Leaving Mykonos in the late morning we set off south for the port of Naoussa in a big bay on the north end of the island of Paros.
Ormos Naousis offers lots of different anchorages depending on the wind and for our arrival we had light south westerlies forecast so we found a spot directly outside Naoussa harbour and ‘dropped the hook’. We launched Windy and sought out the Harbour Master, who would help us tie up, if we arrived after mid day. The harbour was full but on the following morning a couple of catamarans were due to leave so we formed the queue and at lunch time on Friday, 8 June we shifted onto the Town Quay. Being at anchor is fine, but there are times when it is nice to sit on a Town Quay and watch the world go by. In this case it also meant unlimited water for our €15 per day and the boat was absolutely filthy. We also did a fair amount of laundry and I rinsed all our ropes; they get heavily encrusted with salt after a while!
Many places we go in Greece there is some form of dispute between the Marina developers and the Town Council resulting in a partially completed marina or one where there are berths but no facilities and no one to collect fees. On Friday morning, before we went into the port I rang the Harbour Master on the off chance there was someone in the office who could tell us if there was space. It turns out that he was the previous HM and has been ousted; he is taking court action over the running of the port. (Seriously? In Greece? How long has this guy got?) He bent my ear about the moorings not having been tested, there being no port insurance, and urged me to get a receipt! Duely warned we went in.
The set up did seem a little amateurish but they had keys to the office, right next door to the Port Police office and they have sign up saying you can pay by credit card or bank transfer to the Municipality. But the card reader seemed to have broken when the last customer used it so there was no receipt until tomorrow ……. ‘Oh really?’ I thought. But yes really! The following day the HM’s assistant came and asked me to pay by card and get my cash back! Apparently the entire system is very new, it is all electronic and there are teething problems. Not sure I hold out much hope for that Court Case!
So Naoussa. The port is very busy. It is split into three sections, one for the local fishing boats, one for yachts and one for Gin Palaces. And there is a ferry quay too. It is a really pleasant town, all narrow streets with white washed buildings and blue windows and doors The whole place is a ‘tourist trap’ but it is very nicely done and wandering the narrow streets of an evening browsing the boutiques is very pleasant. we took a wander up to the church and even found a group of teenagers practicing their traditional Greek dancing!
There is a tiny ruined Venetian Fort dating from the 14th century at the old harbour entrance and every premises on the harbour front is a restaurant, wine bar or taverna! The narrow back streets are alternating eateries and boutiques. During the day the town is pretty quiet but at night it is quite busy and to judge by the number of tables set out, in peak season it must be heaving!
Our plan was to spend the weekend here enjoying the ambience whilst waiting out the Meltemi again. But the Meltemi took the weekend off and started again on Monday so we ended up staying a few extra days. The Town Quay is not too well sheltered from the northerly winds so we spent a few rather uncomfortable days with the swell surging us around on our moorings. The boat was moving so much at times that getting on and off the gangway was an exercise in athletic coordination; the end of gangway is 35 cm wide executing a random spherical motion with a 50 cm radius as the boat surged.
Scouring the weather forecasts it seemed that Wednesday was our day to push on eastwards. The winds were predicted to reach 15 knots, which means 20, from the north west, and were forecast to back further to the west and drop slowly. It looked like we may actually get “fair winds and a following sea”!