Hi all Sue here
This has been a strange summer for us as we have been sailing mainly in the company of family or friends on other yachts and have mostly been revisiting islands that we have been to before. So this blog might cover a lot of old ground!!
Following my return from the UK we spent a day in Athens doing all the sightseeing things.Glad we managed to fit it in as it is probably the last time we will be up this way.
|Fun day around the Acropolis||Taxi!!|
Karistos was our first stop after Athens and we spent some time exploring the island, Caroline and me went on a ladies hike and Chris and Richard went off on their boys hike.
|Spot the Dragonfly||Church on Top Of Mount Ohi|
Rich and Chris took advantage of the Islands and did some wonderful hikes around the landscapes. We started on Evia with a hike to the top of Mount Ohi at 1400m high, we took a taxi to about 1000m up and walked to the summit before walking all the way down to the harbour at Karystos. A pretty strenuous 15km in total but some stunning views from the top since we were lucky enough to have clear skies up there.
After that we walked around the hills behind Sand Bar Bay on Kithnos, only about 8km this time but plenty to see with an opportunity to see some old farmhouses in some remote locations with barely a donkey track to them.
On Sifnos we tried following a marked trail but ended up near a locked gate with an old woman across the valley making it very clear that she did not want us walking on her land!! Most unusual for the Islands since the locals are invariably friendly and welcoming. We detoured around her land up to the White Tower and then back through some old iron ore workings with many abandoned conveyors and machinery.
Serifos is another great Island for hiking with many properly marked trails through some beautiful countryside. We managed three walks with the last one from Fikadhia Bay to Platis Gialos, Vathy and back being the best with a great track from the top of Vathy back down to Fikadhia.
We love Kithnos but it can be very windy and it definitely was this time around. I will let Chris explain just how windy in sailing talk but it was like being on a big dipper in my opinion!! We were aiming go into Loutra but changed our minds when we saw how dangerous it would have been to stay. Still very beautiful and we actually went to a part we hadn’t stopped at before, Stefanos.
|Stefanos, Kithnos||Spooky, little church in bay of Stefanos lit up at night|
We made a brief stop at Serifos where we sent Caroline and Richard on a hike up to the Chora, we have done this twice and didn’t feel the need to hike up there again, well we told them it was too windy for us all to leave the boat unattended!!
|They made it!!||Old Conveyors, Sifnos|
Sifnos is one of our favourite islands and we never tire of exploring it. Caroline and me did go on a little adventure on the local buses around the island one day, it’s so easy to get around and all the buses are air conditioned. The anchorage of Fikiadha is well worth a visit, the snorkelling there is really good and you actually get to see a lot of different fish and even an odd octopus. The beach here is a nudist be beach so be warned.
|Ormos Vathi, Sifnos||Capital of Sifnos, Apollonia|
Milos was a very busy and touristy island, good place to catch a ferry from though and this is where we dropped Caroline and Richard off after their 3 week stay to go to Athens to catch their flight.
|Great holiday once again||Fikadhia Bay, Serifos|
Then it was off to Kimolos to sit out some more Meltemi Winds, a very lovely place to do it in though and the walk up to the village is a must. Considering how small an island it is the various ferries are in and out all day, ranging from the local one to the fast cat.
The weather in the Aegean is dominated by the Northerly Meltemi wind in the summer and this year has been no exception with 4 or 5 days of strong winds followed by a couple of days of calm before it all repeats again. At times we have been out sailing in 25 – 30 knt winds and some pretty big seas but we are generally going downwind so it is not as bad as it might be. Definitely not so nice for some of the charter boats who make their way south in fairly good conditions before they realise they have to get back North into 30knts of wind and 2 or 3m seas!!
The forecasts have been fairly good through the summer but they do occasionally get it badly wrong. In the last few weeks we have had forecasts of 10-15 knt winds only to end up with nearer 30knts on 3 or 4 occasions so we always have to be ready for some strong winds. Mostly the big winds are around the corners of the Islands and we know to be wary in those areas, however just a couple of days ago we had over 30knts for most of the 16 mile trip from Schinousa to Amorgos when we expected only about 15knts.
|Amazing Art gallery in Kimolos||Kimolos|
Eventually we managed to escape to some beautiful anchorages around Poliagaios. We have never seen water so turquoise and clear. just a shame about all the tripper boats who want to anchor on top of you but they usually only stay an hour or so. The highlight though was watching the Eleonora Falcons which were nesting high up on the rocks behind us. The noise they made was quite piecring when they approached their nests. They are an endangered species and I’m very sorry my photos don’t do any justice to them!!
|Anchorages with turquoise waters around Poliagaios||Eleonora Falcons breeding on high rocks around Poliagaios|
After a few days it was back to Kimolos to sit out the Meltemi again and we met up with some lovely people off a Princess Power boat, Kenny, Liz and their daughter Lucy. We spent a great week together eating, drinking and exploring. Although Liz wasn’t too impressed when I took her shopping up to the Chora and got us lost on the way back down. We ended up coming down a recently made path down the side of a mountain which wouldn’t have been so bad if we hadn’t been laden down with shopping and wearing flip flops!! Another day we took the ferry to Milos and hired a car to go around the island, it turned into a bit of a fiasco but it all added to the experience!! Don’t think we need to do Milos again.
A week later we once again managed to escape and headed to Serifos where we were meeting up with Charlie and Susannah off Purr again. This time we did do another hike up to the Chora. Susannah reckons being with Nimrod is like being at boot camp, we kill them partying then make them do a hike in the heat!! No staying power!!
|The Chora at Serifos||Chris and his new friend!!|
Next stop Syros. We were now with 2 other boats as well, Norna Byron and Mistral so the parties were getting more frequent!! Oh my poor liver. Once again we took to the buses to explore the island and had some great days out.
|Early morning sail to Syros||The Capital of Syros|
Onwards to Rinia a gem of a place. Just across from Mykonos but a different world. Crystal clear waters and a tranquil anchorage. You do get the tripper boats during the day but once evening comes all is calm unless that is 4 boats decide to have a BBQ on the beach!! We were very well behaved though.
|BBQ on beach at Rinia||Full moon over Purr|
We went across in the Dinghy from Rinia to the ruins of Dellos. Well worth a visit and a really good museum there. Chris made lots of new friends again when he sat down to eat his Tuna Sandwich!!
|The cats of Dellos||Mosaics at Delos|
We parted company with Norna Byron and Mistral and now crossed to Paros and Anti Paros along with Purr . We would liked to have spent longer around these islands but time and wind were against us so we had to keep going. Purr left us here to make their way back to Athens to catch flights. Once again we had a great 3 weeks sailing and socialising with Charlie and Susannah but definitely needed a detox afterwards!!
Back to Sifnos we must go!! Planned to meet up again with our friends Kenny, Liz and Lucy and ended up getting stuck once more for a week with them!! Good job we all get on so well. So back to the buses it was, well for the girls it was as the men chose to stay on the boats drinking tea and putting the world to rights!! We had some lovely girly shopping days and lunches out and I didn’t get us lost this time.
Now we are back for one night on Anti Paros and then on to Amorgos the next day. Here we will wait for right weather to go to Anafi and hopefully then on to Crete next Monday or Tuesday where my sister is joining us for 10 days. Next blog you will hear all about our Samaria Gorge walk.