Tied up in Aegina Harbour, ‘my bête noir’ or should I say ‘το μαύρο μου θηρίο’? We were in position to meet Nick and Lachie. Little did we know of the total travel chaos that had engulfed the UK.
Their Whizz Air flight was delayed FIVE hours. As this registered we realised that they would be hard pushed to catch the last ferry to the island. Clickety click while the brain cells activated – supper out or set sail? – a miniscule pause and then it was all four hands on deck as we prepared to leave and race their flight to Athens! I have still not overcome the fear that leaving Aegina brings and it happened again. Another boat had laid his anchor chain over ours and we had to disentangle it. Meanwhile the usual enthusiastic afternoon breeze had whipped up, threatening looking men appeared at the bows of their boats – in my mind waiting for a mistake to be made and their anchors to be threatened. I don’t like this stress.
Once free of all the hazards we set off at a brisk pace sailing a lot of the way while watching on ‘Flight Radar’ as our paths converged. Modern communications being what it is I could ‘track my son’ on their taxi journey from the airport to Zea Marina. If we were to make the most of these few days we had to set off straightaway so there was not much time for ‘ the briefing’ only life jackets being considered essential at this stage, everything else on a need to know basis.
So they were launched into a 20 nm night passage to make sure they would wake up at anchor. It was exciting to leave, weaving through the tankers at anchor off Piraeus, watch the setting sun and becoming aware of small islands we should avoid en route. It soon became apparent that we had a nascent navigator on board. When not asking ‘how much longer’ and having found a screen that was second nature to him, he was issuing instructions. From down below came a small voice ‘I’ve added some way points! Turn right a little bit grandpa then sharp left!’ Lachie also reset the navigation lights from ‘under power’ to ‘under sail’ after that it all got a bit boring!
We had an early morning swim after gaping at the most elaborate motor yacht which you can rent for €1,000,000 per week or, on further investigation, we found her sister ship was for sale at a cool €89,000,000.
We lifted the anchor and set sail for Epidavros.
When we got to Epidavros we anchored and tied back to the shore where we had been just a week earlier. There was a threat of thunderstorms so we stayed with the boat while Nick and Lachie went off in the kayak to suss out the area. They returned having had the obligatory ice cream and had arranged a diving expedition for the next day. We barbequed that night, first night out for the barbeque in three years and thinking about it Nick and Lachie are our first guests since the plague hit!
The days were simple, mucking around in boat, dinghy and kayak, snorkelling, swimming, playing in the water, attempts at fishing……..
Nick and I walked to the little amphitheatre, Lachie showed zero interest although his knowledge of the Greek God hierarchy amazed us all. He and grandpa locked horns over maths homework!
All too soon it was time for the return to Zea Marina and Piraeus.
Once in the marina we enjoyed street food and cocktails.
The day of their departure we walked around to the trireme which had been brought here for a Festival of the Sea. We were not allowed on, it was guarded by a sailor but he handed us leaflets with facts about the vessel. Before Covid you could pay to take to the oars and experience what it would have been like as an honoured Athenian to carry the battle to the Persians (Battle of Salamis 480 BC)
All too soon they were gone. It’s very quiet. It’s hot, 33′, so actually I look forward to the cooler Burntisland summer. We are preparing to leave the boat. We are sad but it is not a complete shut down as we will be returning at the end of September. I have left my flowers by the rubbish bins and hope they will find a home.
So irritating now, to have to count our days in Europe and be limited to how much we can travel. I feel like an unfairly trapped bird.