Our trip started with a civilised coffee at Buchanan bus station. We boarded MegaBus to Manchester airport for the princely sum of £25. After a quick driver change and stop in the centre of Manchester we arrived at the airport for the 3.15 pm EasyJet flight to Athens.
One glossy magazine, 1 meze box and a cold beer later we arrived at Athens. There is a direct train from Athens airport to Korinthos where were picked up and taken to the beautiful village of Korfos.
Korfors is truly the end of the road, winding down the single track road you get the first glance of the village below. Korfos is a traditional village with a bakery, one mini market, some hotels and a few cafés and tavernas.
On our arrival we noted that the single pontoon had become increasingly busy since our last visit. Last year only 2 boats were tied alongside, today there were at least 10 sailing yachts together with a catamaran that had been in the Caribbean earlier in the year.
On opening the door of the car my nose was greeted with the most beautiful smell – a combination of the fresh mountain air and the sweet smell of the fruits and pink flowers that were growing in the front garden of the apartment that was to be home for the night. After very welcomed fresh bread and local jam and cheese we slept like babies.
On Saturday we bought fresh pastries from the local bakery, absolutely delicious however I would have to run up a mountain to burn them off – that can wait till I get back to Glasgow. We had a chat with the crew about the plan for the next couple of days, took some food requests and set off for the super market in Korinthos. A fully stocked fridge later, we all boarded Hanna Antonia our 45 Jeaneau Sun Oddesy, which will be home for the week. The boat, has four cabins, 2 in the fore pick and two in the aft and a spacious salon.
Group photo taken, anchor lifted and lines slipped. We are heading for Vhati, west coast of Methana, a beautiful little harbour with enough space for about 14 yachts. It was a race to the entrance between us and 3 other boats, due to the space in the harbour. We look the last birth fitting snug between a Bavaria 50 and a Greek power boat, another yacht tried to raft to us somewhat unsuccessfully as there was not enough space for them to drop anchor. Boat tied for the night we headed for a dip in the sea, a short four minute walk to behind the village found a secluded beach, beautiful if rather stony; flip flops definitely required. The group had dinner in the local restaurant on the pier, I would recommend the grilled octopus and perhaps less ouzo!
The morning after we left Vhati and a short sail latter we dropped anchor in a bay just to the north, a refreshing swim in the sea and some fresh pasties and orange juice we set off for Poros, the channel between Poros and the mainland is very pretty, keep your eye open for the traditional Greek churches along the way. The channel is also perfect for some fender boading, not quite a trademark of Go West Sailing but it should be! Fenders tied together with a line at the back of the boat, the dingy lose and a spare line for the real thrill seekers, naturally the skipper went first, holding the fenders while we increased the revs to 3000. Boys and their toys, each crew member having a shot, plenty of giggles and we all agreed that we had been flushed!
We came in to Poros with Adam at the helm as skipper, stern to mediterranean mooring, done with ease the crew were slick with each knowing their jobs, after we came in 2 other Sun Odessy’s came in with all women crew, they tied along side rafted to each other. The looked relieved almost when they had finished sorting the boats out the harbour master came and told them that they have to be stern too. I don’t think that they were too pleased!
We met the family Muhl with their son (3) and 5 month old daughter, they are on holiday here for 2 weeks, but were sailing around with the children for a couple of years.
The group met up and took a wander along the main street, lots of interesting little shops, with traditional souvenirs, and just in case you lose a fender there is also a chandlers! The group met back up and had dinner in a traditional Greek restaurant, sitting with the sun set and view across the water to the mainland. The street was brilliant for people watching, shop keepers, shoppers restaurant owners provided the entertainment, the sound of chatter, mop heads and the occasional ferry passing in the back ground. The food was excellent, Greek salad pilled on the plate, Souvlaki, grilled feta with honey and walnuts, steaks, whitebait, fresh cod with beetroot and spinach washed down with a couple of carafs of red wine, everyone slept well and the boat was quiet by midnight. With everyone having a lie in and waking to breakfast of cereals, pastries, orange juice, and coffee. After a walk along the front, and to stop for fresh bread. We treated the group to handmade traditional chocolates. Chocolates eaten and coffee drank, lines slipped for Hydra. The wind was coming almost directly from the north, we sailed on a port tack for miles.
Another beautiful sunny morning with a gentle breeze and sail to Hydra. We spotted the houses nestled in the dramatic mountains from a distance as we approached the traditional bustling harbour. The island is long and narrow and lying parallel to Peloponnese. It is mountainous throughout, rising to a summit of nearly 2000ft with Mont Eros. The harbour was extremely busy considering that it was only a little after midday – we were like dodgems at a fair ground, fortunately without the impact! We won the race to park in the same place as a Greek Bavaria. However, we were then chased of by the harbour master. After some skills tested by our skipper of the day David, we decided for a plan B – our port of refuge was Mandraki Bay, which was just 5 minutes motoring up the coast. It seemed that Mandraki was everyone next best option. It was a beautiful and a big enough overflow harbour. Once anchored and after being resourceful enough to use a frying pan as an anchor ball (perfect size, fitted well on the main halyard), we were greeted by a Greek water taxi – for 17 € per boat the short but slightly bumpy ride only took 5 minutes. The group explored the island. It is a fascinating place, there are no cars on the island. Their preferred mode of transport is donkeys! Last time there we were watching a delivery man diligently dropping off parcels – not in a delivery van but using a cart. The donkeys were transporting provisions to the island, toilet rolls, beer, water seemed to be the favourite. I thought that I had seen it all, when I spotted a donkey carrying a washing machine – after some discussions with a local they had relocated from the mainland and if donkey is the mode of transport then this is their equivalent of Pickfords! To the right of the harbour up the hill there are some lovely places for swimming, where you can dive into the sea. We had dinner in Mandraki bay, simple fresh food. Pork chop for me, Greek salad and fried shrimps, which were enormous. We took the dingy back to the boat and left for a night sail north to Aegina. The sea was choppy which made for slow progress. However, we worked a proper crew and went in shifts so that we could all keep warm. We were all on deck coming into the harbour.After breaking free from my duvet on deck we put out the fenders and set the lines. We finally came in to the port about 2am.