We returned from the UK via Easyjet from Gatwick which was tiring as the flight was at 05.45 on Tuesday morning... there's not much chance of any sleep in the airport overnight!
Splice had survived the month well other than the normal coating of dust, black this time. That all had to be cleaned off and then the mainsail took about three hours to get it back on the boom with all the battens, nuts and bolts to be fiddled with. With the restocking in the very convenient supermarket we managed to get set and leave the marina by Thursday at 10.00hrs. We were glad to leave as the concrete surroundings make the place like an oven. Marina Zea is a secure and functional place to leave a boat but is expensive...with the extra days over the month charged at 'full rate' the stay cost us around E1900. We'd use it again if there was no other suitable alternative but it's not a place we enjoyed.
The winds were good on Thursday and we made such good progress that we carried on past Aegina and down to Vathy on the west coast of the small peninsula of Methena. It's slightly out of the way as you have to 'reverse course' around the landmass to leave but we had heard good things about it. The entry is tight and the harbour small, there's about 35m opposite the quay to drop the hook or you will be in the moorings/fishing boats. We managed reasonably well and got tied back with about 25m of chain out. It's a very pretty place and space for only about 12 boats means it's not overly commercial.
There are three tavernas around the harbour and the village still has a good number of local fishing boats. The first night we ate at Jimmy's Fish Restaurant which had rightly been recommended for fish and enjoyed our locally caught meal. The bar behind the boat had tried to persuade us to stay and eat his mousaka so we tried that the next evening.....it passed but his cold Mythos beer was better!
We went for a walk along the shore near the harbour and found signs to an ancient Acropolis, it took a bit of scrambling but the view from the top was worth the effort and you could sense some of the shape of the place from the remaining stones.
The Skipper atop the Acropolis at Vathy
The quayside was like most Greek quays, a bit of a mess of lines, old mooring loops etc but reasonably well maintained. It was surprising then that during the two days we were there we had three people fall in the water. An elderly guy fell from a small boat leaving the quay and hit his head on the concrete, he was pulled out bleeding badly. Ultimately the boat left with him on board, though we would have thought he needed the hospital. Then one of the daughters, about 7 years old, of the small yacht next to us fell in whilst boarding. She was screaming and another guy and Chris managed to get hold of her arms very quickly. Not quickly enough to stop the mother diving in as well, as she was a big lady getting her out was much harder than the girl!...... not good for Chris's back, but we got her back on shore. Another child fell in whilst fishing with a scoop net.... she was pulled out with little fuss and seemed un perturbed. As we can't recall seeing any other 'quay diving' exploits on our travels, there must be something about that place!
We also had a visit from a 'Praying Mantis', we'd never seen the insect before
The wind was on our bow but light when we were there, even so we found we were gradually being set back against the quay as the anchor dragged through the churned up seabed left by the numerous boats in the small space. We were having to tighten the anchor chain a couple of times a day. This wasn't a problem in light airs but with strong winds forecast for the next day we decided to leave early around 07.45. We were glad we did as the wind got up strongly just after we rounded the cape to the north and were able to turn away from the gusts and run down to an anchorage near Poros that we had used before to hide from the northerlies for 24 hours.
Main photo: The small harbour at Vathy