Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Getting around

BeBe cooked dinner
We stayed at Aigina Island for 3 night, as best I remember.  Highlights were Elisabeth cooking dinner for the first time all by herself.  All I did was tell her what to do and she did the rest.  I did pour off the boiling water to drain the pasta because that big pot was too much for her to handle.  The meat sauce was delicious.  She was very proud of herself.  Note for future:  if you want a kid to eat something, let them cook it themselves.

Peloponnese behind Zach, Bill & BeBe.  Our boat on right. 

Aigina Town quay
Aigina (a/k/a Aegina) is an historically interesting island.  The kids and I read the guide book and learned several interesting things.  I won't go into any of it here.  I want to see if either of them remembers any of the history stories and writes about these in their blogs.  Check out Zachary's Corner and BeBe's Corner listed under Blogs We Follow on our blog site home page.

On our final day in the anchorage it was time to find more fresh veggies and fruits and breads.  So we upped anchor and motored the 5 miles or so back to Aigina Town.  During calm winds boats can anchor just outside the town quay and marina area; so that is what we did.  We all climbed into the dinghy for a trip ashore.

Aigina Town quay
What a quaint little town!  Large, fast ferries of tourists arrive seemingly every half hour on the outer mole; but the inner harbor area is calm.  Like almost every other place we have stopped in Greece (except for Kea and Samos), there was nowhere to land a dinghy.  That has been my only complaint about Greece so far -- there very rarely is a place to take a dinghy ashore from an anchored yacht.  
Buying cherries
Bill maneuvered our dinghy up behind a large motor yacht docked stern-to against the town quay.  This was on an outside corner where the quay turned farther back in towards the town.  So our dinghy was right in front of a large fishing boat and at the stern of the large motor yacht.  Both boats appeared to be unoccupied and we were only on a short shopping trip; so we took a chance on neither boat wanting to move before we returned.  We tied off the dinghy and scooted away from the area as fast as possible before anyone could tell us that it was forbidden to leave a dinghy there.

Information in the Pilot guide was to walk south out of town and turn left at the Miranda Hotel to find the supermarket.  This took us right past a small beach filled with tourists.  Elisabeth was shocked at the very fat women wearing skimpy bikinis.  She kept asking, "don't they know how bad they look?"  Sadly, no; they apparently did not.

As we walked toward the supermarket we passed several vegetable and fruit boats.  This is something new to us.  We are accustomed to tiny local fresh vegetable markets, but not to vegetable boats.  But this makes perfect sense for this area.  The Greek islands we have seen thus far have been quite barren -- rocky and very dry.  Nothing can grow on these islands.  However, parts of the mainland have good soil and water for irrigation.  So all produce is either grown somewhere on the mainland or is imported.  These are then delivered to the nearest islands in small boats.  In Aigina Town the produce boats tie off at the town quay, and unload all the produce and arrange 
Bill on the boat paying for cherries
it beneath umbrellas on the sidewalk.  Makes for a very pretty scene along the harbor wall.  The local fishing boats are a bit farther south on the wall.  Glad they remain separated so you don't have to smell fish while shopping for fruits.  Much father south there were a few trucks parked alongside the roadway selling more vegetables, but nothing that we were interested in buying.

At the supermarket we loaded up with as much as the 4 of us could carry.  Then, on the walk back to the dinghy we stopped at one of the produce boats and loaded up with even more.  One lady insisted the kids taste cherries.  Both Zach and Elisabeth raved about how delicious these tasted, so we also loaded up on cherries, nectarines and a few apricots.   No cookies on our boat now, but lots of fruit for snacks.  The system for purchasing 

With the shopping completed, we motored south back to Profitis Ilias Cove and anchored in almost exactly the same spot we had left a few hours earlier.  We really like this anchorage.  Several hours later we were surprised to hear a voice calling, "Ahoy, BeBe!"  It was Clint and Adair arriving on S/V EMMANUEL.  What a total surprise!  We thought they were long past this area.   They plan to return to the Caribbean this December and we hope to remain in the Med for a few years.  We figured they were already in Croatia by now.  Turned out they were going to the Corinth Canal the next day.  They were as surprised as us to happen upon one another.   Way back in Phuket last December we had agreed to buddy-boat with EMMANUEL and MISS JODY through the pirate area of the Gulf of Aden.  They both did sail through the pirates and up the Red Sea; we opted to transport our boat due to the greatly increased pirate activity this year.  Thankfully, both EMMANUEL and MISS JODY made the trip without encountering any pirates.  This was the first time we had seen EMMANUEL since leaving Sri Lanka in late January.  

