37:24.115N 23:24.718E

Chris and Alison
Thu 16 May 2024 18:04
We finally left Poros on the 12th for Ermioni. We have visited Ermioni before but we wanted to visit Hydra Island just a few miles off Ermioni. Hydra has a very small harbour that is busy with fishing boats and ferry’s with no safe anchorages nearby, so it was easier and safer to get the ferry from Ermioni for a day trip. We anchored in the harbour just off Ermioni town quay and thankfully it was calm and quiet. 

Now, I said we were following in the wake of the gods on this trip and with our longer stop in Poros its about time we found another story. 

Sailing to Ermioni from Poros you have to pass Cape Skilli, a lovely cape with small islands dotted all around it and some lovely anchorages. It just happens that according to Jefferson, Ovid has a story about how Cape Skilli got its name, so here goes.

Skili relates to Scylla, who was a princess in the city of Megaera, not far from the Corinth. Her father, the king Megaera, was a man by the name of Nisus, whose most notable feature was a tuft of purple hair on the top of his head. This gave Nisus magical powers, which meant it was impossible for his city to fall, provided this lock of hair remained in place. Life was therefore going swimmingly for Nisus when King Minos - Cretan king and general sinister minder of the Minotaur, turned up with the idea he was going to capture the city. Minos clearly hadn’t done even the most basic of research into Nisus, otherwise he would have realised that unless he had a really big pair of shears with a long reach, he was going to struggle to take the city. Instead, he found himself embroiled in a very tedious siege that dragged on for months with minimal prospect of ever coming to an end.
It all sounds rather tiresome and clearly it bored Scylla, who took to going to a lookout tower, where she had a good view of Minos’ army and most importantly, Minos himself, who seems to have spent a good deal of time strutting about with his top off. Scylla rapidly became captivated and things got to the point where she was frantic with desire. Now, I realise that this just a myth but I have to say that if Minos was wandering about outside the city walls close enough for Scylla, to become infatuated with him, then, I would expect that someone could also have shot him and resolved the whole conflict quite quickly. Unfortunately for Scylla that did’t happen, instead, with emotions ruining out of control, she headed to her father’s room while he was asleep nipped off his distinctive purple lock and snuck out of the city to rendezvous with King Minos, whom she expected to be so grateful that he would tumble into her arms and love her ever after.

The trouble with dreams, is that they don’t come true and the reality was rather disappointing. Minos accepted the lock of hair but was so appalled at Scylla’s lack of loyalty to her own father that he could barely look at her, let alone love her. So when the city promptly fell and Nisus died, Minos was surprisingly merciful and left the place post haste to get back to Crete.

As you can imagine, Scylla was devastated, having now lost her father and the respect of all the citizens of her home town and in addition totally failing to impress the guy she fancied. As she watched Minos’s fleet prepare to depart, she therefore went for the truly undignified option of throwing herself off the dock and swimming after Minos’ boat. She must have been a strong swimmer because she managed to grab hold of the rudder and cling on for a good while. This was awkward situation was eventually resolved when a sea eagle swooped down and started attacking her. This bird turned out to be Nisus, who, when he had died, had turned into the eagle. Remember, this story was written by Ovid, whose book was called Metamorphoses, so its to be expected that at some point someone is going to turn into something. Ovid also threw in a bonus Metamorphosis, because as Scylla lay in the water being pecked to death, she too turned into a bird, a Lark and flew away. This final, slightly odd story took place off Cape Skili, which is how it got its name.

But back to reality! Following advice from the CA who we had emailed to let them know about our plight with the Transit Log (TL), (see previous post), we made our way to the Port Police office to try to get our first stamp of the year, hoping that they would not be as bureaucratic as the Police in Poros. A polite Policeman greeted us at the door, but you could see the exasperated look on his face as soon as we mentioned TL. He checked our papers and then the TL. He then muttered ‘Oropu' under his breath and our hearts sank again. He went over to his computer, found Chalkoutsi on the map, then found Oropu, he thought about it for a minute then said “ok” and promptly stamped our TL. At last we can now move on and get stamped as we go. 

With the anxiety lifted we walked around Ermioni, had a drink to celebrate and decided to have a day doing jobs and swimming. Chris is doing his best to replace the worn and damaged teak deck in the worst of the places, and with a supply of Iroko that we brought in Chalkoutsi he is doing a very fine job. The teak on the anchor locker that came away during a rather rough passage last year now has new Iroko planks and caulking that now looks very smart. 

Tuesday we jumped on the ferry and spent the day on Hydra island. Hydra doesn’t have any wheeled vehicles, only human pushed carts and lots of donkeys to do the carrying up very steep narrow alleyways and paths up the mountains. We climbed mount Eros, without a donkey, to1568ft, to visit the monastery. Thankfully it was a nice cool day so the climb was not too arduous, once we had found the correct path. The monastery of Prophet Elias is the only male monastery on the island, first established in 1813 by 13 monks who arrived on the island from Mount Athos. The monastery chapel has a domed basilica shape and whitewashed walls. It has a library with some valuable manuscripts that are not on display. 

We made use of their free water to top up our water bottles, that was much needed after the climb and bought some of their home produced honey. 

Once off the mountain we had a lovely meal in Lulu’s taverna that was tucked back from the main harbour, and then after lunch walked to Mandrake Bay to see the ruined castle and then back to the main harbour before getting the 1730 ferry to Ermioni. Back in Ermioni we discovered it had been raining all day, so we were very glad we had been in Hydra in bright sunshine. 

Our next stop is a 45nm sail to Monemvasia to wait for the right conditions to round the notorious Cape Maleas.

Hydra from, mount Eros

The monastery entrance

Inside the monastery walls

The best mode of transport on Hydra

New Iroko planks on the anchor locker