37:53.47N 24:00.95E Porto Rafti
The wind had dropped and so we reluctantly left Poros where we have enjoyed our time but it is time to move on and find new ports and scenery. We said goodbye to a couple we have been talking to for a couple of weeks and waved to our favourite restaurant and further down the quay the bar where it is nice to sit and watch the world go by. Jim likes it as it reminds him of Poole quay.
After leaving the island we had the sails up and we were doing 6’s and 7’s and managed to keep up the pace until we rounded Cape Sounion which is on the tip of the Athens southerly tip. The wind was a little confused coming off the mountains and at times we were doing 9’s as we came up to the cliffs where the Temple of Poseidon stands but once we turned the corner we had to motor sail.
The Temple of Poseidon was built in 444 BC and stands on the site of older ruins. It was built for worship to the god of the sea. The Temple was built of local marble taken from quarries at nearby Agrileza. There were originally 34 slender Doric columns but only 15 now stand. An ionic frieze made from 13 slabs of Parian marble is located on the east side of the temple’s main approach which is now eroded but is known to have depicted scenes of the battle of Lapiths and also Theseus who was thought to be the son of Possidon.
Lord Byron (1788-1824) British romantic poet visited Greece in 1809 at the age of 21. He wrote The Maids of Athens inspired by his love for his landlady’s daughter and part of Childe Harold. When he returned to London he was an overnight success. He visited the temple in 1810 and carved his name on one of the columns. Now the columns are covered in thousands of signatures.
We had thought about stopping in Poseidon Bay but the wind did not allow for this so we motored sailed on up to Porto Rafti arriving at 7.30 p.m. after leaving at 9 in the morning. We had covered 47.71 miles in all but the last being in a confused sea just like the Alderney Race with the wind and tide against itself.
Porto Rafti is a lovely little bay and one of Greece’s natural harbours with holiday homes around the water’s edge. We arrived just as an evening race was starting although they did not have a lot of wind in this protected area but once out at sea they were moving well. The boats were all very different, some had very old sails and others were in need of some maintenance but they were all having fun. The last one home arrived in the dark.
Porto Rafti takes its name from the Rafti island which is situated in the middle of the entrance to the bay. At the top is a marble statue of a seated female made in the Roman period called the “tailor” which would have been made to be used as a beacon for ships and to light up the harbour. During World War II 6,000 New Zealand troops were successfully evacuated from the beach. Many Mycenaean tombs have been found in the bay area.
We anchored near the moorings and had a very pleasant evening and quiet night. 3 crafty swans were swimming around the boats this morning looking for their breakfast!