Tuesday, 14 November 2017

The Dodecanese. Leros To Leros Via The Islands Of Lipsi, Patmos, Agathonisi And Arki. 23 May To 6 June 2017.

Sailing The Dodecanese.   

     The next couple of weeks were spent sailing around several of the small Dodecanese Islands until we had to seek refuge again from a strong Meltemi blow in Leros. These charts give an idea of the area and the more detailed chart with blue numbers gives an idea of our route and should tie in with the paragraphs!

Chart Of Dodecanese.
The Route Around The Dodecanese Islands.

1. Departing Lakki At Last 23 May.

    It was with great relief that the Meltemi died down at last along with the confused swell so that we were able to escape Lakki not before calling in on Gaille and Ian again on the way out for a chat. The swell was still bad so we only went around the corner to Xerokambos, just 5 miles but what a joy to be away from a marina.

Departing Leros Marina.
The Italian Art Deco Buildings Of Lakki.
Gaille & Ian On Princess Orsini.

2. Xerokambos 24 May.

     We had to tie onto one of the many buoys in the bay of Xerokambos as there was still plenty of wind and several boats all waiting for calmer weather. Steph and Andrew from Carousel offered us a lift ashore to once again enjoy the delights of the excellent Taverna. We sailed out at about 0900 to explore the eastern coast of Leros.

Tied On To A Buoy At Xerokambos.
Ginny Looking Forward To A Night Out.
Andrew, Ginny And Steph Looking Like Superyacht Owners.
The New Dingy.
A Great Night On The Beach Taverna.
Guy, Ginny And Andrew.
Departing Xerokambos.

3. Pandeli Bay And Castle 24 May.

      We sailed up the east coast of Leros exploring all the bays and anchorages. Pandeli town and castle from the sea looked stunning. An amazing site that also featured quite heavily in WW2 when attacked by German Paratroopers. The same castle from Alinda Bay was also very imposing. It was Byzantine in origin and was then used by the Knights of St John, Venetians and Turks.

Sailing Into Pandeli Bay.
Pandeli Town, Castle And Windmills.
Castle From Alinda Bay.

4. Arkhangelos, North Leros. 24 May.

     It was a good sail up to the north of Leros and we decided to anchor in our own bay off to the west of the Island of Arkhangelos with its one deserted house. Perhaps a future project? The water was wonderfully clear and we enjoyed a good swim again.

Anchoring At Arkhangelos Island.

5. Sailing To Patmos Via Lipsos Island. 25 May.

     Thursday 25 May was a wonderfully for sailing so we first headed north to Lipsos Island exploring all the anchorages and bays before heading NW to Patmos Island. It was a great 20 nm sail in perfect F3s and calm sea. 

The Islands Off Lipso.

6. Patmos Island. 25 - 30 May.

           We were going to tie up to the Patmos Town Quay but on seeing the large 4 masted cruising ship in town, decided to go into the Bay of Meloyi round the corner for the night. There was not much room in the bay so after a worrying night decided to head in the next day. We did however get a good view of the sailing cruise ship slide by with all her sails up! A lovely sight to watch as they wandered around the bay.

           Patmos was to prove to be an absolute gem of an island with plenty of character and charm.  The town square is an excellent place to watch people go about life while enjoying good food, wine or beer. 

           The highlight of our stay was the visit to the Holy Cave Of The Apocalypse where St John saw the vision of fire and brimstone and wrote the 'Book of Revelations'. There was a service going on at the time of our visit which added a bit of theatre!

           We then continued our walk up the ancient track to The Fortified Monastery Of St John and its surrounding village of lovely white buildings amongst narrow streets. This 11th Century Monastery is amazing with a fascinating museum. It was founded in 1088 and is now one of the richest, its formidable towers and buttresses to protect its religious treasures now housed in the museum, a 12th century icon of St John and a scroll from 1088 in the treasury is the monastery's foundation deed, sealed in gold by the Byzantine Emperor Alexis. A visit is strongly recommended.

          We found only one restaurant open where we recovered with a good beer on the patio. We were just about to leave when Guy smelt curry being cooked and enquired about it? It was not on the menu but for the owners who immediately offered it up to us. We thoroughly enjoyed the curry which was beautifully spiced only to discover it had been cooked by their Bangladeshi cook for them from spices he brings across by plane. He was amply rewarded with a tip and Guy felt so much better having enjoyed his best curry for over a year. Such is the hospitality of wonderful ordinary people.

        We loved Patmos and will certainly return. Apologies for the many pictures but it was amazing.

