it seems like you have about a metre clear on each side (actually the canal is 25m wide)
One word of caution, about 2/3'rds the way through (measuring from west) you loose GPS
signal, not a problem as if you have any sense you are hand steering
, but having alarms going off all around you in an already tense time doesn't help so have a crew member
standing by to cancel them. I had my knuckles welded to the wheel
and eyes dead set ahead and my partner was out on deck
Once through you stop to pay on the Isthmian side unless you use an agent. The dock
is not too bad, a bit high but there are lower sections to step off on if you can get next to one. Have plenty of fenders ready as it is a bit sloppy here. Paying is quick and efficient and the operator will give you photocopies to use next time to speed the process. Yes they do take credit cards.
Once finalised it was just after 1830 and we didn't fancy another 3 hours as we had been going since 0600, so we anchored in the little bay to the north of the canal, Ormos Kalamaki. Not the prettiest place in the world but it is convenient and good holding in sand over mud at about 8 metres.
We continued on the next day to Zea marina in Piraeus and although had heard some bad reports about, we are quite enjoying it here.