No Room at the Inn

We left Gavatha at 7am heading for Nisos Ayios Evstatios, a small island 50nm away in roughly the direction we were heading in. It was a pretty uneventful trip until we got there to find two big barges adding extensions to the quay. These turned out to be well needed as there was room for the ferry and one other boat, and that space was occupied by an Australian Privilege cat who was flying a boxing kangaroo and not the Australian ensign. We really didn’t have time to stay and chat as just after we anchored in 2m of water just off the small beach, the ferry came in and got agitated with us anchoring there. I’m pretty sure the ferry drew more than 2m but we decided that we didn’t like the anchorage much anyway and decided to get out of there and do a night sail across to the Northern Sporades. The guy on the republican, anti-Australian flag cat (him, not me) suggested a good anchorage on Nisos Kira Panayia called funnily enough Ormos Kira Panayia. It looked a good place to anchor in the dark, so we decided to head there.

We got in at 1am, dropped anchor and went to bed. Next morning we awoke to a pretty bay, but with thunderstorms closing in. Up came the anchor and the wind and we decided to keep to the lee side of the islands and make our way to Skiathos with only a couple of channels between the island where the swell was up. The strategy worked pretty well as the rain came down and the thunder and lightning show kept us on edge. We passed between Alonnisos and Peristeri and across the bottom of Skopelos. As we got to the strait between Skopelos and Skiathos, we got hit with a short, sharp chop and we had to head across the waves until we got in the lee of Skiathos before heading north.

We finally got to Skiathos and dropped anchor in 7m of clear water in a beautiful bay called Ormos Siferi, just to the West of Skiathos town. By now the weather was clearing and it turned out to be a beautiful afternoon as we dingied across to the NE cover of the bay and did the short 10 minute walk into town.

Lesvos – Home to Women Who Wear Comfortable Shoes

Apologies to Robin Williams (Good Morning Vietnam) for starters and then probably to a few more after that.

The motor sail to Lesvos was a lot better than I thought it was going to be. We stuck to the coast of Turkey and then got into the lee of Lesvos, both of which kept the swell down. As we sailed along the east coast of Lesvos, we entered shallower water and played dodgem with numerous craypots and fishing nets.

Lesvos is a strange looking island, with two giant landlocked gulfs cutting into what is the third biggest Greek Island after Crete and Evia.

We pulled into the wall at Mytelini, which had oodles of space. It wasn’t the most attractive wall in the Greek islands, our spot was right next to the bus stop. Mytelini is the capital and behind the waterfront had some cool little winding streets full of nightlife. We consulted Tripadvisor and found the best restaurant in town was 200m from La Mischief. Octopus in Red Wine seemed to be the local specialty and once again the 6 of us enjoyed some great Greek food.

Next morning the 6 of us became the 4 of us as we waved goodbye to Scott and Tiki who were off home via Athens. Then the four of us took off for our grand tour of Lesvos, the highlights of which were very cute little fishing villages (some of which rivaled that one we found in NW Spain – Allan). Petra was also worth a visit to see the monastery perched on top of a hill/mound in the middle of the village. And then there was Mithimna, with its 14th Century castle overlooking the town, it’s very cute harbour and the most enormous sardines that were more like small fish; and turned out to be the best sardines that I’ve ever tasted.

Lesvos is also a bird watchers paradise and our last stop for the day was the salt lakes where the flamingos hang out. Who would have thought – flamingoes in Greece? We managed to see them off in the distance so we able to tick that one off.

Back in town we decided the restaurant from the night before was so good we would eat there again.

Next morning the 4 of us became the 2 of us, as we waved goodbye to Kim and Jane and set off towards Skiathos. Lesvos is such a big island that it takes a whole day to sail from the East side to the West side. We had planned to stop at Mithimna, which had taken our fancy on the drive around, but the wall is small and there were no spots left. So we pushed onto a little village called Gavatha. We pulled up to the wall and were later joined by a yacht from Slovenia. The town itself had a nice church on the hill, a small resort and a rusting WW2 Tank (nothing unusual there!).

Then it was off towards Skiathos.

For photos of Lesvos, see https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10203961916201167.1073741974.1620379103&type=1&l=d61691fbac

 

Meltemi – An Often Used Greek Word meaning Blow your T@ts Off!

With our delayed start, we realized we wouldn’t make Lesvos the day we left Cesme, so we hatched yet another plan and headed across to Khios to check back into Greece, before a short sail up to Oinoussa, to check out the birthplace of a lot of Greek Shipping magnates (except Onassis – he was born in Turkey and then moved to Argentina evidently).

