From France to Greece 2002


                                 From France to Greece (2002)
Route plan
Due to favorable conditions we decided to follow a route along the west side of Corsica which normally is more windy but has the best places to visit and the best protected bays to stop for swimming.

Route plan from France to Greece (Screenshot from MAXSEA Marine Software)

Day 1 – Location: Hyeres
Captains Commentary: We arrived in Nice airport but not my bag with all the necessary items to be able to send a day picture of the new boat. With a rented car we arrived in Hyeres. The next day the lost bag was found and delivered to our boat and we are able to send you the first picture of the boat moored in the port of Hyeres.We had a very thorough demonstration of the interior of the boat and we had our first dinner on board focacia , salami with goat cheese (chevre) and our first bottle of the excellent red wine that was onboard courtesy of Mr Lemonier the CEO of Amel. It was a difficult but very pleasant first day on board Alma Libre.

Alma Libre at night
Day 2 – Location: Hyeres
Captains Commentary:Today was a hard day. My friend George who is helping me is providing tremendous help. Without him the job would have been much more difficult and for sure less fun. We tried to buy everything necessary for the trip but it seems that there is always something missing. We continued our training on the machine room the watermaker and the generator. The weather was perfect for a wonderful sailing but we had to supply the boat with food, tools, diving equipment, ropes etc. The raymarine instruments are very nice and POCHON has made a very good job for the installation. Now it has to be proven if they are really reliable. It was a difficult day but tomorrow we were promised to do some sailing. I hope is going to more interesting..
In the night we removed the brown Alma Libre letters and placed the logo that I have prepared in Greece which is much happier than the letters provided by Amel. Perhaps they are going to ask us to supply the letters for the boat naming in the future.

