At last the wind had abated so we could leave Loutraki on the Monday morning (June 13). After sorting ourselves out and getting some fresh provisions, we slipped our lines at 0950. First stop on the itinerary was viewing the the Mamma Mia church (aka Agios Ioannis) from the sea.
This meant we ended up going round Skopelos island clockwise into the wind and waves. The church itself looked more dramatic from the land but you never know it might have been spectacular. We knew the wind would be quite light after this as it would be behind us so most of the day was spent motoring although we did manage about 80 minutes worth of sailing!
Our destination was meant to be Ormos Xero on the small island of Peristera (north of Skopelos) but could we get the anchor to hold? Could we hell. After six attempts, we gave up and moved on. We are so glad we did as our final destination was a bay called Agios Petrou on the small island of Kyra Panayia (aka Pelagos). The only people living on it are two monks. There are goats, olive groves and tranquility. Nothing more. A heavenly place. We anchored in turquoise water and we able to watch the stars with no light pollution. The whole area is a marine conservation park and they are very strict (quite rightly) as to what you are allowed to do. The endangered Mediterranean Monk seal lives in this part of the Sporades. We had a much needed swim then a G&T in the hammocks. Wonderful.
The next day, we decided we would spend the day chilling. We had hoped to walk round to the monastery on the eastern side of the island but the wind had got up so we were loathed to leave the boat. The anchor was well dug in but you tend to get very wet in a dinghy and I’m not sure turning up at a monastery looking like drowned rats would have been appropriate! Instead we had a leisurely breakfast and, once the wind had calmed, played on the paddle board. There were only 3 of us in this anchorage on the second night. Just gorgeous.
On Thursday morning we knew we needed to start our way south towards Lavrion but we weren’t quite ready to leave the Sporades. But before we left the island, we sailed round towards Monastery Bay to see whether we could anchor there and visit the monastery. Alas, the wind and swell came directly into the bay so it was untenable as a stop. So, we sailed towards Skyros. It was a fantastic downwind sail of around 40nm. The waves were big at times but Nimmie took them in her stride as always. We arrived in Linaria harbour on Skyros around 1600 and managed to refuel before being guided into our berth. It’s a bit like valet parking as they attach a rope to the front of the boat and guide you back into the berth. It’s very helpful as there are always strong cross winds there so it reduces the drama for everyone. Although a town quay, it has lots of facilities including showers and toilets, washing machine, free wifi, free water (not potable so we haven’t bothered to fill our tanks) and electricity and even a library. Mind you, at €31 a night, which is €25 more than Loutraki on Skopelos, it should be fabulous! We decided to stay a couple of nights so we could explore the island more fully.