Tao: From Greece to the Pacific, via Gibraltar...

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It was mid-June, and we had to make our way towards the Corinth Canal. At daybreak, we were sailing along Cape Sounion and Poseidon’s temple. A thick, yellowish mist stagnated in Athens Bay. As we approached Corinth, the scenery was just cargo ships and industry. We anchored for the night just before the canal, and hoped to pass through the next day. We went to the jetty in front of the canal office to carry out the formalities. In five minutes, everything was sorted. It was 8am and we entered the canal slowly, so that our bow wave wouldn’t damage the walls. Alas, the control tower asked us to go at ‘full speed’, as other boats were waiting on the other side to cross. The canal is 3 miles long, but it is very narrow, cut out of a friable rock which requires intensive maintenance. We had three knots of current against us, the engines were flat out and we left white foam behind us. Then we entered the Gulf of Patras, to pass under a huge viaduct which links the Peloponnese to the mainland. From a distance, we wondered if our mast was going to pass underneath it! But close-to, it is so high that we appeared tiny. We carried on towards Lipari, still ...

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