NISEROS TO AGATHONISI TO SAMOS
THURSDAY, 26 JUNE 2008
Our destination today is in a n.west direction to Niseros Island. It is very calm so we motor for several hours . Mandraki is the quiet port here, and we both decide it would be somewhere we could easily return to, just to relax, read, maybe paint and draw, and be meditative. The houses here are well maintained, usually two stories, and painted mostly with white (or white-washed), with Aegean blue trims, eg. shutters, doors and balconies. Their use of colourful flowers in pots is effective.
Tony's taverna by the water is a good choice for dinner, while watching the most exquisite sunset. Tony has returned to Greece after living in Footscray for ten years working as a butcher.
Our motor bike ride up to the C14 cliff top village, Moni Paragias Spillanis, is exhilarating. The views are breathtaking over the Aegean Sea. There is also an excellent view down to the dormant volcano. We come across the Icelandic couple we met next to us at Simi, so spend some time over a drink with them. We have the wind rushing by our faces as we ride back down and can hear cicadas trilling in the heat of the evening.
FRIDAY, 27 JUNE 2008
We have at least one hour's good sailing across to Kos, in a n.east direction. This is one place we are disappointed with. It is written up as a small Rhodes, but it doesn't have the same atmosphere with its crowds of tourists and fast food cafes and restaurants, so we have a quiet dinner on Impulsive.
The history here is very interesting and it is exciting to visit the island where Hippocrates was born and lived. We hire push bikes and ride around the Knight's castle, the old harbour area and to Hippocrates plane tree, the site where the father of medicine used to teach his pupils.
SATURDAY, 28 JUNE 2008
After clearing out from Greece we have our first good sail for ages crossing over to Bodrum (Turkey). It is wonderful to catch up with Phil and Robbie and catch up with their latest travels. They have had a wonderful few weeks. We plan to travel with them to Samos (Greece).
Ross and I really enjoy Bodrum. The castle with its underwater archaeological museum is worth a visit.
Bodrum is busy with lots of tourists and shops but, with all its waterfront areas and restaurants, you are always looking out over water and boats. The residential area up behind the tourist area is lovely to walk through with narrow streets shaded by vines and colourful bougainvillea spilling over the walls.
It lacks the charm of the smaller Greek ports but has its attractions. The marina is very large and so busy all the time, especially with the gullets coming and going. Both the waterfront lunch and dinner at a restaurant recommended by locals has lots of atmosphere and a delicious Greek cuisine.
THURSDAY, 29 JUNE 2008
We set off with Robbie and Phil to motor the short distance to Akyar Koku just west of Bodrum. We decide to take shelter here until tomorrow morning or we would have a strong wind on the nose.
This is a small local beach resort. During the afternoon I hear a dinghy motor struggling nearby. We realize they have problems and are being taken out to sea quite quickly. As Ross goes in our dinghy to help them, Phil happens to call by, so goes to their aid too. Between them they bring the dinghy and people back to shore. It makes us realize how quickly these things can happen.
It is like one big beach party here until dark when all the locals go home and now it is peaceful and quiet. We watch the world rugby final on the big screen ashore after a late dinner.
MONDAY, 30 JUNE 2008
We still have to motor n.west into the wind in quite a strong sea to anchor off the point at Ormos Pandeli at Leros Island.
Swimming off the back of the boat here is a treat in these crystal clear, blue waters. We have dinner with our feet in the pebbles on the beach.
TUESDAY, 1 JULY 2008
On our hire bikes we set north off along the coast to Alinda for a coffee stop. They also have local herb tea picked in the mountains here. Then we cross the island via the small fishing village of Gourna on the west coast, to Lakki the capital, with its grand italianette-fascist buildings and wide boulevards. The highlight is the mountain top Pandeli castle with its church run museum. There is only one relic here, but it has many artifacts from the church because the government can't claim them. The library houses many very old books. I would like to develop one with similar architecture for Ross.
We leave the Dodecanese Islands and head n.east to Agathonisi back into Greece (instead of to Palmos because of the wind direction). We have a wonderful sail across to this very small island and port. We are told refugees from Turkey just turn up here, floating on rubber dinghies. They are often people from the Middle East. The coast guard pick them up here and take them off for questioning. It all seems rather sad.
It is surprising we are able to go ashore here for dinner. The town is so small it is surprising there is a restaurant at all, but there are three. The cuisine is simple but delicious. Touring yachties obviously boost their economy.
WEDNESDAY, 2 JULY 2008
We have an early morning walk up to the hilltop village with only three houses and the tiniest church we have ever seen. This steep walk followed by a swim is a great start to the day. From the boat we often hear the goat's bells as they walk around the island. We often see goat on the menu in this part of the world. We are told it is delicious; similar to lamb with a slightly gamey taste.
Now we leave for Samos in the eastern Sporades group. We have a difficult motor sail up the west coast of Agathonisi island, with a bit more protection than the east coast would offer, heading and slapping into the wind. We just finish tying up at Pythagrio port when we see Phil and Wendy Kennon walking down the main cobbled street looking for us. This seems to be amazing to be tied up right in the centre of town and Phil and Wendy have been dropped off by their taxi at the stern of the yacht. We are thrilled to see them, and soon Phil and Robbie come in beside us so it is quite a get together of Australians.
Dinner tonight is at a family run restaurant, Maritsa, specializing in lamb, and situated just back from the waterfront. The lamb is booked for 8pm. The setting is outdoors under a very large old tree which has an impressive cooling effect.
Pythagorio is World Heritage listed with many historical sites, including the Temple of Hera near Ireon built in C6, and was six times bigger than the Parthenon. Pythagorio is named after Pythagoras who was born and lived here on Samos.