What a glorious sight to wake up to! We were free camping in Delphi – once regarded as the centre of the world and you can see why! (For more on our Delphi adventure see https://saltytalesfrombalihai.com/2019/11/24/the-inexplicable-mystique-of-delphi/)
We decided to drive down the mountain to take a closer look at the coastline which we could see in the distance from high up on the slopes of Mt Parnassus.
Winding back down the hairpin bends was a little less fraught than on the way up which was a good thing. Before too long we were down on the floor of the deep Amfissa valley, passing through hundreds upon hundreds of beautiful olive trees.
Soon we were at the coast driving past Itea, a lovely little seaside town with a nice anchorage (we were scouting for good spots to stop next season!) and a great place to take boat guests because of its proximity to amazing Delphi.
The coastline was incredibly beautiful but in places bauxite mining had produced big scars in the hillside and the roads were covered in red dust.
As we wanted to get back to the marina in Athens ready for the sea trial of Sunday – the Lagoon 420 catamaran we were buying – we didn’t spend too long exploring the coastline.
Again we climbed the hairpin bends up Mt Parnassus to Delphi as the coast road back to Athens looked to be a little too narrow for us in the campervan.
Much as we loved our visit to Delphi it was great to be back near the water again and to enjoy a beautiful sunset bathing the masts of hundreds of yachts in a warm orange glow.
There are many marine supply shops within walking distance of Alimos Marina – which is heavenly for Jonathan – and the biggest and best seems to be Nautilus so we opened an account there.
Our first purchase was a 33 kilo Rocna anchor. We loved the (smaller) one we had on Bali Hai with its ability to reset itself in circumstances such as rapidly changing wind speed and direction.
Following quickly behind, our second large purchase is going to be a barbecue. Well, we are officially an Aussie and a Kiwi so that goes without saying!
We thought we would probably have the sea trial the following day (Monday) but it turned out to be a public holiday – called Oxi (NO) day. This commemorates the day the Greeks rejected the ultimatum made by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini on October 28, 1940. Mussolini had demanded that Greece allow Axis forces to enter Greek territory and occupy certain unspecified “strategic locations” or otherwise, face war.
The events of 1940 are commemorated every year with military and student parades.
We didn’t realise what a big event this was and unwittingly got caught up in road closures and diversions when we went out for a drive.
We were a little surprised to see an empty road when we turned out of the marina into the main road but then, realising that a street parade was about to start, we decided to go back to our parking spot at the marina.
Unfortunately by then the road going back had been closed so we ended up going round in circles through extremely narrow back streets for what seemed like hours!
The next day was Tuesday and the moment had finally arrived when we would get to go out on Sunday for the sea trial.
There were only five of us who went out as Nicos and Manos, Sunday’s owners, had other things on. So Sayeed, who has been employed to care for Sunday for the past ten years, Philippos, a hired skipper, William Walsh, the surveyor, and the two of us headed out of the marina.
It was a great feeling looking back to the land as we departed the marina and saw the whole of Athens spread out like a white toy town. It was fantastic to be on the water and feel the salty wind in my hair again after too long.
William Walsh tested, prodded, poked and gave everything a thorough going over. When we put the sails up we were very impressed with their condition – they were spotlessly clean, soft and easy to handle and with not one spot of wear or anything else.
After putting Sunday through her paces we turned back for the marina feeling mighty glad we didn’t have to manoeuvre her back into her small space at the marina. There are no finger wharfs here – you just back in and basically wiggle your way in very slowly. I really don’t know how you would do it in a full keel traditional monohull.
Once you’re in and tied off at the stern you pick up the lines that are attached to the sea floor and tie them off at the bow. And that’s it! When you leave the marina you literally have the length of your boat to turn in while skilfully avoiding getting your prop(s) caught in the lines attached to your neighbours’ boats (both at your side and opposite!). Note to self: we will avoid marinas at all costs while in Greece!
We received the surveyor’s report that evening and were very happy with the results. We weren’t surprised really as we knew she had been exceptionally well cared for.
For example, at the end of every season her sails have been thoroughly washed and dried, taken down, folded and stored in one of the cabins. The ropes have all been washed and dried and stored. The toilets have been stripped down and all pipes, macerator blades and anything else looking worn, replaced. The toilet bowls are taken out and cleaned and the holding tanks are also taken out, hosed and sanitised.
All the upholstery, including the mattresses and lockers have been thoroughly cleaned. Each of the winches and the anchor windlass has been stripped down and cleaned to perfection. The oven has been taken out, stripped down and everything cleaned and any bits showing wear, replaced.
Before going back in the water, the engines receive a comprehensive service, and as well as stripping off the old anti foul and polishing the hull before re-antifouling, the hull was polished and all the stainless cleaned.
No wonder Sunday looks immaculate! A far cry from the life of a charter yacht in Australia for sure.
So, satisfied that we had a good boat that had not had any major mishaps or accidents, the following day (which happened to be a Wednesday) we went to the Port Police to have the bill of sale ratified (which involved paying stamp duty of one Euro for each of the copies and lots of rubber stamps.)
At long last Sunday was ours!