We arrived in Kilada on a sunny but chilly day, after an all night flight from Cape Town to Istanbul on 11th of March and then to Athens. We were met by an ever efficient and smiling Pops Car representative and we were on our way on the pleasantly empty roads.
The timing of our arrival in early evening was just sufficient to remove the rear portion of the winter cover, have a cup of tea, and turn the diesel heater on for a while. Sue made up the bunks and then to bed for us as the temperature dropped below 10C.
The ensuing days were perfect, bright during day time and cold evenings, so work could commenced. While the yard was contracted to do the anti-fouling and hull polishing (I claimed a dodgy back for that one), we cleaned the top side and treated the teak decks to a brightener so that it came up looking like new.
During this time we came to love the little fishing village of Kilada, set in its magnificent surroundings. The locals couldn’t have been friendlier, and this was epitomised by Sue’s hairdresser Panayiota who just was thrilled to see us again. As well as a free hair treatment for Sue, we dined and took coffee together and re-affirmed the friendship. And not to forget the Hungarian lady on the hard who Sue also enjoyed talking to. They had arrived in 1996 and haven’t left!
We launched into the water on 24th March and initially remained tied to the marina quay while we performed engine and generator maintenance. My bug bear of last year the Fischer Panda generator initially wouldn’t start but after aggressive bleeding she eventually chugged into life and hasn’t missed a beat since. Diesel leaks and intermittent overheating alarms all fixed. Bless her!! I think Sue must have light candles in the Greek Church .
Talking of power and giving the abbreviated story, I contracted a local engineering company to weld stainless steel 25mm extensions to the pushpit to replace the section of guard rail. Onto these I mounted the 100w solar panels supplied by Meltronix from Lefkada. The installation was eventually finished in Poros where I sent back a mounting pole for a second panel. Don’t even ask about the details, sufficient to say that I’m a very happy bunny with almost excess of amps!! Happy days!!
We moved after two days to the town quay at Kilada to finish various tasks and immensely enjoyed the flavour of the village. We could now just roll of our bunks to our local coffee taverna. What a difference when there is no soaring heat to detract from a place. In fact we met a French and Scottish couple who were putting their boat on the hard after a winter of sailing. They owned a hotel in the South of France so worked dictated that was their sailing time – but never the less they found it a rewarding experience. Food for thought!!
On Monday 31st we untied and motored around to Porto Heli and spent a blissfully quiet night at anchor in one of the indented bays. The quietness was so palpable that it was almost eerie.
And thence to Ermioni, where we intended to stay a night but remained for three, we got into the atmosphere of the town. I was still finding things to do on the boat and Sue explored and caught up with her beauty sleep (cheeky bugger, I’m typing this for himJ). We did however go on some lovely walks together around the town and to the end of one of the peninsula’s. Much activity could be seen in many of the tavernas as the owners prepared for their summer season – life in Greece has such timelessness to it, which is its undying charm. We just love it. Speaking of preparation, much evident this time of year is sail training. Many instructors obviously take advantage of the low charter rates, un-crowded harbours and benign weather to organise their courses.
Ermioni to Poros was a motor sail with very blustery conditions once we had gone through the gap with a broad reach in 20 knots + of wind. Fortuitously it died as we approached the town of Poros and then moored alongside the floating pontoon. So much space, a real joy to go along side.
During the weekend however the port police asked us to go stern to as there was a racing regatta coming in from Piraeus. About 30 boats arrived which added a festive atmosphere, but reminded we cruisers of our more sedate sailing as one watched the participants pack away their Kevlar sails and spinnakers. By 10.30am on the Sunday they were all off back to the big city of Athens. Poor souls! They were a very nice bunch of guys that we spoke to, and a sprinkling of pretty girls to add to it all.
Poros seemed quiet and bit soulless in comparison with Kilada and Ermioni. Our favourite tavern Asteria Cafe was closed for renovations, but walking up into the old part of the town, we found the Platanos taverna which became our local. Hidden underneath a plane tree, from which it derives its name, and reportedly the oldest tree on the island at 200 years old. Well recommended and a delightful atmosphere in the small town square.
So finally we are all ready to depart Poros. Wednesday 9th April. As I write we are already half way to Kea with a windless day. I mean windless! On reflection we should have gone yesterday where the forecast of higher winds abated to F4-5, but madam wasn’t ready as she had her “whites” to take to the laundry. So I can blame crew for diesel usage!!
But it never the less is a beautiful day at around 20C degrees, sea temperature of 15.7C, and we do around 5.5 knots at 1750 revs on the Yanmar with the main out optimistically to catch any wind.
The final hour we did catch some F3-4 wind from the south so we had a broad reach into the bay of Ormos Vourkari, tying up stern to at around 1600hrs. All unaided, so well done to the crew who nimbly jumped off with our lines.
The other thing that is truly amazing is that we received a good 3G signal all the way across, all credit to the Greek operator Cosmote.
(Sue again, I’ve had to tell the skipper that there is sadly no mention of how well looked after he is and the many scrumptious meals that have been prepared for him, sadly he won’t be eating tonight) To this I have to agree, a sad omissions. Many of the meals served onboard the good ship Super Trouper have been absolutely wonderful