03 June 2013 | Rethymno
We’ve continued to wend our way around the coast of the Argolikos Kolpos. It’s an interesting part of mainland Greece, not touristy, very much working fishing villages. There have been plenty of tavernas but most of them are empty at the moment and you wonder how people are making ends meet.
We had a couple of nights at Khaidhari where we anchored off the town and watched the fish farm boats and small cargo boats unloading. I did jump off the back of the boat for a swim but it’s still pretty cold (25C!) Next stop was Leonidhion, a lovely little hamlet mostly untouched by tourism. Margaret from Taverna Michel-Margaret gave us free freshly squeezed orange juice and tomatoes and cucumbers from her garden. We ate there in the evening, of course, and had freshly caught dorade (a sort of sea bream) and some of the local white wine. We had planned to stay a couple of days but, by dawn, there was a huge swell coming into the harbour making the few boats who had come in for the night lurch against the harbour wall. We all decided that we had to leave before our boats were smashed to bits and headed off down the coast to Monemvasia. Unfortunately a combination of waves and white wine made me feel dreadfully sea sick and I was very glad to get tucked into a bay 10 k from Monemvasia.
Monemvasia Island looks like a little Gibralter as you come down the coast and, as you get nearer, you can see all the little houses and buildings built into it. It was of Byzantine origin apparently but the Venetians re-built it after an earthquake. You have to cross a causeway to get to it and then walk up to the top. There are lots of little shops and cafes to wander round and you can walk right to the top to the church on the summit if you’re fit enough. (We didn’t!)
We managed to get the last spot in the yacht harbour luckily as it was still blowing a bit. Boats who came in after us had to moor against the outside harbour wall and you could see them wallowing around. One the best things in the harbour were the resident turtles. At least five of them were ambling about, possibly a large male and four females. I make no apologies for the excess amount of photos (even the headless one) but it was just so fantastic to see them.
We left Monemvasia on Saturday to do an overnight to Crete. All the gribs said 15-20 knot winds during the day settling down to hardly anything overnight so we expected to have a cracking sail in the day, which we did, and then a slow motor for the night. Of course, as with any thing to do with sailing, this did not happen. We had a miserable night of 30 knot winds, nearly 40 knot gusts and a choppy sea which meant the auto pilot wouldn’t hold the course and Andy had to steer for 6 hours. It also rained.
High spot, however, was our first fish, a tuna. We had had lines out all day but, as usual, if you’re going to catch a fish, it will be at dusk just as you’re putting them away. We heard the first line go but, by the time Andy got to it, whatever was on it had escaped. Then the other line went. Cruisers reading this will know that when you hear the noise that tells you that you have hooked a fish, the first thought is ‘Great!!! A fish!!’ The second thought is ‘Bugger! Going to have to get it in now, and do something with it!’ I won’t describe the scene that followed but we will do better next time. We managed to get about 14 portions from it. Some of which is in the freezer and the rest we shared with our new neighbours, Wayne and Cha, in Rethynmo where we have settled in for a couple of days recovery.