Waving goodbye to Monemvasia we headed north and arrived to the island of Spetsai and anchored in a bay that offered beautiful clear waters, birds that had a exotic sound in the morning and evening, 2 small churches and wonderful smells from the pine trees and the bells from sheep. One evening we went into a taverna for dinner and met the owner of a HR 46 from England. He has sailed in these waters for many years so was quite informative.
As many had told us to be sure and visit Navplion, we had a nice sail for nearly the 26nm until the winds died and could not push us through the seas. I must admit we were a bit dismayed when we rounded the corner into a very big commercial harbour that did not match to the city on the hillside.
Once off the boat and touring the narrow cobbled streets to find the village did have quite a nice atmosphere. We sat in the main square late in the evening to watch the World Cup match, Germany vs. Brazil. There were some Germans in the crowd so they were both happy and astonished at the performance of their team.
Because of the foul smell in the harbor we took a quick morning tour of the fort on the hill and then departed and sailed back to our beloved anchorage on Spetsai. The winds were brisk during the day so late in the afternoon a sea swell developed in the anchorage that caused considerable rolling, that we knew would not settle, so just before dark we lifted the anchor and had a spirited 30 minute sail to the mainland in a very protected harbour, Porto Kheli. Roland was grilling on the BBQ after dark in calm waters.
The small village of Erminoni had a very nice feel to it. Moderate tourism and the streets were full of the locals going about their daily business. Unfortunately it was here that our fishing rod was stolen but we did not discover it until after we had left. I am quite sure a local fisherman was in awe of the reel alone and must of helped himself in the early morning hours. We hope he catches big fish with it.
As we were sailing to our next destination we saw a HR 42 crossing in front of us. At first we thought it was the French couple who we met some days ago but I confirmed it was not them. Next we heard on the VHF radio: “BELLA LUNA BELLA LUNA – ROLAND AND VICKIE IS THAT YOU?”. I replied to find out it was our Italian friend Franco.
We adjusted our course and said we would meet him in his next port of call, Poros. Franco invited us to his olive farm north of Rome some years ago where we helped pick the olives and take them to the local pressing facility. It was a fantastic experience. Upon our arrival, we moored next to his boat “Sailor Dew” and he invited us on board for Italian wine and cheese. It is so special to meet people you know totally unexpected while sailing. A
very special evening!
The village of Palaia Epidhavros offered us the opportunity to visit one of the most perfect and best preserved of the ancient Greek theatres.
Unfortunately we would miss any performances scheduled within the coming week. That evening we were in a all Greek cafe to watch the World Cup Championship. Not one person there was cheering for Germany. The next day we were expecting afternoon thunder, rain and wind shifts so we decided to stay and take it easy.
A problem we have had throughout the MED are boats anchoring too close, not putting out enough chain in relation to the depth and not setting the anchor. As a French boat was arriving and started to drop his anchor, we asked him to please move further away but they insisted they were perfectly ok. We could see they did not put out enough chain and they did not set the anchor. The wind and squalls began and at one point they came within 2 meters of us. I remained in the cockpit on watch. All of them were down below. As a “strong” gust hit (16 knots), I saw their anchor pop loose and off they went.
Glad the boat was on our lee side, but worried that they drifted towards another boat, Roland blew the fog horn. They all popped their heads out (reminded me of groundhogs looking for their shadow) and we yelled, your anchor is not holding. They lifted the anchor and came back to the same spot next to us and then the confrontation began and we told them to go further away. There was plenty of space in the bay which they finally did after much heated debate.
As our destination was now Athens, we made two anchorage stops on the island of Aigina (or should I say the island of wasps..) Unfortunately we did not get to see the Temple of Aphaia (5-6BC)
Tomorrow to Athens where we will leave Bella Luna while we return to Göteborg for Roland’s father’s 90th birthday and to visit grandsons!
In summary, the last 2 months in Greece has presented us with beautiful scenery, easy sailing, incredible history and meeting old and new friends. We met so many who leave their boat in the area year after year and sail 4 to 6 months. We can now understand because it is a wonderful cruising area that can keep you entertained for several seasons. We experienced no hassles from the Greek authorities. It was not required to check in or check out at every island. We found, especially in the Ionian Islands, the Greek people to be extremely friendly and helpful. We look forward to continuing in August.