It’s the middle of October, sometimes it feels like the days are getting cooler but then the next day is different, a change of heart, as reluctant to move into the next season as I am. The few days after leaving Syros were spent in thrall to the northerly wind as, like fugitives, we kept ahead of it and sought out places to shelter. We had a good sail to Batsi on the west coast of Andros and I was looking forward to re acquainting myself with the island but oh no, the north wind was coming so we scurried up to the islands south of Evvoia where we spent two uneventful windy days finally leaving under threatening skies, strong following winds and short seas.
From my diary – usually a Bridget Jones type account “This morning I was not happy. It was overcast, lowering grey clouds and Andy announces we must leave – gah! just bloody got here. I want to stop………………………….furiously windy, big confused seas, we were going fast 8 knots sometimes, past tankers at anchor, past Sounion head..we have 70 metres chain and rope out at anchor…………….horrid again, tipped over at an angle trying to keep upright – pulling up pants after a pee, making coffee, all a challenge…..etc”
We rounded the corner under the gaze of the temple at Sounion Head and found another anchorage tucked into the lee of the coast.
The next day we made a dash towards the island of Aegina. This involved crossing a shipping lane and proved a real pain. The Blue Star ferry is bearing down on us fast – is he going to go safely ahead? should we alter course? Technically, we are outside the shipping lane so a sailing vessel is given priority however we would never argue the toss with a Blue Star ferry. There follow several anxious moments and changes of course, the wind is fluky, sometimes strong, the next moment nonexistent.
At last we came to rest in Epidavros. I am so glad to be at anchor. So happy to be in a place that is familiar, it is very comforting. The surrounding area is all green, a huge contrast to the Cyclades. There are groves of grey green olives and glossy green citrus, pomegranate and rows of spiky aloe. The air is perfumed.
The ancient little theatre and the excavations around it have not changed much. We walked up the hill behind it, into the olives to find the church of the Virgin Mary ‘Εκκλησια τησ Παναγιασ’. We had coffee in a known place and remembered and were remembered by the waitress. Actually it’s usually Andy who is recognised. This time there was no confusion with Peter O’Toole, who is dead anyway. Our usual little supermarket was boarded up and deserted but we were delighted to find that the same family now run the rather smarter, larger establishment on the waterfront. However I missed the complimentary journey by scooter down to the port which used to be part of the service.
Moving down the west coast of the Methana peninsula we found a glorious little bay, more kingfishers flying low over lapis blue water. Perfect for viewing sun sets.
We stayed for a few days and kayaked up to the little port hoping to have coffee and buy bread. We had joked as we saw a little van, making its lonesome way along the single track road from the main port to the village, that it was probably the bread van. It was! There wasn’t a shop to buy bread from but we were able to buy from a taverna as sadly there are so few people about.
We came back to Zea briefly to pick up the new sail. Here it is, he’s very happy. Of course we wanted to try out the sail and had intended to be out for at least a couple of weeks. But after four days and following the news of increasing cases of Covid-19 across Europe, the Greek government decided to impose a further lockdown. Among restrictions would be the inability to travel between local regions. We returned to our homeport. We did try out the sail, it stayed up, it worked, it looked handsome but the REALLY exciting event was sighting a monk seal. Just at the entrance to the Poros channel Andy spotted him, he appeared to be a confident big bruiser of a mammal and not at all shy.
Before our return we spent too few days anchored in Russian Bay just west of Poros. A glorious spot with many fond memories.
It’s sad to have cut short our time as I’m sure we could have had a few more weeks of sun and sail to relish. But it’s back to lock down Piraeus and see what life is like there……………