Vathi is a small fishing harbour on the northwest side of the Methana Peninula. The peninsula is 25 miles SW of Athens, jutting out from the coast of the Peloponnese and connected by only a very small isthmus at Taktikoupolis (try saying that with a mouthful of olives). It was originally volcanic, as many places in the Aegean were, with the volcano crater in the northwest of the island near Kaimeni (which translates into the “burnt village” … I wonder why).You enter the small harbour between submerged rocks extending towards you, on either side of a very narrow channel – you would definitely think twice about entering if the Meltemi was blowing. None the less Vathi was an instant success. You are welcomed into the cutest of harbours, with its fleet of small fishing boats lining the north side ready to provide their fresh catch direct to the tavernas. There is room for about 15 yachts on the southern quay, electricity and water is available, there are three delightful quayside tavernas, all of this is surrounded by steep protective pine covered hills with only a few red tiled houses for the resident families AND A PLACE TO SWIM a few metres from the boat, we were in heaven. It reminded us so much of a Sivota in the Ionian, which is one of our favourite places in the Med, just a much smaller version.This is getting a little bit like a stuck record … but the temperature is now a cloudless, windless, very hot 38 deg C. Everything is done extremely slowly, any quick movement requires a change of clothes as the perspiration pours off – bit like being in a 24 hour sauna, fortunately the swimming opportunity is only 20 metres away and we do take frequent advantage of that. Even Hudson gets a daily dip and not surprisingly there are no complaints, he appreciated the opportunity to cooool down.
We planned to go to Jimmy’s Fish Restaurant for our first evening meal out, but on climbing the steps we were greeted by the largest herd of cats we have seen, they definitely owned the place and Hudson was going to be an unwelcome intruder, which was a shame as the fresh tuna steaks looked really good. Plan 2 was our local called “Taverna to Vathi” (Must have spent ages thinking that name up), five metres from the back door, which was a pleasant place for a beer, particularly as we sat right under the biggest of fans, but unfortunately the food was decidedly “average”, we won’t be back for food.The next day (Wednesday 29th) started with a walk for Hudson to the next bay which is home to several guest houses and apartments next to the “beach” and is what would be describe as a “budget” holiday destination. As you can see from the photos, it is has a highly questionable “beach”, but a stunning view over the Peloponnese mountain range.The afternoon alternated between chilling out and swimming and Hudson takes his second uncomplaining dip, he is a bit reluctant at first, but as soon as he is clamped securely in Mark’s arms, he relaxes and checks out his surroundings … for food no doubt – what else would go through Hudson’s brain??
Mark had requested his favourite Greek pork dish with roasted vegetables and feta for tonight (obviously with a Debera twist) and like the locals I did all the preparations and pre-cooking in the morning. By 14:00 the sun is at its strongest and it does not cool down till at least 20:00, too hot to stand in front of an oven in the confines of the boat. In fact, after eating on deck at 20:00, we still had to wait a few hours for the oven and the main cabin to cool to a reasonable temperature, before we could go below decks. Sorry Mark, but I think the oven door is now firmly closed until the outside temperature starts to cool in September.
Friday started with a 7:30 am run along the mostly flat road to the next village, only one small hill separating the two bays, by the time we get back it is starting to heat up and Mark and I have lost several pints of fluid – I think the runs will have to be even earlier. On Friday, the temperature climbed to new highs, achieving 40 deg C, with NO WIND till the evening and when it did come from the west, it felt like it had come straight from a furnace. The rest of the day and Saturday alternated between swimming every hour or so and melting.You know how we said we wouldn’t eat in the Taverna to Vathi again, well on Saturday we were there having a beer and playing cards when our neighbours ordered some calamari which looked good, so Mark, without thinking ordered some as well. That was probably the tastiest calamari we have ever had, so we ordered a second plate together with a Greek salad … I know they have other uninvited house guests and there was another one scurrying around the floor, trying to climb as high as it could up one of the pillars, but this is Greece, and its just not the same as in the UK, so you just have to accept it !!!!!The Taverna to Vathi is a typical family run restaurant, with brothers, sisters, uncles and aunts all doing there bit. One of the key tasks of all the family is to assist any visiting boats to moor and encourage them into their restaurant to dine, they are also very active in providing fresh seafood for the diners. As well as owning a fishing boat, one of the sons went out in their dinghy to collect sea urchins to be served up 100% fresh to one of the flotilla captains. Another in his wetsuit and clutching a harpoon gun, waited for an hour at the harbour entrance for an unsuspecting octopus to come into his crosshairs. Very enterprising.
Sunday morning we move on to our final island for the first half of this seasons sailing, the Island of Aegina where Hapatoni will be lifted, have her bum cleaned and await our return in September. We have also copped out, the temperatures have got so high that we have booked an air-conditioned hotel in Egina Town for the last three days before we fly home on Thursday … can’t wait to get a good nights sleep.