37:21.05N 23:27.94E Idhra, One of the Argo-Saronic Islands
37:21.05N 23:27.94E Idhra, One of the Argo-Saronic Islands.
Thursday, 13th September, 2012.
Another beautiful sunny day and we are off to Idhra after thanking our neighbours for not running their generator all night. Once we left the harbour and passed the headland we were so surprised to see how many small islands were dotted between Spetese and Idhra. At times they look as if they are joined together. The journey between the two islands was 13.97 miles and we had to motor sail.
We found a space in the harbour next to a local boat which does not move very often and dropped the anchor and are stern-to on the harbour wall. Sometimes we were told there is rafting out six deep so we are very lucky to find a space for Ariel. The Greeks say summer to them is the middle of June to the middle of August and now is out of season and therefore space for most people.
Idhra is a long narrow island, mountainous throughout with Mount Eros 1935 feet at the summit. Everywhere you look is devoid of vegetation and looks like a narrow mass of barren rock. Nothing is known of the history of Idhra before the 16th century when Albanian Orthodox settlers turned to the sea for a living. In the 18th century and early 19th century it boosted its funds by blockade running during the Napoleonic wars. After independence it was forgotten about until the 1960’s when outsiders started to restore the houses and transform Idhra into one of the most exclusive resorts in Greece. There is an architectural preservation order which keeps the towns appearance as it was in the 1820’s.
Motor vehicles are banned as you can walk everywhere on the island. Donkeys or small horses are on the quay and carry suitcases and goods up the steep stair streets. We walked around the back streets and everywhere has white washed walls, little passage ways, small hotels and tavenas. It is indeed a very smart town. There are about a dozen houses around the harbour of three and four floor mansions made from local stone built between 1780 and 1820. The Tsamadou mansion is now the National Merchant Marine Academy and the School of Fine Arts uses the Tompazi mansion.
The Panagia church which you can enter from the quay was built between 1760 and 1770 using stone from Poros’s Temple of Poseidon. The belfry is marble and a stonemason from the island of Tinos erected it.
The wind is currently still blowing from the south and gusting so Jim put out a second anchor and dived on them both very quietly. Both are holding and keeping us off the harbour wall. We will probably stay here for a few days as most people are paying a fortune to be staying in a hotel or aboard one of the super yachts around us. As floating gypsies we are enjoying the beautiful views and entertainment of anchor laying and retrieving. Sitting in the cockpit we look over to the island of Dhokos and looking forward to the town both very acceptable.