With Larry and Cath on board we set sail from Linaria, Skyros, on Tuesday 17 September across to Evia and anchored at Ormos Petries. The wind was light and we motored the whole way. At Petries we spotted a turtle and settled down to GnT’s with Larry promising to tone down his infamous proportions of gin. Dinner that night on board was a prawn, mint and pea risotto. The following day we motor/sailed southeast towards the notorious Kafireas Strait that divides Evia with Andros. We managed a sail across the strait avoiding many cargo ships. Any thought of tacking down the strait were put to rest when the Admiral suggested we should get this leg over and done with ASAP.
We arrived in Batsi on the south coast of Andros early evening and with the assistance of Nikos, the man at the harbour, we squeezed into the narrowest of gaps between a very accommodating Austrian crew and the harbour wall. Batsi is a delightful village where we enjoyed a lovely dinner at the Dolphins Taverna. We would have liked to stay another day but another meltemi was coming and we wanted to be a bit more snug than where we were so we set off to Delos to visit the ancient ruins.Delos is an amazing site with its iconic lions a stand out. You can only visit by boat or on the ferries that come across from Mykonos and other islands. The site consists of temples from different civilisations and communities. It’s a bit like the World Trade Fair of worshiping made possible due to its tax free status during the ancient Greek and Roman periods. Many of the antiquities remain in the museum on the island and excavation is ongoing by the team of archeologists who are the only residents. Yachts are not allowed to anchor overnight so we skipped across to Delos’s neighboring island, Rinia, and anchored in Miso Bay and settled down to a beautiful sunset, G&T’s and dinner cooked by Larry and Cath.
As the meltemi was forecast for the following day we motored west to Syros to moor at Finikas on the south west of the island. Another Nikos tied us up at the wharf and we stayed three nights while again the wind blew from the north. We hired a car and toured the island and the capital, Ermoupoli, which is also the commercial and administrative centre of the Cyclades. The vegetation is starkly different to the lush green of the pine covered northern Aegean islands. Syros is dry, rocky and devoid of pines. Whilst it is the most populated of the Cyclades, much of the island is sparsely populated giving it a wild and remote feel. Modest resorts are tucked away in small hamlets while Ermoupolis seems to be more about commerce, rather than tourism. We managed, maybe to the readers’ surprise, to eat lovely fish at the local restaurants and restocked the boat for our final leg across to Leros.
On Monday 23 we set sail to Paros, some 26 nm. We anchored in Ormos Naouisis at the north of Paros, a place we stayed at in 2016 during Stuart’s toe incident. This time we stayed in the south west corner of the bay in calm peaceful surroundings, somewhat different to our last visit.
With the promise of good winds later in the day we motored down the still passage between Paros and Naxos. Unfortunately the wind did not fill in until late in the day so we motor sailed along the south coast of Naxos and eventually anchoring at Pori beach, Koufonisi, one of the islands that makes up the Little Cyclades group between Naxos and Amorgos. True to form the wind picked up as we anchored, this time from the west, not the north. The temperature had definitely cooled and swimming was not an agenda item.
The relatively short sail across to Kolytri, an anchorage to the north east of Amorgos, was blessed with a stiff northerly giving Larry a champagne reach averaging 8 kts. Finally, a brief but exhilarating day of sailing. Kolytri is remote and surrounded by the tall mountains of Amorgos. The colours at sunset are breathtaking. We celebrated our penultimate night with sausages in a mediterranean stew and freshly baked ciabatta bread for the Captain’s table.
Unfortunately our winds died the next day and we had a long motor across to the remote island of Levitha, halfway between Amorgos and Kalymnos. This is our third time at Levitha and the first time we ate at the restaurant run by the family who are sole residents during the summer season. On the walk up we noticed goats taking flight, something we remembered as we sat down to a delicious meal of slow cooked goat! It was here that Larry and Cath had their first and last swim.
Our final sail across to Leros was a pleasant broad reach in light conditions. We sailed into Lakki harbour and pulled up to Lakki marina to begin the decommissioning of the boat. On the Saturday we took a long lunch at our favourite restaurant Mylos, where Cath and Larry we able to taste the delights of “drunken mushrooms”, mussels saganaki and sea bream. As we were travelling by taxi we ate and drank too much, celebrating our final days in true style. We farewelled Larry and Cath the following morning and they flew on to Athens and then home. They are always a delight to have on board.
On Tuesday 1stOctober, Epicurios was lifted out of the water at Artemis boatyard. The previous night we had anchored nearby at the island of Archangelos and enjoyed a meal of calamari and slow cooked lamb at Taverna Stigma, another restaurant we have been wanting to try over the years.
Epicurios is now snug on its cradle and packed up for winter in the Artemis Boatyard, Leros.
This year we have motored/sailed 1,807 nm between Turkey and the Aegean, Greece. We used 245 litres of fuel reflecting the number of hours we had to motor but still consuming at an efficient 2.3 l per hour. This was our fifth year, the milestone we set ourselves as to whether we would continue. With a total of 8,570 nm under our belt we have agreed that we want to continue this lifestyle for a while a least. This year we were joined by Deb, Lynda, Steve and Adam, Greg and Jen and Cath and Larry. We sailed in company/competition with John and Terri from Qi and caught up with Lale and Serhat. We met many other sailors, particularly from Australia, and noted that yachties are returning to Turkey. All in all a great 2019 sailing season.
Next year? Hopefully the Cyclades, Peloponnese and Ionians.