|Mykonos to Astypalaia|
|Anchored in Ormos Kouroupa, Naxos|
|View from the old Chora, Ornos Livadhi, Iraklia|
|Sunset at Ornos Kalotiri, Amorgos|
|Windmills above the Chora, Amorgos|
|Monastery of Hozoviotissa, Amorgos|
From here we retired to the Chora for a delicious meal in a very local taverna and, after returning the hire car, adjourned back to Kurukulla for the night. The next morning, after getting fresh bread and a few other victuals, we set off for Santorini. The promised northerly wind was blowing a steady 15 knots and we made excellent progress passing through between Amorgos and it off-lying islands at its SW tip and then … ; yes you have guessed, after the first two hours the wind started to lighten and we found ourselves going dead downwind in light airs!
|Ormos Tris Klises, Ios|
Next morning we sailed off the anchor, out of the bay and again headed south to Santorini; this time it was to be a downwind sail but with enough wind to keep us making good progress all the way. In fact by 1400 we were on a buoy, inside the lagoon at Santorini, having been fortunate enough to find a vacant private mooring off the shoreline of the smaller island of Thirasia.
We were later informed that these two moorings are owned by
the “Trips round the bay” sailing catamarans and are only used
between mid day and 1800. Outside these times they are happy for them
to be used by other vessels. We decided to stay on the mooring
overnight and then to adjourn to the marina at Vlikadha, on the
south coast, in order to leave Kurukulla in a place of safety whilst
we visited Skala Thira, the main town of Santorini. The marina is an
interesting place, it is now re-designated a “fishing haven” and
used as an overnight berth by all the “trip round the bay”
catamarans and a selection of fishing boats; however, because there
is such poor utilisation of space and no pontoons, there is very
little room available to visiting yachts.
Although built as a marina
for visiting craft it has been claimed as home territory by the
large, unwieldy, catamarans and they are not particularly helpful
when it comes to making space available. Access is also not helped by the
fact that the harbour is very shallow, ranging from 3m max to
less than 2m in places.
Much care is needed not to go aground.That
said we managed to get into a tight but sheltered berth at the inner
end of the outer harbour. Not too bad and with berthing, water and
power available for a minimal charge we could not complain! We made
our dash for town early the next morning, catching the 0700 bus which
was due to arrive at Skala at 0730 according to the timetable. In
fact, after taking us on a magical mystery tour of the southern part
of the island, we finally arrived in Thira at 0815; Yorgos explained
that the timetable was irrelevant as the bus was used to pick up all
the school children from the outlying areas and due to this detour it
was much later arriving on school days; the timetable gave no hint of
|Finikia on Santorini|
|The channel between Palaia Kammeni (L) & Nea Kammeni (R)|
|Vlikadha Marina (Fishing Refuge)|
|Sunset at Anafi|
After coffee and a walk along the cliff tops we adjourned to a local supermarket to get all our victuals for the coming days and then took a taxi back to the boat, much easier... Buy 1130 we were under-way, under full sail and heading for the small island of Anafi where we planned to anchor for the night. Anafi has a very small population but some stunning beaches along the south coast. After a short reconnaissance we settled on an anchorage just off the longest beach on the south coast; it was totally open to the south but with north winds blowing, and forecast to continue, anchoring here was not a problem.
We were securely
anchored an hour before sunset, passed a very pleasant night here and
were away by 1030 the next day enjoying an exhilarating reach to
Astipalaia. Once clear of the lee of Anafi were forced to take in a
reef but even so we were averaging over 7 kts for the first two hours
and eventually covered the 33 miles in 5 hours.
|Yorgos doing acrobatics....|
I have been to Astipalaia a few times before and so it was a real pleasure to return to this picturesque and unspoilt island. Our time here was to be limited and so we opted for the anchorage to the west of the main town of Scala for the first night, moving into the port early the next morning to visit the town and the castle.
The castle has been
extensively restored but still carries considerable charm. After a
short shopping trip and an excellent lunch ashore, in a taverna right
on the northern end of the harbour beach, we set off for a brief
passage across to the anchorage at Ag Ioannis which we anticipated
might be deserted; this was not to be; we arrived to find two other
yachts anchored in the inlet but there was still enough room for us.
The only problem with this anchorage is that the bottom is mostly
hard sand and it is not easy to get the anchor to penetrate, It took
us three attempts but eventually we were satisfied that we were
secure for the night. After a brief wander ashore around the deserted
buildings (once a farm) we settled for the night and prepared for a
relatively early start in the morning.
Our next destination was the
volcanic island of Nisiros.
|Scala, Asti Palaia|
|AstyPalaia to Mykonos|
We set off on the 35 mile passage to Nisiros at 0600 in reasonably brisk northerly winds and were earlier than anticipated reaching the islands. As a consequence we decided to anchor in the bay on the eastern side of Pergoussa, a small island 3 miles short of Nisiros, and enjoy a leisurely lunch. The leisurely lunch led into a relaxing and windless afternoon and that turned into a night at anchor in the bay!
morning there was just enough wind to sail off the anchor but within
half an hour that had subsided to nothing. “Hoist the iron
foresail!”. We motored for the next 45 minutes towards Pali, the
best yacht harbour in Nisiros. Just as we approached the wind started
to get up but too late, we had resigned ourselves to motoring in and
berthed on the southern side of the harbour in front of the tavernas.
