We travel further afield for my next blog – a 2 week flotilla sail around the Greece Sporades.
Late on Friday evening we arrived at our Beneteau 331 yacht to join the flotilla of 10 boats , 30 crew and lead boat Athina and her crew of Jake, Tom and Becky, in Orei harbour. After our first night onboard, we woke to a beautiful morning, and the first trip was from Orei to Ahilio. We managed a good 2.5 hours of sailing, and after the customary Ouzo and lemon, or beer, met for a team meal, and were blessed with a stunning sunset.
After a swim in the harbour, our trip the next day would take us from the mainland over to Skiathos island, and the perfect Koukounaries beach. This beach is rightly classed as one the top beaches in Greece.
En-route we spied our first dolphins, but they didn’t come close.
The flotilla anchored in the bay, and the turquoise waters tempted me in for swim. The sand is white and water crystal clear.
The bay is home to 3 swans, 2 white and one black, who visited each yacht in turn.
Many of the crew decided to row ashore and dine in the village, but we stayed aboard and made a salad – Greek of course, and then sat on the deck watching the stars.
The next leg takes us across to Skopelos Island, and a new harbour of Nea Klima. As the trip was short, and we were eager for more sailing, we went to long way around the North of Skiathos Island, but as we approached Skopelos the wind died, and we started motoring along, until we spied several dolphins. We slowed our motor and gently followed a pod of around 12 or more dolphins, who, while not coming to play around the boat, were happy to stay close by and put on a great show for us. Eventually we alerted the flotilla, and Tom from the lead crew zoomed out in his rib, only for the pod to disappear, but luckily, just after we decided they had gone, they returned and amused us for a while longer. I missed a great shot when Tom created a large bow wave, and 4 dolphins surfed it right next to his rib. After an hours bliss we motored into Neo Klima, a pretty and quiet village.
I ventured for a swim in the harbour despite a few jellyfish.
We were entertained the following morning by this gentleman fixing his boat – first he used his main halyard to raise his ladder, then proceeded to fix something at the top of his mast – where are Health and Safety when you need them?
This cute boat sat next to the quay. It looks like a boat a child would draw.
The weather forecast for Tuesday was for strong winds, and due to issues with our mainsail, we motored around the top of Skopelos to the town of the same name. On our way we passed the church where Mamma Mia was filmed, but dull weather and high waves meant photos were not good, so we hastened into the safety of the town quay, where were remained for 3 nights.
The sea wall was large and constructed of huge rock, then a wide concrete pier where cars could drive, and our yachts safely tucked behind, but the winds were able to send waves crashing over and reach the deck.
There is a delightful walk up the hill in the old town, with incredible views down over the bay, if you could catch your breath from the wind.
Luckily Skopelos had quaint shops and many tavernas to entertain us during our enforced stay. The lead crew organised a quiz one afternoon, and helped by Mick and Tash from yacht Eirini, our team won the prize of a bottle of gin.
At last the winds died and we travelled on to Steni Vala, on the South of Alenissos island.
This finally felt like real Greece, no tourists, and not many other yachts in the small fishing quay.
I had a great swim, and we had a team meal in the sea front taverna.
I’m sure we have new member to the flotilla
Lets have a closer look:
Hm, not sure the red fishing boat is one of us. Our yacht, Aristi is to the right, with the England flag, and I’m offering a prize if you can identify our second flag.
We had a pleasant stroll up the hills surrounding the bay and watched large ants, and lizards basking in the sun.
As this marked the end of our first week, I shall leave here, back soon.