Aegean to West Mediterranean Passages

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WorldMediterraneanAegean to West Mediterranean Passages
Aegean to West Mediterranean Passages
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Aegean to Gibraltar
Northern Route
Southern Route

Description

Depending on the time you would like to complete the passage, your departure point, and personal preference you must decide whether to take a southern route via Malta (south of Sicily) or a northern route along the Messina Strait in Italy (north of Sicily).

In general the northern route is shorter and faster than the southern. Also the northern route has shorter legs and more places to stop.

All the routing instructions described in this page can be reversed and equally apply for passages from Gibraltar to the Aegean Sea.

See also East Mediterranean Passages.

Because of the relative weak currents in the Mediterranean and the lack of trade winds these routes can be followed at either eastward or westward direction. But, unlike larger bodies of water such as oceans, the Mediterranean is subject to more volatile weather. When the wind blows, especially during the months from November to April, it can often reach force 9 and at times force 12. During these times the seas, although not as large as in the oceans, are very steep with short wave lengths. These are at best extremely uncomfortable and at worst very dangerous.

It is best to do as Mediterranean sailors have been doing since antiquity, restrict sailing to short trips in the winter months and plan long passages during May to October.

Charts

See Mediterranean.

Also see the charts for individual countries or islands.

Weather

See Mediterranean.

Weather Windows

The months to be avoided for this passage are from November to April when violent storms are possible.

The best time of the year for this passage is either in May - June or in September - October when various ports and marinas are less crowded and the weather is usually benign. In October, however, there is a possibility of thunderstorms so one has to be cautious.

Possible Departure Points

Below some of the possible departure points from the Aegean Sea.

In Turkey


In Greece

Route/Suggested Stopovers

Northern Route Via Strait of Messina and N of Sicily

This IS the shorter and faster route for traversing the Mediterranean from most points along the Aegean Sea except when you originate from Crete in which case you should take the Southern Route.

There are two ways to reach the Strait of Messina from the Aegean Sea:

Via the Corinth Canal to Cagliari

This route, that utilizes the Corinth Canal Isthmia/wiki/Aegean_to_West_Mediterranean_Passages#IsthmiaWaterway-canal icon Isthmia [[Aegean to West Mediterranean Passages#Isthmia|Isthmia]] 37°54.91′N, 23°0.61′E (canal's E entrance), is desirable for yachts that start from anywhere in Aegean as it is the shortest. However, the canal fee is appreciable. Yachts usually arrive early at the canal entrance because there can be considerable delays before the transit (almost all other vessels have a higher priority).

There you can clear customs and provision. The distance from the canal to Zakinthos is about 115 nM.
Warning: Also be aware that south of Reggio local fishermen deploy lines with floats that are particularly hard to see during a night passage.
Warning: There are strong currents, which build heavy seas, in the Strait of Messina believed to be the location of the mythological Scylla and Charybdis. Consult the tide tables before the passage through the Strait.

Pylos (S Peloponnese) to Cagliari

In this route you sail NW 335 nM from Pylos/wiki/Aegean_to_West_Mediterranean_Passages#.5B.5BPylos.5D.5DBerth icon Pylos [[Aegean to West Mediterranean Passages#Pylos|Pylos]] 36°55.06′N, 21°41.79′E to Reggio di Calabria/wiki/Aegean_to_West_Mediterranean_Passages#.5B.5BReggio_di_Calabria.5D.5DHarbour icon Reggio di Calabria [[Aegean to West Mediterranean Passages#Reggio di Calabria|Reggio di Calabria]] 38°07.6′N, 15°39.1′E . There are no stopping possibilities.

Warning: Also be aware that south of Reggio local fishermen deploy lines with floats that are particularly hard to see during a night passage.
Warning: There are strong currents, which build heavy seas, in the Strait of Messina believed to be the location of the mythological Scylla and Charybdis. Consult the tide tables before the passage through the Strait.

