All three cats had visitors arriving on the same weekend so we all headed to a bay about 20 mins away to wait for their arrival. We got there about midday and decided to have lunch on board. While we were sitting in the cockkpit the whole boat started to shake and the mast shuddered. We didn’t know what it was but it was over within a few seconds so we just continued eating. A couple of minutes later we got a call from Proud Cat asking us if we had felt the earthquake…. it was a 5.3 magnitude force 14 miles from Athens. It was a first for both of us and neither of us knew what it was! Greece is very prone to them so we will recognise the boat movement next time.
This was the first time we had been on the mainland of Greece and we found it very different. No quaint little streets winding uphill with tiny churches overlooking the water, rather a busy road, cars and buses racing along, rubbish piled up by the side of the road and concrete apartment blocks lining the highway.
We had a day before the girls arrived so we got the bus and metro into Athens to go and visit the Acropolis. There were literally hundreds of people all doing the same thing but it was an interesting day. The Parthenon had a large crane inside it and it was hard to take any photos without scaffolding. We noticed that there were many Africans selling things or busking and we asked one of them where he was from and he told us he had come from Nigeria, crossed from Libya in a small boat and was waiting to get into the UK. He was a lovely guy and I felt quite sad for him. We spent the morning at the Acropolis and then the afternoon wandering through the delightful funky part of Athens called Plaka.
We arrived back to Markopoulou later that day quite tired but glad we had seen Greece’s most famous archearcheological site. The next day Steph and Ameneh arrived and so we had a drink in a small bar in the beach and left the next morning for Andros where Proud Cat were waiting for us. The meltemi had kicked in again and we entered the bay in 30+knots. Options were to anchor or tie up to the quay – and as Mike and his friend Chris were waiting to take our lines we decided to go onto the quay. With the strong offshore winds pulling us out, the surge causing the boat to snatch against the boat cleat and the rope having been wound too tight around the bow dock cleat – the inevitable happened. Our boat cleat broke and smashed into Ian’s shoulder richocheting into his face. I was on the stern and just heard a yell, followed by a swear word and saw the boat turn 90° putting all the strain on the aft cleat – Mike had jumped on board and was desperately trying to release the stern line while Chris was on shore trying to release the springer – they managed it and we were taken back out into the bay. The poor girls came outside because of all the shouting to see Ian bleeding profusely from his face -their first day and already a drama! Luckily because it hit his shoulder first, it was just a steristrip patch up – had the full cleat hit him in the face first it could have done serious damage.
A hospital visit, an earthquake and then a facial injury –I think that’s this year’s bad luck done and dusted thankyou…
Vamamos came in a couple hours after us and so all three boats now had visitors on board which swelled our number from 5 to 13! We headed out that night for dinner – found a delightful restaurant overlooking the bay and had a fabulous meal. We then found a street bar which had our kind of music – not the doof doof monotonous music most bars play, and the girls danced in the street till the small hours. A wonderful fun evening.
The next day we hired a car and went round Andros. The main town was on the other side of the bay and although a but touristy but very pleasant. Another delightful hilly town full of quirky houses.
We visited a cave, had lunch by the water, drove around the island and did a diesel run before having dinner on board.
The next day we set off early for the island of Kithos to have a beach day. The anchorage here is divided by a sandspit which has a small bay at either side. The water was crystal clear and refreshing and we spent a lazy afternoon playing typical tourists… Mike from Proud Cat called and came over to stay with us here and that night all the guys came over for a big night.
5 young Swedish guys from the boat next door also came over with their guitars – everyone stayed up late into the night but I hit the sack early – when I got up the next morning the boat was spotless – the Swedish guys had insisted on cleaning up as a thank you for the great night – brilliant. A morning spent on the paddleboard followed by a quick lunch. Proud Cat and us were parting company here, which was sad as we had been together since Tanzania except for our trip to Jordan. Hugs and kisses later and the promise of catching up in Turkey later in the year, we waved goodbye to them and sailed off to the island of Kea. We had been here before when our anchor broke and it was such a gorgeous little town that we thought the girls would enjoy it. A fabulous dinner ashore courtesy of the girls and up early the next day to visit the town at the top of the island to see the famous lion statue. It was another example of lovely architecture, winding streets, local tavernas and olive trees scattered amongst the rocky landscape. We found the lion but I thought it looked a bit more like a gecko! Had lunch and spent a few lazy hours wandering around.
The girls flying visit was coming to a close and we had chosen the bay by the Temple of Poseidon as their drop off point. We were catching up with Vamanos again and arranged to meet them for drinks before going up to the Temple to watch the sunset. 8€ each later we found ourselves waiting for the sunset so of course Terry brings out the beers – no problem until the whistle started. They just love their whistles and got quite excited telling the guys off, then they decided us girls needed a ticking off – ‘No sitting on the marble’ – so we begrudgingly moved and waited for the sun to set..
A last dinner on board Indian Summer with the gang and all too soon it was time to get the girls back to Athens. I hate the goodbyes, but not long till we catch up again.
The two cats set sail the next day for Poros, a small island in the Saronic region of Greece. The main town had everything a cruiser needed with hardware shops, supermarkets, chemists and tavernas. We hired motor bikes and went round the island. We saw more ruins, little villages and had lunch in a lovely bay.
We spent a few days here provisioning for the Ionian where we were headed next and sorted out our route. Our friend Mike joined us on board Indian Summer and we set off to head through the Corinth Canal.