|On passage Simi to Leros|
On departure from Simi we headed west intending to leave Kos to starboard but as we approached the end of the Turkish mainland the wind veered and we changed the plan from, heading out to Asti Palia, to, rounding the eastern end of Kos and then heading north through the Dodecanese. The result was a fast sail northwards to Leros where we anchored at 1630 in the bay on the south end of the island, at Xerokambos; an excellent 65 mile sail, most of which had been with good winds and on a close reach, the fastest point of sailing.
|During the thunderstorm|
|The anchorage at Ornos Roussa, Dhenousssa|
Next day was a 1000 start in rather variable conditions. The weather was overcast and the clouds unstable. Prime thunderstorm conditions and we were not to be disappointed! Our original intention was to sail north to Fournoi or Patmos ready for an early departure next day over to Mykonos where our next crew members were due to join. By the time we had sailed off the anchor and cleared the bay it was already raining and the first lightning strikes were visible. Half an our later we had to set course westwards to clear the worst of it but even so we were treated to a spectacular show of thunder and lightning with very many strikes visible onto the hills of Leros. The boats closer to the shore had a much worse time than we did; we managed to skirt the worst or it but not without heading more than a few miles west. The result was another change of plan and we continued west to the very small island of Dhenoussa, about ten miles east of Naxos. We anchored in Ormos Roussa just as the sun was setting. On our approach to the island we had been followed by a French catamaran who, on entering the bay, motored past us at full speed to ensure he got first choice of anchorage position. We continued to sail in, rounded up and anchored in our chosen anchorage; we then went for a brief swim, served ourselves a gin and tonic and settled down for a pleasant evening on deck. The French were still trying to get their anchor to hold! Eventually, after several attempts in their chosen spot they motored over in our direction and anchored about 50m away. We grinned quietly!
|On the waterfront, Naoussa|
Next morning dawned bright and warm with a good northerly breeze. With time in hand to get to Mykonos we decided to head for Naoussa in Paros first and to fill up with water and food there. Easier and cheaper than Mykonos. By mid afternoon we were anchored in the north-western bay, Ormos Ay Ioannou, in Naoussa bay. We had the anchorage to ourselves and so settled down for the night.
Next morning we motored gently across the bay, in no wind, and moored up in the marina at Naoussa town. The marina used to be well maintained but is obviously in decline. Few of the holding off lines remain and they have ceased to charge for it's use. Obviously not covering its costs and another example of EU money potentially going to waste! The town itself seems to be doing well enough, smartly painted and awaiting the start of the tourist season. It also possesses two very good supermarkets (by Greek standards) on the outskirts. Watered, re victualled and refreshed by a beer in the taverna on the quay we set sail for Mykonos. A 20 mile beat to windward. The wind held for the first hour or so but then died away. Rather than drift for hours with the sails flogging we decided to motor in and thus we arrived in the anchorage at Agrari at around 1600; still no wind.
|In Mykonos marina|
The small beach at the western end of Agrari has a stage structure, now in ruins, built for Yehudi Menuhin to entertain the Greek King and his guests when the Royal yacht was anchored offshore in the spot we now occupied. It is also the beach that featured in the film “Shirley Valentine”. We spent just one night there before moving into Mykonos Marina (which now hardly deserves the name). It is becoming more run down every year and there is no sign of the facilities ever being completed. Even more of the holding off lines in the non charter yacht berths are now defunct. We managed to take the same alongside slot that I occupied last year but fortunately it was only for a day or two this year. That night Christoph and I headed into Mykonos town to give him the conducted tour. It does not take long but the architecture is very attractive and given that I was pinned down here by strong winds for almost three weeks last year I was greeted like a long lost friend in several of the bars; no wonder my bank account took such a hit last year! A bottle of local beer is €6 in almost every establishment!
Next day we hired a car to collect the new joiners from the airport and, given that the weather was not great for sailing, we headed from the airport for lunch in Ano Mera, the second town on Mykonos. It was a chance to introduce Stephen, Chris and Jason to normal life on Mykonos before exposing them to the tourist hot house that is Mykonos town itself. We lunched in a very simple Greek taverna, found last year and run by a very entertaining Greek girl and her parents. Their welcome alone made the trip worthwhile, notwithstanding good food and wine at a sensible price.
On completion we returned to the boat, decanted the travellers onboard for a snooze (they had been up since 0400), then Christoph and I headed for the best supermarket on the island to top up the victuals. That done we returned the car, enjoyed an early evening sundowner onboard and finally headed for Mykonos town for a second night out on the tiles and to show the others the lights!
|Anchorage on Rhinia west coast|
Most awoke with a slightly thick head the next day and so, after a slow start combined with a light breakfast, we sailed out of Mykonos and headed for the northern anchorage on Rhinia. On arrival, an hour and a half later, we sailed onto the anchor in our chosen spot but, although the water was flat, the wind was still slightly troublesome; as a consequence, after a leisurely lunch we sailed off the anchor and headed to the better protected anchorage on the west side of the island. There we cooked supper, pasta with meatballs, watched the sun set and retired for a relatively early night; compared with the previous two that is!
|Tied back to what remains of the small quay in Paradise|
|Anchored in Ornos Ay Ioannou, Naoussa, Paros|
|Fishermans harbour, Naoussa|
|Naoussa at dusk|
Sunday dawned windless and stayed that way. Great sunshine but no wind! As a consequence we motored the ten miles back to Elia and this time anchored with a long line tied back to the rocks. Sun and sea were the order of the next two days. No sailing to be done with no wind. Our only excursion was to motor to Paradise Beach, where we tied back to the old quay for a pair of hours whilst a team went ashore to replenish our wine and beer stocks that had run dangerously low, and then it was another motor round to Super Paradise for lunch. Sadly only one of the three restaurants on Super Paradise was open (slow start this season) and that was the self service café associated with the beach disco bar at the eastern end. The food was mediocre and the noise uncomfortable, hence we decided to go back to the boat and head back to Elia which was all the more tranquil. Readers should not be misled by the names Paradise and Super Paradise.. they are misnomers! Whilst preparing to leave we were hailed by two German holidaymakers on whom Christoph decided to practice his mother tongue. Suffice to say they became part of the crew for the next two days but very kindly also took Christoph to the airport from Elia beach for his departure to UK next day. The day was windy but by 1600 it had abated enough to set sail for Paros again and by 1900 Kurukulla was anchored in Naoussa for a second time but this time in the eastern side of the bay, where the protection from the forecast south east winds would be better. The winds never materialised that night and next morning we spent an hour ghosting across the harbour and returning to the idyllic anchorage where Christoph and I had anchored following our arrival in the Cyclades. A day of swimming and sunning (with what sun there was, it was slightly overcast) and then we headed to the marina in the evening for a night alongside; we entered with the intention of supper ashore and a pre departure run to the supermarkets next morning. In the event the forecast strong southerly winds arrived during the night and so it was we decided to stay in the harbour for two nights enjoying the free berthing, electricity and water!
More when we leave.....