Jim’s Saronic Odyssey

7 to 12 June 2018

Piraeus to Sounion Bay, N37° 39.32’ E24° 1.16’, 27nm, 5 hours 30

to Profitas Illas Bay, Aegina, N37° 41.93’ E23° 27.99’, 25nm, 5 hours

to Navy Bay, Poros, N37° 30.34’ E23° 26.95’, 15nm, 2 hours 30

to Korfos, Peloponnese, N37° 45.89’ E23° 07.54’, 25nm, 5 hours

With Stefan’s dad, Jim, on board we set off again after our break in the city for a tour around the Saronic Gulf before heading through the Corinth Canal and out into the Ionian again. Jim had bravely booked to join us for two weeks and was going to get a real taste of our life afloat.

First we wanted to head back east a little to a place that had been on our original itinerary, before we had to go where the wind blew us – Cape Sounion. This iconic anchorage on the mainland is crowned by the Temple of Poseidon built in 444BC and is a pretty special place. It is a very popular spot and we were definitely not alone in the anchorage.

It is also not a very protected anchorage and quite a lot of swell crept in making it a bit of a bumpy night for Jim’s first away from the marina. We hoped the views would make up for it. With nothing other than the ruins ashore, it was also the perfect place for Jim to introduce us to the game of Rummikub which he had bought for us in Piraeus. The rules being in Greek we had to rely on his representation of them but we were soon addicted.

Just after we all went to bed wash from a passing ferry made it’s way into the bay and sent Pintail rocking as violently as we’ve experienced at anchor. Everything in our cupboards was rearranged and Jim was nearly rolled out of his bunk! We promised to find more secure anchorages after that.

The next day we headed to the Saronic island of Aegina. This meant crossing the busy shipping lanes and ferry routes into Piraeus. It was busier than the Straits of Gibraltar.

As we dodged tanker after tanker after ferry it was good to have an extra pair of eyes on board. We taught Jim to use the hand held compass to check our bearing to the ships. If it didn’t change we were on a collision course!

We were relieved to get safely to the calm waters of a lovely quiet bay on the south west coast of Aegina with a view of the village of Perdika and the island of Moni. We got off the boat for the first time since leaving Piraeus and enjoyed a meal at the taverna on the beach, watching the sunset. It was a much calmer night on board with no swell at all! We didn’t have to show Jim how to use the lee cloths (1).

With some stronger winds forecast for the coming days we decided to return to the protected anchorage on the island of Poros and stuck Pintail’s anchor back in the mud where we had enjoyed our reunion with Suzie and Mike of SV Toy Buoy.

We were there for three nights in the end waiting for the wind to calm – lots of time to introduce Jim to its delightful streets.

We also passed the time swimming off the boat, playing more Rummikub and getting haircuts.

On the Sunday we even had front row seats to watch the Poros triathlon.

Once the wind dropped we were ready to start heading on towards the Corinth Canal. In flat calm we motored through the restricted military area around the island of Ipsili which the navy use for target practice. We sent Jim up to the bow to keep an eye out for stray bullets!

The sea was so calm and beautifully blue that we stopped the boat offshore and Stefan and I had a swim in 200 metres of water. We left Jim on board to make sure Pintail didn’t float off without us.

We spent that night on the very rustic quay of Papa George’s taverna in Korfos. Papa George and his son greeted us to take our lines and even provided us with their branded passerelle for getting ashore.

From the boat we watched people queuing to buy their fish directly off the back of the fishing boat and George preparing it for the restaurant’s kitchen that night.

Korfos was a lovely quiet village – just a few tavernas with yachts tied up in front. Jim and I went to the beach to have a swim but the bottom was covered in sea urchins and sharp clams so we didn’t much fancy wading in. However, Jim found a bench perfect for keeping cool in the heat!

Over dinner at Papa George’s that night we got excited about our next passage through the Corinth Canal…

Fen notes

(1) Lee cloths are pieces of cloth that tie up on the bunks to stop you falling out of bed when the boat is heeled over or it is very rough.

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