From the Argolic to the Saronic, Sept 2010

N 37° 15' E 23° 09'

Evening on Spetses

September 25, 2010

We are sitting having a relaxing beer in the cockpit when one of the many red water taxis that ply their trade around the island comes into the end of the quay and several people disembark wearing some very fancy clothes.

The first of the wedding guests are arriving!

Steve and Gillie take a walk up to the church and find that the bride has already arrived by road in a horse drawn carriage.

Many of the other guests have arrived by road, but cars are few and far between on Spetses, so most have arrived by motor cycle, with many of the ladies in their dresses riding side saddle as pillion passengers. They change into their high heels as they get off their bikes and make their way up to the church.

Steve and Gillie get talking to the driver of the carriage and he suggest that they sit in the carriage together, perhaps he is hoping to set up another wedding…

Later we start to walk into town for a meal and as we get to the church the service is obviously over and everone is leaving.

We walk over to Dapia and choose a taverna in the town square.

After dinner we are walking back to the boat when someone suggests we stop in a bar for a cocktail. We start to look at the drinks list but decide that the prices are silly (5 euros for a beer, 10 for a cocktail) so we move on.

We stop at another bar round in Baltiza but again the prices are ridiculous (still 5 euros for a beer but cocktails here are 12 euros) so its back to the boat for beers and a gin and tonic or two. 

Oops we have serious supply problem, the gin bottle is empty…

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N 37° 15' E 23° 09'

Sunday Morning on Spetses

September 26, 2010

It was a wild and windy night with lightning flashing beyond the headland and the boat tossing around a bit even though we are in a well sheltered location.

Martin is up and out exploring early in the morning again!

Out to the end of the point and the sun is already coming up.

Blast I’ve missed the real sunrise moment, but get a few good shots…

Then down around the creek and in to explore Dapia.

There is a yacht coming out from Porto Kheli that I think I recognise. Yes it is Konitza, one of the 331’s, easily recognised by the fact that her crew of four New Zealanders have the silver fern flying.

As they come close to the main quay at Dapia I hail them and suggest that they go up the creek and tie up alongside Kerkyra.

A quick wave of confirmation and they motor off, but I am a good mile and a half away by road. Time to get moving back to the boat.

 

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N 37° 20' E 23° 17'

Off Nisos Dhokos

September 26, 2010

Following our Kiwi collegues Kerkyra finally sails from Spetses heading NE towards the western end of Dhokos Island before turning NW and up to Ermioni

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N 37° 22' E 23° 15'

Ermioni

September 26, 2010

We went Goosewinged (Wing on Wing for our American readers) as we cleared the gap between the mainland and Dhokos and headed towards Ermioni.

We were angling a bit more toward the North than a direct course as there is a nasty little reef off Nisos Kapari if you go to far to the West on this leg.

As you approach Ermioni there is a nice windmill up on the headland that looks like it has been converted into a house.

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N 37° 26' E 23° 32'

Nisidhes Tselevinia

September 27, 2010

After a lengthy re-stocking exercise at Ermioni we set off for tonight’s destination around the corner to Poros and into the Saronic Gulf.

The first part of this trip is along the Iydra Channel and up to the two small islands that make up the Nisidhes Tselevinia.

Here you can’t go thorough between Nisos Spathi and the mainland but you can use the channel between the two islands leaving Nisos Spilli to starboard.

As we approach the islands, after a long period of motoring, we finally get some breeze and are sailing.

I am just lining up to goose-wing through the gap when a little bit in the pilot guide comes to mind. “Considerable caution is needed to keep clear of the hydrofoils and ferries using this channel”.

A long way astern there is a lot of white spray and a flash of red….

I met the “fastcat” ferries out here last year so discretion takes the better part of valour and its engine on and clear the channel fast.

I was right and a fastcat comes blasting through just as we get out of the narrows!