Our main aim was to go and see the crater of the still (just) active
volcano but unbeknown to us the bus service does not run this late in
the year! Only one thing for it …. a hire car. Ten minutes later
and €30 poorer we set off on a tour of the island. In fact hiring
the car was the best decision that we made as it allowed us to tour
all the easily passable roads on the island (for the rest you need
The crater is impressive but so are some of the other sights on
the island, deserted villages and great views. We ended the evening
with a visit to Mandraki, the capital of the island, and then
returned the hire car before retiring for the night.
|Inside the crater of the vulcano, Nisiros|
|Looking down on the crater of the vulcano, Nisiros|
The forecast for the next day was for thunderstorms with mostly northerly winds, gusts in the thunderstorms but nothing excessive. They were wrong!
first half of the passage to Symi the winds were westerly and
relatively light; we steered courses to avoid the worst of the dark
clouds lingering over Turkey but eventually our luck in avoiding
these ran out. For the next 45 minutes were hurtled blind into
torrential rain, so strong that you could only just make out the bow
from the wheel and 45 to 50 knot winds; fortunately for us these were on the
beam as we headed east. We had taken the precaution of double reefing
and rolling five rolls in the genoa before it hit but it was still
fairly hairy! I sent the two crew down below and stayed at the wheel
sheltering my eyes with my hand so that I could see the compass and
glancing occasionally in the direction of the bow but unable to see
anything. When in Symi harbour, two days later, we were shown video
film of the devastation caused by the same storm as it passed over
Symi; the main street leading down into the town was like a river
with cars being washed into the harbour. Devastating! After weathering the storm
we headed for the anchorage at Panormos for the night.
still circulating and this seemed the best sheltered anchorage
available. Despite a thunder and lightning show, going on for most of
the night, the winds remained moderate and we passed a settled night
at anchor. Next morning we moved alongside the jetty, in front of the
monastery, and made a quick tour of the same before motoring out of
the anchorage and setting sail for the town of Symi. We chose to go
west-about and after anchoring for lunch we sailed eastwards through
the narrow gap between Nisos Nimos and Nisos Symi. As luck would have
it the beam reach we enjoyed as we entered the gap turned into a beat
to windward to escape the far end. Seven tacks later we were through,
good practice for the crew but slightly nerve racking for the skipper,
the channel is little more than three boats lengths wide at its
narrowest so a passage upwind through the gap is not simple.
quarters of an hour later we were moored on the north side of Symi
harbour, between a large power boat and a Turkish gullet. It was
possibly the most sheltered spot in the harbour and this was lucky
for us as there was quite a nasty send running up and down the
harbour. Fortunately it moderated as the night progressed. Next
morning it was time to do battle with the authorities again, this
time to leave Greece. After visits to Port police, Immigration
Police, Customs and finally Port police again we were free to leave.
Now was time to say goodbye to Yorgos, our Greek crew member, who was
returning home by ferry to Paros (via Pireaus – there is no direct
ferry to Paros or it adjacent islands) and for Christoph and I to
sail across to Bozburun and do battle with the Turkish authorities to
After a night anchored outside the harbour we entered
Bozburun next morning, engaged an agent and let him get on with it.
Turkish Cruising Permits are almost exclusively available through
agents hence they have a virtual monopoly on the process of entry and
charge between €75 and €100 for the privilege. By 1130 we were
free to go and set off in a brisk SW breeze to beat out of the bay at
Bozburun, out into the Rhodes Straits and head NE towards Marmaris
with the intention of anchoring in one of the bays en route for the
night, depending on progress. By 1530 we had decided to head into
Gerbekse for the night as the wind was very light and we were only
making 1 – 2 knots. Start the engine …. nothing … not even a
whisper. It was either the starter motor or an electrical fault.
Given that the starter motor is in the most inaccessible place
possible and fault finding on the electrics in the failing light was
going to be a nightmare I opted to keep sailing and head direct to
Marmaris. Suffice to say we arrived 10 hours later having covered the
final 12 miles at an average speed of 1.2kts. There was no wind and
just to make life more interesting, at 0100, just as we were entering
the narrowest part of the channel heading into the bay of Marmaris, a
Thompson cruise ship decided to depart the bay. It all adds to the
|Pali harbour, Nisiros at dusk|
|The monastery at Panormitis, Symi|
|Stern to at Symi|
|Departing Symi heading for Bozburun|
|The lift out, 2015|
That was the end of the 2015 season; all that remained now was to pack away all the sails and sailing gear, deep clean her, put on Kurukulla's winter cover and then head home to UK. This will be Kurukulla's last winter in Turkey. Next year the plan is to head west and winter in France.
More in 2016...............