We woke up to another beautiful day in Poros and prepared to leave for Hydra. We left through a beautiful channel lined with the typical terraced Greek houses. The harbor lined with boats of all sorts. The scenery here is just so pretty around every corner. We still have to pinch ourselves several times per day that we actually do this and its not just a dream.
We set sail for Hydra in stronger winds. The boat was pretty rocky compared to the 2 sails before. We had 15-16 knots of wind, 6 knots speed downwind. Because it felt pretty rocky I took the wheel and steered us almost the whole way to Hydra. Again I didn’t get seasick and was so grateful and glad that my tummy was coping fine with the motion. I try to stay up on deck, keep my tummy full and hold the wheel, which seems to help as you have to keep your eye on the horizon. Luca felt a bit queezy and had a snooze. We arrived about 3 hours later and caught up with the crew from Pisces 11. The town harbor was really busy, so we decided to anchor around the corner in Mandraki Bay, which was almost empty and really pretty.
It took a little while again to position ourselves for anchoring, but since we had first dips we managed pretty well. Over the next couple of days we witnessed all sorts of carry on with boats trying to anchor for hours on end with several failed attempts and felt pretty chuffed with ourselves that we had managed so well. Watching others also helps to learn as to what to do and what not to do.
There was one small hotel on one side with sun chairs and umbrellas and a little taverna on one side and on the other side another taverna with the sun chair / umbrella arrangements. It seems that tourists from Hydra come here for the day, to swim and sunbathe and enjoy some yummy food. There were a few houses dotted around the hills and the typical pretty dry landscape with shrubs and little trees. We still had some cash from Tim’s workmates back in New Zealand that they had gifted us to spend an evening in a taverna. So off we went to older, more traditional taverna to have our first proper meal out.
We shared plates of little grilled red fish, Squid and a Greek salad made of tomatoes, capers and feta arranged on dry bread with heaps of olive oil, and some meatballs and french fries for the kids. We had a cold beer to share and all the worries from the last few months seemed to still fall away. We are so happy to finally be able to experience the Greek way of living.
We went for a lovely evening walk afterwards looking at all the pretty houses along the small road leading to Hydra town. The gardens are all terraced along the cliffs and the houses all the traditional beautiful stone houses surrounded by Olive, Fig and Cypress trees with Cactus leaning against the stone walls and dry beautiful grasses everywhere.
The next morning we got up relatively early to walk to Hydra town to explore a bit. Hydra is terraced really high on the hill and the typical method of transport are donkeys to get peoples groceries, building materials and orders from the mainland up the narrow paths and stairways to peoples houses. The little harbor was packed with fishing boats and yachts and the waterfront is lined with souvenir shops, cafes and tavernas. Some have their own swimming access to the clear turquoise water, so you can lounge, eat and swim at your leisure, but you certainly pay the price. A smoothie is around 7 Euros in those cafes. After climbing to the top of the town in the scorching heat with Nina nearly in tears, thinking it was absolutely pointless to climb all those stairs without a real purpose we bought ourselves a cold drink in one of the small supermarkets, which was more aligned with our budget. Tim rested on a bench with Lucy, while I took the kids to the local museum. It seems Hydra has a history of war, blowing up ships and supplying skills sailors to warships. The town has forts and cannons all around, which is displaying its history straight away. The museum was filled with swords, guns, warship models, paintings and uniforms from all the sailors and admirals among other historic treasures. We enjoyed looking around and being in the cool air con building. The town had some tourists, but it was not unpleasant. We keep reminding ourselves how lucky we are to see all these places without the usual crowds that would be here in high season.
We bought some more fresh fruit, milk and bread and took a water taxi back to our bay. They are small boats, that drive so fast with no caution to other boaties. It was 20 Euros for the short ride, but we just couldn’t face to walk back in the midday heat loaded with groceries. After a yummy lunch we all had a snorkel and swim and prepared mentally for our departure the next day. The winds looked good for our longest sail so far to Kythnos. Athens to Aegina was 19.5 nm and Hydra to Kythnos will be approx 43 nm.