We needed to get back into the north of the Gulf of Argolikos as the forecast showed more strong winds pushing down through the Cyclades and extending into the southern areas of the Gulf. Further north we would be protected from the worst of this with winds only in the 20 knots range rather than the 35 knots which would soon hit Monemvasia and the surrounding coast. Ironically the wind on the morning we left Ierikas was almost non-existant with the NE breeze struggling to make 2 knots. We had to motor the five hours back up to Porto Heli until the last hour or so when the wind gods turned the fan up a bit from the SE.
We established ourselves in much the same area of the anchorage that we had used before and we were comfortable when the somewhat stronger stuff came through over the next few days, it never reached strengths that concerned us.
We spent some of the time doing small boat jobs, for example, previously Chris had removed the old useless solar panels on our coach-roof and filled the screw holes with epoxy filler to prevent water entering. The filler then had to be smoothed off and then painted with gel-coat paint to return the deck to a reasonable finish. You can see the difference in colour between the old and new gel-coat if you look closely but you don't notice it normally, particularly on a non slip textured surface. Boatyards charge a lot for gel-coat paint matching skills!
We met up with 'Feisty' again whom we last saw in Paros when they were victims of the 'Idiot Captain' and his large motorboat. Mel and Jackie have a new anchor and rode but are still awaiting the chance to repair the damage to stantions and rub-rails on the boat. Along with other sailors, Ian and Anthea from 'Australie', Cherie and Gerhard of 'Pepino' and Andrew and Charlotte of 'Ruffin'It' we spent a few morning coffee sessions and a few evening aperitif hours whiling away the time with boat talk, politics and family chat.
Pepino is a French built 'Amel' monohull, a make Chris admires so he was pleased to get an invite for a tour of the boat...time spent inspecting engine rooms, anchor lockers and boat systems as well as the general layout of the yacht. 'Splice' is suspicious that her Captain may have wandering eyes but is confident that the First Mate will not move to the monohull side!
A couple of our fenders have seen better days and were slowly deflating despite attempts to mend the valves, so when we saw a suitable replacement in the chandlers here and he gave us a discount we ordered two to replace them. It means we will have to return to Porto Heli after our trip to Kiladha and before heading to Astros but Splice's side will be better protected.
We also had an incredible downpour during a storm one afternoon. It's apparently been four months since they had any rain here so it was needed but it certainly made up for the missing months. We couldn't see anything out of our windows for over 10 minutes and it was still bucketing down 20 minutes later. We can only remember one similar rainstorm on a boat which was in Croatia on a charter, we were under way at that time and Chris had to wear swimming goggles at the helm to protect his eyes!
Spetsai is the town on the island just across the channel from Porto Heli. We had been warned that the 'mooring antics' there were a bit extreme so decided to take the ferry for the 10 minute trip across the water and leave Splice safely anchored in Porto Heli bay. We arrived at around 14.00 hrs and had a return ticket for 18.30. Initially we walked north away from the ferry quay but there was little at that end of the town. We retraced our steps and explored the old town to the south of the area. It's attractive and you could spend a lot of time there if you wanted to by expensive clothes or jewelry.....we didn't and continued on to stroll around the quayside of the old harbour.
The outer harbour at Spetsai before the rush. The ramps are traditionally used to bring boats out on wooden sledges
The inner part of this is full of local fishing boats, very full, moored two out all around. This leaves the outer area for visiting yachts and as the quay is very high they have to moor back to mooring buoys or the high walls themselves. That's where the fun begins as charter boats squabble for the limited number of places. We watched some of the process as the knitting of lines and the propellers tangling in mooring buoys accompanied the boats getting settled. You are too high up to help so all we could do was watch.
We took a walk around the headland which is pleasant and gives a good view out over the gulf, we had an ice cream and later a drink whilst we waited for the ferry back.
We did find some interesting sculptures on our walk!
Our overall impression was....even four hours was too long there. We didn't really like Spetsai, far to commercialized and not a welcoming harbour, not even a well protected one at that. We are glad we didn't take Splice there.
Main Photo: A Porto Heli coffee morning