Side note:  we have talked or had email correspondence with 4 boats that opted to sail through pirate alley this year.  We personally know about 20 boats that made this trip, but have talked with only 4 since arriving in the Med.  One said they would have transported if that option had been available when they were making their decision; two said that they would tell anyone considering sailing that area today to flat forget about trying it; and one said they sailed the "safe" route and are glad they did it.  I am not sure exactly what "safe route" means since the pirates have attacked ships literally every section of the Northern Indian Ocean this year.  I do hope these folks do not encourage any other boats to sail that same "safe route."  At any rate, we are very glad that our friends made it through safely.

It was really nice catching up with Clint and Adair.  They told us interesting things about their visit to Israel (we might visit there next winter for a week or two), and they provided us with great tips about visiting more of the Greek islands farther south.  They took a completely different route from Turkey through the Greek islands than we did.

The next morning while winds were dead we pulled anchor and motored to the southern tip of Aigina.   Then we turned eastward towards Sounion.  Winds were predicted to be light and right on our nose.  But, as has turned out to be normal here, the actuality was different than the prediction.  Winds were light but from a completely different direction and we were able to slowly sail the entire distance to Sounion, where we once again anchored beneath the Temple of Poseidon.

Swimming at Sounion
Cooling her toes
Zachary went swimming off the boat while Elisabeth sat on the stern steps and dipped her feet in the water.  She said that water was too cold to get all the way in, but I think maybe she was afraid to get in water so deep.  There were hundreds of people on the beach (Sunday afternoon), and we did not want to take the kids ashore when it was so crowded.  The next morning we had the beach entirely to ourselves. 

Hot Milk Cake
Zach cooked dinner
That night was Zachary's turn to cook dinner.  He baked a Hot Milk Cake and peeled and cut up vegetables.  He stir-fried some and steamed others while Bill grilled marinated steak.  It was a good dinner.   We all like lots of vegetables.  The cake was a treat with Dream Whip and fresh nectarines.  Elisabeth had a few unhappy moments but soon recovered her self-composure and rejoined the rest of us for desert.   Sometimes it is difficult for cousins of the same age to get along 24 hours per day.

Building sandcastles
Enjoying the beach
The next morning we left Zach and Elisabeth building a sand castle while Bill and I hiked up the hill to the temple.  I was really surprised that 
Temple of Poseidon
Elisabeth did not want to walk up to see the temple up close, but she said she could see it well enough from the beach.  Zachary had already been up there a couple of weeks ago.  I needed the exercise, so we hiked up the steep path.  But once up there I decided that there was no need to spend another $12 for us to 
2 Amels; BeBe on right
walk around those old stones and columns.  Like Elisabeth, I could see it well enough from the gift shop.  We bought a bottle of cold water; snapped a few photos; and hiked back down the hill.  While up there we noticed that another Amel yacht had arrived and was anchored next to us.The kids were diligently working on their sand castle.  Now that we had returned, they got into the water for a few minutes.  Then we decided they had enjoyed enough sun and we returned to the boat.  

Very girlie fishing
The wind was unexpectedly from the north, so we instantly decided to pull the anchor and sail south to the island of Kithnos.  It was a beautiful 23 mile sail under perfect conditions.  At the strait between Kea and Kithnos the wind increased to 24 knots and changed direction briefly by 90 degrees.  In went the sails and on came the engine for about half an hour.  Then the wind instantly switched back to its original direction and we were back to sailing again.  

Other boats had the same idea.  

Southern Belle fishing
Five of us arrived at the entrance to the western bay at the same time.  Almost like a race for the final hour of sailing.  We were the boat pointed closest to the wind, so we knew the others would arrive before us.  And they did.  Except it took them much longer to take down their sails.  We furled our sailed and were inside the bay before the other boats.  So, they arrived at the entrance first; but we arrived at the anchorage first.

Baiting that tiny hook
Zach and Elisabeth immediately went to the beach, where they played until sunset.  I love this place.  This is my favorite place so far in the Greek islands.  
Fishing at Kythnos
Others might not like it so much because there is nothing here; just a very nice beach, one taverna (which we have not yet visited), high hills to climb and explore very ancient ruins, and a hot spring.   3G internet connection is somewhat sketchy; that is the only drawback.  We hope to stay here several days -- until time to find another market for more fresh produce.  Then we will have to go somewhere else. 

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