Cagliari to the Balearics

From Cagliari/wiki/Aegean_to_West_Mediterranean_Passages#.5B.5BCagliari.5D.5DHarbour icon Cagliari [[Aegean to West Mediterranean Passages#Cagliari|Cagliari]] 39°12.65′N, 09°06.77′E you can sail WNW to the Balearic Islands in Spain. You can sail to either:

All of these harbors are ports of entry into Spain. None of these passages have any stopping possibilities. If you are not in any great hurry you can sail first to Mahon and then work your way S to Ibiza enjoying the islands.

Balearics to Gibraltar

From the Balearic Islands you can go along the Costa Del Sol and the Costa Del Sol of mainland Spain. Assuming departure from Ibiza astopover choisces are:

Warning: Be aware that near the capes of the coast of Spain confused seas and gusty winds are prevalent. Also, along the spanish coast there is a good W setting current that normally will be helpful but with a strong E wind, the notorious Levante, very steep seas can be experienced. This current gets very strong, reaching 6 knots, near Europa Point of Gibraltar.

Southern Route Via Malta and S of Sicily

This is not the shortest nor the fastest route for traversing the Mediterranean from points along the Aegean Sea with the exception from points in Crete.

This route goes through the Strait Sicily and offers the opportunity for a stopover in Malta. Depending on your point of origin and whether you need to formally exit Greece (see Arrival/Departure procedures for Greece) you have several choices:

Crete to Malta

In Crete you can clear customs in either Iraklio/wiki/Aegean_to_West_Mediterranean_Passages#.5B.5BIraklio.5D.5DHarbour icon Iraklio [[Aegean to West Mediterranean Passages#Iraklio|Iraklio]] 35°21′N, 25°09.2′E (about 525 nM) or in Chania/wiki/Aegean_to_West_Mediterranean_Passages#.5B.5BChania.5D.5DHarbour icon Chania [[Aegean to West Mediterranean Passages#Chania|Chania]] 35°31.16′N, 24°0.96′E and sail to Marsamxett(Valletta), Malta/wiki/Aegean_to_West_Mediterranean_Passages#.5B.5BMarsamxett_Harbour.7CMarsamxett.28Valletta.29.5D.5D.2C_.5B.5BMalta.5D.5DBerth icon Marsamxett(Valletta), Malta [[Aegean to West Mediterranean Passages#Marsamxett(Valletta), Malta|Marsamxett(Valletta), Malta]] 35°53.97′N, 14°30.24′E (about 460 nM). The passage is straightforward with an almost westerly heading. There are no stopping possibilities. Both of these departure ports are good places for obtaining provisions.

Cythera to Malta

The main harbor of Cythera, Kapsáli/wiki/Aegean_to_West_Mediterranean_Passages#.5B.5BCythera.23Kaps.C3.A1li.7CKaps.C3.A1li.5D.5DHarbour icon Kapsáli [[Aegean to West Mediterranean Passages#Kapsáli|Kapsáli]] 36°08.6′N, 22°59.89′E is NOT a port of entry. So, this route is not suitable for yachts that need to clear customs. The distance to Marsamxett(Valletta), Malta/wiki/Aegean_to_West_Mediterranean_Passages#.5B.5BMarsamxett_Harbour.7CMarsamxett.28Valletta.29.5D.5D.2C_.5B.5BMalta.5D.5DBerth icon Marsamxett(Valletta), Malta [[Aegean to West Mediterranean Passages#Marsamxett(Valletta), Malta|Marsamxett(Valletta), Malta]] 35°53.97′N, 14°30.24′E is about 420 nM and the passage is straightforward with a westerly heading. There are no stopping possibilities. Kapsáli is a good place for obtaining provisions.

