Relief, bliss, sadness and exhilaration

After the last minute scramble to drop our lines and leave Alimos Marina in Athens, it was such a relief to be heading out towards Poros Island just under thirty nautical miles away from the mainland.

Farewell Athens!

Amazingly we negotiated the tight exit with no really heart stopping moments and we were soon on our way after almost three months of living on Sunday and not being able to leave the marina.

Passing by the island of Aegina

It was such a good feeling gazing at the dark blue waters and feeling the salty air on our faces. Unfortunately there was very little wind so we ended up motoring the whole way but we really didn’t care. It was just so great to stretch our sea legs again and get used the different motion of a catamaran after sailing exclusively on monohulls previously.

Capt’n Birdseye looking very happy to be on the water again

After five hours – during which we saw only a couple of other sailing boats and some freighters and ferries – we arrived at Poros.

A big container ship ahead

As it was a public holiday weekend we were expecting the anchorage to be quite crowded but the one we liked from a previous visit in November, Ormos Neorion, only had a few boats at anchor – including one yacht that had been there on our previous visit.

A private motor boat passing by
The bay we anchored in wasn’t crowded
Poros town in the distance
A lovely peaceful anchor

Once we were settled we decided to have our first swim of the year. It was such bliss diving into the crystal clear waters even though it felt very cold!

Blissful but cold!

The following day we took our new dinghy and outboard over to Poros town for their first proper outing. Our Mercury outboard propelled us quickly over to the Centre and once there, we found plenty of spots where we could tie up as there were very few visitors.

Tied up at the wharf in Poros

We had a wonderful wander round the pretty little town, walking passed the restaurants and tavernas with mostly empty tables and turning up inviting laneways to explore the less touristy parts.

Such a pretty town but really empty due to Corona virus
We love the stairs and alleyways that invite you in to explore…

We stopped to look in the tiniest of chapels, browsed the shop windows and bought a pair of shorts for me.

Butchers shop Poros style
Lots of interesting nooks and crannies
We found this tiny little chapel
Inside the chapel

Getting back was a little less smooth. Our new outboard suddenly stopped! It sounded as though it had run out of fuel but there was loads in the tank. Capt’n Birdseye quickly found a switch that should have been in a different position so fortunately we didn’t have to row back!

A beautiful sunset to end the day
This reminded us of the way children often depict the sun

Back on board we wished that our “Corona bubble” friends on Polykandros were there with us to enjoy the peace and beauty of the anchorage. They were a little behind us in the queue but apparently the completion of their export document was “imminent”so we decided to stay another night hoping for good news the next day.

One of the chandlers. “Back in ten minutes” the note said.
Twenty minutes later and even the postman who was delivering a parcel gave up!

We had another good day wandering around the town, buying a few things at the chandlers (better stocked than some of the “flash” stores on the mainland) and relaxing in our quiet bay.

The we found this Aladdin’s cave!

Infuriatingly nothing had changed for Polykandros and because we were officially meant to be leaving Greece due to our Schengen 90-day visa-free period being on the point of expiring, we sadly decided we had to press on.

Poros looking pretty in the morning sun

The following day we hauled anchor and headed to our next stop – the dramatic and rugged island of Kithnos. As we departed Poros through the narrow channel to the South we were very taken with how lovely this small town looked from the water.

Picture perfect!
Impossible to take a bad shot!
Great view of Poros as we motored by on Sunday
A slice of life in Poros

Again, there was absolutely no wind so we motored for the first few hours.

Almost out of the channel, passing a chapel
An old fortress opposite the chapel

At one point the water ingress alarm went off in the starboard engine. A quick check and everything looked fine – apparently it has always been a little over sensitive and has a history of causing a hubbub when there was actually nothing wrong!

Checking out the engine alarm
The other engine was driving us along while investigations were made

Very soon after this a lovely breeze started to ripple the ocean surface so we hoisted the sails. The main went up like a dream – after having to haul Bali Hai’s very heavy main up by hand for so long it felt extremely luxurious having a power winch to do the job for us!

Ahh! Sailing at long last!

The furling headsail came out OK but was stiff and slow – but it had been out of use for three months so who could blame it?!

Glorious to get the sails up

The sail was absolutely glorious and we were really please and surprised that Sunday cut through the water so well. The winds were light – 11 to 13.5 knots and she averaged around 5.9 knots with a top 6.4 knots which wasn’t bad.

The sails went up a treat

By the time we reached Kithnos in the late afternoon we both felt exhilarated after our first sail since November last year when we had just bought Sunday. It was such a great feeling!

Sailing past the uninhabited islet Nisida Ag. Georgios where a number of commercial ships were anchored
The smile says it all
Safely anchored in Ormos Kolona on Kithnos
Yachts at anchor on the other side of the spit
The end of an exhilarating day.

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Salty tales from Bali Hai

In 2015, after a break from cruising of almost 30 years, my husband and I sailed off into the sunset - this time to the wonderful Islands of Indonesia and beyond. Three years passed and we swapped sails for wheels driving through Scandinavia and Europe in a motor home. Now we are on the brink of another adventure - buying a Lagoon 420 Catamaran in Athens. This is our story.

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