11 June 2018 | Samos - 7,117 NM
Very Hot and Sunny
The wind blew so hard we were boat bound in Kalandhon, Naxos. We were safely tied up in the fishing harbour but the wind made any ventures ashore horrible. We managed a little stroll later in the day and miraculously the wind dropped just as we decided we'd had enough of hiding on the boat and we had a lovely 10 minutes on the beach in the evening sun - just 10 minutes though - then we had to hide from a sand storm and get back to Freya! Our French neighbours had asked Vassilis to take them on another excursion the next day and asked if we'd like to join them - of course we did.
This time we went to Apeiranthos which again included the stunning drive through the mountains and sea views of both sides of the island. It was another beautiful white village and again, we really enjoyed exploring its cobbled alleys and marble steps. We walked up to some nearby windmills for the fantastic views of the east coast and nearby islands before a really delicious lunch followed by coffee and a bit of people watching.
When we woke the following morning it was quiet - for the first time in 13 days, the wind was gone! Wow, it was amazing. We could've set off but we thought we should have a 'quiet' day enjoying Kalandhon without hiding from the wind. I had a lovely long swim, the first since we'd arrived and even Paul got in under protest! In the evening we walked up the hill to the "taverna" that in truth was a shack and a few tables under a makeshift roof. It's run by a father and daughter who grow all the produce on their farm next door. There is no menu - they bbq the meat which had been running free on the hill and what ever veggies they have, washed down with their home made wine. Delicious.
The next day we were off, motoring, as still no wind. Our first stop was just an hour away in Mersini on Skinousa a few miles south of Naxos. We moored alongside on the small quay in the little sheltered bay with turquoise sea, beautiful. Chora, the island capital was a 20 minute walk uphill but had to be done. It was very hot without the wind! The town was very pretty and had a few shops open, even on a Sunday, which was useful. While exploring we had 360 degree views of the island from different spots in the village. When we got back to Freya the little quay was filling up, well 2 boats, so we decided to move around to one of the beautiful bays we'd seen from the village and anchor. It was so peaceful and after lunch I had to go for a snorkel. At first there wasn't much to see but I checked the anchor, looked at the hull which was looking a bit greener than last time I'd looked and then headed along the coast towards a sunken quay which I thought looked like a perfect home for fish. I was right there were lots, all sizes and colours and so I was returning to Freya happy when something very big appeared in front of me. I was so excited when I realised it was a big turtle who had no concerns about me being there and we swam together for ages until he surfaced for air and swam off into deeper water. I was so excited and really didn't think things like that happened in the Med!
No wind again - or so we thought! The next day, we left our anchorage after a very peaceful night and motored around the island towards Donousa, another small island and 20 miles from anywhere else. As we went between the islands the sea picked up and we slowed down and then the wind picked up, but it was on the nose and soon we were down to only 3 knots. Again, we were totally unprepared and so we turned off and went behind one of the islands to prepare Freya and get the sails up. We had a very lively close hauled sail all the way to our destination at a more respectable speed. Unfortunately Donousa wasn't as we'd imagined - the bay wasn't as big as we thought and there were already 2 boats in it meaning we had to anchor further out. It wasn't as pretty, the village was a long walk up and down a very steep hill and worse of all, there was a big swell working its way in meaning we had a very rolly night. We were up very early and on our way to Patmos the next morning.
This time we did motor the whole 6 hours with a little assistance from the Genoa. We moored on the quay in the port of Skala. Patmos is in the Dodecanese rather than the Cyclades and has a different feel. Skala isn't as old and quaint with the narrow streets etc but it has a nice feel and lots of nice shops and tavernas. We celebrated my birthday there. The day started with tea and pressies followed by breakfast out. Then we took the bus to Chora which was pretty with white houses in narrow streets (another!) and had views over the island. Stunning. In the centre is the huge monastery of St John which dates from 1080 and still had the original papal document creating it in its museum. The monastery was so pretty with lots of passages and stairs and flowers everywhere. The chapel had amazing frescos. We don't go to many monasteries anymore but this one was special. The reason it is on Patmos is because John the Divine sat in a cave below it and God supposedly told him about the Apocalypse which became the book of Revelations in the Bible. We walked back to Skala to visit the cave on the way. So much history in these parts. Back in Skala we had an ice cream and later I had a pedicure and manicure, well it was my birthday, followed by a lovely dinner in a taverna by the sea.
Patmos is a really hickledy pickledy shape and so there are lots of lovely sheltered anchorages to enjoy - it would be a pity not to and so in the morning we moved a few miles to Grikou. It was a bit deep but we found a corner that suited us and had a peaceful afternoon and evening until there was a knock on the boat...... We were told the water tanker would arrive in the morning at 7.00 and needed our spot. Oh well an early morning, and sure enough, when we got up at 6.30 for our passage to Samos, there he was waiting.