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Old 06-12-2011, 02:37   #1
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Saronic Islands - Experience ?

Has anyone got any experience sailing around the Saronic islands in Greece during August?

Is there much wind around August and has anyone got a recommended itinerary for 10 days leaving from Athens?
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Old 07-12-2011, 01:32   #2
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Re: Saronic Islands - Experience ?

The nearest harbour from Athens Airport (30 minutes by bus) is Lavrion, which is even closer from the airport than Piräus.

August is normally the high Meltemi season.
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Old 07-12-2011, 02:01   #3
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Re: Saronic Islands - Experience ?

You can expect 20+ knots of wind most days in August or no wind at all- This North wind will likely be on your nose, unless you sail downwind to the south-I would sail South stopping in Sunio for a few hours to explore the wonderful ruins then sail south East to Kythnos soak in the hot spring that pours into the beach- then south from there just follow the islands ,to ?? hug the Peloponnese coast on the way back up to hopefully avoid some of the wind on your nose if its bad- good luck
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Old 07-12-2011, 03:06   #4
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Re: Saronic Islands - Experience ?

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You can expect 20+ knots of wind most days in August or no wind at all- This North wind will likely be on your nose, unless you sail downwind to the south-I would sail South stopping in Sunio for a few hours to explore the wonderful ruins then sail south East to Kythnos soak in the hot spring that pours into the beach- then south from there just follow the islands ,to ?? hug the Peloponnese coast on the way back up to hopefully avoid some of the wind on your nose if its bad- good luck
If I'm not mistaken in my Geography, both Sunium, Kythnos and islands further South are part of the Cyclades Islands, whereas we're wanting to stay within the Saronic's (map). The reason for keeping away from the Cyclades in August is that a majority of our crew has never stepped foot aboard a yacht and any hard beats in a strong Northerly may become a tad too uncomfortable for them. Personally, I love a good beat .

Would you happen to have any ideas about what to see and sail to in the Saronics?
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Old 07-12-2011, 03:30   #5
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pirate Re: Saronic Islands - Experience ?

Personally I'd go round the corner to Evia and Marmaris, Khalkis, and up to Platania on the mainland... then across to Skiathos and Skopelos... being in the lee of the big island is nice... then a run downwind back towards base...
Nice and uncrowded... very few cruise that way...
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Old 07-12-2011, 03:55   #6
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pirate Re: Saronic Islands - Experience ?

Platania.... Khalis (N of Bridge), Marmaris.... no charges anywhere except for passing through the opening bridge at Khalis...
Fantastic places... some so out of the modern world that a lady would NOT accept a Portuguese euro as payment for an ice cream... if it was not greek it was not legal..
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Old 07-12-2011, 04:03   #7
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Re: Saronic Islands - Experience ?

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Platania.... Khalis (N of Bridge), Marmaris.... no charges anywhere except for passing through the opening bridge at Khalis...
Fantastic places... some so out of the modern world that a lady would NOT accept a Portuguese euro as payment for an ice cream... if it was not greek it was not legal..
Thanks for the idea and photos . Why do you recommend this region of Greece over the Saronics? Have you been to both out of interest?
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Old 07-12-2011, 04:47   #8
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pirate Re: Saronic Islands - Experience ?

Came through the Corinth Canal last year... thought the whole area around Athens and the Saronic Bay very grubby and commercial... lotsa shipping etc...
but once round the corner a different tale...
Guess its down to what you want... busy or off the beaten track... and the pic's do not do justice... do a Google Earth along that route... there's a bit of crap a little before Khalis but passed in a couple of hours... the rest is great...
Oh... word of warning.... Cash machines/banks are few and far between... at Platania for example I had to travel 30km to the nearest one... Marmaris had one which worked on and off depending on electricity supply....lol
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Old 07-12-2011, 06:19   #9
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Re: Saronic Islands - Experience ?

Yes. We chartered in the Saronics nine years ago and liked it so much made sure we revisited on our own boat in 2006.

