Wednesday, 15 November 2017

The Dash West To Escape The Meltemi. Leros To Poros. 10 - 20 June 2017.

A Quick Sail West Through The Dodecanese And The Cyclades To The Saronic Coastline Of Mainland Greece.

     The forecasters were predicting a short rest from the Meltemi wind for a few days so we decided to escape the safety of Leros Marina and make a dash for the Cyclades hopping to explore most of the islands. Unfortunately, the Meltemi decided to return early so we had to make a dash across to mainland Greece to escape the next blow. Guy enjoyed the sailing and navigational challenges while Ginny enjoyed the many dolphins we were to encounter. We were to complete 243 NM in a week and it included 5 dawn starts to escape the worst of the blows and swell in the afternoons. It was great fun and gave us an opportunity to explore new islands.

Overnight Stops For The Dash West.
The Route 10 - 15 June 2017
123 NM.

1. Lakki To Xerocambas 10 - 11 June.

        This was a short sail to the southern tip of Leros Island to meet up with our Oz friends on Southern Comfort and save on marina fees! It would also give us a chance to test the fridge without shore power. The Meltemi was still blowing so spent a couple of nights tied up to a buoy enjoying once again the excellent Tavernas of this well sheltered bay.

Ginny, Pauline, Crew And Geoff From
Southern Comfort. FIX Time.
Little Bear And Big Bear!!

The Gorgeous Bay Of Xerokambos. Southern Tip Of Leros Island.
There Are 23 Different Spellings For This Bay! 

2. Xerokambas Bay To Levitha Island 12 - 13 June.

      A dawn start saw us soon sailing and heading west with the wind on our beam. It was a wonderful 20nm sail except for the swell which had not eased off yet. We were entertained by several dolphins on the crossing and various times, this probably being the first day in a week they could show off their considerable skills of playing with the bow. We entered Levitha Bay at 1100 hrs and were soon tied on a buoy close to Princess Orsini. The isolated island of Levitha is an absolute gem of a place to visit, but bring your own supplies. It must have been an excellent pirate hiding location in the past and now supports only 2 families who manage the buoys in the bay and the Taverna at the top of the hill. The goat or lamb is always fresh! A torch is essential when returning after dark. 

Playing With The Bow.
Keeping A Watchful Eye.
Such Fun

Tied To A Buoy In Levitha Island Bay.
Kisti Two And Princess Orsini.
Then There Were 8!
A Real Pirates Bay.
Absolutely Stunning.
Path Up To The Only Building And Taverna.
The Only Building Housing The Two Families
And The Only Taverna On The Island.
Aaahhhh, A FIX.
Levitha Bay Entrance.
Searching For A Wifi Signal.
There Were 15 Boats In The Bay By The End Of The Day.
Princess Orsini Departing South.
3. Levitha To Ormos Kalotiri On Nisos Amorgos 14 June.

        We had no weather report on Levitha, but we knew a blow was coming in so decided to head west into the Cyclades. We departed at dawn on the 14th June and headed west with a shepherds warning of a sunset. All was relatively calm on the south side of Levitha, but it was not to prove so as we rounded the corner! The main was well reefed as Kisti Two pushed her shoulder into the waves, but the washing machine effect soon got really bad and although doing 6 knots, we were shoved around quite considerably. Once the bow of Kisti Two had submerged herself twice up to the mast, Guy turned more westward and with the wind on the beam, we made much better progress, dropping the main and only sailing on the Genoa. It was a fast and furious sail completing the 41 NM in little over 6 hours. It was with great relief that we sailed around Nikouria Island into a most wonderfully sheltered bay of Kalotiri with is crystal clear water, perfect holding and protection from the wind. Just a wonderful setting to recover from the mornings challenge and enjoy a gorgeous sunset.

