We’d been put off from visiting Spartochori by stories of how busy it got there, but when we finally decided to go it was anything but. We arrived about midday and chose to go to the quay at the southern end (by Taverna Spilia), rather than the one off to the right (Port Spilia). A few boats were leaving so we hung around in the bay waiting for the quay to clear. An old guy from the taverna came out to help with lines and to direct operations; we went in bow first as it shallowed near the quay wall and well, we didn’t want to go in backwards anyway! Lazy lines and no wind made the job of mooring up easy. There is an implication that being on this bit of quay and having been given assistance with lines we would eat at the taverna, which was fine as we wanted to eat out anyway. Over to the side of us was a quay with a ‘Free Port’ sign on it; I guess you can go there without having any obligations to do anything.
Along with our friends on Wandering Dragon there were only two other boats in, we’d done good by visiting on a Tuesday and avoiding the flotillas. That evening another 3 boats came in and a couple on the free quay. Three boats also came in and anchored off the beach, outside the swimming buoys, it is deep water there though.
Up on the rocky bluff overlooking the port is the town of Spartochori. Its a steep walk up, especially in 30-odd degrees temperatures and there’s a choice of winding road or steps. The walk is worth it for the village is lovely; narrow, cobbled alleys winding between the stone houses with their grapevine shades and vegetable gardens. The couple of supermarkets are closed in the afternoon (open again at 5) and as we were too early we just had to have a beer instead. The Tropicana taverna had steps up to an open bar area with views right out across the bay. Below the taverna was a souvenir shop; we’d walked past several times and said our kalisperas to the shop owner sitting outside. As we came down from the bar he said thankyou for drinking there, it was his bar. I fancied a hat (can’t have too many hats in my opinion and they were only €5), then we had a look inside and found some new painted bowls to replace our chipped and cracked bowls we bought in Seville 10 years ago. Whilst we were browsing the shop owner offered the boys a can of cold beer. Awww!
The water is clear for swimming behind the boats or there is a beach just the other side of the taverna. Having had a beer and a swim I then decided I fancied a run! I haven’t run in ages because of the heat but 6pm on a day when it had reached 34C during the afternoon and after a beer seemed a perfect time to start again. I suspect it was the beer influence. However, I really enjoyed it; it was only a slow 2 miler but I didn’t feel overheated until I got back inside the boat. Perhaps I should have had another swim to get my body temperature back down as a cold shower didn’t do much good. For some time afterwards I had uncontrollable rivers of sweat pouring off me. Nice!
We ate at the taverna that night; I had a huge pile of crispy, grilled belly pork, Colin a chicken souvlaki, Stephen and Anne the stuffed chicken breast. Along with a few starters and a carafe of house white we were very happy with the meal.
The taverna guys are friendly but the old guy who comes to help with lines hasn’t the best people skills and his cryptic ‘we’ll see’ when we asked to stay another night was not the most helpful information. Anyway, it turned out a flotilla was coming in and that night there were 17 boats on the quay and another 6 on the free port side. Still room for a few more boats too and we didn’t feel crammed in. Across the bay, Porto Spilia was pretty empty that night. We ate in the taverna again, moussaka for me, belly pork for Colin. As it was still early we wandered slowly up the hill to see the sunset from town and ended up in the Summer Sun bar with fantastic panoramic sunset views.
The next morning when Colin went to fetch the bread we had ordered from the taverna we were given a bottle of the house wine to say thank you for visiting. Awwww again!
Whilst we were there the weather was fairly benign. On the day we arrived the wind picked up in the late afternoon from the north setting up a slight swell onto the quay but it didn’t last long as the wind clocked round to the east. On Wednesday the whole day was wind free, not even a breath of it to help cool us down. The bar next to the taverna had set up a couple of string hammocks out in the sea, unfortunately every time we were swimming they were taken. I’m now trying to work out how I could dangle our hammock off the side of the boat to keep me cool.
After rat-gate and between Spartochori we had a few days chilling and catching up on lost sleep in Bungalow Bay. We anchored in our favourite corner, only a few meters from where we dropped the hook last time. But rather than being ‘favourite corner’, maybe we should now call it ‘curse corner’. After the too close incident of a few weeks ago, this time we had an even worse encounter. Somebody on one of the boats in front of us decided to set off a Chinese lantern. We were in the cockpit when we saw a glow appear off Emerald’s bow. We jumped up to see what it was to find it was a lantern, slowly winding its way up our mast and through our rigging. Of all the crazy things to do amongst anchored boats! It could have dropped down onto ours or another boats canvas and set it on fire, and if it came down on the tinder dry land, could start a fire ashore. We’re pretty sure we know who the idiots were, they’re British and offered nothing in the way of apology the next day. Luckily they moved away or there might have been blood!