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N 37° 30' E 23° 27'

NW to Poros

September 27, 2010

As we get sailing again one of our flotilla appears throgh the gap behind us and promptly sails past.

As usual this provokes a lot of soul searching about our sail trim and a few adjustments later we are off after her.

The skipper has written us off and for a while doesn’t even bother to look behind him. Oops he has seen us closing with him!  Now he is getting worried, as he gives the wheel to his wife and starts jumping about altering his sail settings. On Kerkyra, our sail trim expert,Steve is matching him move for move.. We are catching up.. 

Gillie is on the wheel as we get a few sudden gusts and we are closing on Kipi quickly…

There is another flotilla boat off to starboard and Kipi’s skipper is taking photos of her as Gillie steals his wind and we are back in front.

The gauntlet is now down and it is race on!

On the horizon ahead we see the mountain outlines that go to make up Poros’ Sleeping Lady.

The channel at the western end of Poros is acting like a funnel and the close we get to it the more the breeze builds and the more it is right on our bow. Its tacking time again. (How does Gillie always manage to be on the helm when we get a good breeze?)

A slighly screwed up tack leaves Kerkyra in irons and Kipi slips past again before we can get Kerkyra moving.

Then the crowded channel off Poros comes into view and it is time to furl the sails and proceed under engine.

Round to the North Quay and it is stern to on the floating pontoon.

The lead crew have suggested a cocktail bar around the corner on the SE corner of the waterfront, and we are there relaxing as the sun puts a red blanket of cloud down over the “Sleeping Lady”

A meal in a local taverna is followed by more drinks at the cocktail bar and some members of the crew are very late getting back to the boat…

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N 37° 31' E 23° 26'

Across to Russian Bay

September 28, 2010

We aren’t going far today only about 1.5 miles across Limin Poros to the anchorage at Russian Bay.

Tonight there is a beach party planned (what used to be a barbecue before the latest set of restrictions on lighting fires in Greece came in) and we will all anchor off the beach and row ashore.

The lead crew have also said that they want to hold a “Cocktail Competition” where each boat concocts a cocktail which they then judge on Presentation and Taste. (They used to include a flammability test but that went the way of the barbecue)

Now I normally can’t be bothered with these silly competitions, ok it is only a bit of fun, but some crews go completely over the top and spend a fortune on ingredients etc.

This year I’m on pot luck and if the crew want to get involved then I will have to assist them.

So with Gillie acting as artistic director we spend an hour or so working on our presentation for the “Pot Luck Between the Sheets” and then I eventually manage to slip ashore for a walk around the town.

Poros is a maze of steep little streets and alleyways and well worth a nose around with the camera at the ready. (I spent a few days here last year at the end of the trip documented in my Ionian to the Aegean blog so there are more photos on that one)

Towards the end of the afternoon we slip away from Poros and potter over to Russian Bay. It is actually quite small for about 16 boats to all anchor in the two fingers of the bay, and no two boats seem to want to lie at the same angle.

It takes some four or five attempts before I get Kerkyra anchored in what I think is a safe spot.

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N 37° 31' E 23° 26'

Party Night!

September 28, 2010

Kerkyra is in the second finger of Russian Bay and quite a way from the beach were we are going to have the party.

Ok we could row around, but then we would have to row back again in what will possibly be an inebriated state.

Luckily there is a house up on the headland that has a little jetty quite close to Kerkyra so we decide to go ashore there and walk round to the beach.

Oops we have got the presentation for the cocktail but we haven’t actually mixed one to take with us…

What do we have that we could use? Orange Juice, Metaxa, some of Gillie’s Gin.. Ok slap it in and mix it up, then put it in a small tupperware so that we can carry it around. We can decant it into the glass once we are there.

Over the headland and down a track to the beach where we find an old ruined building, and a small snack bar with tables and chairs etc.

It seems that the lady who runs the snack bar is quite happy for us to use her tables etc, so I think it is only polite to buy a couple of beers off her for the privilege. (We have actually already paid the lead crew for the evening and they are bringing the food and drink ashore from Kalamas).

