Sun. Sept 30, 2007 We put two loads of laundry in and decided to finish cleaning the boat so our clothes will stay clean while drying. It takes over 2 hours for the machine to run it's cycle. We washed the dirt from that last meltemi in Siros off the rigging (as high as we could reach)and the canvas. Johan and Eva rented a car and invited us along to explore the island. Leros Island is a pretty green island with deeply indented coastline with huge gulfs, the "four seas" of Leros. It isn't nearly as high as Amorgos but the roads are just as scary. We visited Platanos the Byzantine castle renovated by the Venetians and the Knights of St. John. It was very nice and they're doing restoration on it. We went down to little port of Panteli (a fishing village) for lunch. A sign greeted us "Welcome to the Island of Artemis"! I guess Artemis led us to this quiet lovely spot away from the meltemi winds! We hung our laundry to dry when we got back to the boat. It doesn't take long in this lovely weather.
Love Sally and Al
September 29, 2007
We got up early and headed out about 7:00. We changed course three times before we finally settled on going to Port Lakki, on Leros Island in the Dodecanese Islands. Lakki is the main port of Leros and was an anchorage for the Italian, German and later the British fleets. We're traveling with a Canadian boat "Northern Lights", Johan and Eva. We picked up a nice NW 15-20 kt wind off the port quarter and decided to travel the extra miles. (55-60 miles)We're on the quay with laid moorings, wireless internet (5 Euro an hour), showers and WASHING MACHINES! The former Italian Naval base is now the State Therapeutical Hospital and within the complex is a mansion once used as Mussolini's summer residence. We'll stay here for at least 3 or 4 days and enjoy exploring the island without worrying about the boat. It looks like we moved far enough east that this next meltemi won't hit here as hard or as long. Love and God Bless Sally and Al
September 27 - 28, 2007
We had another quiet motor to Nisos Amorgos about 36nm. We arrived around 3:00 to late to visit the monastery today. We walked around town and plan to rent a car tomorrow. Love and God Bless Sally and Al
Fri. Sept. 28 We had a full busy day. We rented a car in and left for the monastery about 9:15. You never realize how high these mountains are until you drive on them. Monastery Chozoviotissa (Hozovrotissa) is built into an enormous rock cliff 180 meters above the sea. It was founded in 1088 and has the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary and a library with a collection of ancient manuscripts. A monk served us refreshments, water sweet brandy and a powdered sugar dipped sweet. We drove the entire island today, visiting the little towns, Mycenaean ruins and beautiful beaches. Oh so quiet, not too many tourists visit this island and the vistas were quite dramatic. Lots of narrow hairpin turn roads with goat wandering across. We walked long trails to find ruins that were difficult to distinguish from the landscape :-> but enjoyed the spectacular views. Looking to the weather again. Another meltami is expected in a couple of days. We may skip Santorini and move further east to avoid the big winds again. The Cyclades are a windy windy place!
Greece | Aegean Sea | Cyclades Islands | Naxos Island | Temple of Apollo
September 26, 2007
We had a quiet motor down to Naxos Island about 30 nm. Beautiful day and the islands look lovely. Picked up some stronger SE winds close to Naxos but just motored in. We moored stern to in Naxos Marina no laid moorings as mentioned in the guide so we dropped an anchor. Neat but touristy town. Like Mykonos lots of white washed buildings, narrow winding paths and alleyways. You feel like you could get lost in the maze. We walked up to the Temple of Apollo overlooking the harbor. We grilled swordfish on the George Foreman and then went out for our first ouzo followed by an ice cream cone :-> Leaving for Amorgos Island tomorrow and Santarini the next.
