For the first time I feel sad about leaving a place. The Gulf of Volos has been our home for six weeks. With no sailing (because there has been no wind), we have just settled into a summer life of swimming, writing, relaxing, swimming, reading, planning, joking and laughing.
To find somewhere in Greece that is quiet and peaceful even in August is very rare. We had expected to find quite a few islands with this faraway feel but in reality, tourism is obviously the life line for all of the islands and here on a remote corner of the mainland, it isn’t.
The surrounding area is agricultural, the transportation to here is not easy, and certainly not supported by the big ferries that frequent the islands carrying thousands of holiday makers so their chosen paradise island.
We rather think that the Greeks have saved this part of Greece for themselves. And quite rightly so! It has a very different feel to it. It allowed us to just be, without feeling the need to explore, wander or even sail.
We just stopped in time and had a holiday.
We found only very few shops but we were able to buy fruit and vegetables. The town of Volos at the head of the gulf was large and industrial. It had lots of shops and supermarkets so we filled up our supplies whilst we were out of the water and then we only had to visit the little villages when we needed fresh fruit and vegetables.
We found a taverna in the middle of nowhere and because most of their clientele were little motor boats coming 10 miles or more to eat there, we thought it would be worth a try.
We asked to see a menu but there wasn’t a menu. We were told they do spaghetti. We were happy to have spaghetti and waited to see what would arrive. A big plate of spaghetti covered in crevettes, this was going to be messy. We dived in and enjoyed a wonderful meal, although it was far too much for us, we probably wouldn’t need to eat for 2 days after this!
At one point, when we were back on TopCat we heard some of the diners burst into Mama Mia songs in good English … it made us smile. If this was a s raucous as they were going to get, we were happy to stay a couple of nights!
As August draws to a close it was time for us to head back to Alonissos to meet family arriving. We planned to just head slowly around taking a gentle week to travel the 50 miles back to the island where I had done my course in June. As we rounded the headland ready for our first stop in Trikeri we realised there would be no room to anchor and we would have to go stern to on the quay in front of the tavernas. This is not our ideal position in the height of summer as it can be extremely hot and a little like being in a goldfish bowl with everyone seated less than 6 feet away from our summer sitting room. We decided to head for the next cove around the corner.
As we left Trikeri and headed out of The Gulf of Volos the wind got up and we were heading straight into the waves. Reality came back to us with avengence! What a peaceful few weeks we had had. With no bouncy, rolly, slappy waves for 6 weeks. We bounced along for an hour or so and then found a beautifully sheltered cove to anchor in. No tavernas, just a couple of houses and sandy beaches. This looked promising.
We anchored and enjoyed lunch as the wind changed directions. We soon realised we were dragging and would have to reset the anchor. We tried to do this in various locations around the bay and realised it must be weed on rock and it just wasn’t going to work for us. We set off again heading for the first sheltered bay in Skiathos.
We have anchored here twice before and had enjoyed having the place to ourselves. Now we realised it was full of trip boats, jet skis, banana boats, little motor boats and lots of noise. We knew we only needed to stay overnight so we anchored again only to find we couldn’t make it set fast. We realised that when we had anchored before it had been at midday in a calm day. We could therefore see the bottom and find the sandy bit and thus avoid the weedy bits. Now, later in the day (arriving about 6pm) with the wind rippling the water, I couldn’t see the seabed at all and couldn’t therefore find the sandy bits in order to avoid the weed.
Consequently it took us six attempts to dig in and feel relatively comfortable. I just hadn’t appreciated the difference anchoring is in the middle of the day with the sun directly overhead compared to later in the day. In shallower waters it may not be so difficult but in 15 to 20meters if makes a lot of difference! At last we were safe for the night. We survived the noise from the beach and set off nice and early the following day to sail (or rather motor because the wind was straight on the nose again) around to Skopolos on route back to Alonnisos.
We are back on anchor and free to sail. (In the image above is the bay we are now sitting in). Well that is the theory anyway! In reality we need to do another shop and we need to pick up a parcel that hasn’t arrived yet So in the meantime we can test all of our...
Overwintering on a boat in Samos Marina, on the beautiful Greek island of Samos could be quite a lonely affair if it wasn’t for the live-aboard community, let’s refer to them as the ‘exuberant partakers of the odd libation’.... so one naturally forms, The Sunday Lunch...
With all of unknown surrounding Brexit, many UK sailors have been exploring all of the different ways in which we might or might not be affected by Brexit. Before we left the UK, we were approached by several doom and gloom merchants who felt that there was already...
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