Pretty little Bistiou. Idyllic, but with a sting at times …

Pretty little Bistiou. Idyllic, but with a sting at times …

I like to share with you some of the lesser known anchorages we have visited. Today I’m going to tell you about a secluded cove called Bistiou (Μπιστιου in Greek) on the north of Poros island.

We found it in Nicholas Elias’s excellent Greece Sea Guide many years ago. It isn’t very easy to spot the entrance. The first time we went in I almost took us into the much larger bay to the north. If you are coming from the north (Aegina direction) make sure that you pass the small island and continue south, leaving the island well behind you before you turn west.

Bistiou is a small cove with beautiful turquiose water surrounded by pine trees. It’s quite narrow – about 70m across but about 300m long There’s probably only room for a few yachts to anchor there but I wouldn’t worry too much about that as I’ve never ever seen another yacht there. Little motor boats, maybe, but not another yacht.

Here’s a pilotage plan of the cove, with thanks to Nicholas Elias. The waypoint you need, if you’re putting it into your GPS, is 37° 32′.85 N 023° 29′.24 E (if you don’t understand why that’s slightly different from what is shown below it’s because GPS is WGS84 Datum, not EUR50. And if you don’t understand that – you need to come on a navigation course with me!)

Image courtesy of Nicholas Elias. For more information see his Greece Sea Guide.

It’s exposed to north-easterly winds, which are quite common, so it wouldn’t be a good choice for an overnight stop unless it’s very calm or you’re certain only southerlies or similar are forecast.

Although it is idyllic, there is one drawback to Bistiou and I wouldn’t be doing my job properly if I didn’t warn you about it …

We didn’t discover this until our third or fourth visit. We went there with my daughter, Catriona, her boyfriend (now her husband), and some of their friends. It was a lovely sunny day and we were all looking forward to a swim in the pure water.

As we motored slowly into the bay my daughter suddenly shrieked and pointed into the sea!

Floating around in the water were dozens of jellyfish – more than I’ve seen anywhere for a long time.

When we lived in Scotland our house was north of Oban and just along the road from us was the first Sea Life Centre. At that time it was tied in with aquaculture research and I remember clearly going to an exhibition about the life of jellyfish. It was absolutely fascinating.

They had tanks full of jellyfish from tiny little babies to enormous full-grown ones. The tanks had accompanying text that explained their whole life-cycle. Safely behind glass they were attractive and interesting. One thing that I remember clearly, which I didn’t know before, was that jellyfish don’t swim – they simply drift with the current.

That’s what had led to so many jellyfish in one small cove. There had been several days of strong north-easterlies, which set up a current. The current had swept scores of jellyfish from the Saronic down into the cove.

Needless to say, none of us were very keen to swim that day. Apart from George, of course, As an ex-diver, he’ll swim despite almost anything. He first went snorkeling and then, taking a bucket from the yacht, returned with a jellyfish inside it.

He showed us what he had caught in the bucket. Getting far closer than we would have done in the water we could see that it was really beautiful. It had a translucent body with purple swirls and brown tentacles. It really was very intricate and pretty.

But we all hated it just the same!

From that day on, Bistiou has been known in our family as ‘Jellyfish Bay’. This is quite unfair really as we’ve been in the cove a few times since and on only one other occasion saw jellyfish there. The rest of the time there were none at all. I wouldn’t let it put you off visiting Bistiou. It’s only if there are several days of strong winds from the north-east at particular times of year that the phenomenon will occur.

By the way, there’s another larger bay on the same northeast coast of Poros that’s also worth considering. It’s called Vagionia. In the summer months I understand that there’s a small beach bar ashore. Apart from that the bay is peaceful and unspoilt. I’ll take some photos this summer and put up a post about Vagionia.


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