Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Rhodes To Kos Via The Dodecanese Islands Of Khalki, Alimia, Symi, Tilos And Nisyros. 25 April - 10 May 2017.

Rhodes To Khalki (Chalki) 25 April 2017.

     We departed Rhodes on 25 April in lovely calm waters and a blue sky. We decided to head back to Khalki so headed out of Mandraki and turned due South West. We were soon sailing in light winds and the cool fresh air but after 3 hours of slow progress, dropped the sails and headed under power. We entered the small bay of Ormos Potomos on Chalki after 41 nm where we had anchored before, set 40 metres of chain out at 1940 hours and settled down for a lovely peaceful night. It felt good to be on the move again.

Departing Mandraki Harbour., Rhodes.
Passing One Of The Deer Columns At The Entrance To Mandraki Harbour.
The Castle And Lighthouse Of St Nicholas, The Grand Master's Palace And Three Windmills
At The Exit Of Mandraki Harbour.
A Very Relaxed Guy With 'That Hat'!
22 Knot Ferry Service Between Islands.

Khalki Island (Chalki) 26 - 27 April 2017.

     We awoke to a lovely morning on 26 April, hoisted the anchor and motored the short 2 nm round to the town quay of Khalki. The town looked wonderful as we approached with all the pastel coloured houses and villas. It reminded us of Fowey, but with glorious sunshine and clean deep blue and turquoise sea. We tied up and immediately set about exploring this wonderful town, coloured houses, narrow streets and the 'wedding cake' bell tower of the church. Most of the houses seemed to be advertised as holiday villas and some were now occupied by tourists. It was exceedingly beautiful and has the most glorious clean bay to swim in. 

Our Overnight Anchorage In Ormos Potomos Bay, Khalki.

The Barren Island Of Khalki With A Knights Of St John Castle.

Tied Up On The Ferry Wall Of Emborios Bay, Khalki.

Guy Selecting A Taverna In Khalki.

The Wedding Cake Clock Tower, Khalki.

The Three Windmills Of Khalki.

Ormos Embrois, Khalki Looking Towards Alimia.

The Town Of Khalki.

The Lovely Clean Water Of The Bay Of Emborios.

        There is of course the Crusader castle to explore as well but as we had to move off from the quay while the enormous Blue Star Ferry docked in at 1900 hours, we decided to motor outside the bay and 'hove to' for sun downers while the ferry quickly berthed and then departed. We returned to our spot on the quay, tied up and were soon ashore to enjoy a wonderful plate load of Khalki Shrimps. They were so good, we had a second plate. Strongly recommended to anyone who visits Khalki.

Happy Days At Khalki.
Kisti Two Tied Up On The Ferry Pier Of Khalki.
Kisti Two On Khalki Quay From The Top Of Town.

Guy In Need Of A 'Fix' After Exploring The Town.
Delicious Khalki Shrimps.

     Alimia Island 27 - 28 April 2107.

      We departed Khalki Quay at 0815 hours on 27 April as the ferry was due in early again and this time motored across to the Island of Alimia, a short 8 nm distance to the north. This is a completely deserted island with two old but well maintained churches, a decrepit crusader castle and 3 sets of ruined accommodation that was once used by German forces as they used to hide and maintain submarines on the island. We were the only boat all day in the bay except for one small Greek fishing boat. We enjoyed a wonderful exploration of the island followed by our first BBQ of the summer. We really love this bay and island.

Departing Khalki Bay For Alimia.
Exploring Alimia Bay. Old Church And German WW2 Accommodation.

Anchored In Alimia Bay Looking Towards Khalki.

Another Knights Castle On Alimia. Top Left With The Stunning Beach.
The Lovely Deserted Beach Of Alimia With Regulation Church.
Exploring The Island Of Alimia.
Kisti Two Anchored In Alimia Bay And Ginny Exploring The
Churches And Old German WW2 Accommodation.
First BBQ Of The Season.

Symi Island 28 April - 5 May 2017.