One itinery would be to plan a lazy figure 8 route which could cover some interesting spots and leave you never too far from a protected berth. Picking the interesting, or pumpy, or deserted bays all dependent on your moods.

If from Athens I'll recommned a few specific locations and none of these are far apart. Half day sails - or even less.

I'd go from Athens to Agina - Unlikly you'll find space in the tight marina as its usually full of small Greek craft. Go into the busy open harbour where you can drop anchor and go back stern to the harbour wall with plenty of restaurant trade right off your transom. You'll be a sigtseeing item for landlubbers but you'll be in good company. Might be a little more expensive to provision there than Athens, but a lot more fun.

From Agina head over to Vathy - An easy day sail heading west south west to find Vathy tucked back into the western shore of the opposing penisular. Vathy is a very small harbour cut into the rocks with just a few restuarants and a very Greek Island feel (even tho actually on the mainland). Last time we went and ordered chicken , there was a very loud quark a few minutes later and whilst it took a while to arrive, it tasted very fresh! We've even anchored there in the harbour if its been too hot or too crowded to park up on the wall.

Head north west for Epidavros on the Peloponese mainland. Of course bigger busier but was always possible to anchor if you want to be away from transom located harbour bars and clubs. I recall they also had buoys you could grab but things do change over 5 years.......

And as you glide (hopefully) beteeen these spots, check out the smaller and some uninhabited islands between all the above that you can stop to swim and enjoy lunch and if the forecast is 100% solidly calm, maybe even stay over at anchor. We found Posiedon Westher on the web to be good.

From Epidavros head south east back down below Agina and enter into Poros by its western entry. In Poros (which is a buzzy tourist trap but nice with it) there are anchorage spots and a pontoon marina style berthing off to your port side. But IMHO despite the warnings of ferry surge, we've always found it much more fun to be part of the action in the main channel bethed stern to........just cruise around and see what appeals to you on the day.

When you've had enough then maybe exit Poros by the eastern channel and head south east around the headland you'll see below you. Do not try to go between the islands....

Once round and heading back west, you'll find a small bay tucked back into the cliffs maybe one or two miles on. It is itself protected by rocky islets, but lovely with grotto blue water. We've been in there alone for several days, but guessing others might join you it may be best to anchor your bow and tie off your stern to maintain a position.

Next day you could head a few hours south west to enter Hydra. The Greek version of St Tropez. Classy but busy beautiful harbour with lots to see and do. Getting in early or late will not stop you having a tangle of anchor chains, its par for the course there. Just take it all slow and make the experience part of your holiday. You'll be sure to make some new friends.

A further short sail due west to the next island could see you anchored off in the big bay on the top of Dokos. Tucked into its eastern shore we find it is an ideal BBQ spot and the bays got enough space to counter-balance the Hydra experience.........

From there it is a short sail westward into Ermioni. If any breeze is up the go into the marina, but typically you'll find an anchoring spot on your port side just as you enter the bay. We've spent days lazing there. Keep close to shore, as the hydrofoil ferries come in on that line. Unnerving the first time they roar past. Ashore, a short taxi trip ashore will take you to a relatively recently found amphitheatre close by. IMHO well worth the trouble.

Leaving Ermioni head south west twix Docos and the mainland for the headland at Ag Emilanos. Keep an eye to the west for if squalls do come through when you're in the Docos channel, as it can be a real wind funnel.

Around the Ag Emilanos headland you'll find lots of south facing sandy sheltered bays on your stb side where we've often anchored safely and again, BBQ'd on shore. Especially those above Spetses which gives you protection from the rarely seen southerlies.

So dependent on your pace so far and what time you've got left, you could either head on into the Argolic Gulf and circle that before heading back north east.

Going back you might want to go back into Poros through the eastern entrance and exit it west to then head north, north west and back to Athens - stopping back into the places you liked the most.

So hope these places work for you - they certainly worked for us.

Sail safe and enjoy
JOHN
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Old 07-12-2011, 08:20   #10
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Re: Saronic Islands - Experience ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by swagman View Post
Yes. We chartered in the Saronics nine years ago and liked it so much made sure we revisited on our own boat in 2006.

