Kusadasi to Samos
06 August 2019
Nerida Matthews | Sunny 31 degrees, winds 10-18 knots
Kalimera everyone, we are now in Greece. We have said goodbye to call to prayer, Shish, kofte, raki, efes and Turkish delight and said hello to church bells, souvlaki, pork gyros, Greek salad, ouzo, mythos, baklava and Greek harbour masters.
Our last two days in Turkey were spent in Kusadasi, where we and SCII went through the formal processes to exit Turkey. We had two very hot days, 38 and 36 degrees respectively. The days felt extra hot as we were in a marina surrounded by concrete with lots of walking as the marina was large and spread-out and the inability to jump off the back of the boat for a swim to cool down. Kusadasi is a large town which from a distance looks like the typical concrete boxes spread across the hillsides. It did have a few areas of coloured houses and once you got into the town had many small green park areas and interesting little shopping precincts. Being close to the historic ruins of Epheus and on the coast with a port for cruise ships, it is a popular holiday destination.
We were lucky that one of the days in Kusadasi was a Friday which coincided with their fruit and vegetable market. We headed off straight after breakfast, to avoid the heat, as it was a 40-minute walk. We did not have clear instructions to find the market but it was relatively easy to follow the locals with their trolley carts all heading to collect their produce. The market was huge, about twice the size of the Vic market, with producers selling what they had grown. The quality of the produce was exceptional, much better than what we had been able to acquire in Turkish super-mini markets. All the stall holders wanted to sell you a kilo of produce, which we had to insist on only purchasing smaller quantities because it would not fit into our fridge and that we had to carry it back to the boat. Luckily, we managed to get a taxi back to the boat for only 15 Turkish lira - less than $A5.00.
Samos - Pythagoreon
We arrived in Pythagoreon and were greeted by the friendly harbour master, who told us he was expecting us. We had been in communication with an agent, who would manage our arrival procedures and he had communicated our imminent arrival to the harbour master. It turned out we were one of four Australian boats - three of us from Melbourne.
Pythagoreon is a pretty town with lots of character, with most activities centring around the town harbour. The circular harbour is surrounded with restaurants and cafes, this makes being tied up on the harbour a great place to people watch. In the morning there are joggers out for their morning run, backpackers buying cheese pie for breakfast, tour groups making their way to a boat for a day trip and delivery vehicles providing supplies for the restaurants. However, it is in the evening that the harbour really comes alive. As people walk past, there are always comments about SCII being from Melbourne. Questions include; Are you Australian? Did you sail all the way from Australia? Why have you come here? These questions are common in Greece but not often asked in Turkey. Surprisingly, the harbour is not that noisy, despite the number of people around and restaurants and cafes being open late.
On Sunday we hired a car and did a lap of most of the island. It is an interesting place to explore, high mountains, lots of olive groves and small villages perched way up in the mountains. Each small village has square, usually surrounded by trees, maybe a small café and small groups of locals - today out in their Sunday best. It was good to get away from the massed tourism of the Turkish coast.
We were informed by the harbour master that we could not spend more than two days in the harbour, as it is being emptied of all yachts for a big celebration. Every year on 5 August they celebrate the anniversary of the sea battle of Mykali, which is the strait between Samos and Turkey. The naval battle took place in 1824, where the Greek fleet defeated the Ottomans. The harbour is the centre of the celebration which includes a re-enactment of the battle and fireworks. If the weather had of been calm, we would have anchored outside the harbour to watch the celebrations but strong winds were predicted, which could have resulted in an uncomfortable and possibly unsafe anchorage not to mention the risk of stray fireworks.
Samos -Ormos Posidonion
Given we had to exit the town harbour of Pythagoreon and the meltimi was expected to blow, we have spent two days in the sheltered bay of Posidonion at the south eastern corner of Samos. The bay is less than one nautical mile from the Turkish coast. The bay is well sheltered from the strong winds, so we have had a comfortable two days here, swimming in the clear, warm and blue Aegean water as well as reading and relaxing.
Interestingly on 5 August three large Turkish tour boats came into the bay illegally, probably because it was a sheltered part of the coast. We doubt they would have come in if the Greek Navy vessel that was there earlier in the day was still present. A small Greek day trip boat took offence at the Turkish presence, circling the Turkish boats indicating they should go. We nearly witnessed a 2019 version of the battle of Mykali!