Monastery And Bay Of Panormitis, SE Symi Island. 28 April - 1 May 2017.       We reluctantly departed Alimia Island on 28 April and enjoyed a wonderful beam reach  sail NW towards the Island Of Symi tucked in close to Turkey. After 20 nm in 5 hours, we dropped the sails and motored in through the narrow entrance to Panormiti Bay on the SW corner of Symi Island to be met by the buildings of the Monastery and accommodation resembling something like Dartmouth Naval College in Devon! 

Sailing Towards Symi Island.
Happy Days On The Sea Again.
 Panormitis Monastery Bay On Symi Island At Sunset.

       We were to spend two glorious days here in this most peaceful bay exploring the surrounding area and monastery. There was no Taverna, but only a coffee shop and a strict set of rules posted everywhere which ensured a very peaceful and harmonious bay. It was a stunning spot and a wonderful safe anchorage. The pictures say it all.

The Monastery And Buildings Of Panormitis Bay.
The Rules Of The Bay. Makes For A Very Peaceful Location.
Kisti Two And Friends Anchored In Panormitis Bay With Windmill At Entrance.
Monastry Courtyard With Pebble Pavement.
Clock And Bell Tower Of Panormitis Monastery.

Monastery Church.
Ginny On Panormitis Immaculate And Clean Waterfront.

Sunset In Panormitis Bay.
Panormitis Monastery Main Entrance And Clock Tower.
Looking Out Through The Main Monastery Entrance.

       The peace and tranquillity was destroyed each day as a not too small ferry would suddenly storm into sight through the bay entrance blowing its horn which would awake the monastery occupants  into a mass of activity and a loud recording of the church bells would sound out to welcome the ferry. The ferry would dock within 5 minutes, drop the ramp and out would pour hundreds of tourists and pilgrims to view the monastery squeezing through the small entrance. After 1 1/2 hours, the horn would sound again and five minutes later the ferry was on its glorious way charging out the entrance and Panormiti would return to being a most peaceful and relaxing anchorage. 

Here Comes The Ferry!
Here Come The Tourists For Their One Hour Visit.
Like An Army Of Ants.
Last Vehicle Off The Ferry With Trees.
Ferry Departs At Speed. Peace Once Again.
The 'Admiral'  Enjoying A Peaceful Corner Of The Bay.
View Of The Bay Of Panormitis And Monastery From The Windmill At The Entrance.
Kisti Two At Peace In The Bay.
Ginny Enjoying The Calm.
Just Love The Peace And Tranquility Of This Bay.
Guy Rowing Back For Beer Complete With New Hat As Ordered By The 'Admiral'.

Pethi Bay. 1 - 2 May 2017.      We departed Panormiti Bay at 0915 on 1 May and tried to sail but soon gave up and reverted to the 'iron genoa'.  We were heading for Pethi Bay on the NE corner of Symi Island but decided to explore all the potential anchorages on the island en route. The first was a small but useful anchorage on the Island of Seskli on the south of Symi. We the motored into all the fjord like bays on the east coast of Symi heading up north. They were all amazingly deep, 1000m, with steep sides, pine trees and not much vegetation. They all had a small deserted beach at the end with regulation church and crystal blue water. Quite stunning even in the grey skies of the day and not much different to Norway. We completed a quick recce of Symi Town and Quay but decided to return to Pethi Bay and join our friends Gaille and Ian from 'Princes Orsini'. It was a useful 13 nm recce.

Ormos Marathouda. Much Like A Norwegian Fjord.
Ormos Nanou. 
The Gorgeous Anchorage Of Ormos Nanou With Church.
Quick Recce Of Symi.
Symi Harbour Northern Front.

Pethi Bay 1 May 2017.      We dropped the anchor in 14 metres of water in Pethi Bay so let out a good 50 metres of chain. Like all the fjords on the east coast, it is very deep all the way to the shore, but the holding is very good here and we dug in well. Guy jumped in for his first swim of the season and declared the water now warm enough for all to join him. Ginny managed a dip as well.

Swim Time In Pethi Inlet And Anchorage.
Pethi Inlet Quay With Kisti Two Anchored In The Bay.

