After being fortunate to find a bar showing a couple of the Lions games which we thoroughly enjoyed at the very civilised time of 1030hrs over a coffee or two, we sailed away from Skopelos towards Alonissis, the next island along. We anchored in a little bay and walked over the headland to the nearest big village, Patitiri. There we visited a exhibition about the severely endangered monk seals (Monachus Monachus) which inhabit the most eastern islands of the Northern Sporades and are protected by a Marine National Park. Such beautiful creatures.
I also spent a happy hour at the private museum in Patitiri which houses an incredible number of artefacts from life gone by on Alonissos, when the island life was hard and goods and products had to be made on the island itself. The exhibition showed tools of each trade; the cobbler, the joiner, the farrier, the copper, the rope maker, the iron monger, the boat builder, the saddler, the weaver, the potter, the baker, and so on. The attention to detail was brilliant. There was also an exhibition of old charts of the Aegean from 500 years ago, showing extraordinary accuracy for the time. The pirate and World War exhibitions were also equally fascinating.
So, after an educational day, we made the short hop to the next island and anchored in Peristeri bay. The sea was flat as a mirror throughout the day and evening. We had been in bed for about 20 minutes when I was alerted to a rapid rise in the wind speed by the vibrations from the wind turbine above my head. Ian leapt out of bed and just as well he had been so quick because our stern was gently brushing up against the bow of a French boat that had come in late on and anchored far too close to us. In the non-existent winds of the earlier it wouldn’t had been a problem but in the stronger gusts of the thunder storm passing overhead, it was an issue. We put our engine on and attempted to wake the people in the boat. Finally, they came on deck and let out more chain but since we were swinging on more chain we soon found ourselves back in the same predicament.
So, the only thing for it was to up anchor and head out into the night. We donned life jackets and wet weather gear because by now the rain was lashing down. We travelled the short distance back to Patitiri and with the lightning illuminating the way, reversed into the last remaining spot on the quay. The wall was exceptionally high so I had to hoist myself up about a metre to get the lines secured. Good thing my back was feeling better.
By 0300hrs we were snugged back up in bed and snoring.
Next day, we motored to the top of the next island – Panayia. We planned to anchor in this remote, deserted anchorage with two large bays and a narrow north facing opening. Once inside this bay the water is completely still. We found a perfect spot and were swimming in clear waters within minutes. We never did solve the mystery as to how three knackered old chest freezers had ended up on the beach. The island has one monastery and one monk guardian and no other inhabitants whatsoever!
A fresh North Easterly wind had been forecast for the Tuesday so that was a good day to sail north to the mainland. We tonked the forty odd miles north across to the second finger of Halkhidhiki province and found yet another amazing anchorage. An almost totally enclosed large bay with a lagoon at its southern end. We anchored off the jetty in fairly deep water but we’re confident that with our new 100m of chain out we would be fine. And indeed we were.
We went ashore to explore the area and walked all around the bay and round the lagoon. The following day we walked the other way and found a Byzantian fort and numerous goat tracks winding around the olive trees and shrubs on the head land. We passed pistacio trees which I have never seen before.
Our nephew Sam and his friend Rory arrive on Monday and so we are now prepping for their arrival and positioning ourselves to pick them up in Thessaloniki. Then the plan is to head south again and round towards the third finger and Mount Akti (huge!).