The wind picked up as soon as we left Cesme and with two reefs in, it had soon hit 30kts. Khios was nothing to write home about so as soon as we’d finished with the formalities, we left and headed back out into the windy straight that separates Turkey from Khios. We now understood why Cesme was such a popular windsurfing spot.

It took us 2 hours to battle the 10nm into the wind, which at one stage hit 44kts (50kts apparent). I was very happy to pull into Oinoussa, past the statue of the mermaid perched on a rock in the sea, to the town wall where we parked. It was too cold to swim so a walk was in order. Sleepy little town with some friendly people and lovely colorful traditional Greek fishing boats. Met some kids from New Orleans who Mum owned a place on the island – they come back every year for summer break.

Next morning, it was up at 6am and off to Lesvos, some 50nm away.

For photos of Ionoussa see https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10203935460019779.1073741964.1620379103&type=1&l=db557a8f6c

For photo of Khios see https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10203935464779898.1073741965.1620379103&type=1&l=46b6104b18

Cruising the Turkish Coast to Cesme

With Scott suggesting he was going to boycott any town unless it had a somewhat reasonable castle, it was time to make use of our Turkish cruising log and head for Cesme, half way to Lesvos, where the crew had a couple of planes to catch. An early start in light winds (on the nose) saw us make Cesme in late afternoon. We found a spot in the marina (145 euros – ouch), talked to the Australian working in the marina office, and tried to organize checking out of Turkey ahead of an early morning start, but we were a bit late and had to do it the following morning at 9am.

Cesme was definitely worth a look. Its old castle made the grade according to Scott’s criteria and the museum inside was interesting. The shopping street took a bit of a hammering with more than a few kilograms of Turkish delights and dried fruits being carted back to the boat. We got a recommendation for a great Turkish restaurant called Imran, and the recommendation was spot on.

Next morning, after handing over 250 TL to the agent to clear us out of Turkey, it was back to Greece.

For photos of Cesme see https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10203940350782045.1073741973.1620379103&type=1&l=9034722ebe

Turkish Delights

La Mischief delighted Kim by zooming the 20nm across to Kusadasi, occasionally cracking 8kts. We got to Senur Marina (110 Euro a night – Turkish Marinas are becoming very expensive) about 11am and managed to get a mooring rope around our prop just as we docked.

The marina acted as our agent for 73 Euro a night and I found a lovely Turkish guy to fix our pump. He ended up fixing our old pump in no time at all and then proceeded to find our mystery water leak that we could diagnose all last year. It turned out to be a very expensive leak (900 Euro for a new hot water heater – ouch!!!). The workmanship and technical capability of these Turks are excellent – once again despite the cost of the parts I am impressed with the work I get done in Turkey. Especially when compared with Leros.

Boat problems under control, it was time to hop in our hire cars and head off on our Turkish road trip. First stop was Ephesus – a short 20km out of Kusadasi. This was my second trip here – the first for everyone else. This time I made sure I saw the Terrace Houses, which are a must. The Amphitheatre and library were still awesome as were the marble roads. One of the great Roman ruins of the world.

After some obligatory shopping from the girls, it was off to Pamukalle, 3 hours away. We got there rather late, and searched around with a hotel with hot springs. Went a bit more up market from last time – 5 stars for less than 100 euro a night at the Hotel Pam. Sounds impressive until I realized that this is quite probably the worst 5 star hotel I’ve been at. Still the hot mud springs, directly underneath the fake plastic Elk at 11pm were quite good.

Next morning, after a very average breakfast, it was off to see the sights. We climbed up to the top of the hot springs, where I noticed there was a lot less water than last time, and paid our 32TL each to get into the Cleopatra hot springs. Very touristy and getting increasingly crowded as the day went on, but the water was nice. After our dip, it was time to head up to the Roman ruins behind the springs. Having missed these last time, I’ve got to say these were very impressive. In particular the amphitheater was one of the best we’ve seen.

Then it was back to Kusadasi in time to get the new hot water heater fitted. We finished off the evening at a great rooftop restaurant watching the sun go down over the Aegean.

For photos of Ephesus please click on https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10201812697592045.1073741916.1620379103&type=1&l=dbdf637932
For photos of Kusadasi see https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10203935472780098.1073741966.1620379103&type=1&l=e086454852
For photos of Pamukkale see https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10201812798114558.1073741917.1620379103&type=1&l=9937202ba9