Spartochori to Ormos Varko, via N Skorpios. 25 Aug 2012

Our stern-to experiment made for an easy exit from Spartochori. Amelie & I had a lie in whilst the boys walked up the hill to the town for essential provisions. Authentically greek, the village was beautiful & unspoilt with the supermarket at its hub. Served by five old Greek ladies, all dressed in black, it was, according to Chris, the sparsest, but cheapest, shop so far. Breakfast when they got back was rudely interrupted by Amelie’s first wasp sting, which definitely woke up anyone in the harbour still in bed.

A short motor away was an island we’d passed coming in, then surrounded by about about forty yachts all moored off a couple of pretty coves. So we headed over there with a plan to swim & have lunch. Checking it out in the Ionian pilot guide, it was the Island of Skorpios, owned by the Onassis family, and once a home of Aristotle & Jackie O. It is a private island so the tempting beach was off limits, but we could see the beach hut that Jackie had built especially to swim in the beautiful cove. As the first boat of the day to arrive, we had our pick of anchor spots, although the deep water meant we were forced into the 10m ‘shallows’ to the western side. It was a great spot. We swung closer to the beach as the wind (& potentially the anchor!) shifted and swam off the back.

During our couple of hours there we officially declared Amelie capable of swimming without armbands (under close supervision) and she didn’t use them for the rest of the holiday. It was fun either being in the water or just watching the security guard shouting at people in small motor boats who got too close! By lunchtime we hauled anchor and headed north east to Vounaki and Paleros.

An amazing close-hauled sail in 20 knots of wind had Amelie commenting from below – ‘yes Daddy, I know we’re sailing, my bedroom is tippy uppy!’

After cutting through the dinghy fleet at Vounaki, and reminiscing of our time at the Beach Club last year, we anchored off the beach in Paleros. The thumping beat of the beach DJ soon had us scurrying for the marina, but not before I’d had a dip & swim round the boat to cool off.

After some chat about where & how we were going to approach, when we did attempt to come alongside we were shooed away from the pontoon, and told it was all booked up. Our walk round town & last night of hols spent in a taverna scuppered, we instead sailed across the sound to a little bay we’d first explored last year in a day boat.

Ormos Varko is sheltered by a small island in the entrance to its natural harbour. Two beaches dominate, West & East, with rock hazards noted on the chart in the centre. We plumbed for the East beach, complete with small bar. After anchoring in quite a substantial breeze, our boat, along with about a dozen or so others swung round for a good hour or more before the wind settled & we could relax enough to swim & venture to the beach. Chris took the kids in the dinghy, and I swam to meet them on the beach. Amelie had all her Barbie’s in tow, whom after having a photo-shoot with me on the boat, then tried their hand at naked diving into the surf. With Olympic fever still rife amongst the Skinner clan, Chris gave running commentary along the lines of
… and here’s Barbie attempting a quadruple triple back somersault with pike… Oh and such a shame about that entry‘ whilst Amelie spun the dolls into the water. After collecting yet more sea snails and a coke from the bar Chris rowed us all back, and we watched our last sunset of the holiday from the dinghy.

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