Daylight picture of ALMA LIBRE with my logo on it
Day 3 – Location: Hyeres
Captains Commentary This was a very nice day. We have sailed a lot. We have learned how to put the ballooner . If you click at the link you can download video of that. We have sailed to the north east of the area and learned about the various safety issues of the boat handling. We have finally started to sail after so many days of waiting… In the afternoon we continued the supply of the boat with various missing things. It seems that there is no end. Hyeres-Balloner
Day 4 – Location:Ile de Porquerolles 43’00 North – 06’12 East
Captains Commentary
Finally we left from Hyeres . After a hard day to sign some papers and after the final calibration of the anemometer we had a wonderful sailing in the golf of Hyeres and we arrived in the wonderful Ile de Porquerolles. Porquerolles- Fast sailing
George was 4 times on top of the mast for the calibration and took very nice photos.
We reached 8.1 Knots and it was really wonderful sailing without waves, a lot of wind and a wonderful port with a lot of sailing boats and relative full of people for that season.
Day 5 – Location: Cannes
Captains Commentary We left the wonderful Island early in the morning and on the way to Cannes we stopped for swimming at Il’d’Or. It was really nice after so long time to swim in such a nice place. In the afternoon we arrived in Cannes. Gianna and the children will arrive here from the Nice airport. This was the first real sailing 51 nm.
We have arrived in Cannes in the afternoon in order to buy the latest provisions. The following video is a presentation of the boat made by Hara. I hope you will enjoy it! videos/First visit -Cannes.WMV
In the afternoon Gianna, Elena and Hara arrived in Cannes. The children were very happy to see the new boat and started to look around. In evening we had a nice dinner all together.
In the morning before leaving Elena started to draw the old town of Cannes from the boat. I felt that she was happy so am I. She really likes the place and I am sure that she is going to enjoy the trip. Elena brought to me this nice drawing of the boat as a gift. I think that she also dreaming of the trip.
Day 6 – Location: Cannes to St.Tropez
Captains Commentary We left from Cannes for St.Tropez. On the way we stopped for swimming again at Il’d’ Or and arrived in St Tropez after nice sailing in the gulf. There was no place in the Harbor as the Rolex Cup was starting. So we anchored out side the harbor and had wonderful view of the best sailing yachts and megayachts sailing against each other. It was fantastic.Elena and Gianna enjoyed very much the city and the shops and we had a very nice dinner in St-Tropez.
Day 7 – Location: St. Tropez to Corsica (Calvi)
Captains Commentary: At 9.30 in the afternoon we lift the anchor from St. Tropez for Corsica . The night was very calm although in the beginning the boat was rolling due to a residual swell. Everybody felt to sleep and I took over the first watch until 4 in the morning. Then George took over until sun rise. We arrived in Calvi at 11 the next day. The Radar was very helpful especially the MARPA that was in use all night. Total distance 102 Nm.Calvi is a very pleasant place with nice marina, a very nice beach close by and nice restaurants with corsican spcialities. videos/Corsica.WMV
Day 8 – From Calvi to Ajaccio 41.54.67 N-08.44.01E
Captains Commentary: We left Calvi 8 o” clock in the morning the wind was very low so we had to motorsail along the West Corsican coast. The mountains are very high and the rock formations along the coast very impressive with red colors and high peaks. We stopped in Girolata for a refreshing swim and it was really very nice.
The sea water temperature was really pleasant but the water is not very clear as it is in Greece. The surroundings are very nice and after a quick lunch we continued motor sailing to Ajacio the capital of Corsica . On the way we passed in front of Cargese which is a small port that was founded in 1663 by Greek people fleeing from Mani. We wanted to stop and visit the Orthodox church but as it was late we decided not .
We arrived 6.30 and moored at Vieux Port very close to the house of Napoleon Bonaparte. The arrival was not very easy as we faced problem with the engine (?) during the manouvers in the Port.
Day 9 – From Ajaccio to Bonifacio
Captains Commentary: Due to the problem Amel proposed to stay in the harbor as they think that the problem was due to the hydraulic gearbox and Amel suggested us to wait their technician to arrive tomorrow and to fix the problem. So today was sightseeing in Ajaccio and we hope that we will leave tomorrow for Sardinia through the Bonifacio straits. The Amel technicians arrived in Ajaccio at 8 am. They changed the hydraulic gearbox and repaired the dish- washing machine. I believe that they provided excellent after sale service as they came from La Rochelle to Marseille and from Marseille to Ajaccio in Corsica carrying the 40 Kg gearbox 8 Liters of ATF fluid and various other small parts and tools. After the repair we left at 1 pm for Bonifacio with no wind at all. On the way Gianna and the children prepared nikoli a sweet that they like very much. We arrived in Bonifacio at 7.30 pm and we entered in one of the most spectaculars harbors of the west Mediterranean. It was worth a visit.
We met also the Ledroit Family who bought our previous boat Aeolian Fantasy as they were bringing the boat from Greece to France and we had a very nice dinner at the Albatross restaurant invited by the Ledroits. After the dinner everybody came to our boat and we had nice exchange of sailing adventures and a taste of nikoli and suma that George brought from Paros especially for the trip…
videos/Bonifacio-Porto Cervo.WMV
Day 10 – From Bonifacio to Porto Cervo via Lavezi & Madalena Islands
