05 July 2018 | Lipsoi - 7,273 NM
Hot and Very Windy
On Ikaria there is a marina next to the town quay in the capital, Agios Kirikos which really isn't anymore than a village. The island is a huge slab of rock in the sea and it's a wonder that it's habitable at all. It's named after Icarus who according to legend flew too close to the sun and melted his wings falling into the sea here. On our first perambulation we found the garage and asked if he could deliver diesel. He said yes and would be there in 20 minutes. He duly arrived carrying 3 large plastic containers holding 50 litres of diesel - on a moped! We see lots of things on mopeds here but that's a first! On our second perambulation we thought we'd check out the buses to explore the island. We eventually found the stop which wasn't marked in any way and the driver explained the only bus left at 1.00 but didn't return until the following morning - another first! We hired a car for the following day......
We managed to drive every 'proper' road on Ikaria in one day. It isn't a very big island but as it's just a big mountain sticking out of the sea it's mountain roads or tracks all the way. We started heading to the most eastern point and the 4th century BC ruins of the Drakonas Fortress with its amazingly intact tower and stunning views, very atmospheric. We retraced our steps and crossed the mountains to the north coast stopping for coffee in the very pretty fishing village of Karavostamo. Next stop was the island's second port of Evdilos which isn't much more than a village where we had a delicious lunch on the quay. The drive along to the western point was stunning. Starting with lush green green mountains and turning into a weird rocky moonscape. The road ends at the very tiny port of Karkinagri where waves crashed on the rocks in the little harbour. Again retracing our steps to another road leading over the mountains and back to the south coast passing through a stunning green valley until we emerged onto a road perched on a sheer cliff overlooking the coast. Our final stop was another very pretty little port called Maganitis. The spectacular road then took us east, back to Agios Kirykos and Freya having had a great day but totally exhausted.
On our last day in Ikaria we walked along the coast through the very pretty residential part of Agios Kirykos and the sea before going down into the next village of Therma. The village is known for its radioactive hot springs! We looked into the first 2 'spas' we found which seemed to have lines of clinical cubicles with an ordinary bath in each. They didn't look appealing at all. The final place was on the beach and this had a cave at the back which was a natural steam room with 2 different big jacuzzis of different temperatures to follow. We decided to give it a go - we haven't really noticed any benefits so far but also no reaction to the radiation and so I guess that's ok. When we got back to Freya some neighbours popped round - it would've been rude not to share a drink!
In the morning we left for a 10 mile motor to Thymaina which is a tiny island and named after the wild thyme growing all over it. There's a very small village which appears to be the 'real' Greece with no or very little tourism. It's a beautiful spot sheltered by the 2 neighbouring islands of Fournoi and the even smaller Dhiapori nestled in between. We had a very peaceful night and managed to clean all the black stripes left by the tyre fenders in Chios from Freya's side.
Well, what can we say about out next stop Arkoi - we loved it! We picked up a restaurant buoy in the beautiful bay of Porto Stretto next to Ray and Carol, our new friends, on Ostrea. The sea was unbelievably turquoise and it was so peaceful. The little village is just a 10 minute walk away and is in another equally beautiful bay. There are 3 tavernas and a tiny mini market but that's it. In the other direction the road soon turns into a track and then goat tracks to a small beach. We didn't think the sea could get any bluer but, well, it did - wow! We stayed 3 nights and only left when the winds were building and threatening our meeting with the boat lift on Leros. We had a lovely meal in the taverna on our wedding anniversary but the owner was very relaxed as to how long we spent on his buoy. He even lent Paul glue to mend his shoe!