Pylos to Malta

Pylos/wiki/Aegean_to_West_Mediterranean_Passages#.5B.5BPylos.5D.5DHarbour icon Pylos [[Aegean to West Mediterranean Passages#Pylos|Pylos]] 36°55.06′N, 21°41.79′E in the SW of the Peloponnese is a laid-back place to clear customs and a good place for provisioning. The distance from Pylos to Marsamxett(Valletta), Malta/wiki/Aegean_to_West_Mediterranean_Passages#.5B.5BMarsamxett_Harbour.7CMarsamxett.28Valletta.29.5D.5D.2C_.5B.5BMalta.5D.5DBerth icon Marsamxett(Valletta), Malta [[Aegean to West Mediterranean Passages#Marsamxett(Valletta), Malta|Marsamxett(Valletta), Malta]] 35°53.97′N, 14°30.24′E is about 338 nM and it is straightforward with a westerly heading. There are no stopping possibilities.

Malta to Cagliari

From Marsamxett(Valletta), Malta/wiki/Aegean_to_West_Mediterranean_Passages#.5B.5BMarsamxett_Harbour.7CMarsamxett.28Valletta.29.5D.5D.2C_.5B.5BMalta.5D.5DHarbour icon Marsamxett(Valletta), Malta [[Aegean to West Mediterranean Passages#Marsamxett(Valletta), Malta|Marsamxett(Valletta), Malta]] 35°53.97′N, 14°30.24′E you can sail 325 nM NW to Cagliari/wiki/Aegean_to_West_Mediterranean_Passages#.5B.5BCagliari.5D.5DHarbour icon Cagliari [[Aegean to West Mediterranean Passages#Cagliari|Cagliari]] 39°12.65′N, 09°06.77′E and there join the Northern Route. Along the way, with a diversion of about 25 nM from the rhumb line you can stop and visit the lovely Italian island of Pantelleria/wiki/Aegean_to_West_Mediterranean_Passages#.5B.5BPantelleria.5D.5DHarbour icon Pantelleria [[Aegean to West Mediterranean Passages#Pantelleria|Pantelleria]] 36°50.0′N, 11°56.2′E .

Warning: There is very heavy shipping traffic as well as many fishing boats (not always well lit) in Strait of Sicily. You need to keep a good lookout especially during the night.

Malta to Tunisia

From Marsamxett(Valletta), Malta/wiki/Aegean_to_West_Mediterranean_Passages#.5B.5BMarsamxett_Harbour.7CMarsamxett.28Valletta.29.5D.5D.2C_.5B.5BMalta.5D.5DBerth icon Marsamxett(Valletta), Malta [[Aegean to West Mediterranean Passages#Marsamxett(Valletta), Malta|Marsamxett(Valletta), Malta]] 35°53.97′N, 14°30.24′E you can easily sail to Tunisia:

Both destinations are ports of entry to Tunisia.

Warning: As you approach Tunisia be aware of the many tuna fishing nets that float at the surface and cover large areas.

Tunisia to Cagliari

From Sidi Bou Said (Tunis)/wiki/Aegean_to_West_Mediterranean_Passages#.5B.5BSidi_Bou_Said.5D.5D_.28Tunis.29Berth icon Sidi Bou Said (Tunis) [[Aegean to West Mediterranean Passages#Sidi Bou Said (Tunis)|Sidi Bou Said (Tunis)]] 36°51.92′N, 10°21.03′E you can sail 220 nM NW to Cagliari/wiki/Aegean_to_West_Mediterranean_Passages#.5B.5BCagliari.5D.5DHarbour icon Cagliari [[Aegean to West Mediterranean Passages#Cagliari|Cagliari]] 39°12.65′N, 09°06.77′E , Sardinia in Italy and there join the Northern Route.

Tunisia to Gibraltar via N African Coast

You can sail W from Sidi Bou Said (Tunis)/wiki/Aegean_to_West_Mediterranean_Passages#.5B.5BSidi_Bou_Said.5D.5D_.28Tunis.29Berth icon Sidi Bou Said (Tunis) [[Aegean to West Mediterranean Passages#Sidi Bou Said (Tunis)|Sidi Bou Said (Tunis)]] 36°51.92′N, 10°21.03′E along the N African Coast with stopovers in Algeria and Morocco. The distance along this route is about 775 nM.

Possible Arrival Points

Distance & Duration

See Mediterranean Distances Table and Aegean Distances Tables I.

Forums

List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)

References

See also Mediterranean.

Comments

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