21 May 2018 | Rhinia - 6,938 NM
Very Very Windy
The passage to Kythnos was 46 miles in a straight line and we started in a flat calm sea with no wind - set Flossy and that's it. Right in the middle was a huge lump of rock, the island of Agia Geogios, totally barren and uninhabited apart from lots of windmills. Later the wind picked up a bit and we unfurled the Genoa giving us a bit more speed. Our destination was the beautiful and very sheltered bay of Fikhiada where there is a small island joined to Kythnos by a sand spit. I had my first swim of the year and it was lovely swimming to the sand spit and wandering along the beach. There were a few more boats in the anchorage than we'd expected for this time of year but other than that lovely with amazing stars and we could see the twinkling red lights on the windmills of Agia Georios 23 miles away.
We then went to the east coast of Kythnos to Loutra to partake of the hot springs. The little harbour was packed when we arrived. There was room for us but way too busy and so we went to a little bay around the corner which was more sheltered and anchored with lines ashore. The hot springs we indeed very hot - almost too hot. They came down a channel coated with orange minerals into the sea and into a man made rock pool. As we walked past the tavernas on the way all the waiters were saying they wouldn't recognise us on the way back as we'd look so much younger - ummm, not sure it worked! When we got back to our bay we weren't alone anymore, there were another 6 boats lined up with us including a huge superyacht across the entrance, but still plenty of room.
We thought we'd stay another night and explore inland but there are only buses in the 'summer'. We had orange juice (power cut and so no coffee) in one of the tavernas and they rang for a taxi to take us to Hora, the capital. It was a really pretty town with the usual white buildings squashed together along narrow streets. The streets were painted with white lines suggesting big stones but also, in places with white flowers, boats etc. Unfortunately, as it wasn't 'summer' Hora was mostly closed. It was difficult to even find lunch. We were going to try to go to another town but thought that was bound to be closed too and so walked the 5km back to Loutra instead. It was a lovely walk but very hot - considering it isn't summer! I think what we'll remember about Kythnos is the beautiful dry stone walls everywhere. So many - can't imagine what they were all for.
We headed to Syros and Finekas bay which is where we would spend Paul's birthday. The little harbour was full of boats that clearly lived there and so the only place for visiting boats was on the outside of the wall - luckily it was very calm! It's a very small but lovely fishing village with a choice of tavernas for birthday dinner. We planned the day - breakfast in a beachside cafe, beach, dinner - best laid plans! After presents and tea we realised it was overcast and not really a beach day and so it all changed. We headed to the bus stop for Ermopouli, the capital if the Cyclades only to find our German neighbours sitting on the bus stop where they'd been for half an hour with no idea when the bus would come. We decided to share a taxi and off we went and started with a full English breakfast with a Greek twist on the harbour front. Ermopouli is a big city for such a small island because of its capital status. It has a very cosmopolitan feel with lovely pastel coloured Venetian architecture, remnants from their occupation. We started in town around the port and looking in the shops which weren't all full of tourist tack. Then it was up hill, lots of steps, through the old town which was still very lived in and pretty to the Catholic Church on the top, again a throw back to the Venetian occupation, where we had great views over the bay and of the neighbouring hill topped by the Greek Orthodox Church - and both hills covered in the pastel coloured houses. So different, we really enjoyed it. Finally, an ice cream, before getting the bus back to Finekas via a scenic tour of the island. After chilling and showering we had cocktails by the beach and dinner in the taverna overlooking the bay. A lovely day. The next day we enjoyed our day on the beach followed by a very joggly night as the swell found its way into the bay.
That was Syros, the next day we sailed, really sailed at up to 6knts in up to 20knts of wind, to Rhinia, a tiny island with a very rugged shape offering lots of anchorages giving shelter from all directions which was just as well as we now had 25knts of wind to hide from. Our anchorage was rock solid. The wind blew through the rigging but we barely moved and had a very peaceful night. The island only has a few farms on it despite being opposite Mykonos and our bay was beautiful with sandy beaches and ruins all around - a pity it was so windy! Looks like the Meltemi may be coming early........