A Sunken City, a HDABED course and a fried egg
14 September 2017
Francis and Chris
Monday 28 August
We hung peacefully behind our anchor in the little cove in Vidi bay, enjoying this very nice spot for almost a week. It is well sheltered from Meltemi attacks, devoid of speedboats towing water skiers, and has nice water for swimming and snorkeling. These are the really nice times to be on board. Everything works, enough water and supplies and things to entertain us. And nobody to interrupt the peace and quiet!
On Friday September 1 it was time to replenish our supplies again so back to Poros to the mainland for a quick supermarket stop. We anchored pretty much in the middle of the channel between Poros island and the mainland, which did not gain a lot of approval of the little water taxis connecting both sides. After a quick-march round of the shops collecting the items on the shopping list, we got back on board within the hour so to minimize the naval disruption our home-on-the-water caused the local transporters.
The peninsula of Methana (they cling to the more tourists-enticing title of 'island') is just around the corner. We know that the main port on the East side of the island (also called Methana to keep it simple) has terrible water. It is laced with natural Sulphur (thus betraying its volcanic origin) which both stinks and tends to dissolve the galvanizing zinc from steel anchor chains. So we won't go there. On the other side of Methana island is a small (originally fishing) port of Vathy that looks much more attractive. The catch is that we have to go around the whole island to get there. We did not get water in Poros (bad quality, hard to get) so we needed to find an alternative soon. So we motored around the island of Methana to the small harbour of Vathy in the hopes of filling our water tanks.
When we arrived, the small port was pretty much filled to the brim with flotilla boats. We were lucky, one boat was just leaving so we managed to squeeze into a space in between the other flotilla boats made up of English families on their summer holiday. Back in civilisation again it was a good time to sit in the taverna and watch the kids enjoying the water while we enjoyed a wine and a Barbayanni (since 1860) ouzo (pronounced as Varavayanni, and soft on hangovers).
Saturday 2 September and the flotilla left this morning and peace was restored, be it for a very short time before we were joined by another flotilla. This time bearing 50 Israeli marine biology students who were also completing their skipper course, including a mandatory '101 Heavy Drinking of Alcoholic Beverages Early in the Day' examination. Later in the day some of the young men joined us on Clio and Francis enjoyed very much discussing marine critters with them and testing their (mostly failing, possibly due to their very diligent study for the 101 HDABED course) knowledge.
Meantime there was a party happening on the other side of the very small harbour, lots of young Greek men who were celebrating a wedding (we think) by shooting shotguns into the hill above us and by throwing fireworks/dynamite into the water among the small fishing boats. This went on for a few hours and it was a very noisy afternoon as the Israelis consumed still more alcohol and the Greeks increased their explosives, lots of fun. The Israeli were slightly jumpy at the sounds of explosions, we don't know why.
We were also puzzled by a girl being left for considerable time high up in the mast of one of their boats. She didn't mind, it seems, as she took what must have been 1500 selfies in the two or so hours before she was lowered again. Possibly also part of the Skipper coursework?
Eventually all the Greeks headed out in their cars honking horns all the way and the Students visited the nearby Taverna to enjoy their last dinner and honours-level drinking before returning to Athens tomorrow. We decided to make our way around to the quieter part of the harbour to feast on very fresh seafood sitting out on the small quay.
Sunday 3 September, and we bid farewell to our Israeli friends this morning and all is quiet again. The fresh water here is very good quality (TDS 120!) so we will fill our tanks this evening and stay one more night.
Monday 4 September
Time to leave this nice little spot so after disentangling our anchor from our neighbours, we crossed the bay to an area close to Pallia Epidavros to snorkel around the sunken city found just off Kalymnios beach in 1-2m of water. We could not find much info on the history of the site, but it may be a sunken Mycenaean villa, part of a city that sunk under the waves some 3500 years ago due to a volcanic eruption on Methana. We could not find more reliable information.
Chris spotted lots of flying fish along the way. Anchored in this great spot we are soon surrounded by beautiful fried egg jellyfish (Phacellophora camtschatic) and after checking out the sunken city Francis has a great time swimming with and filming the jellies which have magnificent blue tentacles and little fish (young horse-mackerel maybe ) that dart in and out of the tentacles.
Against skippers better judgement we caved into laziness and opted to stay put for the night. Although there was little wind the swell picked up during the night and we were rolled about a bit. Will he ever learn not to anchor at such exposed spots?
Tuesday 5 September
This morning we moved back to Agkistri to anchor in Dhorousa bay . It is a lovely little cove and reasonable anchorage if you can get a spot on the N-side of it. As we expect this to be our last anchorage of the season, we make the most of snorkeling and swimming. One of the neighbours was a super luxury yacht which Chris googled and found that it was only €24,000 (AU36,000) per day to charter, food, drink and fuel not included, of course.
Saturday 9 September: today we moved into the small port of Agkistri and tied up to the quay to begin preparing Clio for her winter beauty sleep. As always skipper got us in at just the right time as later in the afternoon at the end of a regatta between Athens and Agistri, the little harbour was bursting at its seams with 40 more yachts coming in and rafting and tying up to anything and everything. It was soon obvious that though some of these skippers may be experienced racers they were not experienced parkers and lots of yelling and arm waving ensued as we had yachts crossing our chains and getting their keels and rudders caught up on anchor lines. From the state of their yachts scratched and dented hulls, this was not a concern for them. But for live-boards like ourselves it bl... well was. So stay clear of our boat or feel the wrath of my boat hook.
Eventually some calm was restored as the last of them was finally tied to something.
Sunday 10 September
The race is on again and after the starter boat was eventually able to get under way after fouling his prop on one of the regatta yacht's ropes, the harbour is peaceful again. We wandered up the hill today to find a lovely restaurant where we relaxed in a cool breeze with a coffee. After chatting to the lovely young woman who served us we discovered that we were welcome to use the swimming pool. As we did not need our arms twisted we returned to Clio to change into swimming attire and returned to swim and lounge about before partaking of a yummy late lunch, bliss.
Monday 11 to Thursday 14
We spend these few days removing Clio's sails. This is a bit of a chore as the head sail (genoa) is quite big and folding it onto into a manageable package on a relatively small foredeck is something you rather leave to others. But we managed with the kind help of our South African neighbour. The next challenge is getting our inflatable RIB Cloe out of the water and onto the front deck. While Chris tried to haul her up on the halyard Francis was attempting to lift her over the rail. Again our new British neighbours came to the rescue as she was just too heavy for Chris to manage.
Of course because we are booked to come out of the water on Thursday the predictions are for stronger northwest winds just what we don't need, but 'you don't always get what you wa-ant' (Stones '69).
On Thursday morning we sit and wait to hear from the guys in the boatyard when local wind and waves has decreased to an acceptable level. At around 11:00 we get the all clear and motor across the one hour stretch to Aegina. To be lifted here we have to back into a small space between two piers and stay clear of the steep boat ramp at the end of it. Together with a fair bit of left-over swell and the customary shouting of instructions by several Greek boatyard staff, we were ably lifted out into the Kanonis boatyard.
We are now safe on land, and the annual hard labor that comes with owning a boat and not being a millionaire starts again. We have two weeks to complete the winterization process before we head off to the lovely colder climate of the UK. Because of the shoddy antifouling job done by someone under responsibility of the Aktio shipyard in Preveza, repairing the damage will be a lot of work. The next day, yet another heatwave of over 32 degr. C sneaks up on us.