Sunday, 8 October 2017

Ormos Skoutari 36:39.7N 22:30.3E

Well what else do you do at 3 o'clock in the morning with the wind gusting 30kn or more? Answer is "Update the blog!"
We came here, just couple hours south of Vithion knowing the bay is quite a big one, with a sandy beach at the head of the byte, and big mountains to our west and north, giving us good protection from wind and weather from west and north. The pilot book does, however, mention the possibility of strong gusts from over the high mountains. As we enter the bay last Friday and explored possibility of dropping our hook in each of the smaller bays we passed. 'Storm Cove' is quite narrow and no room to swing, necessitating us tieing back to the shoreline using long stern lines. Not necessary and not particularly desirable if needing quick-getaway. 'Fishermans Cove' looked more tasty although depths were greater than we really wanted until fairly close to the shoreline. Also would have meant us being on a lee-shore over the coming days. So we kicked that option into touch too and proceeded towards the north-westerly head of the bay. A few minuted before reaching the area and depth where we'd planned to drop our hook we'd had virtually no wind and had been on the donk the whole 2 hours since leaving Vithion. Suddenly we had it. 20kn coming over the highest part of the mountains directly ahead. With no other yachts to be seen we dropped our hook in 8m depth and decided to let 75m chain out, testing how well the hook grabbed a hold along the way. We held well with only 30m chain out so the extra 45m would give us the desired confidence if the wind became nasty overnight. Towards Friday sunset we were seeing 20-25kn quite regularly and during hours of darkness slightly less, coming back with more gusto on first light. During the Saturday morning, a promising start turned into black clouds and lorra wind.Topside 30kn regularly between copious rainfalls. By evening we could see patches of blue overhead and by time it was dark the moon came up bright. The night certainly looked promising. Until just before 3 o'clock. Since then we're back up to 30knand more of wind, no moon and clear skies. We persist in swinging like a ballerina pendulum and our hook is thankfully staying firm. By now, we guess our hook has been spending the last day and a half gradually digging its way deeper and deeper into the seabed? We know there are storms to our west and south and the forecast indicates winds should reduce in next few hours. We've just enjoyed our ritual cup of tea, reserved for these occasions, and might consider trying to accomplish bit more shut-eye soon as I finish this.
At a more convenient time this morning, we'll be taking a look at the weather prospects and considering our next move south, towards our next windy-watering hole. Not complaining because we've enjoyed mostly settled nights getting plenty ZZZZZZZs.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Vithion (Githion) Lakonika Gulf 36:45.3N 22:34.3E

Couple nights on hook between Nisos Kranari and Vithion town. Very pleasant being just 100m or so from the shoreline and tavernas. Yesterday we did a shopping top-up, mostly for fresh veg and fruit from local supermarket, plus our usual desire for a scrummy cappuccino freddo and visit to local bakery before returning to Ticketeeboo for the afternoon. Originally intending to eat ashore mid-afternòon. This changed when the fresh bread decided to force its way into us. So it was changed plans in favour of having a tasty lunch on board and evening meal ashore, returning in the dark. We had the best fish soup in a taverna where the locals go, always a good sign.
We've already decided to spend another day here, possibly two if it piddles down tomorrow (forecast). We're pretty close to Kranai (which actually is attached to mainland with a breakwater/causeway) where there is a ruin fort and a decent lighthouse. An Americal couple stopped to talk yesterday and the lady said the Nazis imprisoned her Father on the island during WW2 so maybe there's more to see? Kranai is also the island mentioned by Holmer, where Paris had his wicked way with Helen....... resulting in the siege of Troy. 
Vithion is the biggest town we've seen in these parts. During daytime and early evening there's constant trickle of cars on nearby coast road. Sparta is 30m or so inland so maybe that's significant. 
Can smell the suncream going on Sue so it's almost time to do some more exploring.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Ormos Xilis (Plitra) 36:41.1N 22:49.9E

Having recently enjoyed many delightful places on the western shoreline of the Argolic Gulf, including few days at Monemvasia, we chose relatively favourable conditions to sail past 'the dreaded' Ak Maleas (which has a particularly bad reputation for nasty conditions) heading further west into the adjoining Lakonikos Gulf. We initially dropped our hook in a beautiful sandy bay called Ormos Frangos, on Nisos Elafonisos. Visited here before. Stunningly lovely beach and unrivalled place to swim. Unfortunately our first overnight was bumpy - with los of SW swell finding its way in. Next morning we were toying with the idea of moving on. Conditions settled although suddenly became 'not nice' so at three in the afternoon we pulled up our hook and moved on towards Plitra, about 20NM and to our north. The first few NM were quite energetic. We had been getting lots more protection than had been realised. Once in open water we were into F6 with 2-3m seas on the nose. We knew we would be putting these bad conditions to beam, soon as we could clear the most SW headland, Ak Ay Marinas, aptly marked with the sign of a wreck on charts! Being on our lee-shore we needed to tack couple times to make certain we didn't join it. Once clear we enjoyed a wonderful sail, beam reaching with double reefed jib and mainsail averaging 8kn for next couple hours. As we approached Ormos Xilis we knew we're gonna be only yacht on hook that night.
Plitra has good sandy beach and we're told is visited by many Athenians mid-summer. Right now it's wonderfully quiet. Very traditional. Delightful. Took bikes ashore and visited most of the shoreline. 
We're staying here until a nasty Aegean Meltimi gale blows itself out. Where we are now is more or less on the western edge of the gale. Fortunately, and touch wood, we're escaping the strong winds and enjoyed copious free deck wash overnight. Also, since Meltimi blows from N quadrant we've picked good place to be. As a precaution we also have 70m chain out in just 6m depths. 
Love to R,M,S,T and J,P,F,S xxx