Tuesday the winds are down to Force 7 today so we decided to take the ferry to Mykonos Island and Delos Island. We were up early to catch the 8 AM ferry. Mikonos is truly a tourist town. It a picture poscard setting and lots of ferries and cruise ships land here. Fortunately there were no ships in port until late afternoon. We took the 11:00 ferry to Delos. The seas were still built up from the five day blow. There is much more at Delos than meets the eye when you arrive. It's uninhabited with only the archeological site one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece. According to legend Leto gave birth to Artemis and Apollo here. We hiked around 3 hours and had a great time. Of course our favorite was the Temple to Artemis. The Lion Terrace, theater, and mosaics were well worth the visit.
Greece | Aegean Sea | Cyclades Islands | Mykonos Island | maze of narrow lanes
The Paraportiani church, Little Venice, the windmills, and a maze of narrow lanes and alleys winding between the buildings were the highlights of Mykonos. White...when you think of Mykonos you see white. Everything is white washed regularly. Even much of the clothing hanging in the shop doorways and windows are white. We enjoyed a few beers on the waterfront and then decided to walk back to the New Port where we caught the Vodophone High Speed ferry back to Syros. Whoa what an experience. I felt like we were in fancy cruise ship. The seating areas were spacious with tables, shops, and bar. We made a stop at Tinos and never noticed the boats arrival or departure. Quite a difference from the regular ferry. We plan to head for Naxos tomorrow morning about 30 nm. Of course since we are heading SE the forecast is SE 4 to 5 :->.
Love Sally and Al
September 23, 2007
Another Force 9 day! Our poor boat is almost black with the dirt being blown on to it. We showered and were all dressed for church when we decided we just didn't feel safe leaving the boat for so long. We watched movies and read again today. On Monday the winds dropped to Force 8 so Al felt a little more like boat projects. He wired in the new CD player we brought back with us in June. If we had known how well it masked the howling wind we would have done it days ago. Fun to have music again on the boat. It lifts the spirits. We went up town for a while and down loaded some new pictures for Patrick to add to the website.
September 21 - 22, 2007
We are weathered in Siros. We don't like to leave the boat for long with the wind so wild. We had groceries delivered to the boat. Later we caught the bus and went into town. We did some internet and phone calls then headed back. We had up to Force 9 last night but all is well. We watch DVD's to mask the sound of the wind. Today we stayed aboard all day reading and watching movies. It doesn't look like this will lift before late Monday. We may still rent a car it all depends on the winds. We've decided against taking the ferry to Mikinos tomorrow as Force 8 is still predicted. We had wanted to get to Delos...
Well we tackled the second peak of Ermoupolis, the largest city of the Cyclades today. We were determined to reach the Catholic Cathedral. The city has twin peaks and is built like an amphitheater down to the sea. The Orthodox Cathedral on the eastern peak (visited yesterday) and the Catholic on the western peak. Both are lit at night and quite spectacular. Marble everywhere. Even the streets have marble down the center and sides with cobble in between. All the sidewalks, steps and piazzas are marble too. We climbed steps for at least an hour today to reach the cathedral. The houses are all connected and have steps and narrow alleys in between. It's the medieval quarter of town. The people park their cars in lots or ride the free buses then walk to their homes. We actually found three Catholic churches today. The French and Venetians brought Catholicism to Syro. Very modest compared to Italy but oh so familiar and comfortable. It's so difficult to feel a sense of belonging and welcome when we go into the Orthodox churches.
The walk down was much easier and faster as we were quite hungry and thirsty. It was 2:30 before we found a spot for gyros (the best we've had so far) and a large bottle of water! Our German friend we met yesterday happened by and she joined us for lunch. After lunch we walked to the twin towers and blue and gold dome of Agios Nikolaos which marks the beginning of the Vaporia district. This is where Syro's ship owners built their Neo-Classical mansions on the cliffs overlooking the towns quay and the sea. Another spectacular sight. Great fun but we had another 3 miles to walk to get back to the bus. We had planned to catch the free bus by the quay but we waited at the wrong bus stop so we walked, as the next bus wasn't coming for 40 minutes. I guarantee no one has a need for a tread mill or step master in this town:-> We re tied our boat when we got back using our heavy lines with springs.