Not a bad place to be stuck
13 May 2018 | Poros - 6,834 NM
Mostly sunny, with the occasional thunderstorm
What a great sail! We left Astros in a flat calm sea with no wind but then an hour later we were sailing at about 5 knots in almost the right direction - and we only had to tack a few times to get us into the mouth of the bay towards the end of our passage. Porto Kheli is an almost circular bay and so very sheltered. It's a bit built up and so not the prettiest but a very popular anchorage. A huge thunderstorm arrived in the evening, earlier than forecast, making it interesting for a while but giving us a rock solid night.
Next stop was Ermioni just a 13 miles motor around the coast. It's a small town built over a spit of land creating a nice sheltered bay behind it. We decided on anchoring and were glad we did as we watched the quay fill with charter boats over a drink later. It's only May but it seems to be getting very busy but we are quite close to Athens. The end of the spit is a very nice wooded area which we walked around coming to another quay on the other side, less sheltered and so not as crowded, lined with tavernas and then wandered up through the windy, narrow streets of the town and down the other side to our drink and a nice chat to an Australian couple. Ermioni is a very nice spot but didn't blow us away.
Our first dolphin of this year! It was only 1 and it was quite a long way off but exciting nonetheless. We were on our way to Nisos Hydra, 11 miles away. We knew it was a very busy but wow - as we entered the small harbour the hydrofoil sped in followed by its huge wake while a water taxi zoomed in between and 2 yachts followed! Inside every spot was double or treble moored with a flotilla 3 deep moored bow to stern, you could almost walk to the other side and I dread to think what mess the anchor chains were in underneath! We turned around and headed to Mandraki bay half a mile up the coast where we anchored taking lines ashore. The afternoon entertainment was watching lots of other boats who failed to get into the harbour attempt long lines - all good fun.
Later we walked around the cliff path to town. It's so pretty. Stereotypically Greek with white buildings with blue shutters huddled together around the amphitheater created by the bay and hills and tavernas around the harbour. There are no cars or motorbikes on the island which makes it so peaceful to walk around. The only transport is donkey and they wait patiently along the quay for passengers or goods from the ferries. We really enjoyed exploring and looking in the overpriced shops although it is a bit Disneyesque, while watching yachts come in to moor and leave again. The walk back was much cooler and we stopped for dinner in the little taverna overlooking our bay - lovely. A flotilla came to join the crowded bay - the evening entertainment.
In the morning we left for Poros, a wooded island just off the mainland with a pretty town along the channel between. We moored on the north quay as it had fewer tavernas and so looked quieter - umm, didn't quite work! Freya has a problem with her alternator which needs diagnosing and fixing before we cook the batteries again and someone has been recommended in Poros. Paul made a call and arranged for an engineer to call later. In the meantime we were joined on the quay by a flotilla of Israeli's who started by apologising for the noise later! Not a good start but they weren't actually that bad. One of them was a blogger and motivational speaker who asked if he could talk to us so that he could write a blog about our life - he thought we were inspirational! He clearly hadn't been in the Med for long and not met the millions of others doing the same!
Our engineer, Adonis (always a disappointment in real life!) couldn't make it that night, but did turn up in the morning. He couldn't find a problem, as we suspected he may not, as it's intermittent or possibly temperature related and so he took the alternator away for testing. We're moored stern to on the quay using our anchor and later in the afternoon we could hear thunder rumbling in the distance and then watched the storm clouds gathering and heading our way. And wow what a storm, the winds blew on our bow at 35 knots, the sea smashed against the quay and the torrential rain included hail stones half an inch in diameter! This was very exciting for a while, particularly as we were being held by our anchor with 45m of chain which felt solid but if it had slipped we would have been bashed against the quay as we wouldn't have been able to start the engine to pull us away! Thankfully it held.....
While waiting for our alternator we've been busy getting all the laundry done as we were running out of clothes and exploring lovely Poros. Lots of wandering narrow streets, window shopping and coffee stops. We walked around the bay, out of town, and found a small beach with a cafe looking back towards Poros town. When you're in town the lovely buildings around the quay are hidden by the umbrellas and awnings over the tavernas but from our little beach you could really see it in all its glory. We sat on sun loungers looking back over the bay enjoying lunch. The ferry took us to the mainland taking a whole 10 minutes and costing 1€ - not a lot more to see but worth it for a different view of Poros.
It's been a bit noisy at night in Poros but other than that we really enjoyed 5 days there but now we're ready to go. Adonis brought our alternator back last night and it's looking good. We have eliminated one possible cause of intermittent electrical problems so the focus is now on our advanced Sterling Regulator.