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Kiparissi 36:58.4N 22:59.6E

We now 2 weeks on the water. Went ashore yesterday. Longer walks than hoped for, first finding mini-supermarket then finding village bakery. Late lunch in local taverna overlooking Ticketeeboo, alone in bay, then accompanied by stinkpot for two or three hours. Ordered one starter 'Zuchini' and one meatballs and chips - to share, making use of side plates. You would not believe how huge the portions are. We first loaded up our side pates then gazed at all four plates, almost fully loaded with food. Had to take a pic. Unbelievable. If we had ordered separate portions we could not have eaten more than half of 'em. We managed all the chips (what's new?) and just about made our way through the zuchini stragglers. The meatballs beat us. Managed 6 and 4 got wrapped-up, plus some bread we couldn't attempt, making for next yacht-meal. You can guess what happened next when we said "Log garryosbow"? The hand written bill was accompanied by an overly large dump of wonderful creamy Greek yoghurt topped with caramelised home-produced cherries. Sue failed to make any significant contribution and laid down her spoon before making headway leaving me to squeeze what I could into my already overly-confined digestive system. Much enjoyed a very settled afternoon in the cockpit whilst the sensation of overindulgence passed us by slowly.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Leonidhion, Plaka 37:08.7N 22:53.6E

Time for an update? Not done one for some time.
Silverbird into Athens silly time week last Monday, 3 hour drive to Kilada and met by Matoula (in PJs) at 3 a.m. After minimum sleep, hard at it early next morning and by sunset ready for re-launch next morning.
Spend few days on hook Kilada doing boat jobs and socialisimg and when wind light, hoisting jibsl and genoa. Then moved on to Porto Heli for few more days socialising. Thought we'd chosen good spot to drop hook. That was until at 3 a.m. one morning wind blew hoolie and our hook gave-in, needing us to relocate into better dirt with more room. Job done we finally got a bit of kip for 2 or 3 hours.
Pleasant sail Kilada towards Porto Heli and pleasant sail Porto Heli to here, Leonidhion, Plaka. First time visited here, delightful place too. 

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Palaia Epidhavros 37:38.4N 23:09.6E

Came here from Aigina last Tuesday, or thereabouts. We decided to drop hook outside the town, in a lovely bay to the N, using our RIB to visit, participate in local produce and do bit of shopping. It's a delightful place. Yesterday we found one of the best places possible to buy oilves, olive oil, honey and oregano. The wife, suitably being harassed by her young kids, looks after the shop. Whilst sampling her produce before and after buying, we were told where their farm is as well their taverna.  We also did some 'basics' shopping and scoffed some local prawns and octopus for lunch.
Sue came up with the idea if taking cycles ashore this morning and cycling to the taverna, couple miles away. What a find. Ormos Kaĺymnios really is. This bay is to the S of the peninsula and S of Epidhavros. 50m from the taverna is a sunken city, dating back to 2300BC when a local volcano let rip. We may well return and drop hook there. Just little exposed so only in settled conditions. We also visited an ancient theatre, undergoing excavations and renovations after more than 2000 years being almost maintenance-free. 
Much enjoying visiting these parts so likely keep hook in same bit dirt while longer.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Ormos Pighios, Nisos Aigina 37:40.59N 23:28.65E

We enjoyed a short 7NM sail from Methana to here, Ormos Pighios, couple days ago. We picked this place because we wanted to escape some promised strong N'lies and here looked ideal to spend next few nights. We'd already had our share of some rather brisk and changeable winds at Methana when it thunderstormed on us. Quite a lot of rain too. As we approached we could see a line of stinkpots tied sterns-to and one sailing yacht on hook. As it turned out, the sailing yacht was a traditional oversized ketch with some tourists onboard, which left before dark, to be replaced by a giant stinkpot flying a red ensign. Fortunately the skipper did tie-back out of our way. Another oversized stinkpot arrived early next morning, as did couple more visiting yachts. By nightfall of Sunday, day 2, the touristy sailing yacht had returned and dropped their hook remarkably close, leading us to think they were only day visiting. In the event, just before dark, Sue decided to engage conversation along the lines of:
Sue: Hello (pause) Hello. Where is the captain please?
Skipper appears.
Sue: Hello. Are you staying the night?
Skipper: Yes we stay here.
Sue: You are rather close. Will you be doing an anchor watch because you are rather close?
Skipper. No problem. No problem. 
Sue: I think you are far too close (muttering I'll give him no problem no problem).
Few minutes later they had their donk on and kindly repositioned themselves in a more sensible free space of their choosing. Given, we were the only 2 yachts in the bay they had tons to choose from and both yachts benefited from having a very pleasant, trouble-free, overnight. Sue's definitely better than me at this sort of thing. 
Compared to yesterday, which was a complete washout, raining and cool all day, today is just fine. Windies slightly stronger and broken sunshine. We've even refurbished (of sorts) our CA burgee, which now has new pieces sewn-in to resemble the original. 
Likely we'll move-on somewhere not too far away and just as lovely tomorrow. Also likely we'll be bay-alone here tonight.