ALL ABOARD – We’re heading to Spetses with a stop in Hydra along
With friends in tow, we bid farewell to GM Tim and Hotel Grand Bretagne and met our driver Markos who would take us to Rafina Port a few minutes from City Center. Our ever-so-charming Captain George and Takis were patiently awaiting our arrival. By the way, everyone is named George, Georgios, Yiannis, and Takis!
Harrylou, a 55ft Azimut Motor Yacht would become our means of transportation for the next few days. Upon embarking, I asked our Captain if he was qualified to handle us? His reply was the start of a very interesting and fun journey, No, he said this is my first go-around., my test drive so to speak.
Great our Captain had a sense of humor, but my question really pertained to the four of us. Tammy and I with our quick wit, liveliness, entertaining and fun personalities and our Ken’s, not so much……… But he informed us that he had wine! OPA!
With an Ahoy Mate, we were off and running leaving Athens in the distance. Smooth sailing at least for the time being. We were already being warned that the return journey to Athens would be anything but. It did not matter for the time being. We had wine, soft waves, and a smooth ride.
We could have sailed into the sunset but within 2 hours we could see the island of Hydra pronounced Eedrah, with houses cascading down sloping hills. As we got closer, we saw lots of fishing and tour boats along the oh so colorful coastline.
A little history of Hydra
Made somewhat famous in 1956 by Sophia Loren who came here to play a Hydriot sponge diver in the film Boy on a Dolphin, propelled the little island onto the international stage. By the 1960s Hydra had become a favorite retreat for celebrities like Leonard Cohen who lived on the island on and off since then, well-heeled tourists, and artists and writers, who drew inspiration from the idyllic surroundings.
Arriving in Hydra by Yacht
Wow! So beautiful. A Rip Van Winkle town with pebbly beaches, captivating character steep steps and narrow streets. We were scheduled to spend a few hours. The Captain pulled up to the concrete seawall. Coming from Florida and living the boating life, I had a much different impression of docking. In my world, we would pull up, throw the ropes, tie up and graciously walk off. Not in Hydra.
The only thing I can remember is O.K. we are going to get as close as we can. Be ready to go. Excuse me, we were so confused! Then I got it. He got as close as he could, Takis jumped off and laid down the gangway floating on the water with 3 ft waves and a rocking boat. It was like asking someone to walk a tightrope in 100+ mph winds.
And to boot, not boat we had to hurry as Captain Jack, oh I mean George, told us that ferry was coming and we were in their spot. And so, we made our way of putting one foot in front of the other. Each one of us moving cautiously and sighing a breath of relief once we touched land. But the question loomed, how do we get back on? The same way?
We said good-bye, antio sas , to our Captain, Crew, and yacht. Until we meet again but how we will meet again? Takis shouted we will be waiting in the deep blue sea, call us when you are ready to depart and hopefully, we will hear the phone. Hahaha, that sense of humor.
On Land in Hydra
And once on land, Hydra, one of the most cosmopolitan Greek islands located in the heart of the Argo Saronic Gulf did not disappoint. Being so close to Athens it is a quick Greek getaway.
You won’t see any cars in Hydra, but you will see donkeys, an almost sacred and expensive means of transport. Everything is moved by donkey, including groceries, building supplies, people and their luggage. Chances are the first thing you will notice upon arriving in Hydra are the donkeys and mules lined up in the port, waiting for something or someone to carry.
Lunch at YaMas in Hydra
The sea air made us hungry and we were ready for lunch. Fresh, fresh and fresher, the only way to describe the food at YaMas which was recommended by one of the locals. Traveling the world over I always take recommendations from a local. With a beautiful view of the port, many glasses of Retsina wines, the Hydra version of a Greek Salad and fish caught just a few hours ago the meal was a little more than amazing.
Hydra was and is one of the most popular stops for sailors.
In the summer they fill the clubs and bars and the boats are often moored in
rows three or four deep like the old Shooters and Bootleggers in Ft. Lauderdale.
The more people, the more boats and the more climbing over your boat to reach
After lunch, we decided to meander along the seaport lined with designer shops, world-class jewelers, and good quality gifts & souvenirs shops. I made a promise to myself to not spend time shopping, but it was very hard to resist. I think it was my husband’s insistence to continue walking around the horseshoe which would eventually lead to the rocks. And here is where we decided to take s swim.
Look at our pictures with the cliff jumpers and you may even notice my husband jumping from the rocks off of their version of diving boards. I also took the plunge but chose to walk down a few steps instead and as mentioned before the water was fresh, in other words, cold if you live in Florida.
The Streets of Hydra
If you count the yachts lined up along the seashore and listen to the locals who tell of the many movie stars that visit the island it’s no wonder, why Hydra port feels almost like a miniature St. Tropez.
While Hydra has immense glamour you’ll also find a few old men playing backgammon, tourists relaxing at a café or those who just want to get lost in the no-named streets and alleys. Whatever you decide Hydra the go-slow, boho, glittery stop-off is a must-see!
It was starting to get late so we gave our Captain a call. Miraculously he had cell service. And to end our delightful visit to Hydra we had to board the boat the same way we got on. Only time, with some wine under our belt, it felt a bit more treacherous! Time to head to Spetses where we would spend the night.