I wish you could have seen the views from Aisling's deck as we sailed from Lygia to Kastos. The channel between Mitikas and Kastro (Kalamo) is especially lovely. My camera and I have little success in capturing the great beauty of our surroundings, but the vastness of the mountainous landscape and the contrasts of the intense colours are magnificent.
The wind performs some strange tricks, gusting up and shifting unpredictably. As we round the NE tip of Kalamos it dies and then picks up again as we approach Kastos. Just in time for us to set the anchor. All of which is quite typical for this area.
Kastos is a tiny island with quaint windmills, crystal clear water and a permanent population of only 35 people. We quickly discover that the tiny harbour off the town isn't big enough to swing a
yacht in, so we opt to anchor in the small cove to the NE, just outside the mole. In fact, there isn't much room there either, but we squeeze, in, dropping the anchor quickly on a small patch of sand in about 30' of water. It is a lovely place to swim, snorkel, sit in the cockpit and read, or simply sit and think.
We have decided that we'd better start eating up some of the food in our freezer, so we don't have a meal in any of the tavernas onshore. But we go ashore to have iced coffee at the "Traverso" in the morning. The people at the table next to us are eating big bowls of yoghurt served with honey and walnuts...another nice thing about Greece that we'd forgotten about! We order a bowl to share, watch the yachts in the harbour sorting out their crossed anchor chains as they try to depart, and pat ourselves on the back for having had the good sense to stay outside.
We take a walk through the town, say hello to a very grumpy donkey and then go up to the taverna in the old windmill on the headland to look at the view. Might as well have another iced coffee; it's 50 cents cheaper here. This time, we watch a sailboat catch their prop on a fishing net just off the point. So many things can go wrong!
Our last stop is Gerry's mini-mart, for yoghurt. Luckily, we already have honey and walnuts aboard, and this combination will replace cereal with bananas as our breakfasts for the remainder of our stay in Greece. I am surprised when the owner of the mini-mart (Gerry, presumably) greets me in perfect English. He tells me that it has been a very busy morning, and that business is always good. "Do you keep the market open year round?" I ask him. "No" he laughs, "I go very far away in winter; to New Zealand!" Ah, this guy has the right idea. Summers in Greece and winters in New Zealand. No wait...I guess that would actually be summers in Greece and summers in New Zealand. No winter at all! There's a lesson to be learned here. He tells me that only 35 people live on Kastos year round. "If you are a writer or an artist and want somewhere to hide, this is the place!" he says. It occurs to me that this is almost exactly what Rick had said about Meganisi. I suppose there are quite a few places in Greece where a person could hide.
That afternoon, two boats in our own anchorage get their anchor chains tangled, but are able to get themselves freed with no damage on either side. The man from the Belgian-flagged boat behind us (who is actually Swiss) swims up beside us and says "We'll have to watch carefully or that will happen to us". The problem is that the wind has shifted and then died. It is no longer obvious where the anchors are lying. As new boats come in, they could easily drop their chains on top of ours. Not a huge problem when the wind is light, but could be trouble if the wind pipes up. We jump to attention each time a new boat approaches, but fortunately there aren't any issues. The Swiss guy is also on the lookout; he is the perfect neighbour. He and his wife are very friendly, stopping to chat as they swim with their young daughter, who looks really cute swimming with a kerchief knotted around her head. We should probably invite them over for a drink, if only we had the energy to tidy up the boat in this heat. It occurs to me that, for the past month, our only worries have been trivial. This will change soon enough, but we'll enjoy it while it lasts.
Our only challenge is deciding where to go next. Why not Ithaci? Odysseus spent years trying to get there, but for us it is just around the corner.
Oh, one last thing - thank you so much for the comments Tom, Alana and Robyn! We are never quite sure if anyone is reading, and your feedback always encourages us to keep writing the posts.