24 May 2012 | Epidavros
Our meal out in Kiladha wasn't a great success. The taverna had reduced its menu from previously and there was very little choice. What we did eat wasn't good and the wine was terrible. We decided that we'd have another attempt at a celebratory Anniversary meal once we reached Poros.
We were lifted back into the water on Monday 7th May and headed straight off to Korakonisia, our favourite anchorage in the Argolic Gulf. We were both brave and had our first swims of the year - Andy donned his wetsuit and went hunting with his spear gun and I swam around the boat 25 times (roughly a kilometre). After having a lovely peaceful night with the anchorage to ourselves, no traffic or barking dogs we headed further east to Porto Heli and then to Ermioni. We anchored in a couple of spots in Ermioni and walked around the peninsular to the south of the town where we stopped for a lovely lunch and miso (half litre) of wine. Our next stop was Dhokos, another great anchorage where Andy has had lots of success previously with his spear gun. Unfortunately his hunting skills haven't been used yet as there aren't many fish around and those that are here are too small. We'll have to wait for a month or so before we can fire the barbie up for them.
We decided that we'd visit Hydra, an island we didn't go near last season as it gets so busy, for a night to see what all the fuss was about. What a lovely place. The town has a tiny harbour that gets very crowded in the summer and we can fully understand why. We were there early and managed to get a good spot on the wall with good holding for our anchor. We headed off for a walk around the town and there was our first challenge - how to get off the boat! There is a lot of ballast hanging out from the harbour wall so we couldn't get Norna too close to the wall. We let our stern ladder down, tied it so that it hung at a right angle to provide a platform and then tied some decking planks to it. From the end we still had to stretch to reach the shore but we did manage to get ashore at last.
The town has very few motorised vehicles, just a fuel truck, the fire truck and a couple of agricultural vehicles. Everything is transported by donkey so it was a refreshing change to not have to look out for mopeds at every turn. We walked around the front, watched a few boats come in and then headed back to Norna to sit on deck and soak up the atmosphere.
Our afternoon peace was disturbed by several yachts coming in with crews who didn't have a clue how to moor stern to the quay. Andy and a skipper off a superyacht that was in the harbour offered advice and helped a few boats get themselves sorted and then it was time for a bbq on the deck. We had a lovely evening and headed to bed at about 11ish. We weren't asleep for long before the wind changed direction and all the boats around us started to have problems. Andy spent a lot of the night in the dinghy resetting anchors for people and helping to tie them up properly. At one point we had two boats tied to us as we were well fixed in position. Unfortunately the extra weight of the two boats pulled us backwards onto the quay so that we were hitting the underwater ballasting with our rudder - not good after it had just been painted. I took up a couple of metres of our anchor chain to pull us back off and our anchor dragged through the bottom. When Andy returned to Norna we brought the anchor in and tried, unsuccessfully, to reset it. On our second attempt we managed to hook a mooring line so we decided to leave it til the morning. We eventually got to bed at 4am.
When we woke at 8 we went straight to sort out our anchor, we retrieved it with not too much difficulty and no diving and managed to reset it. Of course by this time everyone was wanting to leave, despite the wind that was howling outside the harbour. What followed was a good example of why we'd never been to Hydra before, we dread to think what the place is like in the middle of summer when there are far more boats packed into the small space. Anchor chain spaghetti is no exaggeration. Andy and the superyacht skipper spent hours untangling and sorting out other people's anchors. We counted that Andy had untangled 7 anchors by the end of the morning. In the process of doing that our outboard propeller on the dinghy began to slip. Luckily one of the boats that we assisted gave us the money to pay for a new propeller. Our anchor chain was hooked a few more times and the last time we decided that we'd just leave as it was all becoming a bit stressful. So, Hydra is beautiful and well worth a visit, however don't go mid season and try to pick a couple of days when there is no wind forecast.
From Hydra we had a fantastic sail to Poros where we anchored in Navy Bay. We went ashore for our second anniversary meal at the Posiedon Taverna and had a lovely evening with all drinks bought for us by Giorgos the owner (not sure if I've spelt that right!). After a trip to Lidl to stock up the next day we went a couple of miles away from the town and anchored in Russian Bay for the night. Our intention was to stay here for a few days and catch up on laundry etc. However, we received a phone call from the boss asking if we could be at Olympic Marina near Athens the next day to clean a flotilla of 11 boats as they'd been let down. After checking the weather we headed back to Poros, anchored in Galatas, a very secure area, and booked a car so that we could drive to Athens the next day. It was a long day cleaning and driving but the money was good and the car was all paid for. We don't cook after we've been working so we had another evening in the Posiedon.
The next day we sailed off towards Epidavros and we've been here since Saturday. Our first scheduled clean was on Sunday and we now have weekly work up until the beginning of October. We've also done our first sail repair so the sewing machine has started to earn its keep. The water around here is a bit cold so we haven't had a swim for a few days. The weather today is a bit cloudy with rain this morning so we're having a day of reading and relaxing below decks.
The political climate is uncertain at the moment but all is carrying on as normal here in the Saronic Gulf. The tavernas that we've been to and walked past seem to be as busy/quiet as they were this time last year and there is no sign of any unrest in any of the places that we visit - Athens is like a different country!