Sailing the Gulfs of Hydra and Argolikos in Greece

It is difficult to generalise about weather patterns within the area. In the summer months the north usually sees the Meltemi from the NNE – NE. But unlike the rest of the Aegean it is by no means guaranteed and if it does not blow winds are usually light and from the south. The prevailing hydra tor wind in the south of the area is from the SE and it will blow from midday before calming in the evening. It usually does not exceed force 5. There are limited problems with gusts from high land. Astrous on the Peloponnisos is renowned for a katabatic wind at night. It gets up quickly from calm conditions and can blow a force 7 for up to 6 hours.

Nisidhes Tselevinia, the islands of Spathi and Skilli lie of Cape Skillaion. There is a secluded anchorage at the SW tip of Spathi. Nisis Soupia lies 1.5 miles W of Spathi. Yachts can anchor where convenient, the bottom is covered in thick weed and holding is not good in places.

Ermioni is on the Peloponnisos. When approaching take care of the remains of the ancient mole on the northern side of the headland. Yachts can go bow or stern to on the inside of the outer mole. Alternatively anchor in the bay to the north. The bottom is mud and weed with some rocks with poor holding in places. There is a quayed area on the southern side of the peninsula that can be used with offshore winds. Water is available on the quay and there is fuel in the village. Most provisions can be obtained and there are plenty of tavernas. Ermioni remains comparatively undeveloped. Ormos Kapari is the large bay to the south of Ermioni. Yachts can anchor in the SW corner where there is shelter from the prevailing winds. The bottom is sand and weed with good shelter.

Hydra or Idhra is the long, narrow island lying parallel to the Peloponnisos coast. There is not much written about the island until around the 15th century. Around 1460 Albanian refugees who were later joined by settlers from Crete, Evia and Kythnos settled Hydra. Then in the 18th century Hydra welcomed a large number of refugees from the Peloponnisos during the war between Russia and Turkey. In 1792 the town was almost completely abandoned when the plague killed much of the population. But by the end of the 18th century Hydra had become quite prosperous because of its commercial fleet that was trading as far as France, Spain and even the Americas. When the war of independence broke out Hydra was in a position to contribute some 150 ships and supplies to fight against the Turks. However when Greece did finally achieve independence in 1821 Hydra was economically isolated and did not receive its fair share of assistance from the new state and a period of hardship and unemployment set in causing many of the inhabitants to abandon it leaving behind large mansions and beautiful residences that fell into ruin. Yachts can go bow or stern to the town quay or on the northern mole. The bottom is mud and weed and poor holding in places. Strong winds from the N – NW produce a dangerous surge in the harbour and the north mole is the only safe place. There is water on the quay. The town will provide most provisions. As far as eating out goes the waterfront tavernas are over priced and you will find much better value in the town.

Mandraki is a bay about 0.75 miles east of Hydra. Yachts can anchor were convenient. The bottom is sand, mud and weed with good holding. There are tavernas ashore. Other anchorages on Hydra include Vlikhos, Ormos Molos, Petassi, Bisti and Ay Nikolaos.

Spetsai lies at the mouth of the Gulf of Argolikos. Pine trees cover much of the island. Like Hydra, Spetsai played an important role during the Greek Revolution of 1821 committing her fleet which was commanded by the heroine Laskarina Bouboulina Spetsai has the same policy with cars as Hydra: they are not permitted on the island and transportation is, like in Hydra, effectuated by horse-drawn carriage, donkey or taxi-boat. Yachts can anchor in the bay with a line to the shore or go bows to in the inner harbour if there is room. In the outer harbour the bottom is sand and weed and poor holding in places. Shelter in the inner harbour is excellent but winds from the NW push swell into the outer harbour making it uncomfortable. There is water and fuel on the quay. There is good shopping with a supermarket close to the harbour. There are good tavernas around the harbour and in the town. Look out for Spetsai’s specialty, “Fish a la Spetsiota” cooked in the oven with a lot of tomato and green peppers and covered in cheese. The town and harbour are attractive with many houses and mansions dating back some 200 years.

Ormos Zoyioryia is a large bay in the NW of Spetsai. Yachts can anchor in the bay in depths of 5 – 8m. There is a small cove on the western side of the bay that offers shelter from all but winds from the NE – E. This is an attractive anchorage, clear water surrounded by wooded slopes and there is a single taverna ashore.

Port Kheli is on the Peloponnisos. Yachts can go bow or stern to the quay or anchor off. The bottom is mud and excellent holding. Shelter is also excellent.
Drinking water and fuel are delivered by tanker. Most provisions can be obtained in the village. There are good tavernas in the village and on the waterfront. The bay is home to many water sports and in the summer has a busy feel to it. There are also anchorages on either side of the entrance channel.

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