the Cyclades and The Meltimi
23 August 2014
At last some updates of our adventures as we continue to cruise through the beautiful Greek Islands. After leaving Serifos we moved to the island of Sifnos. We anchored in the beautiful bay of Ormos Faros and spent three days here to escape the Meltimi that had been forecast. The “Meltimi” is a wind that frequently blows from the NW-NE direction during the summer months in this part of the Med. It tends to blow more strongly during the afternoon but can blow strongly for several days at a time. This bay was a spectacular place with clear waters and some interesting snorkelling so no hardship to ‘hole up’ here for a while. One of the evenings we enjoyed a meal under the tamarisk trees at a family run taverna. Thanks to free internet from a local hotel we got a recent wind forecast, which indicated that there would be a 2-3 day lull in the Meltimi after which it would again start blowing strongly. We therefore decided to set off during the quiet spell and find shelter in another haven between the Islands of Dhespotico and Andiparos. It was here that we met Vince and Barbie from ‘Horizon’ a lovely American couple who we hope to see again during our travels.
After the winds had again dropped, we set off to the Island of Naxos. It was here that we planned to leave the boat in a safe anchorage in order for us to take a trip to Santorini by ferry for a couple of days. We set off in calm conditions but as we arrived in Naxos it was with a fight into the wind. As a result we were relieved to be able to drop our anchor in the shelter of the large harbour. Suddenly we heard shouts and whistles blowing, we looked up to see the port police waving their arms in a fashion that we interpreted as no anchoring here! We already knew the marina was too small for us, so we continued along the coast to Ormos Ay Prokopou and anchored under the shelter of the headland. Even though we were sheltered the boat could not be left unattended overnight here so we sadly had to abandon our trip to Santorini.
Next morning we took the dinghy and had breakfast on shore in a friendly taverna. During breakfast we decided to enquire about hiring a quad bike to explore Naxos town. The first place we were told that all quad bikes were taken so we tried to reserve one for the next day and were told that was not possible, so we moved to the next place to ask there. No luck, they had plenty of bikes but would only hire out for 2 days! So we decided on the bus. We enquired where the bus stopped and times and were informed that the bus came twice an hour but no set times so you just had to wait. Okay, we were in no hurry so we found the bus stop and waited...... and waited. Quite a queue had built up by the time the bus arrived and we all were keen to aboard when.......the driver told everyone you need to purchase a ticket from the shop down the road first! A mad dash by us and others to this shop and tickets quickly bought. Too late the bus pulled away just as we returned. We gave up and settled on taking the bus to the town for the evening and so returned to our boat for the day. All should be fine, we knew where to catch the bus, we had the tickets already, okay so we were not certain of the times but we bought an ice cream and waited patiently, along with many others. Half an hour later the bus arrives, well...... the full and over crowded bus arrives. No room the driver gesticulates.......... So we give up and jump into a taxi!! A lovely evening followed, window shopping around the quaint chora, a walk around the port and a romantic dinner in the rooftop restaurant, Flamingo.
A quick word about Chora’s. There is generally a Chora (pronounced ‘Hora’) on each island. These small towns were built on a high hilltop to give the islanders a protection from pirate raids. There are no motor vehicles due to the narrow, winding streets that are lined with old white buildings, many covered in colourful flowering shrubs. They often house several tavernas, some shops and one or two churches these all add to the special and beautiful ambience of these historic towns. If you ever get the chance to visit a Chora you should take the opportunity, you will not be disappointed. The photo attached to this blog shows Paul enjoying a ‘Frappe’ in the Chora.
Our last stop on Naxos was in the Ormos Kalondo, a sandy beach, clear waters to swim in and a great taverna where we spent many happy hours chatting with the friendly staff, especially Anna. We meet other holiday makers here; including a lovely British family who come back to this resort year after year, they love it so. We hope you had a safe journey back and all the best Mark for the future.