colin on May 13th, 2017

Arkoi is a little island to the south of Samos. It has a taverna or two and what would be a nice harbour but for the prevailing wind which blows across the beams of any boats tying up there, giving plenty of scope for crossing anchors, while allowing room for only about 8 boats.

And no water to be had… we needed some, so we didn’t stay too long.

Arkoi quay

Arkoi quay

colin on May 11th, 2017

The online forecast suggested strong winds while we were in Samos, so we opted to stay a day or two in the Samos Marina, near Pythagorion. A nice marina, friendly “inmates”, and not too expensive. As usual, the forecast lied, but after a few days the blow came.

Pythagorion is named after it’s most famous (past) resident of geometric fame: “The square on the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides”…. and yes, I have the T-shirt to prove it!

From anywhere in or near Pythagorion, if you look towards the east, you’ll see a big mountain less than 3 miles distant which is in Turkey. At one point the distance between the two countries is less than a mile; careful navigation is required.

We hired a car and drove all over the island; it took us a few hours. Found a nice little road on the north side with lots of beautiful deciduous trees. Quite unexpected for this climate, yet there they were.

Sandra was feeling very poorly with a persistent infection so we saw a doctor while there. She’s still not right, but I think she is on the mend.

We spent a night at the town quay in Pythagorion next to an Aussie Beneteau 45. They hail from Cleveland (Q) and spend three or more months each year in Greece, cruising around.

After our night in Pythagorion harbour, we continued on to Ormos Marathokampou, where there have been several new piers built to attract visiting yachties. Unfortunately, the design is such that not many yachts are able to use the harbour, so there’s a bit more EU money tossed away.

But it was pleasant there, and we got to speaking with other yachties…. we keep seeing the same boats around all the time. Not surprising, I suppose, there are only a limited number of harbours.

Finally escaped to Arkoi, with a brisk sail due south for about 20 miles.

colin on April 30th, 2017

It was a calm day, so we motored over to Fournoi, north of Patmos.

We expected to be able to tie up at the village quay, but was waved off and pointed to another area near the quay where we were expected to anchor. Didn’t like it there. Too deep for the anchor to be properly effective, and not enough swing room in the event of overnight strong winds.

Went to another spot in the next bay and tried the anchor. Rocky bottom and the anchor didn’t want to stay set.

So we finished up for the night in a quiet fishing harbour in the next bay where we were made welcome by some of the local fishermen. A lovely night.

colin on April 28th, 2017

Another long day’s sailing, this time we used the wind.

All too often we find ourselves motoring around the place because there’s insufficient wind to make it worthwhile hoisting the sails.

Not today. It was a brisk (up to 8kts) sail almost due east to Patmos, one of the nicest islands we’ve visited so far.

We tied up alongside the wharf and went to find a car to hire. Here I found Dimitri, who speaks English well, and was born at Balmain Hospital in NSW. Small world. He was only 4 when his parents decided to de-emigrate back to Greece, and I think they may have got it right.

Visited the cave (which is now a church) where St John is alleged to have written the book of Revelations. Nice little cave; cool in summer, easily heated in winter, and a nice quiet spot to do a bit of inspired writing. And a great view of any yachts coming to visit.

Also a nice monastery/castle at the top of the hill which overlooks the bay, and the settlement in the harbour.

We liked it here, and could easily be persuaded to stay a lot longer.

colin on April 26th, 2017

We left Mikonos and sailed past Delos. (The trip to Delos I did was done from Mykonos).

A fairly long trip, about 45 miles, but pleasant, and with a nice, quiet bay on the south side of Denoussa for the overnight stay.

Nicely sheltered from all but southern winds, the water a beautiful turquoise that you only seem to get here in Greece. There are about 6 or 7 homes scattered around the bay, and a single road coming in. But we saw not a single trace of any activity, only heard the raucous declarations by a pair of roosters warning each other off. But no people, and no sign af any cars.

Next day, off to Patmos.

colin on April 26th, 2017

In ancient times, Delos was the centre of the Greek world.

The birthplace, according to the stories, of Apollo and Artemis, two of their most important gods. Ancient Delos became rich on the offerings of pilgrims visiting Apollo’s birthplace, and was consequently the pre-eminent cultural centre of it’s time.

Occupied from about 3500BC, it reached it’s height around the 7th century BC. Delos even had it’s own Oracle. You know you’ve made it when you have your own Oracle, no? MySQL users, take note.

Later, a major player in the Delian League, which was actually a military alliance, it took part in wars against Persia and Sparta (Pelopponesian wars). Always wars. Don’t they get sick of it?

At some point in their history, one of the local despots decided that there was too much gold there to be ignored. And like the tax man, he cameth and tooketh away. Thieving bugger.

Eventually, because Delos took sides with Rome, Mithridates of Pontus attacked the island, killing about 20,000 Roman residents. Damn Pontians. A few years later it was attacked again by pirates.

The island fell into decline, and was eventually uninhabited for many years. Today it has about 14 full-time residents, there too make sure no-one steals any treasures.

The name Delos is often recognised these days because of another bunch of latter-day pirates, the crew of SV Delos. Not many people rate a free plug on my blog.

colin on April 26th, 2017

From Syros to Mykonos. An easy sail, arriving early afternoon.

Couldn’t work out how to change channel on the VHF. Was redirected by the Harbour Manager to tie up somewhere I didn’t really want. (The Greek Pilot book says you can tie up alongside…. not so). Anyway, long story short, got into a heated discussion with the Harbour Manager when, after dropping anchor where he said to, he told me in broken English, “Now you’ve tangled your anchor with the mooring chain”.

Red rag to a bull.

Said “Okay, we’re leaving right now. Get your diver to untangle us!”. After discussing the situation with the Port Police, we finally decided to stay, and an uneasy truce was called. Finished up staying several days.

It has the name, but aside from differences with the locals, I still didn’t think much of the place. Perhaps “Mickey Mouse” is a better name for it; it’s like Disneyland in the Aegean. Lots of expensive shops, very much aimed at relieving tourists of their money, and all a little artificial white-painted village of “twisty little passages, all alike” (for Zork fans). And not a single piece of bare flesh at the so-called nudist beach recommended by John Livanos. Disappointing.

Well, at least I took a trip across to Delos.

colin on April 18th, 2017

Arrived in Syros, a few days ago. Had a few pleasant days/nights in Vari bay on the south side, then came to Ermoupoulos when the wind came up strongly from the south.

Nice little island. We hired a car and toured the whole place easily in two days. But only because we went back to the boat early on the first day.

colin on March 30th, 2017

I’m back!

Seems that anytime I contemplate another post, Sandra beats me to it with something from her iPad, robbing my sails of wind. Well, here’s how I can beat that: upload videos from the 4K camera.

We’ve been in Aegina a few days, getting She’s Apples ready to depart. Here we are, playing silly games in a restaurant. Move over Michael Caine.

colin on September 19th, 2016

We departed early in the morning for Zea Marina, the main yacht harbour for Athens. Or we would have, but for the 30 mins spent untangling our anchor.

Conditions in the harbour were fine, then we ventured outside where the strong wind was whipping up some unpleasant swells and even a few whitecaps. So the crossing to Zea was unpleasant.

We’d phoned ahead the day before to get a berth and radioed them on our arrival at the breakwater. No problem, we were expected, just back it into here, please.

We thought we’d stay a few days but finished up staying quite a bit longer. Later in the afternoon, Sandra’s grand-daughter and her boyfriend Josh joined us for two or three weeks.

A nice dinner at the local restaurant – welcome to Greece, Holly & Josh.