One itinery would be to plan a lazy figure 8 route which could cover some interesting spots and leave you never too far from a protected berth. Picking the interesting, or pumpy, or deserted bays all dependent on your moods.

If from Athens I'll recommned a few specific locations and none of these are far apart. Half day sails - or even less.

I'd go from Athens to Agina - Unlikly you'll find space in the tight marina as its usually full of small Greek craft. Go into the busy open harbour where you can drop anchor and go back stern to the harbour wall with plenty of restaurant trade right off your transom. You'll be a sigtseeing item for landlubbers but you'll be in good company. Might be a little more expensive to provision there than Athens, but a lot more fun.

From Agina head over to Vathy - An easy day sail heading west south west to find Vathy tucked back into the western shore of the opposing penisular. Vathy is a very small harbour cut into the rocks with just a few restuarants and a very Greek Island feel (even tho actually on the mainland). Last time we went and ordered chicken , there was a very loud quark a few minutes later and whilst it took a while to arrive, it tasted very fresh! We've even anchored there in the harbour if its been too hot or too crowded to park up on the wall.

Head north west for Epidavros on the Peloponese mainland. Of course bigger busier but was always possible to anchor if you want to be away from transom located harbour bars and clubs. I recall they also had buoys you could grab but things do change over 5 years.......

And as you glide (hopefully) beteeen these spots, check out the smaller and some uninhabited islands between all the above that you can stop to swim and enjoy lunch and if the forecast is 100% solidly calm, maybe even stay over at anchor. We found Posiedon Westher on the web to be good.

From Epidavros head south east back down below Agina and enter into Poros by its western entry. In Poros (which is a buzzy tourist trap but nice with it) there are anchorage spots and a pontoon marina style berthing off to your port side. But IMHO despite the warnings of ferry surge, we've always found it much more fun to be part of the action in the main channel bethed stern to........just cruise around and see what appeals to you on the day.

When you've had enough then maybe exit Poros by the eastern channel and head south east around the headland you'll see below you. Do not try to go between the islands....

Once round and heading back west, you'll find a small bay tucked back into the cliffs maybe one or two miles on. It is itself protected by rocky islets, but lovely with grotto blue water. We've been in there alone for several days, but guessing others might join you it may be best to anchor your bow and tie off your stern to maintain a position.

Next day you could head a few hours south west to enter Hydra. The Greek version of St Tropez. Classy but busy beautiful harbour with lots to see and do. Getting in early or late will not stop you having a tangle of anchor chains, its par for the course there. Just take it all slow and make the experience part of your holiday. You'll be sure to make some new friends.

A further short sail due west to the next island could see you anchored off in the big bay on the top of Dokos. Tucked into its eastern shore we find it is an ideal BBQ spot and the bays got enough space to counter-balance the Hydra experience.........

From there it is a short sail westward into Ermioni. If any breeze is up the go into the marina, but typically you'll find an anchoring spot on your port side just as you enter the bay. We've spent days lazing there. Keep close to shore, as the hydrofoil ferries come in on that line. Unnerving the first time they roar past. Ashore, a short taxi trip ashore will take you to a relatively recently found amphitheatre close by. IMHO well worth the trouble.

Leaving Ermioni head south west twix Docos and the mainland for the headland at Ag Emilanos. Keep an eye to the west for if squalls do come through when you're in the Docos channel, as it can be a real wind funnel.

Around the Ag Emilanos headland you'll find lots of south facing sandy sheltered bays on your stb side where we've often anchored safely and again, BBQ'd on shore. Especially those above Spetses which gives you protection from the rarely seen southerlies.

So dependent on your pace so far and what time you've got left, you could either head on into the Argolic Gulf and circle that before heading back north east.

Going back you might want to go back into Poros through the eastern entrance and exit it west to then head north, north west and back to Athens - stopping back into the places you liked the most.

So hope these places work for you - they certainly worked for us.

