We left Theologos in the Evia Channel early last Wednesday (8 June) morning to make our way towards the Sporades. Neither of us had slept very well and as we had woken up around 0630, we decided to set off. There was no wind and the water was like a millpond. Breakfast on the go and by midday, we felt we had done a day’s sailing. It was all very tranquil but of course, that wasn’t going to last.
We turned the corner opposite the Gulf of Volos and all hell broke loose. The wind and the current were against us despite the forecast saying something very different. We were not making much progress and we thought we might have to divert to a safe harbour. In the event, we upped the revs on the donkey (aka engine) and made slow but steady progress towards the Sporades. The wind was on the nose (naturally) but the current against us eased over time. However, less than 4 knots an hour was not exactly swift! The seas were quite lively so we were regularly soaked with spray but at least the water was warm. We were rewarded by seeing some dolphins just before Skiathos. So, some 12 hours after we started, we arrived at Loutraki on Skopelos. We decided to anchor for the night in the small harbour and then bag a berth on the pontoon in the morning when one became available as it’s not a big harbour despite ferries coming in all day. We had decided that this would be a safe place to see out a weather system (now named Storm Genesis) that was coming through with rolling thunderstorms and torrential rain over the next four days. By 0900 we were on the pontoon and safely tied up. Time for breakfast! There aren’t any facilities here in terms of loos and showers but we were able to fill up with water and although there is no electricity, the solar panels and wind generator are doing sterling work as it’s with sunny or windy and sometimes both!
As we were unlikely to be able to see the whole island by boat, we hired a car for a couple of days. First stop was Agios Ioannis church where the Mamma Mia wedding took place. We climbed the 199 steps to find a tiny chapel. The rest of the day was spent visiting various locations used in the film irrespective of the goat tracks we needed to go down. Thank god it wasn’t our own car! The final stop was a lovely beach at Kastrani where Sophie tells Sky she’s invited her fathers to the wedding. In the evening we ate at a wonderful family run restaurant called Agnanti in Glossa, the town above the port. We were seated on the balcony overlooking the harbour. As an early anniversary meal, it ticked a lot of boxes!
On Friday we decided to go to Skopelos Town before the thunderstorm arrived. Our journey there was thwarted for a while as a large herd of goats had decided to wander down the road!
The bad weather was due at around 1500 so we thought we had plenty of time. That was before Liz decided that she needed more sandals (Emelda Marcos has nothing on Liz). We continued to visit Mamma Mia sites but then made our way back to the boat. The heavens opened around 30 minutes out of Loutraki. The wind and rain were biblical. When we arrived at the harbour, all was now calm although we knew more was coming. Apparently they had had 30-40 knots of wind for about half an hour. For the first time in years, we put the sides on the bimini so we had an extra room outside as it would keep us dry. The rest of the afternoon and early evening continued to be stormy but we were safe and sound in our berth with the wind pushing us off rather than back onto the pontoon. We had chosen well. We ventured out around 2030 to treat ourselves to a meal at Flisvos, a local taverna as we hoped to be in secluded bays for the rest of our holiday so eating on board- once we get off Skopelos!
Saturday was a better day, weather wise although the occasional downpour still occurred. It meant we could do more jobs on the boat but once done, we finally got to relax. We have booked a ferry across to Skiathos on Sunday as high winds and thunderstorms are still forecast but at least we felt we could leave Nimmie safe.