In the end, we stayed a couple of nights on anchor in Kalamaki (Isthmia/Corinth) – neither of us slept well the first night with mosquitos and the heat and we didn’t wake up until late. There was also bad weather forecast – not so much the wind, but heavy rain and thunderstorms and by the time we woke up, there was not enough time to make it across the gulf to Sounio area and no other good anchorages on the way either. The last time we had stayed here, our anchor had come loose – so we were careful to make sure we were well set, although we have confidence that the new Rocna is not going anywhere!
We caught up on a work and the weather was fine during the day – the clouds came over in the afternoon and there was a lot of rain with a massive storm around 19h00 – the boat swung 180 degrees in the space of a minute and for an hour or so we had 25 knots winds from the north, testing out the anchor good and proper 🙂 I spent an hour glued to my anchor watch screen, but everything was fine – the Rocna has passed the test. By midnight, the wind was down again to almost zero – so this was truly a flash storm.
We left Isthmia at 10h00 the next morning and the idea was to cross the bay of Athens and Pireaus, to the north of the island of Aegina and to anchor for the night in Sounion – this bay represents a milestone for us, as this is far as we were ever able to get to with our motorboats before the Aegean sea conditions got the better of us. It is a beautiful bay and the site of the Ancient Temple of Poseidon, the Greek God of the Sea – we had spent a few days in solitary beauty there with our motor boat in 2006. The day was again a completely flat morning – beautiful flat waters and sunshine, and it’s hard not to enjoy the peaceful feeling, although we are having to run on engine. Navigation around Aegina is always a challenge – we have to cross the busy shipping lanes into Pireaus which are loaded with ferries from all the islands of Greece, commercial container ships, oil tankers and cruise ships – a little plastic bathtub like us is quite exposed, even in the day time, so we’re very grateful for our AIS!
Twice during the crossing, Ed had to stop the boat and drive in circles to wait for a large ship to pass – we always err on the side of caution and plot our course to make sure we pass behind large ships, regardless of who technically has the right of way – our AIS is a fantastic tool for helping us to see automatically the CPA (closest point of approach) and TCPA (time to closest point of approach) of ships around us and to make course change decisions up to an hour in advance to avoid an issue – we have set our AIS tracks for other ships at one hour as a blue line which forecasts their course so we can see where they are heading. However, on this particular crossing, at one point we had four separate blue lines hitting us from all angles showing ships bearing down on us and there was just nowhere to go 🙂 Stopping was the only option.
Safely past the shipping zones, the wind came up as usual in the afternoon and at 16h30 we hoisted the sails in a 12 knot true southerly wind and managed a steady 6-7 knots speed on a close reach, taking us towards Sounion. When we got there it was a bit of a disappointment ….. we tried to anchor in the bay before Sounion but the depths were quite shallow and there were lots of permanent mooring buoys blocking the space. We did launch the anchor in the only space available, but the sea bed was weed and it didn’t hold – thanks to a crazy German motor boat who stopped right in front of us and was trying to anchor in the same place, we decided just to move on. We pulled the anchor in again and carried on along the coast.
Sounion itself was very busy and we didn’t bother to try and go in – instead we continued around the headland towards Lavrion. There’s a marina (very expensive!) at Lavrion and if all else failed we could go in there – but we hoped to find a bay to anchor in before that as we had seen a few possibilities on the chart. We were treated to a beautiful sunset with the Ancient Temple of Poseidon at Sounion in the view
We found a lovely place where we were all on our own – protected from the wind with just a bit of swell from the passing ships. We dropped the anchor at 20h15 – the weather is not looking great with rain and thunderstorms around us. There is a meltemi forecast the day after tomorrow – just our luck that the wind is turning to the North just at the time we are heading that way – we will need to find a place to hide out for a few days.