Both sails to and from Rinia were pretty amazing and toe rail drenching.
We anchored off Rinia with a plan to visit Delos the next morning. Unfortunately the wind was up the next day and we didn’t feel comfortable to leave our boat in an unknown place at anchor so I will await my visit to the lions of Delos for another time.
We met up with Mary and Phil in an enclosed and turquoise bay in the south of Siros and set off straight away for a bouncy and not very comfortable sail to Kythnos. Knowing we had to inspect and secure a mooring in Poros we needed to gather the miles westward. Once in Kythnos we enjoyed a more relaxed couple of nights, one in Loutra where, had you needed the water to be hotter it was, a hot stream bubbles up and flows down to the sea via the spa, but we enjoy it free on the waters edge.
We had another ‘water in the boat’ alarm and this time, after the few heart stopping minutes it takes to establish where it’s coming from we set to and pumped the bilge. We had just filled to the brim with fresh water, our plastic screw in tops are pretty old and weathered and don’t work so well, while we were well heeled and in heavy seas the water had overflowed into the bilges. The ’emergency’ electric bilge pump had failed as it had an underpowered fuse – oh the lessons we learn – constantly! Needing some calm to counter the beating hearts we anchored off the sand spit on the west side of the island.
With Mary and Phil we continued to Epidaurus and I was able to return a hat that has been languishing for over two years on Selkie Dancer and reacquaint ourselves with characters from a few years past, comforting that they do not change. However there is a new farm shop selling delicious olives, oil & honey and oregano flowers unadulterated by a factory process, this is run by a Czech girl while her two little ones play or nap in the shop. There is a jeweller I don’t remember seeing before making gorgeous earrings. I buy some and during a windy Scottish walk I lose one, more on this later. We had a hilarious interlude in our favourite hotel when I asked for a cocktail, we were sent next door to the ‘hotel’ only to be sent back to the point of origin where I discovered she had misheard cocktail as hotel, this mix up caused much merriment and was the laugh of the street that night; when we finally got our cocktails bill it was presented with a flourish as our ‘hotel’ bill! This was from Maria who hails from Bulgaria and in the morning we meet up with Marguerite who is from Poland, who of course remembered my distinguished husband not me! What a wonderful mix of peoples.
The next morning we were in Poros and had our meeting with the purveyor of moorings – Liakos, his English turned out to be no better than my Greek however with the aid of calendars, gesticulations, diagrams and helpful translations by waiters we secured a mooring until 9th September.
Poros sits a few hundred metres off the mainland town of Galatas on the Peloponnese; its busy channel is alive. Small and large ferry boats crisscross this stretch of water, transporting people and goods, while fast ferries cut a line across them slowing to move sedately through after the clatter and bustle of the arrival and departure exchange. Larger trip boats, yachts, motor boats and little dinghies complete this complicated and ever moving picture. In rough weather all we have to do is whistle for a ferryman and over he comes to take us all ashore. This was particularly useful when we had Louise, George and Lucy visiting us and the weather was too rough for the dinghy. Their visit was great and after a few days of musical beds we settled with George and Lucy in the forward cabin, Louise in the saloon and us back in the aft cabin. When the children had their nap, the long sleep in the heat of the day seeming to be key, we shot off for a sail and they woke up in a different place, unfazed.
We got more adventurous as time went on and left Poros to visit Moni where peacocks lent an exotic air, the water was crystal turquoise clear and we swam, fed fish and threw stones, dodged wasps and generally mucked around. It was a very hot time, one night so hot that GG (Grandpa) and Lucy slept on deck and were only woken when she toppled her little sleeping pod into the wheel, at that point, I think the dew was up, it was time to come below. We sailed to Agistri and to Epidaurus finally returning to Poros and our mooring where on the last day Liakos turned up in his BIG ferryboat to take us to catch the Flying Dolphin to Piraeus leaving Selkie Dancer safe on the mooring to keep for a further two months.
Crazy interlude at home, catching up with Nia, hosting trainers, having family to stay, attending a party in Wales, babysitting in Wiltshire and Hertfordshire before leaving our car with Purple Parking at Heathrow and heading back to the boat ready for more adventures.