Captains CommentaryWe started in the morning sailing for the notorious Bonifacio straits. The last time in 1996 I was here during the delivery of our previous boat it was really blowing hard but this time it was only 7-10 Knots wind, We stopped in the wonderful Lavezi Islands . It is very rare that the weather was so calm so we took advantage. After the swimming we decided to sail to Mandalena for lunch and then to continue for Porto Cervo in Sardinia. Porto Cervo is exceptional development with a very nice marina and a shopping center like in NY but in the middle of nowhere. Even Bill Gates has a house here.
Day 11 Porto Cervo – Ponza 163 miles
Captains Commentary: We left Porto Cervo 3.30 pm and started our overnight sail to the Italian mainland. We arrived in the small island of Parmarola around 11 am next day but it was full of boats so we left for Ponza.In Palmarola we found out that the problem with the engine has not been resolved as during the anchoring in a crowded place I found out that the engine was not providing power so we decided to sail for Ponza which is a very nice spot in the Mediterranean sea. In Ponza we had a very nice time. We prepared the dinghy and went for swimming in a wonderful beach and we had a very nice lunch with typical Italian spaghetti. Xara was very happy because this is her favorite food. The people were very friendly especially when they found out that we are Greeks. We hope that Amel will find the problem as I start to loose my trust.
Day 12 From Ponza to Ventotene and to Ischia
Captains Commentary We started our trip early in the morning and we stopped for lunch at the Island of Ventotene which was used at the roman times as an exile. What a coincidence, we met an other Amel boat which belong to an Italian and he is making the same trip from Hyeres to Napoli and we met them in Ventotene. So this is perhaps the only pictures of two Amels with hull number 370( mine) and hull number 371 in a very nice place like Ventotene. After lunch and a very nice dinghy ride to the old roman harbor we left for the island of Ischia. On the way we stopped the boat and we were swimming from the boat in a very deep sea. The children enjoyed it very much.
But what a surprise we entered the harbor with a lot of wind and the motor was not functioning so after a terrible ride in the harbor avoiding the incoming and outgoing boats with the help of the marina personnel we moored the boat . It was really difficult the bowthruster helped a lot but we have to find the cause of the problem. We cannot continue like that.
videos/Ventotene Sisteramel.WMV
Day 13 – Ischia
Captains Commentary Gianna and the girls left at 6 am for Pompei and me and George were waiting for the visit of Mr Brindisini the Yanmar technician Mr. Brendisini to help us with our prolem. He found out that we had air in the fuel system and promised to fix it by tomorrow we hope that he can help us. The girls returned very happy in the boat and they explained to us how nice Pompei is. They have even climbed on top to Vesouvio although it was very high and very hot. In the afternoon a summer storm hit Ischia and we were very happy that we were moored in the marina and not sailing. videos/Ischia.WMV
Day 14 – From Ischia to Capri
Captains Commentary Mr. Bredisini came around 9 am to our boat to bring out the air from the fuel system. We went together out of the harbor to test the engine and everything seems to be ok so after refueling we left for Capri. Capri is around 20 nm away and we had a wonderful sail with calm sea and we reached good speed although the wind was around 10 knots. We arrived in the Capri Marina the entrance which was invisible. We succeeded to moor the boot in a very tight place. The girls went to the town and I joined them after one hour. The town was extremely nice with a lot of green, gardens nice hotels, bars and restaurants. It seems that Capri is worth the name. 
Day 15 – From Capri to Camerota
Captains Commentary We left early in the morning with low wind and after 7 hour we arrived at Camerota.. We were a little anxious as the marina was under construction and we didn’t know exactly what we had to expect. But it was friendly and well organized after mooring we went in the town for dinner and in the restaurant they were friendly when we told them that we are Greeks. It seems that there is still a greek background in the region.
Day 16 – From Camerota to Cetraro
Captains CommentaryWe left early in the morning after buying fresh bread and paid the marina. At the exit we touched a sand bank but it was harmless. We made a around and left for Cetraro. We arrived around 3 pm and we left immediately with the dinghy for swimming. We played in the beach and suddenly a jelly fish hit Hara in the arm and the face. We were afraid as she started to cry and became very red so Gianna went with her to the hospital and she was back laughing again and waved good bye to the hospital personnel that were so friendly to her. After this adventure we went to the small town to have a look and buy some provisions and found out that the people were very friendly. We had a nice dinner and went to sleep as we had to leave early in the morning for Tropea.
Day 17 – From Cetraro to Tropea
Captains Commentary We left at 6.15 in the morning and it was the first day with some wind to do some sailing and we went pretty fast. We arrived around 3 again and went for swimming in the very nice beach close to the marina. The water was blue and the city a real surprise we liked it very much. What a nice sailing in the Tyrrhenian Sea. We arrived in Tropea around 2.00 and we went for swimming in the near by beach. The water is warm and very clear. The girls had a wonderful time after that we returned to the boat and went to discover the city of Tropea. The hidden jewel. Such a nice city full of people old castles and houses very friendly people and perhaps we have to return here in a few years.


