We sailed out of the Great Harbour at 11.30 on schedule and I was soon enjoying looking at the cruise ships and ferries all around me. We are due to arrive at one of the ports of Aegina island at 12.40 and it was such a lovely calm time as we sailed along.
Ships seen after leaving the harbour on Phivos: Apollon Hellas, Posidon Hellas, Tera Jet, Celestyal Olympia, Flying Cat, Phivos, Mykonos Palace, Sebeco II, Viking Star, Berlin (ex Spirit of Adventure), Nissos Samos, Hellas Liberty the Museum ship, Le Bougainville, Blue Star 2, TUI's Mein Schiff, Menekratis, Agios Nektarios
To be continued...
Friday 20th September 2019
I set my alarm so I could wake early and watch the arrivals/departures from the Great Harbour of Piraeus. There is a great satisfaction in watching all the activity from a little balcony, despite trying to shower in the bathroom, then dress and pack. I think there had been early but slight rain as I went down as arranged for breakfast at 8 a.m.
As I closed my balcony door I noticed a bus stopping across the road and could see our Greek friend Fotis getting off it and walking across the road to our hotel to join us for breakfast. Minutes later he told us that he was amused to look across at the hotel and see me on my balcony on the first floor and Jonathan B on his balcony on the fifth floor, both of us taking photographs.
Fotis had time to talk and discuss ships before he headed back to work in the city. As we looked out at the sea we noticed that what appeared to be a Hi-Speed ferry had come to a standstill as she approached the harbour outskirts. Then we saw a tug heading towards her, which then accompanied her into the harbour. This turned out to be Master Jet of Seajets. Jonathan B was later told that she is to be refurbished and returned to service after spending several years laid up in Chalkida, where Seajet have quite a number of these craft laid up either in reserve or as sources of spare parts.
My plan for the day was to get back to the Great Harbour and catch the proper ferry across to the island of Aegina. I see no point in getting a fast craft when there is an alternative.
Then it was time for fond farewells as Jonathan B was seeing local friends today and tomorrow before flying out of Athens early on Sunday morning. He would then be off on another stage of his holiday. I would be sailing to Aegina later this morning and staying until Saturday afternoon, and then flying home to the UK.
I had booked to sail on the lovely red-hulled PHIVOS and soon collected my ticket at the agent near Dock Gate 8, in good time to sail at 11.30. I could see various familiar and unfamiliar cruise ships and ferries around me, including one of the horrible Russian-built Aegean Flying Dolphins. Their exhaust fumes outside and inside the vessels are truly terrible, so I was glad to sit far away from them in the now hot sunshine. Soon PHIVOS arrived and her passengers disembarked. A little later the sign appeared giving her next departure time and destination and I went on board up the designated foot passenger ramp at the side of the main ramp.
Ships seen: Ships seen from Piraeus hotel: Blue Star Delos, Festos Palace, Blue Star 2, Phivos, Blue Star Paros, ANEK's Prevelis, Master Jet of Seajets, Wellesand, Agios Nektarios,
To be continued...
Thursday 19th September 2019
Well, that was a short night. By the time we walked back to the Gramvoussa Bay Hotel and our rooms it was well after 1.00 a.m. All too soon my alarm told me to get up and finish packing and then we were off again, walking back to the port for a departure at 9.30 a.m. We looked back for the last time to see the Gramvoussa Bay Hotel in the early morning light.
Yesterday I had taken a photograph of their leaflet which showed its wonderful location. Another photograph that I took yesterday was of the sun rising behind the mountains as we walked to join IONIS, but that was an hour earlier.
Today we are leaving a little later but we could see the lovely little IONIS ahead of us and she is our ship for the day, on our 11 hour sail to Piraeus. We will be calling at Kythera (just for a change) on our way. We had booked a cabin for this trip and were happy to see the monogrammed linen on the bunks as we left our baggage and headed to the Bar.
The steward was rather surprised to see us again but soon had my cappuccino organised and a cheese pie too. My friend Jonathan B had a chat with the Purser and found out after we sailed at 9.30 a.m. that there were just 37 passengers on this sailing from Kissamos Bay.
We enjoyed a lovely relaxing day at sea, watching the sea, sky and sun, and talking.
We called at the port of Kythera about 1.15 p.m. and there were many more passengers and their luggage and vehicles waiting to come on board. One vehicle was a high-loaded lorry with a net over it and, after looking at some of the contents under the net, we decided the driver was what in England we would call a scrap metal merchant.
We noticed that a big wreck was high and dry outside the port, up on the volcanic rocks. My friend told me afterwards that it was the cargo ship NORDLAND which ran aground in 2000. It simply looks like a carcass of a vessel.
Then we sailed out into the shipping lanes heading for Piraeus, and it was lunchtime for us.
We took more photographs of the little IONIS. She was built in 1977 and I remember seeing her last in Piraeus Harbour on Monday 18th July 2016 when she was with Leve Ferries. She is certainly smart to look at and well looked after internally, and we felt all the staff on board were very proud of her.
We arrived in Piraeus just before 9 p.m. and disembarked from our little ship, which looked quite small compared with others around. A taxi took us to the Queens Leriotis Hotel a few miles just out of the port and round the bay. I've stayed here before and remembered what good views could be had here from the sea-facing rooms - ships heading in and out of the Great Harbour almost all the time.
The day ended with a glass of something delicious enjoyed on a balcony looking out to sea after a lovely day sailing in Greek waters.
Ships seen: Gramvousa, Balos, Gramvousa Express, Spirit of Athos, Skylark, something from DFDS out in the Adriatic/Aegean Straits, Costa Victoria as we sailed towards Piraeus, various UASC container ships, the shipwrecked Nordland near Kythera, and Jonathan B said he identified Blue Star 2 and Blue Star Paros as we sailed along, Viking Star, Blue Horizon, El Venizelos in Piraeus
To be continued...