We flew out to Athens to rejoin Nemrod, Sam Solar and Archie Anchor after their winter on the mooring. The trip was long as ferry connections were not aligned with our flight. Arrived in Porto Cheli at 10pm only to find Christian’s dinghy did not have fuel. Scott borrowed fuel from the dingy next door (also Christian’s so not a problem). Hilarious incident as I was getting into the dinghy – both feet in the dinghy but not the rest of my body…. As the dinghy started to move away from the dock I yelled ‘Help’ and Scott made a heroic leap forward to grab hold of my foot to stop me toppling over backwards into the water. Only my back was wet. Must have looked hilarious from the dockside.
Boat is in pretty good shape after the winter – not much mould inside. A little encrusted on the outside but not bad. Just lots of sand and dust to clean, as well as the seagull poo!
We needed to fill our tanks with fresh water and the closest place to do this from Porto Cheli is Astrous, a four hour sail away. We were happy to go back there – it’s a great little town frequented mostly by Greek tourists, with a new amphitheatre right at the entrance to the port, and a well maintained, clean harbour. I got chatting to a Greek Australian shopkeeper who had been here for a number of years (married, had two kids, divorced, would like to go back to Oz but can’t manage it due to real estate hike). She mentioned that the average wage here is 17 euros a day – knowing the costs of a supermarket shop, it made me wonder how people make ends meet. I bought Scott a pressie as a thank you for our wonderful sailing opportunity – a leather bracelet, so he can look cool at the helm. He was a bit unsure at first about it, but he hasn’t taken it off since, so I guess it is a hit. Don’t expect to see it when we get home though 🙂
We also had our first ice-cream – and not just any old ice-cream. We bought it from a shop in Astrous claiming the prize for 3rd best ice-cream in the world! Talking with the owner, he revealed that the competition took place in Italy, and Italian manufacturers won first and second prize, so in his eyes, the Astros ice-cream was voted best in the world (the assumption being that the two Italian makers only won because the competition organisers had to award the hosts first and second prize!).
This is what his shop looks like, in case you ever go there.
The other notable event at Astrous was a meeting with the Port Police, who came to check our boat papers and to see whether we had paid our TEPAH tax. This is the new cruising tax introduced this year. The police officer appeared nervous, and was very keen to ask us for money. When Scott showed him the receipt for our tax paid up til December, I don’t think he could actually believe that someone had paid a Greek tax – here it is so often the case of how to avoid paying it, rather than paying it in advance.
We also managed to find a garage that would fill up our LPG tanks. This is the fuel we use for our outboard dinghy, as well as for cooking. Scott cycled out there on the foldie to fill up both tanks.
So all fuelled up and our tanks full of fresh water, we left Astrous after a lovely couple of days, and headed down the coast to a small fishing harbour of Leonidio – quaint little place with just a couple of tavernas and a mini-market, space for around 4 boats. Margrete has been running the taverna there since 1976 (according to Rod Heikell’s guide), and she met us at the door to serve us a beer.
From Astrous we headed back across the Argolic Gulf, past the entrance to Porto Cheli, to an island called Dhokos for our first night at anchor. I took a swim to attach the shorelines and we were quickly settled for the night. A delightful spot to drop the hook and settle into life on board Nemrod.