        We joined Gaille and Ian at the local Taverna for a drink and a few Ouzos were enjoyed by all except Guy who had to have his 'Fix' after the swim. It was a fun evening as the pictures clearly indicate!

Sunset Drinks With Gaille And Ian From 'Princess Orsini'
On Pethi Waterfront.
Ouzo And Fix Relaxing The Silver Sailors.
An Another Round Please.

Symi Harbour 2 - 4 May 2017.     We left Pethi nice and early on the 2nd of May to motor the 4 nm round to Symi Harbour. We dropped the anchor in 12 m of water and motored back to a carefully selected spot by Guy (opposite a taverna) and let out 40 metres of chain. We tied up, adjusted rope and chain and were soon in love with Symi. What a wonderful place except when the ferries come in and create massive waves from their wash and if you get a strong SW wind.  There was a wonderful romantic feel about the place with the old and new all blending well together.

Motoring Into Symi.
Guy Checking The Anchor Chain After Tying Up To The Southern Symi Quay.
Guy Admiring The Old English Pilot Yacht.
The Old And New All In One Picture At Symi Entrance.
A Comfortable Position Early In The Day. Time To Watch All The Other Traffic In The Harbour.

We were to spend the next few days exploring all the narrow streets and churches, walking up the hills to take pictures of this lovely town and generally having a most amazing time. It is easy to see why so many Brits have fallen in love with Symi and ended up buying a small property. It was relatively quiet for us as early in the season but you could see why people flocked to Symi. We just loved it and thoroughly enjoyed a bit of the millionaire lifestyle. It cost us nothing to tie up on the quay! The pictures should give a good idea of why we enjoyed Symi so much.

War Memorial With Copy Of Ships Bow From Lindos.
Symi Harbour Side.
Northern Side Of Symi Harbour.
The Whole Symi Harbour From The South With Kisti Two Nestled Below.
Symi Harbour From The South.
Northern Hilltop Church On Top Of Symi Ridge.
There were 3 Tavernas 10 metres across the road from where we tied up and they were to prove to be excellent watering holes and sources of delicious food for us plus their free wifi was an added bonus. The atmosphere was just wonderful.

Beer Time In Taverna O Haris Opposite Kisti Two.
Pethi Bay, Our Anchorage From The Southern Ridge Of Symi Bay.
Our Own Taverna Just Behind Kisti Two. 
Southern Symi Quay With Kisti Two On The Left Opposite Tavernas.
Our Three Tavernas. Dangerous!!
The Character And History Of Symi Is Wonderful.
The Symi Windmills On The Southern Ridge.

      One of the amazing scenes (less the wash) was to witness the speed at which the ferries would approach Symi, turn, drop their anchor and then reverse back and be off loading cars, lorries and passengers all within 5 minutes. This compared to all the shenanigans that goes on when yachts or motorboats attempt the same feat much to the amusement of all those enjoying a drink in the taverna!
I have now concluded that the best time is to go in early before all the tourists have awoken and get sorted out quietly without an audience of experts. There were strong gusts of wind that would blow in over the hills and we had to put on extra lines to keep us safe.

The Fast Approaching Blue Star Ferry.
The Worst ferry For Swell.
Blue Star Ferry Tied Up Within 5 Minutes!
Cup Of Tea. Extra Lines To Secure Kisti Two From Strong Winds.

Panormitis 4 - 5 May 2017.    We departed Symi at 1130 on 4 May and motored round north of the island to go through the narrow shallow gap with the Island of Nimos. We then started sailing towards the Island of Tilos tacking to avoid crossing into Turkish waters, but after an hour of beating against the wind and increasing swell, we binned our plan and instead went with the wind back into Panormitis for one more peaceful anchorage in Monastery Bay. It was an enjoyable 22 nm sail and we were rewarded with a spectacular sunset.

Departing Symi.
Going Through The Shallow Gap Of Nisos Nimos, North Symi.
Sunset In Panormitis Again.

