Greek Sailing Odyssey Day 3: Aegina - Cape Sounio / by Honza Cervenka

Maurizio and I woke up at 8:30.  We wanted to have a look around the town of Agia Marina, but since we were anchored some distance away from the shore (rather than moored right at a pier like we were before), we had to take the inflatable rescue boat to shore.  Maurizio had a small engine for the rescue boat on board, but we went old-school and paddled instead; we did not have that much distance to cover anyway (or at least that's what I thought before I realised we would have to paddle against the waves).  This is what Agia Marina looked from the ship:

blog3 1.jpg
blog3 2.jpg
You may recall that I wrote in my previous post about tons of abandoned construction projects all over Greece--here's just one of many.  It was probably supposed to be a nice seaside resort, but then recession happened and money supply dried out (and so did the grass everywhere around it, but that's unrelated...).

You may recall that I wrote in my previous post about tons of abandoned construction projects all over Greece--here's just one of many.  It was probably supposed to be a nice seaside resort, but then recession happened and money supply dried out (and so did the grass everywhere around it, but that's unrelated...).

Once ashore, we walked around the town for about an hour and did some grocery (and ice cream) shopping as well.  When I was still on the boat, I saw a church on the top of a little hill in the centre of the town (you may in fact see it centre-left in the first picture above); we tried to look for it, but hard as we tried we could not have found it--it must have hid from us (it's also hard to find things on top of a hill when you're at its bottom).  We also tried to find a post office so I could send out a letter, but the only post office on the island was in Aegina town, the main town on the island, and not here.  So a pretty bad day for Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson.  Overall, Agia Marina was rather quiet--we saw a number of restaurants that were waiting for tourists, but there were none despite the fact it was high-season.  They had some nice tables available too:  

blog3 6.jpg
blog3 8.jpg

There is also an apparently marvellous ancient temple on the island a few-hour walk away from Aegina Marina.  We found the path leading up to it, but the temple was too far, so we didn't go.  But then we came upon this beauty--a long-abandoned pub!  Things must have been hoppin' in there at one time, or at least so the party pictures below would suggest.  The photowall reminded me a bit of the Mickey Mouse bar in Duino.  

blog3 5.jpg
blog3 4.jpg
blog3 3.jpg

Once we returned to Oxalis we had a quick swim in the sea.  A big ferry arrived in town, but only a few tourists came out--ferries would be in regular attendance throughout the rest of the trip, we had some scary encounters with them too...  

At about 11am, once we dried off (which took about 5 minutes in the heat), we set sail for Cape Sounio.  Since we were at anchor in the bay and had tons of space around us, we didn't have to use the engines to get out and manoeuvred just with sails.

The wind was steady for the most part, but changed directions quite a few times during the journey.  At about 3pm we hit a strong wind coming against us, but still managed to get quite a good speed from it. Normally, going against the wind can be a huge pain--and I will cover that in one of my future posts--but we actually lucked out this time: Although against us, the wind was steady in its strength and direction, and the sea was calm.  When this happens, one can simply fix the steering wheel (and thus the rudder) in exactly the right direction (that's the tricky part), and then the ship will keep its course and speed, as if it was on an autopilot.  Maurizio, our Commander of the Seas, managed that quite easily, so we just spent a good number of hours kicking back and relaxing.  We reached our destination at 7:30pm and anchored in the bay of Sounion, just under the famous Poseidon Temple.  

A nice villa that we saw during the journey--not too shabby!

A nice villa that we saw during the journey--not too shabby!

View of the temple as we approached the bay.

View of the temple as we approached the bay.

The temple was dedicated to Poseidon, the God of the seas.  Since Ancient Greece was a major naval power, Poseidon was considered second only to Zeus in the hierarchy of Greek gods.  This temple was one of many where sailors as well as entire cities of states could propitiate him to gain his favour.  It was build in 440-440 BC in hexastyle (i.e. with a front portico of 6 columns).  The temple is now partially in ruins--out of the original 42 columns only 15 stand--but it is still very majestic, particularly when approached from the sea.  What a sight it must have been to sailors throughout the millenia!

We were lucky enough to still find it open when we walked up the hill.  Maurizio did not want to pay the entrance fee, so I went in alone.  The temple was full of tourists, but still spectacular, particularly in the sunset.  

blog3 11.jpg
blog3 12.jpg
blog3 14.jpg
An estimation of what the temple area looked like back in the day

An estimation of what the temple area looked like back in the day

On the way back to the ship we noticed there once also were ruins of a much smaller temple dedicated to Athena nearby, but without any surviving columns--nothing spectacular there.  As we rowed back to Oxalis, we found a sailboat anchored nearby that flew a Czech flag--what a sight in Greece (NB the Czech Republic is a land-locked country)!  The crew turned out to be a family from Prague who borrowed the boat from a friend.  They decided to stay put in the bay for about a week and enjoy the sea--a strange decision given the remote location, but maybe that's what they were after.  It wasn't for us though--we were off to another adventure in the morning.

 

Trip Summary: Anchored at 7:30pm in Sounion. Traveled 57.6 km/31.1 nm in 8 hours and 41 minutes.  See map for the route sailed.

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF