In early August 1996 Nancy and I headed to the Dodecanese islands of Greece in the eastern Aegean Sea for a two week sailing vacation. We left our home in Amsterdam at 4 am for a charter flight to the popular tourist destination the island of Kos. After two days of acclimating to the warmer climate we met up with the rest of the crew and picked up our boat for two weeks, Leblon.
Nancy and I had arrived two days earlier, during which time we adjusted to the hot sun of Greece, explored the town of Kos, and roamed the island for a day on a rented motor-scooter. We were anxious to get going sailing and starting the real vacation. I had located the boat and met with owner the previous night making it easy to relocate out luggage. After checking out of our noisy hotel, Nancy and I moved our bags, one at a time, to the boat using the small Honda motor-scooter we had rented the previous day. Once the luggage was moved I picked up Nancy and we moved onto the boat.
It was shortly after mid-day when I happened to see the taxi arriving at the harbor containing Maurice, his wife Nina and her brother Kostas. It had been two years since we had last seen each other. Two years ago we had rented a boat in the Greek cyclades islands. It was nice to see each other again and after our exchange of greetings, we made our way to the boat. I learned that George was delayed by business and he would meet up with us somewhere along the way. However, George’s girlfriend Christina was supposed to have arrived earlier in the day, yet she was nowhere to be seen. Mo was anxious to get going as soon as possible as he also did not enjoy the over-touristed atmosphere of Kos.
Kostas and I decided to go looking for Christina while Mo, Nina and Nancy got the boat further organized. Kostas and I walked the extent of the harbor and coffee shops without any success. We were almost back to the boat when out of nowhere appeared Christina. Christina had been to the yachting agent’s office, the one place where we had failed to look.
Once we were all together Mo, Kostas (as translator) and I went through the boat checkout procedure with the owner of the boat. The boat was an Atlantic 49 which the owner was somehow involved in the building of. The boat was almost exactly the same as the Nava 49 which we had chartered two years previously. The biggest difference was that this time the boat was less than a year old and had only been previously chartered a few times. Finding everything in apparently good order we made our back to the yachting agent to in order to make the final payment for the boat and present the damage deposit which we were all sure we would get back.
While we were busy with the checkout, Nina and Christina went into town to make the initial provisioning arrangements. The provisions were delivered to the boat and stowed by the crew. The provisions consisted of several cases of beer and other assorted soft drinks, several cases of bottled water, fresh tomatoes, onions and melons, Greek cheeses and sausages, fixings for at least one spaghetti dinner on board, Greek coffee and Nescafe for frappe’s as well as an assortment of spices and condiments.
It was by this time late afternoon and we all decided that it was better to have dinner prior getting under way. With advice from Yanni the yachting agent, we decided to go to a beach restaurant named Nastoris. As this was somewhat out of town we all boarded a bus to go to the restaurant. Arriving at the restaurant we chose a table with a pleasant sea view. Sitting at the seaside table it was nice to all finally be together a little more relaxed and all ready to enjoy the vacation. As would become the standard we started with an Ouzo aperitif followed by a plethora of appetizers and then each of us ordering a main course. After imbibing such a meal we decided that we needed the exercise and walked back to harbor.
Ordering Ice for refrigeration was the last order of business prior to departure. After impatiently awaiting the delivery of the ice we started the engine and hoisted the anchor. Unfortunately in our haste we had managed to jam the anchor chain in the windlass. We appeared to broken the windlass as we were no longer able to automatically raise or lower the anchor. With darkness rapidly approaching, we decided to manually drop the anchor and back down into our dockside mooring.
Once safely tied-up, one of the yachting agency staff stepped on board to investigate our situation. We were dreading the expected delay while the windlass would be repaired. But as is turned out we were only somewhat embarrassed as the agency man reached around the electric panel and flipped a switch which resulted in a once again working windlass. The hidden circuit breaker was one detail that the owner managed to leave out during the boat check-out. However, with everything in working order we decided that there was enough remaining light to head out to our next destination.
Once we had cleared the harbor hazards we headed to the northwest in the direction of Pserimos. As darkness settled in we let out the genoa and enjoyed the fine reaching conditions. However our dark serenity didn’t last long as under the healing conditions we hear a load crash inside of the cabin. Upon closer inspection a cabinet door had opened in the galley and out fell a glass pitcher. With glass spread over the cabin floor Mo cleaned up as well as possible. In addition the stowed cockpit table also slid off the settee, tearing the plastic lace table cloth and creating a small tear in the seat.
Arriving at the small harbor we managed to anchor stern to between a two small tourist boats (although still much larger than we were). In the darkness we could only see that this was a small harbor primarily used for local fishing boats. It was late and some of the crew decided to go into the village to investigate the music coming from the town. Nancy and I had decided to call it a day and turn in.
It didn’t take long before Mo returned and insisted that I come and view the activities ashore. As it turned out, every Saturday evening there was a local gathering at a small taverna on the beach. This featured live folk music, local food and lots of dancing. We joined in the festivities rapidly being made to feel as we were part of the community. We enjoyed some of the local fried fishes, calamars, salad and lots of beer. The dancing was fervent with Kostas leading the charge several times. Kostas even managed talk me into joining in the dancing. It was a joy to see the very young partying with the very old and everyone having a fantastic time. I could no longer stay awake and headed back to the boat leaving behind the sounds of drunken Greek fishermen scrambling over the microphone in order sing one last favorite.
It was pre-dawn when we were rudely awakened. While the larger of the tourist boats was pulling out it managed to roughly bang us on the side. A few of us managed to spring onto the deck to assess the damage. After a quick inspection we determined the damage to be minor with only a few dents in the toe rail and one slightly bent stanchion. Still sleepy from the night before we went back to our bunks to complete our evenings rest.
After sleeping a little longer we awoke to see that our anchor had slid in the strengthening crosswind and we were in danger of sliding further down on the rocks. We abruptly wakened Kostas in order to raise the anchor so that we could reposition the boat. However, in the process of departing, we managed to take a local fishing boat’s anchor with us, leaving behind one very angry fisherman. It took the better part of an hour with several difficult attempts before we managed to get some good holding. It was during our last effort that we had decided to set the danforth from the stern. Once settled again Mo and Nina returned the anchor and offered the fisherman some compensation (10,000 drachmas) for his inconvenience.
The time came to make our way to Kalimos, our next agreed upon destination. We made our way going into a strong 35-40 knot wind. One of the fenders stowed by the mast worked its way loose in the windy conditions and fell overboard. Mo decided that the fender should be retrieved, as a good exercise for a man overboard drill, so we shortened sail further and made our way back. We managed to get close several times which raised the fever to retrieve the fender. On one final attempt we were very close with the fender bouncing along side the boat. Kostas and Allan just missed the fender with the boathook, with the fender so close Mo tried to grab the rascal from the swimming platform on the stern of the boat. I looked back only to see a splash and hear a shriek from Nina. Looking back we saw that Mo had hold of the loose fender helping him to stay afloat between the high and steep waves. We quickly rolled up the remainder of the mainsail and prepared the life ring by attaching a line. While we prepared the life ring Nina kept the vigil, keeping a sight on Mo so that we could easily make it back to Mo’s location. We made our way back to Mo and managed to get him the life ring and then pull him back on board using the swim ladder. It was only after the incident was over that we realized the full danger of the situation. The Next time we will leave the fender behind!!
Arriving at the harbor of Kalimos we set the anchor and moored again stern-to. Concerned about the strong wind we took the danforth out with the dingy and set a second anchor. This turned out to be good idea as a Finnish charter pulled in to windward of us which put a little extra pressure on our lines. Settled in and settled down after an event filled day, we made our way to very good fish rest. We ate grilled octopus, octopus balls, Greek salad, local skate, little red mullets, and mourmoura fish. We stopped for ice cream on the way back to the boat at a well known ice cream store (Dodony). Our location on the town quay was a bit noisy but we still managed a reasonable nights sleep.
Waking late Nancy and I we headed into town for our morning cup of coffee. Some of the crew managed to go in to town earlier and replenish some provisions as well as purchase a few of the natural sponges for which Kalimnos is known for. Our shore side tasks completed we set out the trash and prepared to get under way. We had some concern about our water usage as the flow meter showed that we had used 887 of our 900 liters of water. This was difficult to comprehend as we had only been under-way for a few days and we were all careful about our water consumption. Water usage on-board a sailboat must be conserved as it is never certain when and where this valuable resource can be replenished. Wanting to get to our next destination, we had decided to risk going on without taking on water hoping that the meter was wrong. Just as we were ready to go however, a water truck arrived for another boat on the quay. We were not all that surprised when we only took on 250 liters confirming our belief that that either the meter had not been reset or was not reading properly.
Finally under way, we set sail for the bay of Emborios further along on the same island of Kalimnos. The wind was again on the nose, turning the 12 NM (nautical mile) distance into an 18 NM journey due to the several required tacks. We hoped that the wind direction would remain out of the north constant so that we could enjoy our southern return to Rhodos.
This being one her her first sailing trips, Christina showed some apprehension as the boat healed 20 to 30 degrees. This was especially true in the few gusts where we managed to put a ‘rail’ in the water. But all-in-all it was a pleasant 3 1/2 hour sail in a 4 beaufort wind making a good speed of between 6 and 6.5 knots.
We arrived at Emborios with some concern about anchoring in the heavy weed. After one attempt we realized that the few orange buoys in the bay were for visiting yachts. Hanging from the bow of the boat, Kostas and Allan snared the rascal and we were quickly safe and secure. Without hesitation we lept into the water to enjoy the afternoon sun. The first order of business was an active game of BALL, followed by a pleasant swim.
As the sun descended the full beauty of the bay became apparent. We were well sheltered from the open seas and there was a good selection of small tabernas ashore, this is what we had all come to Greece for. It didn’t take long for the group to vote to stay in Emborios an extra day. In celebration we broke out a Rum soaked melon along with other tasty appetizers.. The peace and serenity was short lived when the table suddenly collapsed resulting in another broken bowl. With all of us in bare feet and the cockpit floor covered in small shards of glass the situation left something to be desired. Quickly, yet carefully, we thoroughly cleaned the area. Content that there were no remaining pieces of glass on the cockpit sole, we once again settled into a state of relaxation.
After lowering the rubber dingy into the water and attaching the small outboard motor we made our way to shore in two shifts. Finding a seaside taberna we chose a table with a good view of the bay. During the dingy ride, some water had found its way into the dingy. However, when Kostas commented, “Allan, are you as wet as I am”, the rest of the table broke into great bouts of laughter. We ate moderately, but well, at the taberna with a few fresh fish added to complement the always plentiful starters.
After the meal we clamored back into the dingy and made our way back to the boat in two shifts. When Allan went back to pick up the ladies he was greeted by Nina with “How do you want us?” followed by “and which one do us do you want first?”. Allan was a first flabbergasted. But after hearing the laughter he realized that she was talking about their placement in the dingy and not something else.
Arriving back at the boat we sat out for some time looking up at the multitude of stars and the glory of the Milky Way which shown brightly in the clear night sky. We were blessed with a few shooting stars before turning in for a nights sleep.
We leisurely spent the day lounging around, swimming, playing Ball & enjoying the serenity of Emborios bay. I gave fish fishing a try and managed to bag eleven of the little rascals before I tired of the activity .
We took the fish with us when we returned to the taberna for dinner. The chef complimented our catch and fried the best of the fish to be served as an appetizer. The appetizers were followed by more fish which we had difficulty in finishing. It was pleasant sleeping after such a relaxing day.
The winds gusted through the night making sleeping difficult for some of the crew. It was almost noon before we got under way for Patmos. We started off in light winds and moderate seas for should have been a 5 hour sail. But, the wind gods did not appear to be in our favor. Whichever tack we would take the wind would turn us away. The seas became quickly confused as the wind oscillated in both strength and direction. After 3 hours of bouncing around in the conditions some of the crew began feeling a bit queasy. Nina had it worse than the others and become quite ill. The boat would not settle down as we continued being tossed around in a most ungentlemanly manor.
With still a little over 1 1/2 hours to go, the wind strengthened once again. Suddenly, while rolling in the jib, the furling line parted. Maurice went forward to the boy to investigate. The furling line was tightly s jammed around the roll-up drum. Mo cleared the drum and jury rigged a new line while Allan turned the boat downwind in order to make a steady and safe working area on the bow of the boat. By the time things were back in order we had lost more than 1/2 hour of windward beating towards Patmos.
After clawing our way back towards Patmos the crew began showing signs of fatigue. By this time, Christina began to be frightened by the motion of the boat, Nina was still quite ill, and Nancy was also showing signs of illness. We were equi-distant from Patmos & Lipsi (Lipso on he charts), but Lipsi shown bright in the sun while Patmos appeared foreboding in the haze. We decided that the quickest port would be Lipsi, so we bore away a few degrees which made for more peaceful, quit, restful and smooth waters.
We entered the natural harbor of Lipsi around 6 pm and anchored in the bay with both anchors as the few spaces at the harbor wall were all taken.
Once the boat was straightened out, the crew was anxious to get ashore to some non-moving ground. So, it was into the dingy and on to the restaurant search. Walking to the restaurant we unanimously declared the island charming and decided to stay an extra day, not a difficult decision given the previous 7 hour of sailing. We located a fine eating establishment named the dolphin, which was apparently run by the young Yanni (maybe 13 years old). We ordered a large amount of food as we were famished from the long sail, during which there was little consumed. Christina asked the owner if they had any sweets as she was in desperate need of a sugar fix. The kind restaurateur offered us some of his private supply of diplas made by his aunt. Amusingly, while waiting for the diplas the waiters gave Nina a large fish to play with. We never could decide why they passed us the fish other than to possibly lure us back for another evening. The sumptuous eating and drinking combined with the handsome fish led to tremendous bouts of laughter and genuine jocularity. Our boisterous behavior caused us to apologize afterwards to some of the couples at the neighboring tables.
We stopped afterwards at a local bar for a coffee where Kostas quickly made friends with owner, Thomas. Actually, Kostas had already stopped and talked to several of the islanders, learning of the internal affairs of the island. Kostas returned Allan to the boat, wanting to go dancing and further into the evening with Christina. Kostas gave Allan some concern with his maneuvering of the dingy. We wondered whether he would ever make it safely back to Leblon with Cristina.
We raised the anchors and repositioned the yacht to the dock in the morning as several of the boats from the previous night had left by the time we had all awoken. We walked around the town searching for and finding some replacement line for the broken roller furler. While the male members of the crew were looking for line, the ladies had gone to bakery and grocery replenishing a few of our provisions. They also bought fresh cheese pies which we all had for lunch. The pies were delicious as they were still warm from the baker. Nina had made reservations (including our dinner order) at our restaurant from the previous evening. We had decided to reserve the lobster which had looked so tantalizing the night before.
In the afternoon we made our way to a nearby beach for swimming and fun. Mo had decided to take the windsurfer over to the beach to get a bit time on the board. After a few hours we had had enough sun and decided to return to the boat. Mo decided to stay, preferring to windsurf some more.
On the way back we stopped again by Thomas’s bar for coffee and sweets. The baklava proved to be some of the best we had ever eaten and the kataifi was also of the best quality. Kostas and Christina remained behind to gossip further with Thomas while Nina, Nancy and Allan went back to the boat to shower for dinner.
With the day cooling down we cleaned up and made our way into town for a stroll before dinner. Kostas has dressed to go to a church in the town.
We all met up again at nine o’clock at The Delfini (Dolphin) for dinner. We were warmly welcomed again by the owner upon or arrival. We were surprised to see the couple there which we had so rudely disturbed the previous evening. After finishing our starters (octopus salad, potatoes, Greek (peasant) salad, green beans, greens & bread) our charcoaled lobsters arrived. They were so plentiful and beautiful we decided to invite the couple from the previous evening to join us. We learned that their names were Yannis & Amalia and that they were on vacation from Athens.
Cristina was surprised when she learned that the restaurant owner had arranged for a tray of her favorite desert karydopasta. Karydopasta is a sweet mixture of walnuts, cinnamon & honey. However, the large portions were difficult manage on top of the rest of our very filling dinner. We managed to finish our large portions and take what was left in the pan with us.