The Island Of Nisos Tilos 5 - 7 May 2017.

      Livadhi Harbour.   We arose early on the 5th May and set off for the Island of Tilos SW of Symi Island. It was a calm sea with no wind, so we motored the whole 25 nm across enjoying the sun and the beginnings of summer. We tied up on the outer wall of Livadhi just after Ushi and Michael on 'Le Canard Gris'  (friends from Licata) pinched the last position inside the harbour. Later, a sudden swell came into the bay from a large passing container boat causing much swell and scrapping of our fender board. we were warned the ferry due in at 1900 would also cause much wash, so after our experience from Symi, we decided to move into the inner part of the harbour wall which was to prove a wise decision.
Not only was there a regular large swell pushed against the wall, but also a large coaster boat arrived in the middle of the night which would have forced us off anyway. Ah, the joys of parking a yacht.

Motoring Towards Nisos Tilos While Ginny Keeps Watch From The Dingy.
Livadhi Bay Looking South.
Livadhi bay Looking North With Kisti Two Tied To The Harbour Wall.
We Moved To The Inside Of The Wall And This Coaster Arrived Overnight!
Having Breakfast In Livadhi While The Coaster Unloads The Sand.
Kisti Two On The Harbour Wall Of Livadhi
With Ushi And Michael Behind Us On ' Le Canard Gris'

      Megalo Chorio.      Livadhi Town did not take long to explore so on the 6th May, we decided to take the bus and explore the Island of Tilos. It was an interesting ride and we debussed at the hill town of Megalo Chorio, the main town on the island built under a large Venetian and Crusader castle. It was an amazing hillside town and had a great deal of charm about it. The flowers here were varied and colourful. We went back on the bus which went to the two other bays on the island before returning to  Livadhi to join Ushi and Micheal for supper in a taverna.

Venetian Then Crusader Castle Above The Hill Town Of Megalo Chorio In Tilos.
Monastery Church Of Megalo Chorio.
The View From The Monastery Church Of Megalo Chorio.
Guy In The Monastery Bell Tower.
Guy Taking A Breather Looking Down Towards Ay Antonios Bay.

The Memsahib Inspecting The Fragrant Tree Blossom.
Looking Up Towards The Hill Town Of Megalo Chorio And Castle.
Small Church Of Megalo Chorio.
Ginny In The Church Courtyard Of The OK Corral Church!!
Stunning Easter Lilies
 Livadhi is a great small harbour with a large bay to anchor in. It has a friendly atmosphere and is said to host late night discos for the young revellers who want to get away from it all. The ferry drops them off at 1900 hrs and picks them up at 0500 hrs in the morning. It was too early in the season so we missed out. Ahh.

Ginny Supporting An' Irish Wig' With Kisti Two Behind In Livadhi.
Livadhi Harbour At Sunset. 

The Island Of Nisos Nisiros 7 - 9 May 2017.

         Palon.    We departed Livadhi, Nisos Tilos on 7 May and had a most wonderful sail towards the small harbour of Palon on the NE coast of Nisiros Island. It was a gentle 19 nm trip and we had to finish it with the engine on as the wind suddenly died on us. We tied up on Palon Quay again opposite a taverna named The Captain's House and alongside 'Carousel' with Steph and Andrew on board, friends from Ag Nik. There is not much to Palon but we decided to stay here and explore the island as there were strong winds forecast for the following two days. We felt we would be well protected so  it proved to be a wise decision.

Departing Livadhi And Nisos Tilos.
Approaching Nisos Yiali Pumice Mining.
Kisti Two Tied Up In Palon Harbour.

Mandraki.    We hired a car from our taverna, The Captain's House, on 8th May and decided to explore the whole Island of Tilos. First stop was Mandraki and what a wonderful surprise it turned out to be. Mandraki is situated on the NW corner of the island as is the main Port but under no circumstances attempt to stay overnight here due to constant swell.

Guy Walking Along Mandraki Waterfront Towards The Hill Top Monastery.

