|Ios chora by night|
|Kurukulla at Ormos Nero|
Saturday night was spent in the chora of Ios, a place that last time I was here, some 12 years ago, was awash with young people, mostly the worse for drink, and all apparently having a great time. This time it was like a ghost town. A few bars and restaurants open but none doing anything like a good trade and very few tourists to be seen. Greece is in real trouble as a tourist destination. All traders talk of takings being down between 40 and 70%, and if they are prepared to admit to that what must the truth be? Mike and I enjoyed a gyros for supper washed down by a few glasses of wine in one of the more tranquil bars. From there it was a walk back to the port, downhill fortunately, and a tranquil night onboard.
|Katapola at sunset|
Next morning we breakfasted in a local bar, procured some fresh victuals and sailed for Ormos Nero, my favourite beach. As we approached a tourist boat just managed to beat us into the bay which was rather off putting as we were expecting to have the place to ourselves, fortunately there were few people onboard and no loud disco music so life was not made unpleasant and they sailed late afternoon back to Ios leaving us in solitude.
|Lunch in Katapola|
Monday morning we sailed early-ish to head round the south of Ios and over to Amorgos. The first stretch was frustratingly slow with the wind coming from all and every direction and very light; however, as soon as we were clear of the south of the island we picked up the NW wind as forecast and had an invigorating sail across the 20 or so miles separating the two islands. As we approached Amorgos the wind got up considerably, resulting in us putting two reefs in both main and genoa but sure enough, as soon as we had finished this evolution it died away again leaving a foul sea and too little wind to punch our way through it at any speed (The joys of Mediterranean sailing!).
We finally arrived in the anchorage on the north side of Ormos Katapola at 1900 wet and somewhat weary; nothing that a glass or two of wine and some nibbles could not sort out though.
Next morning we waited until a few of the boats from the town quay had been seen to leave and then upped anchor and motored over to Katapola town where we berthed stern to for lunch and a shopping spree. Lunch was a giros (again) and local beer and the shopping spree saw us re-victualled with enough food to see us out to the end of Mike's visit.
On completion we set sail for Ormos Kalotiri, an anchorage on the inside of the island of Nikouria, on the NW facing coast of Amorgos. It is a splendid anchorage and well protected from the N winds despite being on the windward coast of Amorgos.
|Anchorage at Nikouria|
|Exiting the sound at Nokouria|
From here it was a sail off the anchor next morning and a ghost through the narrow exit at the north end of the sound, after which the wind died away to nothing. We were forced to motor for an hour, in rolling seas, to reach the northern tip of Amorgos; here the wind picked up and we then broad reached down the NE side of the island and all the way to Vathi, an inland sea in the NE of the island of Astipalaia. If anything the entrance to Vathi was even more challenging than our departure from Nikouria with very light winds coming from all directions and only 50m wide at its narrowest: 10 minutes later; however, we were through and beam reaching the half mile across the flat water to our chosen anchorage. A wonderfully protected haven with extremely warm, if not very clear, water.
Next day was Mike's last day at sea and we had only to sail from the north side to the south of Astipalaia. In the course of this we were on all points of sailing, a beat in 15 knots of wind to escape the bay on the north side of Astipalaia followed by a broad reach / run down the east side of the island and then a beam reach across the south side. We decided to stop in the anchorage at Ormos Agrilithi, a narrow-ish inlet on the south coast with two beautiful anchorages at its head. Three hours here and it was off under engine to cover the three miles to Skala, the main town of Astipalaia.
|Skala harbour, Astipalaia|
On arrival we were pleased to observe that many of the berths on the inside of the quay were apparently free and so we set to to prepare for berthing stern to in one of them. As we rounded the end of the pier our plans were destroyed, the berths were roped off and the quay was obviously in a state of collapse, (badly built, with several million Euros of EU money, only a few years back and never maintained!). Not to be deterred we selected a berth across the bows of a catamaran which put us just in the closed off area but near enough to legal that we thought we would get away with it. It took the Port Police 5 minutes to arrive! After a bit of “sweet talking” and discussing the state of the jetty this year compared with last (making it obvious we were not a one off visitor) he agreed to us staying put. Only next day when I went to pay the harbour dues, and joked about getting a discount because of the condition of the jetty, did he raise the question of giving me a ticket instead for ignoring the closure notice! He was joking... I think!
|And we thought the jetty was bad last year!|
The owners of the catamaran, were a New Zealand couple and they very kindly invited Mike and I plus another British couple (coincidentally a member of the Army Sailing Association) for drinks onboard following which we all decanted ashore for a very convivial meal in a local restaurant. Next morning Mike booked himself into a local hotel for the night before his flight back and I set off single handed again for the Island of Kos where the next group of friends are due to join. I arranged for them to join in Ormos Kamares, an anchorage visited earlier in the trip, which is nearest to Astipalaia and also convenient to Kos airport. The 30 mile crossing was boisterous at start and finish but unexpectedly calm as I approached the southern tip of Kos, all in a days sailing!
|Ormos Kamares, Kos|
For simplicity I anchored in the bay last night and this morning put Kurukulla stern to the jetty to await the new teams arrival this evening. An interesting manoeuvre single handed but fortunately a local took a line for me as I backed up to the jetty, into wind. Lunch in a local taverna was followed by an afternoon of picture editing and blog writing.............
|A relaxing lunch.......|
More in a week or so..........