End of July

Rob and Jacky Black
Sun 31 Jul 2011 11:54
39 56.7 N 23 37.6 E 23rd - 28th July
We anchored over night in a lovely quiet bay to the south side of the island called Spalathromsia about 5 miles south of Nea Marmara. The following day we went back to Porto Koufo
for an over night stop and a quick supermarket call as we needed to get a gas bottle changed - fortunately the one in use ran out just in time to get this done here where the supermarket stock the refills.
We left late  the following morning for a quick hop to Nea Skioli a harbour we had been recommended to try by some of the Neilson flotilla staff - it is their home base and we understood if we arrived after 1200
on a Sunday the flotilla would have sailed. Sure enough as we approached the harbour we were passed by around 8 Neilson boats all enjoying a light down wind sail for their first day on the water.
On arrival we picked a spot near the head of the mole dropped the anchor in rapidly shallowing water and backed onto the quay. There were some willing hands around to help us with our lines.
We noticed that Odyssee (our French friends Alain and Anne) were moored on the outer wall and sure enough they came round to visit us later that evening. This town was very pleasant it has a good supply of
supermarkets and a few other shops. There is a wide choice of taverna and other snack type eateries. The main harbour is backed by a newly pedestrianised area with some tavernas that set up tables and chairs and sun shades on this
as well as having space inside and on their terraces. Once passed the harbour going south there is a sandy beach and here the road passes between the beach and the tavernas which are all set up a few steps so their terraces afford a lovely view out over the beach and to the harbour. All very pleasant. Each taverna or cafe has it's own sun beds and umbrellas and they are free to use if you buy drinks etc. We were recommended to a particular taverna where we planned to go on our last night but unfortunately Rob had bad toothache so Jacky went on her own (it was lovely)! The down side of this place made it's self known over night on the 25th when we had a very disturbed night with strong NW winds that brought in a big swell to the harbour. We were lucky that we had no boats directly either side of us as those that did were banging shrouds and spreaders as well as side decks! We made a phone call to alert the Neilson staff as their boats were suffering and around 0245 two chaps arrived and then two more. There wasn't a great deal they could do but at least they were able to move fenders etc. The swell remained for the whole of the next day and made it uncomfortable then the wind came in strongly from the SW so all the boats deployed kedge anchors! Apparently the harbour protection walls have not been finished - the one to the north is meant to have been extended but the local funding has run out!
In the mean time Jacky made good use of the beach beds and a very nice little cafe  on the main beach as well as swimming from the second beach just to the north of the mole on which we were moored. it was good to have fresh water showers and a changing hut on both beaches. We also frequented the taverna just above the mole, owned by Theo who is also a fisherman. He was a very friendly chap and came on the boat for drinks. We were given Ouzo and salted sun-dried fish (prepared by himself from his own catch)  when we were next in his taverna! The town has many small pensions and self-catering apartments in small complexes with just a few hotels. The Neilson hotel is about 5 kilometers out of town so we didn't visit it but by all accounts it is very good. They offer beginner/taster sailing sessions in cruisers as well as multiple water sport activities on site. We had hoped that Paul one of the Neilson 'techies' was going to be able to check the wiring on the fridge as it has been playing up for weeks - unfortunately he was too busy so we decided to leave and get south to our next cruising area the Sporades. We met another Neilson staff member who lives on Shoreham Beach his name is Jack and both his parents and Grandparents are SYC members- small world!