The fun wasn’t over as Kostas had made an obligation for us to try some of the local island wine at Thomas’s bar. The wine was strong and provided an unusual taste for those of us that had never had it before.
As there were high winds forecasted for the weekend we had decided to leave early for another attempt at reaching Patmos. Allan woke the rest of the crew at 7:00 am and by 8 we were under way. Anchors crossed boat hook lost. We motor sailed the 11 miles from Lipsi to Patmos in just under 2 hours. Everyone was glad for the uneventful sail. We also easily found room, mooring stern-to on the harbor wall.
Cristina was quickly ashore in order locate Jorgis(George). We then all met up at George’s hotel, glad that our planned crew for the vacation was finally complete.
We settled in with some of the crew going for a walk in town while others made their way to the beach.
We met up again back at the boat and planned to have dinner in the chora of Patmos.
We made our way by taxi to the chora at the high point of the island. The views at sunset were stunning. Being able to look down on the harbor town of Skala and the deep blue waters of the Aegean gave us the feeling of being on top of the world.
breakfast in Skala
Wind forecast for 6-7 so decided not to head south until tomorrow morning.
Anchored in bay
Spaghetti dinner by Kostas and Nina with Christina for salads. For desert we finally managed to finish the Kadyapasta.
By now we had realized that the log had been misreading badly. Off by as much as 25% our actual speed and distance traveled had been significantly more than first thought.
We decided to get underway early as we hoped to beat the heavier winds that had been forecasted for the day. After checking the wind direction and assessing the various possibilities, 1) Amorgos, farther away form our final destination, 2) Astipalaia, A long 8-9 hour sail, 3) Levitha, an island with nothing of note but only 4 hours away. Nina made the suggestion of heading toward Leros which was favored by a broad reach and leaving the most options for the following days as we made our way towards our final destination of Rhodos. Leros won out having the most appeal of the various options.
Once underway the reaching conditions did not seem as threatening as forewarned. The gentle rolling motion in beaufort 5-6 with gusts to seven appealed to most of the crew. Only Kostos was feeling a bit queasy during the journey. After reviewing the various harbor options Nina & Mo simultaneously arrived at the choice of Pandeli on the east side of the island.
We arrived at the bay around 1 o’clock mooring along side the new town quay. There were some tense moments coming in narrow harbor with a cross wind and little maneuvering room. Nancy awoke from nap to quickly come on deck and fend off the small fishing boat we were bearing down upon.
Once settled in we were quite pleased with the location. The small fishing village with taberna along the waterfront all being looked over by the imposing Venetian fortress high on the hill. Some of crew decided to head to a nearby bathing beach while others opted for a walk into town and on up to the fortress castle.
We all met again in the evening at a seaside taberna over a few glasses of a very tasty ouzo. Mo had selected a restaurant for the evening which was located up the hill in the town of Platanos. After refreshing ourselves with showers we made our way up the hill.
On our way Kostas stopped to comment on the architectural a appearance of an ornate doorway. This led to us being invited inside for a brief tour of the house. The house built in 1885 had been kept in the family for it 100+ years. Unfortunately the contents of the house suffered at the end of the second world war with many items of furniture disappearing. The older women occupants of the house apologized that she didn’t have enough food to feed us all. This once again showed the friendliness of these islanders.
Upon arrival at the restaurant some of the crew appeared apprehensive. The restaurant spanned the main street of the town with tables on both sides. We decided on staying and began the quest for finding enough chairs to sit on. We came up one short places to sit. George finally located a crate on which to place his bum. However, as soon as George went over to the kitchen Kostas swapped his chair for the crate. This was a typical showing of male Greek martyrdom.
We once again ordered a massive of food mostly consisting of roasted chicken, kalamaki (small pieces of seasoned pork on a skewer) and the more typical starters of Greek salad, fish row salad, tzatziki and potatoes. We were surprised at the speed with which all the food arrived. The chicken proved to be the best of the choices. We found that the cook had been a chef in France for many years. We could not however pry the chicken recipe from him.
