In the next two weeks, we will hug the Peloponnesian coast line and visit wonderful little places on our way like:
The lunch stop at Nisis Moni:
A beautiful spot right in front of a cave full of the most wonderful cobble stones enticed us to med moor for lunch. We found the clearest blue water with the most flotsam /rubbish spoiling a swim for us! (It is probably a current collection area, but still pretty sad to see!)
When snorkelling around, I tried to get away from the debris by swimming all way out to the entrance of the bay. After surfacing next to a massive fish head with growling teeth and eyeballs hanging on for dear life to the scull, a filthy plastic bad draped over the one side of my head and some very suspicious looking sausage like objects floating nearby that was it!! 🙁 No matter how blue and clear the water and cute the cave was … I do have a limit to the price to pay for a great view – above or under the water! I never knew I could walk on water! This one will be part of our memories for all the wrong reasons!
We visited Poros twice – first on the way around the southern tip of the Peloponnese with Lientjie and Annemie and the second time was when we came back on our way to Athens.
Poros is a delightful little town built like a typical white clustered town built on and around a hill with little alleyways joined by very steep stair cases going up the hill to the next street – all beautifully painted with crispy white walls with soft pastel marshmallow colours scattered in between. The Greek orthodox churches in Greece almost always seems to be on the highest point of the town with a lovely view and they just ask to be photographed! The church that is dominating the town has an old clock tower but was unfortunately not open as it is under restoration, but is worth going to anyway as it has a phenomenal view over the island and town.
Rows of restaurants fringes the large port area which makes for some really interesting people watching with all the yachts only meters away. The typical attention puller would be the massive octopus or two hanging on display off a bar above the BBQ right in the walkway in front of the restaurant. It got us hooked and we had to try it. Not my favourite, but interesting at least! We had a wonderful meal and was quite intrigued by the owner and his wife (probably in their late 70’s, well dressed, sitting at a table on the one side of the restaurant, with a blue plastic carry bag, that is the cash till. He was collecting every sent and giving the change back to the waiter when needed. We have seen the sitting till every night keeping an eye on his money and his business. I am pretty sure none of that bag’s money will ever see the Tax Office.
Poros is separated from the Peloponnese by a 200 m wide sea channel, with the town of Galatas on the mainland just across the strait. That has to be the town with the most ferries and the largest variety of ferries servicing the two adjacent towns and nearby bays and islands. There has to be at least 50 small ferries (12 people more or less seats?) running up and down between the two towns and then the normal commercial ones that comes in and out from the islands. A buzzing little place with flotillas rafting 3 to 4 deep, full of energetic young people making the most of their time in Poros! !
The port has a horse shoe shape with yachts going stern-to to the town docks. It is pretty cheap – about 10 Euro a day with electricity and water an optional extra, but still cheap.
The first time round we anchored out in the bay, but the second time round we needed washing done (ashore and on the boat – so unlimited water and electricity were vital!) and we went stern-to to the town dock. Make sure you go and pay the dock fees asap and catch the guy selling the electricity and water before it gets too late in the afternoon. We missed him the first day and had to run the genset to charge our batteries. Luckily we still had enough water until the next day we could pay up. Using the town docks has a charm of its own – it is great from time to time to be in the middle of all the happenings ashore and the music, the wonderful restaurant flavours and the colourful people strolling by gives it a wonderful vibe. In saying that… I could only do it for a day or two…by day three I miss my quiet bay, my privacy and the opportunity to go for a swim (my daily exercise) in crystal clear water!
Going astern in a windy spot, with a horse shoe shape added to the mix, is calling for trouble with the anchors! The amount of yachts struggling to get out with 3 or 4 anchors dropped over theirs was just not funny! We have been there for 3 days and expected to have the same problem, but just with maybe 5 of them over ours – as we stayed just long enough for about 3 turnovers of neighbours in that time!! We left at 6 am in the morning, geared with boat hook, snap rope and the flippers and goggles ready! “Lucky” was on board that morning – The winch started to struggle to get the anchor chain in and I was fearing for the worst. Johann, realising that we did anchor in mud, he jiggled it into the opposite direction to get the anchor out. It popped loose and we were off without a drama and without a spare anchor or boat dragging with us! 🙂
When we left Poros the first time with Lientjie and Annemie on board, the infamous Meltemi wind made his début for the season and has introduced himself to the two non-sailors in a very elegant way! Stepping it up to 45 knots the wind made for some exciting moments, but luckily with an amazingly mild sea! The little bit of a swell was from behind and did not bother us at all! The girls were very excited to have had some “rough sailing” happening.(although we did not sail and could only motor in those heavy gusts)
(Meltemi is the Greek and Turkish name for the well-known artesian wind blowing from north to Northwest across the Aegean Sea. The Meltemi season is normally from May to October and is accompanied by a sudden drop in humidity, improved visibility and a raise in atmospheric pressure … some pointers to keep in mind!)
Our typical Lunch Stops were one as beautiful as the other, with a nice swim/snorkel and a light lunch and then the very popular captain’s orders of 1-2 hours of siesta! That was often stretched to 3 hours just to avoid using any energy in the hottest part of the day! And it is hot in Greece this time of year (high 30’s Celsius)… and often without a breeze (either too little wind or too much wind is the story of the Mediterranean sailor) but the moment you have no wind … that’s when you wish a breeze or at least a clean water to cool off – On those windless hot siestas … the little white fans above the bunks become king of the boat and your new best friend!!
Next stop : Porto Heli:
On our way from Poros to Porto Heli, we were pleasantly surprised by the amazing properties along the coast. Fabulous places and enormous! We had a swim in a bay where a few of these mansions were towering above us. It almsot feel as if we were intruding! The water was too good to pass and the snorkelling revealed a strange discovery (see picture) and I hope someone will be able to tell me what this is: A perfect set of rows with empty shells of some sort? Anyway – this happened to be the last time that the orange canoe was used before it was ditched. It had its best days and the sun unfortunately got to it. We had heaps of fun for old times sake with it.
A lovely picturesque coastal village built amphi-theatrically in one of the best naturally sea shelters of Peloponnese. Once a fishing port, Porto Heli has evolved into a weekend retreat – A quaint little seaside resort, still untouched by commercial tourism.
At the entrance of the bay is a smaller anchorage, behind a little rock island, but it was too full and we have decided to move on – armed with cameras – I am sure there must be some celebs living in one of the many fabulous mansions towering on the hills! As we got closer to town, the white orthodox church on our port side, dominating the town with its white walls and white roof and lovely bell tower, immediately impressed us and shortly after we have anchored in the bay, it was time to go ashore – suss out all the nice places, ice-cream parlours, restaurants and for sure the lovely church.
Sadly the church was closed, but a beautiful restaurant just around from it was open and with very enticing seats and view. The restaurant on the water’s edge in the street just below the church was not and must have been the most beautiful restaurant on the island! The captain has decided to take us all out for dinner only if we want to stay at that restaurant. Lientjie secured the best table for us, right around the corner, two steps from the water with an amazing view over the bay. Almost at a very high price! A pair of very expensive sunglasses flew off her head as she turned around and ended up in the water! Luckily not very deep and between the young very attractive waiter and the Captain … it was salvaged with the help of a long window opener !
It became one of our more memorable nights, sitting on the water’s edge with lovely local Greek wine, great food and a full moon rising over the water! As I am writing this, I get goosebumps all over again! A very special night in the wonderful company of 3 of my best friends!