We knew that another Meltemi was due on Wednesday so we planned to get to Aegina Town on the island of the same name on Tuesday in case others had the same idea! This would then only leave us a few hours sail up to our winter berth at Salamina, near Piraeus.
First, though, we wanted to have one last night in a tranquil bay and possibly a last swim. We motored north to the island of Agristri and found a lovely bay with turquoise water and no one else. Perfect. We dropped the anchor and whilst we had a late lunch, a fishing boat came into the bay. It was fascinating watching them at work.
Afterwards we made our way ashore to explore. Sadly, the head of the bay was covered in rubbish. I suspect it was blown in whenever there is a strong northerly. So sad but something we have really noticed these last months. If a bay is not inhabited then the rubbish doesn’t get collected. We walked to one of only three settlements on the island. We did get a few strange glances from the locals but as soon as you said ‘kalispera’ (good afternoon) you got at least a nod back. The island has an inland seawater lagoon and a couple of other bays but otherwise not much. We settled in for a quiet evening knowing that the wind was due to come round to the North in the morning, which would make for an uncomfortable berth. Of course, this happened at 3am not 9am so by 8 we had enough and left for Aegina.
When we arrived at Aegina Town, there weren’t too many free berths on the North quay where we knew we would be very sheltered from the Meltemi but there was one right next to Shindig, our Westerly neighbours in Vathy. Although it was windy in the harbour, we dropped the anchor and came in pretty effectively. We tied up and sorted ourselves out. Unfortunately a short time later, a boat three down from us had somehow managed to snag our chain as they were pulling their own anchor up. Sometimes when that happens they sort themselves out and we drop our chain and the anchor isn’t disturbed. Not this time. When we tightened our anchor the chain kept coming in so they had obviously dislodged it which meant we had to go out and re-anchor. By this point, the wind had got up more and we ended up with our anchor at an angle to our boat so we were over Shindig’s chain. Luckily, they weren’t leaving anytime soon! Also, we had dropped our anchor too far out so as we went astern we ran out of chain and that stopped us dead in our tracks so we made contact with our other neighbour. Luckily, just a little mark which soon rubbed off but Jo was so mortified that we gave them a pack of beer as an apology.
We figured we would be here for several days as the strong winds were forecast to last until at least Sunday so we rented a couple of scooters to explore the island.
The island is rich in history as remains dating back to 2500BC have been found. Indeed, just north of Aegina town is the Temple of Apollo that sits on top of Bronze Age settlements. Legend has it that Zeus sent one of his lovers, Aigina, to the island and gave birth to his son, Alakos. Venetian sailors used to use the column that is left as a navigation aid.
In the centre of the island is a settlement called Paleohora where we found the ruins of 35 churches dating back to the Middle Ages. It was completely open and we saw just a couple of other people there. Fascinating. We also went to the Temple of Aphaia to the north east part of the island with amazing views across to Piraeus.
The southern harbour of Perdika was a delightful spot for coffee and cake. Pistachios are everywhere on the island and we happened to find a coffee shop that specialised in pistachio pie. It was really more like a cake and, my goodness, it was heavenly.
Away from the exploring, we have been busy getting jobs done in preparation for Nimmie being lifted out. We did get the bikes out and cycled just north of the town where there are several boatyards to see whether any of them are viable options for next year. Most of them were pretty rudimentary with bits of wood holding up the boats rather than metal cradles. They were also very close to the sea with little protection so I doubt if we will use them.