Monday Day 3 of 7 Hydra – Epimioni – Dhokos — Spetsai
6:30 am – now this is the thing to do. Get up super early, leave port and drift the boat about 1 mile out and have breakfast looking at a Greek town off the back deck of the boat. Here was our view of Hydra that morning as the sun rose. Breathtaking!!!!
We then headed west towards Ermioni. If there is such a thing called negative wind we struck it. None – nada – zip – zilch. When you mix this negative zilch wind with the deep blue of the Med you get this. Water so clear and flat it is actually indescribable. Best way to get what I’m talking about is to just experience it. Here is a little video clip on the trip of Hydra to Ermioni. Watch for the bow cutting through the water.
Behind us, we left this amazingly long straight wake. So I made up this overly philosophical statement.
And OF COURSE, we did another perfect Med Mooring up to the concrete quay.
Ermioni is (I know) a must stop for a lot of reasons but the biggest one I know of is Drougas bakery at the start of the pier. I mean come on look at this – like WOW!
OMG of all my travels, Drougas is hands down by far without a doubt indisputably the most awesome bakery shop of all time ever in anyplace in both the known and the unknown universe. And just for the sake of sake, I’m throwing in another OMG. We ate their three times in the matter of just 1 hour. If you ever want the best Baklava, Spanakopita, Kataifi and other delicious pastry things with greek names you can’t pronounce, go to Drougas. I actually mean don’t go through life with out going here. Even more to say – you will die a happy person if you have knocked this off your bucket list. In the Bakery you also have to meet 6 foot 10 Inch Panagiotis Efstratiou and his wife Athanasia Drouga, owner of the bakery – friendly and nice people doubling as excellent baristas also. I do however worry that they thought we were storking them as we kept on going back. We also picked up some gifties of jam, olive oil and chutney for our friends back home. Disclaimer. Athanasia did ply us with apple pies but my review of Drougas Bakery is unswayed by the bribe and true to its sole. Here is the Trip Advisor link for Drougas if you don’t believe me.
Ermioni has history going back 4000 years. There are records that a festival in honor of Poseidon was held here with conjecture that this was the site of the world’s very first small sailboat regatta.
The close by island of Dhokos is another mustie. After we moored in east end of Ormos Skindos bay, Beverly, a crew member asked “so what is here?” Of which my replay was “absolutely nothing”.
Here is our 1st mate, Sam gaining his new nick name Sam-On-The-Rocks as he ran our bridled aft longline ashore with the dinghy.
I snapped this shot of the GPS as we pulled anchor. Note that the brown is land, white is water. Hmmm notice anything wrong. This pic is especially for those who think they can navigate at night using GPS only. It is not that the GPS is wrong, it is that the land is placed on the electronic map wrong by about 500 yards (meters).
As the wind picked up for the afternoon we set sail for Spetsai Island. 18 knots Force 5 is perfect for a quick sail at 8 knots in the cat.
Proudly we blasted past a few boats who we saw running around to trim their sails to keep ahead with little effect. I’m sure their excuse was ‘oh but they are a cat – they should be going faster”. The result was the same however, we wasted them. In all sailboat races, it is skill if you win and just bad luck if you loose.
Sailing along, I noticed this potentially expensive mistake. Always chase your lines with your eyes when sailing. A little thing like this would cost you about $1000 when you arrived back at the base for final check out.
Spetsai has fantastic little bars but only to be found playing gamous internationalous (see day 1). One in particular had amazing works of iron art all embedded into the functionality of the bar. Very cool! Sticking with our Modus operandi of always arriving too late but with the best intentions of getting there early (just too many distractions enroute) the more popular area to moor to the east of town in Baltiza Creek was full and so we elected to moor in the new harbor outside the main town Dapia. I used my handy Pocket GRiB app to check the wind forecast so that I could see how the wind would shift in the night. I thus picked the east side of the pier to med moor. Albeit, I may be loosing the touch a little, we needed two attempts to do it this time. The first we did not set the anchor out far enough and it dragged in as we hauled on it to pull the boat off the quay. The second time it held but to be sure, I snorkelled it and dug in in better.
This is an appropriate time to talk more about Med mooring. There are two types: One where there is a slime line attached to the pier wall leading out to a sunken mooring in the harbor. You back up to the wall, attach your stern lines then hold off the wall with engine power. You then grab the slime line and chase it forward until you pick up the main mooring line. You attach this to the forward cleat on your bow and tighten up as much as possible. Now you can make adjustments to the whole to nicely position your boat off the wall. Simple enough and the key is in dock line prep and crew briefing.
The second type of med mooring is an anchor off the front. In Spetsai we had a nice display of how not to do it by some guys in a gorgeoud Lagoon 450. Here is how not to do it: Position the boat nicely then the anchor man drops the anchor as fast as possible while the helmsman backs the boat as fast as possible to the dock wall all the while all crew members and the captain are yelling in a foreign language (I think) to each other to watch out and other boats are scrambling, exchanging their gin and tonics for fenders.
Reset: The second type of med mooring is an anchor off the front. The way you do this is to nicely position your boat estimating 5 times the depth of water to the pier plus a boat length (i.e. your anchor is at the front of the boat so add 1 boat length). You use boat lengths to make this estimation. If the water is 8 meters deep and your boat is 12 meters long then set up to drop the anchor 3.5 to 4 plus 1 boat lengths off the pier. Have the anchor man drop the anchor to the sea floor. The helmsman begins backing and taking orders from the anchorman who is paying out the anchor at a rate to lay the chain down at the same speed as the boat. About 1 boat length out, the anchorman stops and allows the boat momentum to dig the anchor into the bottom. The helmsman applies a little extra power to help set the anchor. Now the helmsman applies slight reverse while the anchorman eases the boat back by slowly letting out the chain. This method keeps the chain taught and slowly bring the boat back to the wall all the while slight reverse power is maintained. At 1 meter out from the wall, the anchor man stops and the aft line crew – or even the helmsman can attached the lines to the pier. Once those are set the anchorman can tighten the anchor to pull against the aft lines ashore. This is a sure, calm and safe way of how to do a Mediterranean mooring. It ensures the anchor is well set which is a necessity to hold the boat off the pier wall. And it can be done in any wind direction. For a catamaran this is essentially fool proof. For a monohull, it is a bit more tricky since stopping the momentum of the boat to set the anchor will make you have to deal with propwalk (see our maneuvering under power course). So you do have to keep the boat moving. What is particularly cool however when med mooring downwind is that the anchor will stop your bow from bearing away downwind i.e. It holds your bow to windward. If you have never med moored before, as easy as it is, for goodness sake, DON’T let it be the first time you do it when you’re going up next to a five million dollar bohemouth. Practice it at home preferably with your anchorman to be. A final tip is to check back on your boat frequently to make sure that your anchor has not slipped as this would allow your boat to slide back to the very hard concrete pier wall. Not good!
After the entertainment at the pier, we enjoyed strolling the back streets and sampling more ouzo before walking back to Baltiza Creek for a nice waterside dinner.
Yes all the above in one day.