Ginny Below The Mandraki Monastery Which Is Built Into The Sand!!
This Photograph Is For Our Friend John!
      We had great fun exploring the narrow streets of the old town, the Cyclopean Castle built 300 BC, the Monastery built into the cliff and old Crusader castle ramparts above the town. It was an amazing place and the topless flower arrangement made us laugh. The homemade 'Tomato' ice cream was interesting at the end of our excursions. Overall a quaint town not unlike a small Cornish fishing village.

Mandraki Town, The Main Town And Port Of Nisiros.
Ginny Amongst The Wild Flowers And Restored Walls Of The BC Castle Above Mandraki.
Ginny At The Castle Entrance Built About 300 BC.
Guy Admiring The Cyclopean Castle Walls Built 300 BC.
The Narrow Streets Of Mandraki.
Mandraki Main Street.
Mandraki Garden Humour. A Brilliant Idea For Those Old Wellies.
Monastery And Castle Above Mandraki.

The Village Of Emberios.      We then drove up to the village of Emberios nestled on the crater edge of the volcano of Nisyros. It was an interesting village now being done up with interesting apartments with stunning views out to sea and over the valcano. The views were spectacular and the amazing terracing all round reminded us of Nepal. We enjoyed a delicious snack of Goats cheese in red wine, which takes 5 months to make, for just €3.50.  This village is a must, so charming

Narrow Streets Of Emboreios Village High On The Volcano Crater.
The Fascinating Terraces Of Nisiros Reminded Us Of Nepal.
Ginny Overlooking The Volcano Crater From Emborios.

Nisyros Volcano Crater.      We then drove down into the Nisyros Volcano crater. It is the youngest active volcano in Greece, its oldest rocks no more than 150,000 years old. The big central crater is 4km in diameter and has several minor craters inside still spewing smoke from phosphorous holes. We could certainly smell and feel the hot smoke and warmth of the crater floor. It was a stunning experience and amazing landscape. We hope the pictures do it proud? We were left to enjoy it on our own for a least an hour after all the buses and tourists from Kos had departed.

The Large Crater Of Nisiros Volcano.
The Western Crater Of Nisiros Volcano.
The Wild Country Of Nisiros Volcano.
The Northern Crater Of Nisiros Volcano.
The Main Crater Of Nisiros Volcano.
The Sulphurous Yellow Surface Of The Crater.
Fumeroles For Letting Out Steam.
Bubbling Fumeroles.
Guy Alone In The Crater.
Guy Admiring The Size Of The Volcano Crater
Look Carefully And Steam Is Coming Off The Yellow Sulphur Patches.
It Was All Very Warm And Smelly.

Nikia.     We drove out of the crater and south round to the hill village of Nikia, another village perched high up on the crater edge with glorious views out to sea and over the volcano crater. It was another enchanting small village with narrow streets and of course, a monastery. We enjoyed an excellent cup of coffee before driving in thick fog back down to Palon.

Looking Down At Nisiros Volcano From Nikia Village On The Crater Rim.
Nikia Street With Capitals From Column Tops.
Ginny On The Nikia Monastery Steps.
Allo, Allo, Are You Being Served. Coffee Stop In Main 'Round' Square.
The Fog Coming In From The Sea Over The Volcano Crest At Nikia.

Palon.   We remained in Palon on the 9th as we experienced very strong winds and gusts of at least F9. We witnessed one poor boat with its Russian crew being towed in by a Greek fisherman. Guy put on plenty of extra lines to protect Kisti Two. Med mooring certainly makes for interesting jerky nights. The wind and sea has now calmed down so we may head off to Kos tomorrow, who knows.

Back At Palon Harbour. Tucked In Safe away From F7/8/9 Gusts Over The Next 2 days.

Russian Charter Under Tow.
Steph And Andrew From 'Carousel' With The Dingy We All Want!

       This blog covered 166 NM and 5 islands. Our next port of call is hopefully the Island of Kos on 10 May.  We have sailed about half of the time. This last blow has reminded us of the need to keep a watchful eye on the weather here as it changes very quickly as is very hard to predict with any accuracy.