Due to the beauty of this island we had decided to stay another day. We enjoyed the use of the beaches and the overall serenity of the peaceful setting. George and Al made another attempt at catching some dinner this time using the dingy. While they managed to catch a few tiny fish but not enough to make a meal of it. They decided to let the few live and through them back into the sea.
We woke early as we had a long sail ahead. Roughly 50 miles in he direction of Rhodes to the island of Nisiros. We expected the journey to last 8 to 9 hours. Downwind NW 4-6 beaufort. Several Greek and Turkish warships sighted. Strong Gusts of the backside of Kos reaching 7 bft. Managed to briefly reach attaining speeds of 9-10 knots. Then wind 1-6 bft. Then no wind. Then bft 1-2 SW. and finally filling in ne bft 4-5.
Arriving at the scenic harbor of Palon the quay looked initially to be full. Mo decided on going bow-to where there was a gap between to other boats. We set out the stern danforth and managed to wedge ourselves in neatly between the other two.
The village was charming and very clean with several small tabernas along the shore. But we decided to walk the 4-5 km to Mandraki where there was a small monastery and purported to be a broader selection of restaurants. The walk was spectacular with views of the sunset and other islands in the distance. However we were disappointed in the own as there were only tourist restaurants of which none appeared very appealing. We finally settled on one that looked acceptable. The food turned out to be the most disappointing of the trip so far. We all agreed afterwards that it would have been better to have stayed in Palon.
Afterwards we sought a taxi to take us back to Palon. We discovered that there were only two on the island and one of those was owned by the owner of the resturaunt where we were having dinner. Agreements were made and we went back to the boat.
Kostas had decided that he needed to return to Athens to take care of some family maters. The ferry from Nisiros to Kos left at 3:30 and a taxi has been arranged to pick him up at 2:45 from the harbor at Palon. We all decided to stay until it was time for Kostas to depart.
Nirsiros is an inactive volcano and a visit to the caldera is highly recommended. We had enough time before the ferry so we rented four small well used Suzuki mopeds for the task. We followed one another to the rim of the crater for a spectacular view into the center of the island. I was amazed to see the interior walls of the crater had been thoroughly terraced in ancient times. The skill and effort involved in this task for a culture with little technology was truly amazing. We continued our way down the steep sides of the crater. Once on the crater floor the road terminated at a small refreshment stand next to the caldera.
Nancy and I decided to stay in the shade while the rest of the group made its way into the caldera. Three was a strong sulfur smell in the air as there were a number of geothermal springs in the area. The heat from the sun and the caldera itself was enough to fry and egg as one of the tourist guides had apparently proven for one the many bused in day tours. Nina, Christina and Kostas returned to the refreshment stand. We asked for the whereabouts of Mo & George to discover that Mo had talked George into climbing out of deep pit.
After some time of concern, Nina made her way to the edge of the abyss to report back that they were about two-thirds the way up. After another ten minutes they could be seen just beneath the rim with George apparently have difficulty make the final ten meters to the edge. Kostas and Christina went over to give assistance as Mo went back down to lead George out. After a few minutes a safe route was to the top. Upon there return the two reported a fine climb with Mo presenting some fine specimens of crystallized sulfur as well as some pumice. George had confessed to being somewhat frightened the last few meters.
With the suspense over we returned to our scooters to make our way back to Palon. The race was on back to the rim of the crater with Mo being somewhat startled when Nancy and I passed them just before the summit. We made our back down occasionally stopping for the group to catch up with each other. At one point we had quite a wait as Kostas had taken a wrong turn. At the last stage of our descent the chain came of the scooter of Christina and George. I dropped Nancy of went back to attempt a quick repair. The attempt proved to be fruitless. Mo and I then shuttled the rest back to Palon. George protested to the owner complaining about the safety of the vehicles. After a time and a few calls to the police, the owner and George agreed to a refund.
The time came for Kostas to go which went quickly while none the less sadly. The remaining crew made there way to the boat needing to quickly under way if we were to make our way to Simi before dark.
