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Santorini Docking, Mooring, etc.
I was recently (July 1 - 3) in Santorini with a Bareboat Sailing Charter (monohull -- draft: 2.4 meters) and can make the following observations:
Vlikadha is the only real marina on the Island. I did not stay in the marina, but did drive to it in a rental car (actually a Jeep, but 4 wheel drive is not needed) to take a look at it for future trips.
The problems associated with Vlikadha are well documented on the interweb, but to briefly recap:
1. The approach/entrance is a slalom-like course of poles and other markers.
2. The Marina is too shallow.
3. The Marina is too crowded.
4. The Marina is too far away from everything else.
5. The Marina is unappealing.
Here is what I observed/comments as to the above points:
1. Come on -- grow a pair. Itís marked just fine. Get the Heikell book if you havenít already.
2. This is a big one and the reason I did not take my boat there. It has a tendency to shoal up. In late June, a charter boat captain I spoke with was reporting the shallowest part at 3 meters. The Heikell Book and the interweb report depths of anywhere between 1.7 meters and 2.4 meters. I donít know if there has been more dredging since I spoke with the charter boat captain, but I seriously doubt you can count on anything more than 2.4 and probably less. I did see a couple of Beneteaus in there from a distance and they looked to be 46 - 51 feet long. However, these models could have drawn as little as 1.7 meters.
3. It was pretty packed in July. I donít know what it will be like in September. If you have some guts and are a good boat handler (and your crew is a good line handling crew) you will be able to work something out. A bow thruster (if on a monohull) would be very nice.
4. The Marina is as far away from everything else as you can possible get. I would not rely on buses. I would rent a car or scooter, probably a car, if you want to get up to Oia, the very picturesque village on the North end of the Island. I believe most car rental agencies will come to the Marina to pick you up at no charge. Fira on scooter is do-able.
5. The pictures of the Marina are misleading. It is not that nice. It was never completed and there are piles of gravel throughout the Marina. The pictures I have seen make it look clean and quaint. It is rough and almost industrial in nature. I had a high maintenance crew and boy am I glad I didnít go there.
There is a helpful website about the Marina at aegean-marinas.eu
As for the main town of Fira, I took a 17 foot motorboat in there. There is no dock whatsoever. There is a seawall with steps. You CANNOT Med Moor to the seawall due to the depth and the constant and tremendous ferry wakes. As you view Fira Harbor from the water, to the right hand side of the harbor, I saw two Beneteau monohulls moored there. There were either on one or two commercial sized moorings. You MUST run lines to shore. Most likely, you will have to launch your dingy and put someone physically on the mooring (they are large cement moorings) to tie on the mooring lines.
I spoke to the guys on Shamrock V who spent one night in Fira Harbor on a mooring (but not the one I am referring to here). They said it was a horrible night; they had to left their launch out of the water due to the constant ferry wakes. They only stayed there one night before moving. If you donít know what Shamrock V is, Google it. If they had a hard time (120 feet -- 120,000 pounds), imagine a smaller boat.
Most advice I got was to leave the boat in Ios and take a ferry. I did not do that. It really depends on what you draw. If you are 2 meters or under, I think that the Marina is OK, but as I said, you'll have to rent a car.
Lastly, one week is not enough time to go from Athens to Santorini and return unless you have near perfect weather and donít mind sailing all day for 2 days down and 2 days back.
Hope this helps.
Last edited by formermdrvandal1; 09-16-2010 at 03:55 PM.