Thursday, August 31, 2006

Walk/Swim/Sail One Hundred and Twenty Nine – Perdika to Nea Epidavros


First we shopped, then we swam. Robin dived and freed the anchors that had been fouled by the dragging of the motorboat anchor the previous day. He found a big octopus making a home on our anchor.

Although we were having a great holiday (who wouldn’t on a boat in the beautiful Greek islands), the flotilla holiday company we had gone with really weren’t as good as one would expect, with regard to organisation, training of staff, service and company ethos. This had a really big impact on the holidays that some people had, but we had been lucky and apart from the unexpectedly long (nearly four hour) transfer from the airport and the lack of requested extra pillows we had nothing to complain of so far. However we had to leave the boat by nine on the final day of the holiday and the company were proposing transferring us immediately to Athens airport which would have meant a seven hour wait until check-in time followed by another couple of hours wait and then the flight. The staff were suggesting that we couldn’t risk missing our flight, by catching a later ferry. Anyway Robin and I went for a walk to the other end of the harbour to discuss options. We decided that a trip round Athens in the heat, with Xavier and without a guaranteed safe place to deposit our luggage was out of the question, as was waiting up to nine hours to get on our flight.

We went back and discussed this with Sarah the holiday hostess – a former New Zealand TV presenter, who had only been doing the job for three weeks, and who we liked very much, despite our misgivings about the company she was working for. She was very helpful and agreed to try and get us onto a later hydrofoil so that we could spend the morning and lunch in Poros. Relieved that we had sorted that problem out we said goodbye to Jane and Michael who were not going to be there on the final night of our holiday as they had made alternative arrangements due to wanting to avoid the hellish overland transfer, the company had planned for them.

Our second last day of sailing, and a free sailing day, we were the only yacht to choose to go to Nea Epidavros. We had a lovely sail, mainly sailing at about 7.5 knots.

After lunch Flo and Xavier were resting below, Hugo was stretched out on the ringo, when Tom said ‘I think I saw something – maybe a dolphin’. Robin and I both looked in the direction he was pointing when whoosh! the most amazing thing happened, a giant stingray leapt out of the water, did a back flip in the air and splashed back into the water. It was absolutely incredible – one of the most memorable nature experiences I’ve had. Sadly Hugo was entirely in his own little world out on the ringo and missed seeing it, as did the two down below. A painting of how I remember it is on my other blog.

Today was the first overcast day of the holiday, which I am sure affected everyone’s impressions of Nea Epidavros. I liked it – a huge curve of bay, towering mountains, orange and lemon groves with a tiny harbour at one end – there was a river into the harbour and you needed to walk on a footbridge over the riverto get to the few tavernas and shops and the long curving beach. However Robin thought it looked bleak and despairing, but I’m sure visiting the place on a sunny day in mid season would have given him an entirely different impression.

Our bible – the pilot of the whole area, written by Rod Heikell – was slightly out of date for this harbour. The jetty in front of the taverna that we were going to moor up to, had broken up and disappeared and the taverna had closed. However we threw Tom into the water to take a stern line to the shore, so that we could moor where the jetty had been. The top couple of feet of the water in the harbour was icy cold water from the river, with a sudden transition to warm sea water below that.

On this day it was cool enough to really walk a mile. Flo and I walked right around the large curving bay after coffees and ice-creams, served by a Cher-like waitress. Hugo had his heart’s desire – huge crashing waves and a new bodyboard to play on (which ended up in two pieces from the power of the waves). When we got back I drew the boat from the footbridge while Xavier made mudpies next to me.

Dinner in the evening – apart from one other table, we were the only customers, reminiscent of the Greece of my youth. The food was also like the Greece of my youth, despite the length of the menu, everything was off apart from a few items, so Robin had meatballs (fried) to start followed by meatballs (in tomato sauce) for his main course. Then back to the boat for a quick game of cards before bed.


Blogger Tami said...

Amazing! Sometimes your are just in the right place when God (or Gods or Godesses) decides to laugh! I feel this adventure drawing to a close, I am going to miss it.

6:48 am  
Blogger Tami said...

Oh, I forgot to tell you how stunning this painting is, you just keep getting better! (or maybe it is not trying to draw on a moving boat) :)

6:53 am  
Blogger Penny said...

Bother I started this and it went! I love this one with the clouds it is so different but then I have loved them all. My snake is very poisonous, all our snkes are, but this one was I hope a red bellied not a tiger so not as really aggressive. I wasnt going to ask it to turn over to see which it was!

11:27 am  
Blogger Lin said...


1:22 pm  
Blogger Alison said...

Wonderful - what lovely mementoes of this holiday you will have. When I travelled in the russian train from Beijing to Moscow in 1984, evrything on the menu was off too - except tomato salad and un-nameable stew :)

2:15 pm  
Blogger Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Okay, it was a stingray and what a surprise - because usually they are benign, just lying on the sand. Peceli saw one one day and it just seemed to look quietly at him and he just walked on by.
What a wonderful resource your travel stories and pictures are.
What about that coffee-table book,hey!

12:07 am  
Blogger Julie Oakley said...

Tami, I forgot to mention, the sting ray was a giant one - at least five foot across!

Penny, I read Clive James' autobiography a few years back. Sounds as though just about every moving creature is poisonous in your part of the world!

Alison sounds as though big brother wanted you to suffer. Sounds like an amazing journey - one for the memory paintings maybe?

Wendy, maybe a coffee table book for the family.

10:33 pm  

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