Saronic Gulf Charter September 2018
Hi guys, my attempt at a John Eggett style sailing blog!
Sue and I arrived in Athens on Wednesday afternoon for a few days of sightseeing and booked into a small hotel in Plaka, in the old town below the Acropolis. I have to say, the Parthenon at the top is awe inspiring, day or night, distant or close.Then over the next two days did a walking tour, visited the Acropolis Museum, wandered round Plaka and Monastraki and ate Greek food. Our son Mike and his lovely girlfriend Kirstie joined us on Friday.On Saturday morning we travelled down to the marina to pick up our boat, a Bavaria 32 Cruiser, 2013, looking her age but all there and working. Our plan was to sail to Perdika on Aegina. As we got close to the island we got caught in a thunder storm, not forecast at all, lightning, torrential rain, 20 knots, the lot. I could tell Sue and Kirstie were already regretting the decision to come! Sue, “this is not what I signed up for”! Anyway, we got the sails down and motored through it no problem. Arriving at Perdika we found the small harbour full up, so found an anchorage in a sheltered bay close by, launched the dinghy and had a well deserved meal at a waterfront tavern.Unfortunately, the wind turned onshore overnight so we had an uncomfortable night.Sunday was an easy, sunny, warm, light wind sail to Epidavros on the Peloponnese Peninsular where we moored stern to on the town quay, a very short walk from Tavernas and shops. The girls were beginning to forgive me!The forecast showed some wind coming later in the week so I decided to sail to Hydra, 34 miles to make use of the shelter provided by the mountains.Hydra: Everybody wants to be there, and for good reason, it is a very pretty harbour, nice restaurants, no cars on the island at all, the only transport is by donkey! So we motor into the busy little harbour and it is full. No problem. You raft stern to, anchor out of course, and get your stern lines to the bows of two boats on the previous row. Of course the result of this is literally a cats cradle of anchor chains leading out into the harbour! We spent an amusing morning the next day watching everyone get untangled.Luckily, we managed to escape without incident and had a nice sail to Porto Cheli, back on the mainland. This is about as far as the charter boats can get in a week so it was pretty quiet. Its a natural lagoon, completely surrounded, with a narrow channel in. Ironically, we pulled up someones anchor chain the next morning and Mike had to dive in, secure the chain to our boat with a rope, and release our anchor.Wednesday saw us heading back in the direction of Athens. the expected wind started to build and we had a good beat towards Ermioni, again on the mainland. The girls must have been getting used to it by now as there were no complaints until we got near a passage between two islands where the wind accelerated through, so we took the sails down and motored in, mooring on the town quay. Ermioni is a lovely sheltered harbour with a pretty, bustling town. We took a long walk through ancient pines around a small peninsular that evening.Next morning the wind was still quite strong, but on the beam so we got a nice reach in the relative shelter of the hills, gusty at times of course, until we rounded the headland into the Saronic Gulf, over 20 knots on the nose so we dropped the sails again and motored the last five miles into Poros. Another really attractive town, again surprisingly sheltered considering the wind outside.Friday was a 24 mile motorsail (almost no wind!) back to Alimos Marina at Athens, broken by lunch and a swim at anchor in a quiet bay on Aegina, about half way across.So we booked back in with no damage (they check of course, even send a diver down to inspect the keel and rudder) and spent our last night on the boat where Mike and Kirstie cooked for us. Really nice!Would we go back? We all agreed that we had just had a terrific week but were very pleased to have had Mike there as it would have probably been a bit much for just Sue and I. The Ionian and the Gulf of Fethiye in Turkey both have easier sailing conditions in our experience. Having said that, next year will be Croatia.