Day 18 – From Tropea to Messina
Captains Commentary We left as usual very early in the morning and arrived to the notorious Messina straits. The wind increased and just the thinking to be there like Odysseus on a old boat was terrifying.
Gianna is wondering the famous Scyla cap near Messina.
After a very difficult maneuver in the Messina marina we moored the boat and went to discover the city which is very lively in the sea with all the ferries between Italy and Sicily coming and going but not very nice overall especially after all the nice places we have visited.
Day 19 – From Messina to Kefalonia (Greece)
Captains Commentary The most difficult part of the trip is starting. We had to cover 248 miles. We started 6:00 in the morning and arrived in Kefalonia 6:00 in the afternoon the next day so in total 36 hours. The girls behaved extremely well and it seems that they are used in the long trip. A lot of backgammon DVD watching good curry that George prepared made the time passing well together with the very good weather. Milestones the approach of a submarine, dolphins dancing around the boat and good discussion with George about sailing.videos/dolphins.WMV
And our arrival in Kefalonia after 30 days away was a surprise. In front of us a music band was making trials for the night performance of Greek music in honor of the nautical spirit of the Greeks. What a difference with the rest of Europe. We went with Hara to buy feta and they all went to visit the city of Argostoli. Our trip is approaching its end and we will miss it I am sure but we have the best of memories for the years to come.
The following video is the welcome back to Greece. The greek song speaks about a boat that arrived in Argostoli what a coincidence!
Day 20 – From Kefalonia to Patras
Captains Commentary We started very early in the morning. The girls continued their sleep with Gianna in the after cabin. When they all waked up we anchored for a nice swim at the Katelios bay with blue water and sandy bottom. Our first swim in greek waters after one month. The water was colder then in Italy but very clear. We had lunch during sailing to Patras where we moored in the nice marina and we made our official entrance in the Greek waters and received the transit Log. It is strange that only in Greece we had to receive a transit log. I believe that the European procedures do not apply in Greece. videos/nice sailing-Mizzen staysail -Patras.WMV
Day 21 – From Patras to Galaxidi via Trizonia Islands
Captains Commentary There are many places that somebody likes for unknown reasons. Trizonia is one of them for me. So I wanted that my friend George knows them and he really liked the Trizonia Islands as much as I do. It is not unusual as we have same taste for many things and of course for sailing.videos/Trizonia-Galaxidi.WMV
We arrived in Galaxidi early in the afternoon. Galaxidi is a place I like very much as we had nice memories of our sailing in the past . The night in Galaxidi was very hot and the girls decided to sleep outside. So they brought out their beds and slept al fresco.
Day 22 – From Galaxidi to Kalamaki in Athens (END OF TRIP)
Captains Commentary We started early as usual as we had to pass through the Corinth Canal which takes time and money and everybody was starting to be a little anxious to arrive. videos/Corinth.WMV We approached the Corinth Canal after passing the cape near Lutraki. It looks like cape Horn. And finally we saw Kalamaki ! We were happy but also sad that such a nice trip has to come to his end. But this is something that applies to all nice things in life. Our trip is coming to his end. We arrived safely after 1205.8 nautical miles with our new boat.
I would like to thank my family for their dedication to the trip and George as without him the trip could not have been so successful. I would like also to thank Dimitris Siatiras who helped me during the trip with the website. I hope you enjoyed it as much as we have.
The following video is a good sign of the good time we had onboard.
videos/Kalamaki-End of trip.WMV
We have had a very nice time onboard. The Super Maramu 2000 proved to be the best boat for family cruising. We have nice memories and we are already dreaming for our next long distance trip to……………………?
To be continued …

The trip lasted long but it was long enough?But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better that it should last many years;
Be quite old when you anchor at the island,
Rich with all you have gained on the way

Cavafy transl. by John Mavrogordatos, (Music by VANGELIS, Recitation by SEAN CONNERY)
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