We have just returned from our June sailing in the Saronic Gulf and are still on a high from the trip. Because of the limited tourism to Greece, it has fewer tourists at the moment which of course isn’t great for the Greek economy but it was great for us with harbors less crowded and coves less busy. We were 4 couples who boarded a Lagoon 42 in Athens and we set off on a 124 nautical mile (230 km) trip across the Gulf.
The boat had 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, air conditioning, a generator, water maker, inverter (to provide 240V from the batteries), oven, stove, 2 fridges and a freezer shelf. I made sure it also had gin, vodka, ice, orange and cranberry juice, fresh lemons and tonic for the all important daily Happy Hours!
Day 1: Athens to Aigina
Provisions arrived at 07:00 and quite remarkably, we managed to use the Greek website successfully and got everything we needed. With cheeses and wines brought from Israel, we’re all set to go.
Leaving the marina in Athens, we turned into the wind to raise the sails, turned off the engines and then set off SE for a 2.5 hour sailing to Aegina.
Stayed the night in Aegina but when we tried to leave, found that another boat had laid its anchor across ours. An occupational hazard in busy Mediterranean harbors which required some lateral thinking on behalf of the crew to untangle but we did it!
Day 2: Aegina to Epidavros
Arrived midday and jumped into taxis for the 30 minute ride to the spectacular ancient amphitheater of Epidavros which is acoustically perfect. Stand in the middle of the stage, drop a coin or crunch some paper and you’ll hear it at the top of the stands. We were fortunate that an opera singer took center stage and sang an aria for us which combined with the lack of tourists this year made it an amazing experience!
Late afternoon, we walked 10 minutes around the harbor and the bay to the almost deserted Kalamaki beach which was crystal clear, with surprising warm patches wherever plants were growing underwater.
Day 3: Epidavros to Russian Bay
Back in Epidavros, we met up with Vicky and James from Scuba Blue Dream who took us diving the next morning. Our group of 6 included 2 experienced divers, 3 divers who haven’t dived for decades and 1 who has never dived before and they coped with all of us! Fantastic fish and colors under the water, even though our group wasn’t the best at listening to instructions!!
After diving, we moved from Epidavros across to Russian Bay, so called because the Russians had a naval base here during the war of independence. In this spectacular green/blue water, we swam, tried out the SUP and broke out the drone for some videos and great aerial shots.
Day 4: Russian Bay to Poros
A perfect morning over still water. We had a lazy morning swimming and lounging around and eventually motored very slowly to Poros. The approach from the West is spectacular and we arrived early enough to get a good spot on the quay and go shopping.
Day 5: Shabbat in Poros – Rest & Relaxation
Day 6: Poros to Hydra
After a relaxing Shabbat in Poros, we motored out heading South East on Sunday morning towards Hydra. More beautiful views and calm waters and since it’s well known that Hydra port is impossibly crowded and not a place to moor, we headed to Mandraki Bay from where we could either walk into Hydra or get a water taxi.
As we walked back from Hydra though, we noticed a forbidding plume of smoke over our bay and as the fire fighters drove past us, we started getting concerned. It turned out that over the ridge from the bay, a forest fire had started and before we knew it, fire fighting planes were landing in the sea to drink up a belly full of water and dump it on the fire. When they had done 5 or 6 rounds of this, a helicopter turned up to do the same to put out the remaining embers. This was far too much excitement for us so an executive decision was made to bring forward Happy Hour and nerves were duly calmed!
Day 7: Dokos
We woke up to a black boat. It was like Vesuvius and rather than get buried under ash, we had to spend two hours washing the boat from top to bottom. Since the fire was still smoldering and we didn’t want the boat coated in ash once more, we decided to get out of town fast and motor over to Dokos, an island inhabited by goats, chickens and it seems only one person, where we dropped anchor in a tranquil bay interrupted only by the super yacht jet skis!
We spent the day and the evening swimming, Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP), walking, eating and drinking and baked some fresh bread since we hadn’t been anywhere for supplies for a couple of days. Finished off the day with another magnificent sunset. It was simply spectacular!
Day 8: Dokos to Poros
Dokos was our furthest point from Athens so it was time to head home, mainly driven by the need to do a PCR test back in Poros ready for the flight. We left early again, passing the still smoldering Mandraki Bay, round the NE point of the peninsula and up to Poros. Since the quay gets quite full and busy, it was good to get there early before the rush. Although we had spent quite some time in Poros over the weekend, it was a good place to stop for the night and a lot quieter than Friday and Saturday!
Day 9: Poros to Athens
Finally time to head back to Athens. It was a long 4.5 hour sailing which we were hoping to break up for a swim in a quiet cove half way but when we arrived at the cove it was anything but quiet, the wind was picking up and we decided to forge ahead. The sails went up, the quiet descended and we enjoyed the last few hours of sailing NE to Athens. A steady wind from the SE meant that we hardly had to tack and sailed straight into the marina.
Day 10: Athens to Home
It’s been an amazing journey and thoroughly exceeded everyone’s expectations. We’ve all worked hard, solved problems, relaxed, swam, ate exceptionally well and enjoyed our Happy Hours!
We look forward to coming back soon and have you join us!
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Greece, Croatia and Italy are in our plans for 2022. Will you be there with us?
Looks like a great expedition you had. Amazing pictures, too!