Nisyros to Nisos Simi
08 October 2013 | Simi, Greece
An early departure from Nisyros due to the NE wind picking up, we headed off before breakfast. Before long we were tracking along the Turkish coast and actually in Turkish waters for some time. The Turkish coast provided a welcome greenish tone to the landscape after so much barren rocky islands. We all relaxed as Trilogy sailed along the Dorian Promontory until we discovered that the pin at the gooseneck that holds the boom to the mast was half way out. The mainsail was dropped and with our trusty hammer and woodblock, the pin was again secured with a new splitpin. The main was rehoisted and the job completed within 5 minutes so that the unofficial race with the adjacent yacht could be continued! The gods (being deliberately non specific here as we don't wish to offend any of the Greek gods) blessed us that day!
Ancient Knidos was visible and although overgrown, the ruins are impressive because of their size and the grand setting. This is one of the six cities of the Dorian Confederacy and was prosperous as its inhabitants were industrious and the harbour well placed to handle passing trade.
Trilogy sailed through the 300 metre wide channel between Nisos Seski and Nisos Sími where the depths were as low as 4 metres but the water was exquisitely pale turquoise and the breeze so light we kept the main hoisted. The pilot advised that the skipper keep his eyes off the shallow depths and keep the eyes looking straight ahead! Our port for Sími and the township of Gialos were now around the corner, a port that promised good shelter from the meltemi.
We were delighted by what we saw as we entered the harbour, something quite different from all that we had previously encountered in the Greek Islands. Sími summons superlatives more than most islands and Gialos, the capital and port, is one of the prettiest harbours in the Dodecanese, thanks to the Italians whose influence incorporated neoclassical facades and picturesque waterfront cafes and tavernas. Sími has a long tradition of both sponge diving and shipbuilding. During Ottoman times it was granted the right to fish for sponges in Turkish waters and in return Sími supplied the sultan with first class boat builders. This exchange brought prosperity to the island. Gracious mansions were built and culture and education flourished. By the start of the 20th century, some 500 ships were launched each year but the introduction of the steamship, the Italian occupation and no longer being the Aegean's principal sponge producer put an end to Sími's prosperity.
Due to the impending gale force winds, we were not alone in heading for Gialos. Trilogy arrived at 14:00 and with great finesse (high fives all round!) we did our Mediterranean style anchoring against the sea wall in a tight situation. We had a luxury catamaran beside us which we hoped would protect us from the wash of the monster ferries that were coming and going from the port. We had positioned Trilogy's tender at the bow and it needed a few adjustments requiring the guys to go forward. To their delight there was a photo shoot in progress on the foredeck of the luxury cat with topless models of the Grecian goddess variety....they could hardly believe their luck!
However, the cat then departed and we commenced a period of argey bargey with more and more yachts anchoring, reversing, circling, bumping, yelling and down right ignoramusing around. The squeeze and bump technique of getting your yacht where you want it was the game plan, but throw in a tight harbour that is suffering from turbulent ferry wave action and the gale is just building, it becomes chaotic. Our pilot guide had said a whistle blowing dock attendant would be there patrolling, but no whistles were to be heard until much later on! Having satisfied ourselves that Trilogy was as safe as she could be, we headed off to explore this pretty port and we suspected enjoy the last of the brilliant sunshine. We swam at the beach, relaxed on the deck chairs for which there was no charge(!) and after drinks, went to La Vaporetta for an Italian pasta feast followed by hot chocolate souffle to die for.