GEMS OF THE AEGEAN
AQUAMARINE & AEGEAN PEARL SEPTEMBER 2009
Thursday 10th September 2009
We called at Igoumenitsa well before dawn but no other vessels could be seen. After a leisurely self-service breakfast, there was lots of time to enjoy the beauty of the sea passage with the mountains of the Greek mainland on our port side and the various islands on the starboard side, heading south-east towards the port of Patras in the Peloponnese part of Greece.
It’s interesting to remember that the Rio-Antirrio Bridge (officially the Charilaos Trikoupis Bridge) which crosses the Gulf of Corinth between the mainland and Patras, together with the road bridge over the Corinth Canal, are the only physical connections with the mainland.
Superfast Ferries run a coach service from the ship side to the port of Piraeus, so tickets (Euros 20 each) were bought on board, ready to begin the 212 km journey (which included driving over the Corinth Canal bridge) towards Athens after our arrival. We had time to watch the other vessels in port before we disembarked into the warm sunshine, ready for our three hour journey in an air-conditioned coach which included half an hour break for a tea/comfort stop.
Our ship reflected in Anek's office windows
Ships seen at Patras: Superfast VI, Ionian Queen, Kefalonia, Europa Palace, Lefka Ori, Aktaia 2 (the Oil & Debris Skimmer)
After a short walk from the port of Piraeus we were able to check in to the ideal Ideal Hotel, before another treat: taking a little ferry to Salamis Island to see what we could see there and in the Great Harbour at Piraeus. And what a list that proved to be! Amongst the curiosities was the smaller of Saddam Hussein’s yachts, the Knud E. Hansen-designed Quaysat Al Saddam, laid up amongst a larger group of ships and apparently for sale.
The return from Salamis Island had to be on a different route: we took a very small local ferry from there to Perama, where we noticed an old liberty ship being refitted for the local maritime museum, then a local bus back to the city. After a quick ‘refresh’, we met other OLS friends at the Lion Restaurant, ideally situated near the entrance to the Great Harbour. A convivial evening followed…
Ships seen at Piraeus/Salamis: Salamis Express I, Kriti II, Elyros, Ierapetra L, Lissos, Nissos Chios, Mapina, Speedrunner, Blue Star Paros, Jet Ferry 1, Marina, Rodanthi, Romilda, Milena, Dimitroula, Anthi Marina, Phedra, Phivos, Apollon Hellas, Posidon Hellas, Agia Theodora, Hellenic Voyager, Salamis Filoxenia (ex Van Gogh), Mona Lisa, Ivory (ex-Ausonia), Penelope A, Red Sea I, Aeolos Kenteris, Quaysat Al Sadam, New Endeavor Lines ferry, Ro-Pax I, Hellenic Liberty, ex-Aegean Dolphin, MSC Musica, Ruby Princess
To be continued...