28 April 2013 | Alimos Marina
We have now, unbelievably, spent 3 weeks here in Alimos Marina. The days are bright and sunny reaching temperatures of 30C. The evenings still a little bit chilly but I'm sure it won't be too long before I'm complaining that it's too hot to sleep. Seeing that blue sky every morning just starts the day off beautifully.
The marina we are on is primarily a marina for charter boats. Lots of different companies are based here and, as the charter season is about to start in earnest, there has been a huge amount of work going on. Every boat has been cleaned within an inch of its gel coat. Upholstery shampooed, fenders scrubbed and dinghies pumped up. Trucks keep arriving with clean linen, fire extinguishers, newly-serviced life rafts. This weekend saw 240 boats chartered, apparently mainly from Russia, and they all arrived yesterday. On every boat, a Greek rep is explaining, in broken English, all about the boat and how to sail it and the Russians are asking, in broken English, lots of questions and looking at eachother with a baffled expressions. When all is finished, the charterers get their shorts on and break open the first of the beers. They continue partying through much of the night and, at 7 am this morning, we watch them leave, a bit shaky but with much enthusiasm. Note to selves, do not leave marina on a Saturday or Sunday morning and head south quickly. On the boat next to us, a Norwegian couple have just left. They told us it was still below freezing at home and it had been a long, cold winter. As they slid out of the berth, you could see them blossoming in the sunshine.
On the boat opposite us, a lovely female Greek Captain called Yiota has befriended us. She lived in Canada for 30 years so her English is perfect. She translates for us, finds us the right people to do those little jobs that you want done but don't know who to ask and joins us for a beer at the end of the day. Last night (at 9 pm when the Greeks go out for dinner), she and her partner, Yiannis, take us to Piraeus to a little taverna where, they say, the food is fantastic. Apparently, outside of the tourist areas, tavernas only do fish or meat not both This taverna does fish and, after settling us in with little bottles of Oozo, ice and water, the owner and his staff bring us dish after dish of lovely mezedhes, meze for short, starting with a couple of dozen oyster-like things that taste more like scallops. Then little fish, like anchovies, but silkier and not hairy, kalamari, chips made from courgettes, chick pea and tomato dip, horta, spring greens that often include spinach and rocket but can also be made from weeds found at the roadside, horiatiki salata (Greek salad), smoked squid and deep fried barbouni, a small type of red mullet. In Greece, the taverna always provides a free pudding, usually fruit or yoghurt. Here, we have home-made ice cream and a honey-soaked date and nut sponge washed down with icy retsina. A fabulous meal with great company.
Today is Sunday and all is now very quiet. After our late night, we have spent the day reading and studying the 'bible', the Greek Waters Pilot Guide, planning our route this summer. We are still waiting for our Australian registration certificate to arrive. It was sent last Monday so hopefully will arrive this week. When it does, we can take it to the Piraeus Customs who will issue us with a Transit log and to the port police for a Traffic document and we can head out. Very keen to go now. Sitting in the marina, it's very difficult to imagine that just out there, past those sea walls, is a whole world of little islands and magical bays waiting for us to explore.
Off to the Athens tomorrow for a bit of sight seeing so should have some photos to put on here but, in the meantime, the first of what will be my many sunsets and full moon shots!