Happy birthday Chris
17 August 2017
Francis and Chris
Sunday 6 August, and after four days and nights hiding out in the air-conditioned Hotel Rosso in Porto Cheli (top-right photo, red square indicates most important part) it is time to come back out into the heat and make a getaway from Porto Cheli. It was not a quick getaway as we discovered our chain had become entangled with the mooring anchor connected to our neighbours stink boat. After some jiggling with our anchor-chain-untangle-hook we managed to free ourselves and made our way to the SE-coast of the island of Spetses, Pityoussa in ancient times. Quote from Wikipedia: "In the 15th Century, the Venetians named the island Spezia ("Spice") for its position on a major trade route; over time the name was Hellenised to Spetsai (Spetse/Spetses)".
Spetses also played a major role in supporting and funding the Greek War of Liberation (1821-1832), liberating Greece from Ottoman (Turkish) occupation. It resulted in the First Hellenic Republic, after some heavy-handed intervention from the three then Great Powers (Britain, France and Russia).
We anchored and ran a line ashore in a small sheltered bay opposite another private island called Spetsopoula (Little Spteses). This one is owned by descendants of Stavros Niarchos, a Greek shipping magnate and multi-billionaire in the same class as Aristotle Onassis. He was married five times, Charlotte Ford (indeed of the car magnate Henry II) once and 40% of his former wives died of overdoses. His company operated more than 80 tankers worldwide at one time, helped by the Suez crisis and rapidly increasing need for oil. The island is, of course, a no go zone for the likes of us.
Apart from the multiple charter boats that swarm in for their lunch stops we are along with one other yacht tied up on the other side, alone in this very lovely peaceful spot and a very nice, though not very eventful, snorkel site.
Tuesday 8 August, and after two nights hanging about on Spetses we are moving further along the Peloponnesus coast, we are now back in range of the Meltemi and we need to take shelter from the strong North winds for the next few days. We drop anchor in the bay outside the harbour of Ermioni. So now we are not only dealing with the third heatwave to hit Greece this season, but a very hot and gusty wind as well. Francis has opted to sleep outside in the cockpit for the last few nights and Chris has also finally reached the conclusion that it is a better option than sweating it out in the cabin as the night time temperatures do not drop below 30 degrees C.
Wednesday 9 August: after a day of being blown in circles in strong gusts we managed to head ashore for a very nice 20th anniversary dinner in a lovely restaurant seated right next to the water. A delicious dinner a few glasses of Prosecco for Chris and live entertainment by a young woman and her guitar guaranteed a most enjoyable evening. After loading ourselves back into our trusted inflatable Cloe, Chris ably shone our light and pointed our way back to Clio for another hot night.
After another very windy day yesterday, the gusts have finally settled today Friday 11 August, and we got ashore to stock up on supplies and then head out to continue our journey direction the sheltered anchorages of Poros. We found a nice anchorage on the southwest side of Ydra (or Hydra) that we had all to ourselves. Because it is a bit of a small cove it was necessary to run a line ashore so Chris dived in and swam a line to a suitable rock to secure us to. Unfortunately a sea urchin was sitting (if not sneakily hiding) under the water line on the rock exactly where Chris tried to grab a handhold. Instead she copped a palm full of urchin spikes, ouch.
Once we were settled Francis swam out to check our anchor only to discover that the chain had managed to get itself under a large rock wrapped around a smaller rock and the anchor was sitting on a rock bed. It is all very secure and we are not expecting wind tonight so we will deal with it tomorrow.
This is a lovely spot for swimming and snorkelling after a couple of weeks in murky water this is a treat.
Early rise today, Saturday 12 August, while there is no wind we want to see if we can disentangle our chain and raise anchor without too much drama. (Trust me I'm a)Skipper is very calm and assures Chris that it will not be a problem and he has a few strategies in mind. Much to Chris's relief the first strategy worked brilliantly. We moved up over where the chain had slipped under the rock and by gently turning Clio and slowly hauling in the chain it freed itself and our anchor was free. Whew!
So we moved on a bit further along the mainland coast and stopped at another very nice spot off the end of the island of Spathi. More beautiful water and caves to explore. We had lunch and a swim before it filled up with boats, we then headed out for Poros. Anchoring in Monastery Bay just off the beach a lovely spot.
Sunday 13 August, and it is Chris's birthday today and such a lovely relaxing spot to celebrate. We enjoyed a quiet day topped off with a nice glass of Prosecco and leftovers for dinner. Cheers
Monday 14 August and we need to get fresh water and it would be nice to hook up to shore power again after many weeks of relying on our trusty solar panels that limit exorbitant use of one of the bigger computers on board. We were not sure about being able to get a spot on the quay in this very busy harbour of Poros, but we got lucky and snuck in next to a Canadian yacht right in front of a power and water box. Francis radioed the port authority to organise power and water only to be told the sad story that Poros has a water problem which has been going on for three weeks. In the pecking order of hotels, houses and businesses, yachts were at the very bottom of the list and they have decided to not provide any water to tourist's boats. This was disappointing (annoying) as our tanks are almost empty and we were really hoping to give Clio a well-deserved wash of weeks of salt-crystals accumulating on her decks. Oh well, we do what we can.
So Chris packs up all our washing and takes it off to the laundry and after another very warm day we went out for a belated birthday dinner for Chris. What a treat Chris enjoyed very much a steak fillet with creamy mushroom sauce, the first steak since leaving Oz. Yum.
During our dinner a marching band came by with drums beating and the church bells were busily ringing. It is Saints day of the Virgin Mary (Panagia in Greek orthodox religion) tomorrow and the celebrations have commenced. As we walked back to Clio we followed the procession making their way to the church which is 100 metres from Clio. We then settled in to listen to chanting and singing being blasted out over loud speakers very late into the night.
The bells and the chanting started up again early this morning, Tuesday 15 August, and as we really need to get water soon, it is time to move on again. Our laundry was delivered from the wonderful Mary's Laundry who did a fantastic job. The man who delivered gave us a rundown on the water situation and the nonsense of bureaucracy and their failings to provide adequate services, and we assured him that this does not only occur in Greece. After our discussion we lifted our anchor and made our way to Aegina and in our quest for fresh water.