Aug 01

Khalkis to Orei

Arriving at Khalkis was a huge step for us: the first half of our journey through the Evia channel achieved, despite adverse weather. Khalkis seemed like one big party; after the bridge opened at midnight (see earlier post) and we got through, we moored up on the north quay, along bars all blaring different loud music. We settled our nerves in one of the bars by the boat with a quite strong cocktail and then slept despite the booming noise, but woke up early by dogs barking. The morning was spent with various necessary tasks: fixing the outboard (again, see future post on the outboard saga), doing laundry (bed linen started to smell peculiarly), shopping and the obligatory internet gaming session for the kids. We did not feel the need to spent another night in Khalkis, so went off late afternoon in search of a quiet bay. We found one just 10 miles up the channel, nearly landlocked, with just a few houses on the shore and a small deserted beach. We loved it and decided to stay 2 nights. Peter needed a haircut and trusted me enough to have a go at it. The scissors were rather blunt and I think he was not entirely without fear for his ears. The results were encouraging though and we dubbed this location haircut bay (the greek name was pretty unpronounceable). The next day we spent lounging, swimming and crocodile/lilo/fender riding behind the boat (see video and Julian’s excellent wee..splash post), very relaxing indeed.

After 2 nights at haircut bay we felt the need though to move on. We left early and were able to sail for an hour in a good force 4-5. Then the wind died down and we motored along when I saw the up-down movement characteristic of the fins of dolphins. Getting nearer we saw that it was indeed a small pod of dolphins, maybe 8 of them, playing around in the water. They were rather curious about the big boat and came quite near. Such an uplifting experience to watch them, maybe for 15 minutes until they moved on. See the short video clip, featuring a real dolphin jump! After that, we covered 40 miles to a little town called Akhladhion where we anchored off just next to a little fishing harbour. The scenery was defiled by the sight of a huge cement factory on the east of the bay, but the town itself was rather pleasant. It turned out that the most important greek dance festival, staged once a year, would take place that evening. Being curious we (Peter, Marc and me, Julian had better things to do) rowed ashore (the outboard not working again) and mingled with the locals. Where all the people came from seemed rather a mystery, there were at least a few hundred in a square by the shore. We could only hear greek and felt a bit like onlookers, strange intruders, guessing what was going on. Interesting though the dancing was pretty abhorrent: interminably long dances of repetitive movements and wailing sort of singing. We managed to sleep (with earplugs), even better after they stopped at 4am. Still, we considered ourselves lucky to have experienced this once a year event.

The next day we only had a small hop to Orei, the end of the channel and the first town we know from last year. We have arrived!! We celebrated by going out for dinner and with half a kilo of rose.

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