Predicted relief from the gale force winds excited the crew into action to depart from our delightful and adventure packed wind bound prison in Karistos. Keeping the continually gusting winds on the beam allowed us to navigate the headland at 5.5 kts just with the small jib. The crew were elated to be underway and especially by sail. We made it around the corner to Marmari, a small ferry town that connected the island to Athens. We had encumbered some breakages during the journey that required Travis and Luigi to go up the mast. Two days more of gusts proved a challenge at anchor in the small harbour with us dragging several times. Thank goodness for anchor alarms. With the repairs almost complete we were ready to be on the way again.
Calm seas and no winds required us to resort to the iron wind for a few days of motoring. We headed north with great views of the island on our right and the mainland on the left. We made it to the port of Khalkis where we needed to wait until 10pm for a low bridge to open. We rafted up with others in waiting. Luigi and Italo paid the necessary fees and then we wandered around the town for a small time. It was quite exciting when we got the call that the bridge was opening. We were one of the last to get through. The crowd had lined the riverside to observe the convoy of boats going through. It was rather like a parade. We tucked into a dock and prepared the boat for the evening. Bars and music surrounded us but after a late evening our bunks were sweet relief. The next morning gave fresh opportunities to explore this port town. There was a fort on the west bank that was calling us. Travis and Gaylyn hiked up through meandering streets in the heat of the day. They were met with an open door and a small museum containing artifacts of the Ottoman and Roman eras of the town. Interesting tombstones from the grounds of Islamic burial grounds had been collected from near by mosques. Interesting inscriptions identified the personalities of the people who had lived there 400 or so years before. The museum was housed in the old stone army barrack within the walls of the fort. It was circular and contained a water tank in the centre. It was much cooler than outside but the enthusiastic curator was sweating profusely.
After a night of meeting the interesting inhabitants of Khalkis and restocking, we headed off into the wilderness. We anchored in a small peaceful bay that was littered with campsites along the embankment. It was reminiscent of childhood camping trips. A peaceful windless night was had by all.
More peaceful nights were to be had in Osmos Vathykelou on a mooring some 20 nm away. Relaxing under the shade of the cockpit tent and cooling off in the clear water left us only to contemplate our next meal. We were well away from the small town and were surrounded by fishing boats and other yachts, mostly uninhabited. Although the nearby hills were seeking hikers, we abstained from the temptation to go ashore and remained on board. We are heading towards the next town now – Osmos Vathykelou where we look forward to restocking supplies. Mother Hubbard would be in sympathy of our current food situation. Beautiful summer fruits have been a joy and we look forward to fresh apricots, peaches and melons once again gracing our table.
There needs to be a mention of the diving escapades of Italo over the last week or so. Not only did he move the anchor over the rich Italian boat’s anchor chain next to us in Krystos but then he free dived to retrieved Gaylyn’s knickers that had blown from the lifelines, took Renato’s fishing line from the propeller, Sylvana’s pajama pants from 8 metres off the bottom of the bay and a dropped shackle in the port once we arrived at Volous. Each on separate occasions. Three cheers for Italo!!!!!