A few years ago I had noticed that a Nia retreat is held every year on the island of Agistri, very close to Aegina so having contacted Demetra who is a Greek American and comes from the USA every year to run the course, I arranged to attend a couple of classes. We anchored off the reef between Agistri and Aegina and hoped that the conditions would be benign. After a night spent sleeping fitfully on deck I woke to find a bit of a sea running and more wind than I wished. Not benign then! Of course not but I was up for the adventure. Andy waved me a nervous farewell, and armed with life jacket and VHF I set off far too fast, the significance of this will be apparent later. On arrival at Rosy’s Little Village about a nautical mile away, it was really tricky getting out of and securing the dinghy; someone peacefully doing their yoga on the rocks nearby was rudely disturbed by a flumping puffing Selkie as she landed ungainly on to the shore. I had a beautiful and typical Nia welcome and danced my hour away. Then on the return with the wind blowing harder and aiming well up my battery status, more precisely the electric engines’ battery status showed a rapid decrease and as I neared Selkie Dancer and with the irrational desire to go faster so that I would make it I noticed it went from 28% to 4% at which stage I contacted Andy on the VHF to warn him that I might need rescuing! Heart stopping moments and the engine running on showing 0%, the Gods were with me. We had had a problem with the VHF earlier and as I learnt he could hear my calls but not return them – yet another problem that had been niggling us for ages had been pinned down. In the last few years we had been on the trail of the problem but had been fixing all the wrong things, so really my trip to dance Nia was very useful! The second trip was better as I had been tutored in the significance of the read out on the arm of the engine. What revs am I doing, at these revs what speed is it giving me and at this speed – now very important – how FAR can I go. Andy was VERY stressed by the whole experience!
Into Aegina harbour the next day where my cousins Alistair and Lis joined us, we have had a wonderful time, Agistri, Epidaurus and Poros. In Epidaurus, having heard how I had lost my beloved new earring on a windy rainy Scottish walk, the jeweller offered to sell me just one to match up. I don’t think that would happen in the UK but then the Coop never rounds down your total bill like they do here in Greece if you don’t have quite the correct change! I bought a whole new pair and another pair into the bargain
We all met up with Mac, Sophia, Tom and Chloe who were staying in the Sirene Blue Resort Hotel you can see it in the picture behind the Stink Pot as we did a practice anchoring in a bay the day they arrived
So the last week has been busy, out sailing and swimming every day bar one when we needed an ‘admin day’- replacing a water pump that is now so silent I think I’m in a super yacht, the only disadvantage being we are not conscious of it and so cannot monitor water leaks or over usage! The netting earned its place saving Chloe from a dunking; Tom honed his sailing skills, Mac helmed and Sophia caught up with reading; we had a birthday. ‘And Chloe’ is the refrain of the week. Every time we said, and Thomas will do this or Yiayia will do that there was a little persistent voice saying ‘and Chloe’!!!
Our mooring buoy has been an absolute boon. To know that we have had a secure place should we need it and not to have to cram onto a town wall and endure discos until 3am. Liakos has appreciated the flawless Greek communication by text, courtesy of Google and this morning we bade him a fond farewell with a promise to return. He and so many other Greeks we meet are so like this excerpt from ‘An Affair of the Heart’ by Dilys Powell, kindly given to me by Lis.
‘How are things with all of you?’
‘Bad, bad; nothing goes well. There is poverty, everywhere there is poverty. Nothing goes well.’
‘Your government, is it not a good one?’
‘I do not think so.’ His voice rose to a bellow. ‘The Greeks’ (using the word which to a peasant means a city Greek) ‘are worth nothing!’
A hundred times I had heard the cry. Nobody is more denigratory about his own people than the country Greek.
‘Why dost thou say that? The Greeks are good, the people are good.’
‘The people, yes; the people are good. But the great ones eat everything and the people are poor; the great ones are all thieves, all thieves they are, they make money, they row rich and the poor are hungry. Always the same it is, here in Greece.’
This was written about the 1950’s and nothing seems to have changed in the average Greeks opinion of the government!
I am writing this in Aegina in the usual noisy café, a busy road in front of me; horse drawn carriages, their harnesses tinkling as they clip clop past our boat lying on the other side of the road. There, yet another task occupies the skipper as he replaces a very important pipe – Selkie Dancer has been having holding tank evacuation problems, I am trying to avoid the scatological.
We are awaiting the arrival of the WB W-B’s, must be doing something right as Louise is returning bringing Tim and the children, their second visit this year! Check in doesn’t look fun though.