Red Sky In The Morning, Shepherds Warning?
Leaving Levitha Island.
Getting A Bit Exciting.  Meltemi Wind And Swell Head On.
6.2 Knots With Genoa Alone.
Amorgos Island In The Distance.
The Steep Cliffs Of Amorgos Island.
Peace At Last In The Wonderful And Safe Anchorage Of Kalotiri Bay.
Sunset In Kalotiri Bay, Amorgos Island.

4. Amorgos Island To Naousis Bay, Paros Island. 15 June.

      We awoke to a beautiful bright dawn and headed of towards Naxos Island. There was not much wind so we motored west through the rocky gap of Koufonisia Islands then NW up through the islands of Naxos and Paxos. We enjoyed looking at the touristy coastline but continued up North then turned west to go and anchor in the large Bay of Naousis at the north of Paros Island. It is a wonderful and safe anchorage to spend a few days. We finished the day with another gorgeous swim , sunset and BBQ.

Sunrise On Kalotiri Island.
Parionos On Epano Koufonisia.
Navigating Our Way Through The Rocky Gap Between
Kato Koufonisia And Epano Koufonisia.
Condor Type Ferry Passing Us Doing 30 Knots Between Naxos And Paros.
Sunset At Naousis Bay, Northern Tip Of Paros Island.
5. Paros Island To Fikiadha Bay On Kithnos Island 16 June.

      Another dawn start as we knew a big Meltemi blow was incoming soon so we decided to get across to the safety of Poros further west on the Greek mainland south of Athens. Our first leg was to Kithnos Island. We headed west for the first 4 hours under engine and flat calm sea. We were joined by 6 dolphins who remained with us for an hour playing around with the bow of Kisti Two and generally showing off. The wind then picked up to a F4 and allowed us to sail the final 25 NM round the south corner of Kithnos where we were joined by more dolphins and then tacked north up to Fikiadha Bay. The wind picked up to F5 and it was a great relief to find the bay once again offered perfect shelter with excellent holding. It was another stunning location with a beach connecting a small island of Loukas to the main island of Kithnos. 

Paros Island To Kithnos Island.
Sunrise Departing Naousis Bay.
4 Dolphins On The Beam Of Kisti Two.

On The Bow Of Kisti Two.
Just A Most Wonderful Experience.
Anchored In The Shelter Of Ormos Fikiadha.
Storm Clouds Brewing.
Ormos Fikiadha With The Beach Connecting To Loukas.

6. Nisos Kithnos To Poros On The Saronic Coast. 17 - 20 June.

     The final dash involved yet another dawn start to get across to Poros. We enjoyed an excellent 2 hours sail before the wind died and the iron Genoa was in action. We motored past the ghostly island of Yeoryious which was covered in fog with all its wind powered generators standing still. We entered the small eastern entrance of Poros and motored round to the pontoons on the west. Very few spaces available elsewhere for med mooring. It felt good to be tied up to land again and have a good nights sleep. We spent the next few days re-stocking the boat and ourselves having discovered the excellent Butchers Restaurant which provided Dinosaur sized pork chops. Outstanding. 

     The Meltemi blew really hard especially in the Cyclades so it was good to be safe in Poros, although we were to have an enormous rain storm one night. The pontoon was a bit uncomfortable so we motored off to anchor in Russia Bay and wait for all the wind and swell to blow over. Poros was a lovely but very touristy town that we had first visited with Dave and Anne of Serenity some years before. It somehow all looked very tired, but was a safe spot and good restock spot. It was also good to catch up with Alice, Tim and Tina. 

The Final Dash West To Poros To Escape A Big Meltemi Blow.
Yeoryios Island Full Of Windmills. Landing Prohibited.
Entering Poros From The East.
Poros Town Topped By It's Clock Tower.
Poros Pontoon.
Our First And Only Rain All Summer, And What A Downpour?
Now That's What I Call A Pork Chop.
The Butchers Restaurant.
Anchored In Poros Bay.
Our Friends Tim And Tina's Yacht Shiraz.
Anchored In Russian Bay.
Russian Bay Anchorage.
A Small Church In Russian Bay.
Now That Is How To Retire.
Sunset In Russian Bay.