Been a funny few days. We decided not to go down through the Cyclades to Crete as we will be coming back that way towards the end of June. We planned a route around a bit of mainland Greece down to Monemvasia. We had a night in Russian Bay on Poros and then stopped for 3 nights in Porto Kheli.
From the sea, this looks like a thriving little town but when you go ashore, it's really just a street of cafes and bars, a bakery and a supermarket. High spot for me was finding a laundry! We wash our clothes in a bucket on deck but sheets and towels are far too dull to do this way. Low spot was losing/having my purse stolen in the supermarket. This has now become a tradition for me. I did it in Antigua and then again in Fiji. I am so slick at cancelling my cards, I have the bank phone number on speed dial. We got the ferry to Spetses from Porto Kheli and spent a day wandering round over there looking at the expensive shops and spending our last few euros on lunch. There are no private cars on the island but there are many, many scooters and motor bikes. A constant drone of engine noise as hundreds drive past us while we sit in a waterside cafe sipping Mythos. Some have families of four on them, some with granny on the back sitting side-saddle, most on their mobile phones. Not a helmet to be seen.
Our next stop was Koiladhia. We had wanted to come here because it has a shipyard which holds 300 boats and it may be somewhere that we could winter Matilda when we go back to Australia in October. It's very much a working town with lots of fishing boats on the dock. While we were there, I saw an advert on the notice board for two collapsible bikes for sale. A quick phone call and an English couple on a yacht now in Poros rang us back and brought the bikes over for us to see. They had bought them in Turkey but never really used them. So we now have them stored away in the starboard aft cabin. Hopefully, we will be able to get out and about a bit more now.
Our next stop is going to be Vivari, a huge trip of 12 Nm. Unfortunately we've been trapped in the bay at Koiladhia with 20-25 knot winds and gusts up to 34 knots. Even had to do anchor watch last night in case the anchor gave way and we dragged back onto one of the boats behind us. Don't remember this being in the brochure. Gentle day sails with lunch stops in beautiful bays, that what I was told. Nothing too arduous until we do the Atlantic crossing. Perhaps I should have read the fine print.
16/05/2013, 37 38.2N 23 09.5E
If anyone watched Joanna Lumley's Greek Odyssey, they will have seen her at Epidavros with Nana Mouskouri (my mum's favourite). It's one of the best preserved amphitheatres in Greece and apparently if you stand in the middle of the stage, you can be heard in any one of the 14,000 seats. On the programme, Nana sang Ave Maria and Joanna Lumley stood on the highest place shedding a delicate, theatrical tear at the splendour of the moment and the purity of the sound.
In an effort to re-enact this poignant scene, I asked Andy to stand in the middle of the stage and sing something touching. He had a go at 'Kelly, the Boy from Killane'. It wasn't quite what I had wanted but we can't all sing like Nana can we?
Finally, finally we have left Alimos Marina and set off to the first of what we hope will be many beautiful Greek islands. We were leaving yesterday but woke up to a typical English summer day. Cold, grey and windy! Not what we'd fantasised about over the last 3 years. Today blue sky, 25C. 10-15 knots of wind. Perfect.
We had a cracking 5 hour 30 miles sail to our first stop, Epidhavros which is actually on the mainland but feels like an island. We decided to anchor as we'd been in a marina for so long and wanted to try out our new Manson Supreme 27 kgs!! Put it down and stopped dead! Think its going to do a treat.
Took the dinghy ashore, another first. A waiter from one of the tavernas came and took our line. While we were chatting, his dad, the owner, came out. 'Are you off the catamaran?' He said. 'Yes' we said. 'Theres a phone call for you'. 'Of course there is!!!' we said. Well, we know so many people here, don't we?! And there was! Our friend Yiota just ringing to see if we we'd got there OK. Had to eat in there then, of course. Salty anchovies, fried zucchini, calamari, icy Oozo. Well it would have been rude not to.