We decided on the closest bay with an anchorage on the island of Simi. We left Palon at around 3:30pm with 29 miles to go. We had a following wind of 4-6 bft. At times the following seas would push around a bit as we motor-sailed our way to Simi. George took over the wheel as we continued our way. With surprise in his voice George elated with “what’s that”. I looked out to see what appeared to be a black tower directly in our path. After asking George to steer to starboard I quickly double checked the charts I found only deep water. Look ahead again we could see that the tower was moving. What we had come across was a Turkish submarine patrolling the water between Nisiros, Simi and the Dorian Peninsula.
We rounded the outlying islets of Simi just as the sun was beautifully setting sun. We made our way to the well protected and hidden bay of Panormittis on the SW coast of Simi. There were already several boats at anchor which made us glad that there was still just enough dusk light to find a good location to anchor in the shallow bay. Again we set out the danforth as the CQR did not appear to be holding well.
We took the dingy to shore find this to be a very quiet almost eerie place. All the buildings in Italian style from the twenties were owned by the Monastery. Even the taverna, which was leased out to a family working the taverna. But the food proved to be quite good despite this being the only place to eat in the vicinity. We made an attempt to find a desert at the local bar but this proved useless as the locals had no intent on serving us. This was by far the most unfriendly of the places we had visited so far.
We rose early. Mo and George went to the monastery bakery to get some fresh baked breakfast/lunch goodies. They returned with the declaration that this must be the last communist holdout in Greece. We quickly pulled anchor and made our way to the other side of the island to find a pleasant beach at which to spend our afternoon.
We decided in Nanou for its stunning setting and beautiful clear waters. In calm waters just at the entrance to the bay Mo and I unanimously called for the traditional doughnut maneuver. We turned the wheel hard to starboard holding for a few seconds. We declared the perfect circle of calm water left behind a success and after a few high fives we continued on our way. Anchoring was a little tricky as the bottom rose from 50 meters to beach in a few hundred meters. We spent the day leisurely swimming, sun bathing and generally relaxing.
At around 4 we made our way to the scenic harbor town of Simi. We motored close along the sheer cliffs the dropped suddenly and steeply to the see floor. While only a few hundred feet away we still read depths of over 300 feet. Turning into Simi harbor we were greeted with a beautiful view of the painted houses rising along the hillside being lit by the orange setting sun.
We were happy not to have come in any later as there were few places left to come along side. Once settled we took our normal brief walk around town to “check things out”. Nancy and I went in search of a cash machine as we needed to make a contribution to the kitty. We were disappointed to find that the one machine would not accept our cards for some unknown reason. We ended up t an exchange which had a 2% commission even though the rates were good.
We met up again for our nightly food foraging exercises. We decided on a restaurant the proposed to have one of the finest small Greek vineyard wine collections in Greece.
We were quite pleased with our choice especially after Nina and Christina had checked out the wine cellar with the owner. The chosen white wine was of fine quality with a light fruity taste. Our main courses were also of very good quality. Nancy had stuffed lamb medallions, Mo and I had stefado (stewed beef with sweet onions), Nina had baked chicken that was very tender, Christina choose a pasta dish, while George had a fish fillet. Our dining was accompanied by a live folk concert which was doing in in the nearby park.
After completing our quite filling meal we went for a much needed stroll around the docks. Upon returning to the boat one of our fears about our mooring location was realized. We had ended up between two super-motor yachts each more than 100ft. These behemoths required that their diesel generators ran continuously in order to meet the needs of their exclusive occupants. The resulting fumes wafted down on the few sailing yachts that were packed in between the larger boats. The crew discussed the trade off living with the potentially sickening fumes and the difficulty of re-anchoring the boat in another location. After visits to the harbor authority and assessing other potential boat locations we decided to stay where we were. This was a difficult decision as hints of a small mutiny were stirring. Mo had however managed to speak with the more offending of the two yachts which resulted in some improvement in the situation. Eventually we all retired to a reasonable nights sleep.
We awoke and decided on going for breakfast at one of the nicer hotels in Simi. We sat comfortably on the shaded terrace enjoying our coffee, yogurt and honey, and rolls. We discussed the options for the days activities and decided on a walk up into the heights of Simi. Nancy decided to stay behind and look at the shops around the harbor. The walk up was slightly taxing mostly due to the heat of the morning sun. Simi appeared to be undergoing somewhat of resurgence as many of the home had been or were being restored or rebuilt. The Italian architecture was obvious in the house with most painted a light yellow with white and blue trim. This contrasted sharply to bright white with blue trim typically associated with the Greek islands.
