22 September 2021
Kalymnos is the big sister island of Leros. It is, quite simply a great lump of craggy rock, steep and bare of vegetation. It gives a feeling of prehistoric permanence - long after the human race has disappeared, you feel that Kalymnos will remain very much as it is today.
The capital of Pothia (Port Kalymnos) is the centre of sponge-fishing in Greece.
We said a fond farewell to Xerokambos and headed for Nisos Kalymnos. We motored the 6 miles as we had no wind but for such a short distance we really didn’t mind at all. We had visited the island last year, the harbour of Vathi, but this visit we wanted to explore 2 anchorages. The first, the bay of Palionisos, was quite small and on the left side was taverna Kalidonis, on the right side taverna Ilias and in the middle a beach canteena and very upmarket camp site.
Tavernas Kalidonis and Ilias have each laid 9 mooring buoys. These are free to visiting yachts but it is the norm to at least spend a few euros on food, wine, beer or coffee at the taverna whose buoy you have picked up. We picked up a buoy laid by taverna Kalidonis. We are always a bit sceptical about the condition of moorings – are they well maintained? Are the ropes clean? These were excellent. The rope was clean and good quality and easy to pick up. To our horror though, we had no 4G signal at all. Ordinarily, we could live without it for a day or two but we really do need to be able to get weather forecasting – this is vital – so we decided to go up to the taverna, have a beer and ask if they had Wifi. Up there on the priority list, along with getting the weather forecast, was the other very important fact that it was the Italian Grand Prix weekend and Mr Petrol Head wanted to watch it, but there was no hope of that happening on Stiletto, but maybe, just maybe, we could sit in the taverna Saturday and Sunday, eating, drinking and using their wifi to watch qualifying on Saturday and the race on Sunday on either Andrea's mobile or my tablet.
We asked. There was no wifi. It was broken. Mmmmmm. Really???? BUT....... the taverna had a tv screen, a BIG TV screen, and they were more than happy to turn it on so we could watch both qualifying and the race!. Result!!! And that's precisely what we did and of course we ate there both days by way of a thank you.
Apart from the tavernas there was nothing else to see but we did have a wander up the one and only dirt track/road and came across Nikolas who called out to us from his house-cum-taverna. He was very hyper for a 64 year old and spoke English very well but very quickly and I struggled to understand most of what he said. His 94 year old father was sat on a chair in the shade. His wife was preparing vegetables and his brother arrived and disappeared inside. Nikolas gave me a Frangipani flower and then picked a small bunch of basil and gave it to Andreas. He invited us in for coffee. We explained that we had no money with us. He said that it didn't matter. Come and sit he said. We declined the coffee but he gave us water. We sat with him and he explained that the two tavernas had been built in the last ten years. The canteena and very posh camp site was a recent addition. The land purchased by a wealthy Cypriot. Prior to all this, he was the only taverna but he was 200m from the beach. Visiting yachts would walk the 200m and people would drive to him but now, they bypass him and head straight to the canteena and tavernas because the views of the water and beach are considered better than his garden. He is seriously struggling to draw the punters in and Andreas and I talked about it on our way back to Stiletto and agreed that he needed to try much harder at getting people to a) not drive straight past and b) walk the 200m from the beach. He has been “squeezed out" and we felt very sorry for him, but sometimes in life you just have to admit defeat and move on.
Our next anchorage, Emborious, on the NW side of the island was a bigger bay and had moorings laid by Captain Kostas Taverna. Again well maintained moorings and we picked one up easily. There is not a lot here either. A few tavernas along the beach with sunbeds just inches from the calm, clear water. A very badly stocked mini market, a mobile veg shop where I bought tomatoes, cucumbers and beautiful lemons and a solitary jeweller operating from a stall selling quality items, made by him, so I bought a ring and 2 anklets.
Exploring took only a few minutes as there is nothing much to see. The church and cemetery were beautiful but that was about it. We ate at Captain Kostas Taverna and asked if there was a public water tap. Nearly every Greek village has a public water source. If it had been close by we would fill some of our water containers. We were told no, there wasn't but we could bring our water containers to the taverna and fill them. Which we did. Captain Kostas has got it absolutely right. He paid to lay moorings, he comes out in his tender and helps you pick up the line. He will take your rubbish and give you water if you need it. And in return, most, (not all) visiting yachts will spend money at his taverna.
What we have discovered is that this island is a magnet for rock climbers. There were several large groups finishing their day in the tavernas. It's not something either of us would like to try but we watched in awe at two people scaling the vertical rock face as we sailed past on our way in.
We spent a couple of days here. The wind picked up quite considerably, with some big gusts so we decided to wait for calmer conditions before crossing to Nisos Lévitha.
Muse for this post: Life humbles you as you age . You realise how much time you wasted on nonsense.