From a Solitary Anchorage to a Multi-Billion Euro Berth

Sat 16 Jun 2018 12:49

Friday morning with the wind steadily rising we left our solitary anchorage in Ormos Levki and sailed around the last of the Peloponnesian headlands and headed up the eastern coast to Kiparissi arriving there around 17.30 after a quiet passage. A lovely bay surrounded by high wooded mountains, Cyprus trees standing like exclamation marks punctuating the scene. In the south eastern corner of the bay there nestles a clutch of terracotta roofed , white washed, stone houses  clustering around a tiny harbour where a handful of small, colourful local fishing boats tugged gently on their mooring lines as they bobbed on the gin clear water.

We swam and lazed in the sun for a couple of hours before taking the tender ashore for supper. There were two tavernas in the village, one took our fancy and there we dined looking out across the bay as our table groaned under the weight of toasted bread soaked in olive oil and garlic, taramasalata, tzatziki, skordalia (the best we’ve had this year) a huge Greek salad and four lovely sea bream. We scoffed the lot and washed it down with a litre and a half of the superb local white wine. Water melon was brought to finish and the bill for the four of us was just sixty five Euros. Our gluttonous repast was followed by the softest, quietest of nights as we floated on a dark mirrored sea under a waxing gibbous moon.

We awoke to still mercurial waters and after a scrambled egg breakfast we weighed anchor and motored away from Kiprissi bound for the island of Spetsie, last visited some ten years ago.  Anchoring in a favourite bay at the south east end of the island we enjoyed a couple of hours swimming and sun bathing. It was a quick sail across the strait to the Attica mainland and the large shallow harbour of Porto Kheli. It was here thirteen years ago on a charter boat with Charles and Gemma that we endured a storm with winds over sixty five knots and torrential rain. This time though all was calm as we dropped the hook just across from the town quay. We dined in a pretty corner of the town in a shabby chic restaurant on the water front beneath a blue domed Greek Orthodox Church where a wedding was in progress. The town was still lively with revellers as we tendered back to Pamarzi. The music from various sources continued to float across the water till well past the bewitching hour.

The anchor was hauled up early the following morning and we headed towards the island of Hydra hoping to anchor in Mandraki bay. Sailing with us in 2005 Charles and Gemma were looking to have a romantic night sleeping under the stars here. They gave up their idyll in the early hours as the ceaseless plops and splashes of thousands of fish rising prohibited sleep.  My mistake on this occasion was to forget that it was Sunday, the anchorage was crowded. We did try to anchor with a line ashore but Rob was unable to find a suitable rock to tie the long line to and after a couple of attempts we reluctantly gave up and headed to Poros.

We arrived there around 15.45 and found a berth on the town quay. We set to Med moor and after dropping the hook reversed towards the quay where we saw that a French yachtsman wearing a peculiar pair of red multi-patterned trousers was laconically stepped off his boat to take our lines. There was a stiffish cross wind blowing and I was keen to get secured. Liliane threw him a stern line which he caught and then spent what seemed like ten minutes slowly and precisely hanking it (no doubt he thought himself very professional) in preparation to return it. The picture was spoilt when his thrown line failed to reach the boat and fell with a resounding splosh into the water. Now with a face as red as his trousers he recovered the line and threw it again this time successfully. It was a good berth Lynn and Liliane please that it was but a short walk to the shops. Behind us across the road was the Poseidon Taverna which proved to be very good as was the next door but one café that did a very good English breakfast.

Lynn had a cunning plan and persuaded me to stay in Poros for two nights in order that they could take a Flying Dolphin hydrofoil back to Hydra town so that they could ‘do the shops’ there. They apparently had a lovely day in Hydra and returned with a number of small carrier bags which was worrying as the place is renowned for its jewellery shops!    

Tuesday 12th June, up early as usual I went in search of a bakery and returned to Pamarzi with warm bread, croissants and baklava. Conditions were forecast to be light and I planned to find a small bay on the south coast of Aegina. We motored away from Poros across the lagoon to the northern entrance with many a glance back to the happy jumble of shops and houses that clad the hill that is Poros. Once out in the open sea we found a good breeze and close hauled we made eight to nine knots as we tacked our way across to the south coast of Aegina where we found Ormos Klima a good if deep anchorage but after the two boats already in there left we were able to set the hook in fifteen metres. It remained very calm and we had fun swimming and snorkelling in the clear waters.

There was no rush to leave next morning as I had booked a berth for fifteen days at Flisvos Marina Athens and had told them that we would not be in till around 17.00. It is only twenty miles or so from Aegina to Athens and so as the weather was still fair and the sea calm we decided to resolve the twists in our anchor chain by motoring out into deep water and after moving our Rocna anchor over to the portside bow roller and detaching the chain we paid out almost all of it to allow the twists to untangle. Unfortunately putting nigh on one hundred meters of chain out and hauling it back was too much for our windlass and the thermal cut out switch shut it down when there was still thirty meters of chain to retrieve. It took thirty minutes or so for the motor to cool down enough to allow us to complete the operation.

We arrived at the marina around 16.30 after a very pleasant downwind sail across from Aegina. Good choice I thought as the marina staff came out in a launch to guide us to our berth and we passed quite literally billions of Euros worth of super yachts and vast motor cruisers. Completing the usual docking procedure we dressed ourselves for supper ashore. As we walked up the manicured, shrub lined walkway from our berth we noted that a sound stage complete with light show had been erected and a rather good Greek rock band was setting up. The lead singer came on stage around 21.30 and gave the audience a great show until 23.30. It was a super atmosphere and whoever the lead singer was the crowds had flocked here to see him. The closest restaurant turned out to be a TGI Friday’s. The Tex-Mex food looked like a pleasant change from the usual Greek fayre but sadly it was all rather mediocre and the place was very noisy.

Rob and Liliane left for home next day and Lynn and I set to with domestic and topside chores to ready Pamarzi for the next part of this year’s cruise when we return from a week or so in the UK. We fly home on Sunday and when we return on the 25th we will be transiting the Corinth Canal and returning to the Ionian.

Roger & Lynn