Sail safe and enjoy
JOHN
+1

Beautiful area to cruise, if a little busy in August
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Old 07-12-2011, 08:44   #11
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Re: Saronic Islands - Experience ?

i always think April/May is the best time to sail in the saronic Islands
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Old 08-12-2011, 13:23   #12
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Re: Saronic Islands - Experience ?

You have the answer to your question. I agree with NornaBiron AND with beneteau-500. Just to say a little more : 10 days is a quite long period to visit what is, in fact, a little area .But the main problem you will face is the crowd everywhere at that period, so with 10 days you will have time for waiting for a berth in Aegina, for example... (Even last May - it was a saturday - we did not find one and sailed a little more till Poros)...
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Old 17-12-2011, 06:20   #13
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Re: Saronic Islands - Experience ?

You're probably wise, in view of your crew's experience, to stay in the Gulf rather than venturing across to the Cyclades. The Cyclades is not a good place to get caught in a meltemi with an inexperienced crew and it's a very nasty beat back to Athens/Lavrion if you are. The Gulf islands of Aegina, Poros, Hydra (and don't forget Angistri near Aegina, which is often much quieter than Aegina itself) plus the harbours of the southern coast are easily enough to fill 10 days' cruising. If you're a bit more confident in your crew's abilities, you could sail down to Kea and Kythnos before crossing back to Hydra or Poros. The meltemi doesn't blow quite as strongly in that stretch of water and you're usually on a reach anyway if you're coming back when it's blowing. From Poros you can do easy day sails along the coast and up to Angistri and Aegina before heading back to Athens or Lavrion. You can find details on all these harbours on the World Cruising Wiki (see link above).
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Old 26-12-2011, 10:23   #14
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Re: Saronic Islands - Experience ?

Swagmans suggested route is perfect. You may have time to pop into Spetes or go over to Leonidion (Plake) which is peaceful, with a nice harbour and beach.
Hydra is definitely worth visiting, but if you don`t fancy the anchor tangle leave the boat in Ermioni (nice) and do it as a day trip by dolphin.
You will find lovely little places, and the argo saronic is tucked away from the full force of the meltemi.
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Old 08-02-2012, 16:57   #15
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Re: Saronic Islands - Experience ?

Hi,

This is my 1st post but I thought I had to chip in my 2 cents as I spent last season as a flotilla skipper in the Saronic & Argolic gulfs.

The first thing I'd like to say is that, for my money, they're some of the best cruising grounds in Greece, therefore the world (and I've been about the Aehean and Ionian a bit). I think you're right to be cautios of crossing to the Cyclades in Meltemi time with an inexperienced crew as you can find some pretty long hops between shelter. Having said that, the Saronic is at it's craziest in August too so I'll reccomend a few extras for Swagman's excellent suggested itinerary.

Angistri, as mentioned, is an excellent, quieter, alternative to Aigina.

There's a sunken village in the 1st bay South of Epidavros that makes a fun lunch stop.

If you're going through the Poros straights twice (almost unavoidable) Russian Bay makes a great alternative to Poros town - Crystal sheltered waters and nothing but a ruin and a souvlaki van with the worlds most flamboyant grill chef. You have to swim a line ashore but you'll want to jump in!

There's always room for one more in Hydra, even if the privateers try to convince you otherwise. It can get three or four boats deep so if you can't get against the wall, bow to bow is safest from swell.

Kinitsa, between Spetses and Porto Heli, is a great anchorage with one taverna.

There is a world of difference between the Saronic and Argolic - If you have time to get around the corner, I'd reccomend that you do. It's got sea breezes, less boats, and few Athenean tourists. Plaka (Leonidio) and Tiros are the closest ports and both lovely.

As well as Posiedon, I'd reccommend HNMS, Meteo and Wind Guru for weather. And make sure you've got a copy of something relevent by Rod "the God" Heikell. It might also be a good idea to call the local managers of flotilla companies to avoid them or know where you can find a friendly skipper/engineer (we'll do almost anything for the right amount of beer)!

Hope that helps,
C xx
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