Approaching Patmos Town With Masted Cruise Ship.
Cruise Ship With Sails Up!
Fortified Monastery Of St John.
Fortified Monastery And Chorio (Town). Very Impressive.
Patmos Town Moorings.
The Ancient Track Up To The Fortified Monastery Of St John.
St Johns Cave Church Door.
The Church Of St Johns Cave.
Below The Ramparts Of The 11th Century Fortified Monastery Of St John.
Ginny Looking For A Few Souvenirs 
In The Monastery Courtyard.
Monastery Courtyard And Bells.
Monastery Courtyard And Church.
Icons At The Entrance.
View Of Patmos Island And Town From The Ramparts.
Museum Entrance.
Walls Of The Fortified Monastery.
Monastery Windmills.
One Of The Main Facades Of The Monastery.
What No Tourists! The Chora All To Ourselves.
Too Early Even For A Pint In The Chora.
One Of 40 Churches In The Chora Surrounding The Monastery.
Waiting For The Curry And Beer. Patmos Bay Behind Us.
Now That Was A Great Curry!!
The Narrow Streets Of The Chora.
The Main Square Off The Chora.
The Charming Patmos Town Square. 

7. Lift Out At Agmar Marine 30 May - 1 June.

           We departed Patmos Quay on 30 May eventually after 40 minutes with trying to untangle ourselves from another yachts anchor. We thankfully had help from a Turkish Gullet crew. Such are the joys of Med Mooring. you have not had a good season unless it happens at least once in the season. 

       We eventually got moving and headed south to Agmar Marine as Guy was not happy with the rope cutter on the shaft which had become loose and was affecting the prop. We tied overnight to one of their buoys and in the morning were lifted out, had the cutter removed, hull spray washed and back in the water within 2 hours. Agmar Marine is on the north of Leros Island right beside the airport and appears to have a reasonable team in a very comprehensive workshop. Hard standing is available for winter storage.

      After being put back in, we anchored again off Arkhangelos Island with a much happier Guy.

Tied To A Buoy Off Agmar Marine.
Shower Time!

Lift Out At Agmar Marine.

Plane Taking Off From The Airport Of North Leros Beside Agmar Marine.

8. Lipso And Agathonisi Islands 1 - 4 June.

           There was no wind on Thursday 1 June so took the opportunity to motor in calm seas to the south of Lipso Island and anchored in Koulara Bay in the most stunning clear water. There were several goats on the hills that provided us with a stereo concert of Goat bell sounds most of the night. The next morning we motored up to Agathonisi Island and after a swim in our own perfect bay decided to use the afternoon wind to sail round the island. It was great fun with several tacks but we made it round and then anchored off the main small town of the island after a good 37 nm that day.  The two villages of Mikro Chorio and Meghalo Chorio are hidden from the anchorage as per ancient custom so as not to be seen by pirates or marauding enemy. It was a beutiful spot with a few new buildings and restaurants surrounding the port and ferry pier. It was a wonderful spot with plenty of charm only disturbed by the daily ferry. We enjoyed a couple of nights here and would quite liked to have stayed longer.

Anchorage Off East Lipso Island. 
Tea Time Anchored In The Bay Of Agathonisi.

Anchored Off Agathonisi.
Kisti Two In The Bay Of Agathonisi.
Kisti Two In The Bay From Meghalo Chorio.
Guy In The Delightful Restaurant.
Ginny Chillaxing.
Sunset From The Restaurant With
Kisti Two Anchored In The Bay.
What, No Beer? (Yet).

9. Arki Island 4 June.

              The future weather was closing in and our fridge was not working so we headed for Arki Island where we stumbled on the most amazing anchorages with crystal clear water and white sands so decided to spend a night there. It was an amazing spot and we were again surrounded by enormous goats with bells clanking away. Sadley with no fridge and the Meltemi brewing, we would have to move on.

Such Gorgeous Water.
The Stunning Waters Off Arki Island.
Utter Contentment Anchored Off Arki.

A Panoramic Picture Of The Anchorage.
Simply Stunning.
Arki Anchorages.
Port Augusta On Arki.

10. Arki To Lakki Via Ormos Gournes.  5 - 6 June.

        We had a look around all the bays and anchorages of Arki Island under motor until the wind picked up at 1200 then sailed south to Leros Island again. We had a look in Gournes Bay but decided there would be too much swell so sailed back into Lakki and anchored off for the night. We then went back into Leros Marina on the morning of 6 June. A fridge engineer came and looked at our fridge and said we need a new thermostat. After purchasing a thermostat and installing it, there was no change so we insisted on gas, and hey bingo, it worked. Oh well, at least we had cold beer again. The temperature by day had constantly been in the 40C level so it had clearly been struggling with the load. We were to spend 4 days here while the Meltemi blew again but also took the opportunity to restock and explore. More to follow. 

Gourma Bay Off Western Leros Island.
Approaching Lakki Again!
Back To Leros Marina.