As the sun slips down, so do the drinks, and we socialise with the other crews. Then Katie gets the food out and we suddenly see other crews getting knives and forks out of their bags… OK so someone forgot to tell us about this aspect of the evening, but Katie has already realised that the message hasn’t got around to all the boats and has asked some crews to bring extras.

Now it is time to judge the cocktail competition, and it is rapidly apparent that we weren’t the only crew to obtain sparklers from that cocktail bar that we were in last night..

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N 37° 30' E 23° 27'

Back to Poros

September 29, 2010

Dawn breaks and the crew aren’t exactly up with the larks..

We had eventually got ourselves back to the dinghy last night and rowed back to Kerkyra without any mishaps but breakfast will be a bit late today…

I watch another yachtie demonstrate the problems of bringing pets with you on a yacht as he gets into his dinghy to row his dog ashore for a walk…

The lady with the snack bar announced last night that she would be open for cooked breakfasts and coffees this morning and Phil fancies rowing round to have breakfast ashore.

At the same time we realise that as we didn’t leave Poros Bay yesterday we have now had about 36 hours without being able to empty Kerkyra’s holding tank, and it is definitely full.

So while Phil rows off for breakfast the rest of us up anchor and motor out around the corner and through the channel to the open sea where we get sufficiently far from the shore and it is “bombs away”…

We then motor back around to Russian Bay and anchor in the main finger for a swim and to pick up Phil.

It was about this time that Gillie realises that her (non rechargeable)camera battery is flat and that so is the “spare” one that she brought with her…

Now our final destination for today is the village of Methana, but I haven’t been there but reckon that there is more chance of us getting a photographic battery in Poros so we decide to head over there after breakfast and then come back across the bay to head out to Methana.

Back to Poros and stern to on a fairly empty quay, and Gillie slips off in search of her battery whilst I amuse myself trying out the “Panorama” function of my camera, and getting a photo of the Idhra water tanker going past with another load.

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N 37° 31' E 23° 25'

Kalamas we have a problem

September 29, 2010

Gillie finally returns having successfully located a new battery just as I am slipping ashore to replenish our supply of Lettuce.

We decide to have lunch and then go to pull out.

Off with the stern lines and take in on the windlass…

Chig, chug, chug and then the anchor chain goes bar tight and straight up and down. We have caught something with our anchor and it isn’t just someone else’s anchor chain. It is really fouled, so we lay the chain out again and moor back onto the quay and I head for the radio.

“Kalamas this is Kerkyra we have a problem with our bow anchor…”

Luckily the lead boat is still within VHF range (otherwise I would have had to revert to the emergency system and rang them on their mobile phone!)

I explain the problem and they are turning around to come back to assist us, eta about 60 minutes. This is followed by another call from them to say that Sam, the engineer, is coming on ahead in their rib and will be with us shortly.

Sam arrives and I explain the situation and he asks us to pull out and show him. The chain is vertical again and bar taught,  and the echo sounder shows about 10 metres of water.

Sam gets his flippers and mask on and pulls himself down the chain to see if he can work out what we are caught on.

It turns out that we have snagged one of the massive chains that holds the pontoon in place. There is no way our windlass is going to lift that…

So Sam asks for a length of rope and takes the end of it down so that he can push it under the chain. Unfortunately that piece isn’t long enough to go from the boat to the bottom and back up again so we have to tie another line onto it.

Once that is done we can take up the tension on one of our winches whilst Sam dives down again to free the anchor.

Success, the anchor is free. Now all we have to do is slip one end of the rope and haul it back aboard. Oops it won’t move! We slipped the end with the knot in it and the knot is now jammed under the chain…

OK so it is time to abandon both bits of rope and donate them to Davy Jones’ Locker! (Note to self: Next time drop the one without the knot in it!)

Finally we are able to pull out of Poros and head back down the bay towards Methana.

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