We stopped about half way up at a lovely terrace cafe for some water and frappe’s. Upon reaching the top we found the local museum and decided to go in for a look. The museum was small but enjoyable with a few very interesting artifacts as well as a display of some traditional island costume. I thought one of the museums best features was the terrace view of both Simi and Pathi bays which were on both sides of the town. The view was accompanied by the unique feature of a cold water fountain of which we all took part. We found that our entrance to the museum included a visit to a restored Simi house at another location which we also visited.
We made oùr descent down to the harbor accompanied by a brief game of run and pass the water bottle. The game ended when I failed to catch the bottle after George passed it over the roof of one of the houses. The now leaky bottle was no longer usable as a football.
Once back on board we decided to head out quickly as the harbor had been invaded by the daily tourist boats from Rhodos. Once the course was set for Rhodos we were able to fully unroll the genoa and shut off the engine. We were in no hurry to reach Rhodos as this signaled the end of our journey. The gentle 3 bft broad reach provided sufficient speed but the lack of apparent wind left everyone in the cockpit quite hot. Mo decided to put up the sun tent which provided some relief from the heat.
We were roughly 3-4 miles from Mandraki harbor in Rhodos when then wind increased to a more robust 5 bft with gusts in the sixes. We quickly shortened sail and continued on our way. Entering the harbor where it once thought that the Colossus stood we were surprised by how crowded it was. Out first attempt at mooring was rebuffed as we were told that there was a reserved space for us elsewhere. We weighed anchor once again and sought out or reserved place. he gusting wind in the harbor added to our anxiety as we finally identified the gap between the other boats that was ours. We dropped the hook one last time as backed into the spot. We were glad to be in as those boats coming in would have more difficulty as the yachts were now stacking up two and three deep.
In the meantime George had managed to make a dinner reservation for us at a well known restaurant just outside of the city. This was not performed without some quick thinking on George’s part claiming that he had an important client in for the day. For some of us this was the first truly good reason for having the portable .telephone on board.
Everyone showered (running out of water one last time) and dressed in the last and best of the clean clothes. We made our way by taxi to Kioupia for our final feast. We were greeted by elegant garden setting. The restaurant offered a set menu at 9000 gdr per person which we all agreed upon. What followed was a truly sumptuous feast. We began with…fragrant rosewater… a choice of soups, bean or pasta. This was accompanied by a choice of three toasted breads, beetroot, salami and carrot. This was followed by a fine collection of typical Greek starters although too many to name. The stream of food seemed unending as there must of been between twenty and thirty items. These included such delicacies as a green salad, two type of horta, beet root and garlic sauce, baked meat in a clay cone, cheese puffs, tzatiki, olive salad, pine nut salad, baked cheese bites, dolmdes, chick peas, spicy chicken, fried peppers, calmares, stewed spring onions, octopus salad plus many more…. – Sumptuous feast.
2) gyros, souvlaki, biftecco stuffed(2)brasoli ( braised meat with a bone in it).
Rolled back to the boat. slept hot and sticky in the poorly ventilated.
sleeping in poorly ventilated cabins
Walk around the old city
Final farewells after a brief exchange of Pictures.
- Total: 2561926 gdr
- 141 dfl
- 235 usd
- 366 gbp
- Days: 13
- Boat: 2000000
- expense: 556000
- Roller furling
- Breaking glassware, plates, cups
- Dingy pump connector
- anchor locker
- sailboard fin
- poor mooring lines
- tear in settee cushion
- tear in table cloth
- cockpit table bolt
- interior wood trim
- cup in captain cabin
- hole in main sail
- broken back to settee
- locker latch quality
- fresh water pump breaker
- dent in toerail/bent stantion
- log reading inaccurate/ 25% low
- water meter/ close forward tanks
- dingy leak/water
- stern gangplank slightly smooshed
- swimming ladder
- bimini taped