Rhodos - Karpathos - Nisiros - Kos - Symi - Rhodos
Saturday, the 2nd of November 2013
Finally we were ready to start:
The already traditional final cruise on board our Bavaria 46 Cruiser was ahead of us. After lots of thoughts and again checking the weather forecast. We decided on the course:
Start at sunrise at Kiotari Beach, heading: 231° direction Karpathos; Wind: 2-3bft WNW
Crew: Natascha, Bärbel, Graham, Ross; Skipper: Burkhard
All on time, full of expectations, set sail and here we go .
It didn´t take long before Natascha served her famous steaming Coffee.
Under full sails we are cruising relaxed along the Eastcoast of Rhodes, passing Plimiri and the Hawaian Beach. Three hours later we are leaving Rhodes behind us, course towards “Pighadia”, the capital of Karpathos.
Once out of the wind shade of Rhodes island, the wind instantly increases and the first white caps are visible. With the first reef, nice heel and 9kn SOG.
We are enjoying every single minute! Once a while spray is flying over the foredeck! Finally! I have been waiting the whole summer for this moment!
Except a few cargo and container ships, seeming to move in slow motion, we are the only vessel around the South Aegean Sea.
Early afternoon the bizarre outline of Karpathos island appears on the far horizon. Is it Karpathos already? Or just some formations of clouds? Half an hour later we are sure: It is Karpathos!
Our arrival at Pigadia, Karapthos at about 4pm
Apart from a small Hanse with finnish crew, we were the only sailors in the harbor. Enough space to go alongside. The wind finally dropped down a bit, but with NW winds, Pigadia is not really protected and therefore the water remained choppy. I would not like to stay here over night with strong wind!!
First the duty: To visit the office of the Port Authority with the ship papers and pay the mooring fee for one night: 2,80€ incl. water!! Compare to Turkey………..
Than the pleasure: The first Heineken at our first spot. Typical Graham: “this one didn`t touch the sides!”
After the arrival drink we send Graham on his mission to find the restaurant for the evening. As we know from our trips before, Graham without any doubts, has the best “Gourmet-nose” in the company! His advice concerning the food palate is unquestionable.
After another great dinner but not without the traditional Ouzo, we are back to our Yacht early. After some stories we are all into our bunks.
Sunday, the 3rd of Nov. 2013
Early bird as I am, I didn´t believe my eyes:
Natascha and her Mom already in the water for a wake-up bath! At 6.30am in November! Madness! If you ask me!
Breakfast aboard, ropes cast off and here we go heading North. You really have to get used to the wind: one moment not existing, next moment full speed with 25kn!
We are aiming towards Diaphani, another little village with a small harbor in the North of Karpathos. From Diaphani we should have easy access to one of the most beautiful villages in the Aegean! Called “Olympos”. As we found out later on, this is the home village of „Pizza-Poppi“, our friend from “Sergios- Pizza Restaurant in Gennadi
Yet again, as the only yacht again in the harbor we had it all for ourselves. This is one of the advantages if you are sailing out of season. We were just finished mooring when Giorgos appeared. As he told us, he has his roots here in Diaphani but left to the USA many years ago. Now he comes back regularly to visit his family. A few minutes later he had organized an old Minibus of a friend who would take us up to Olympos, the famous village in the mountains.
The Mercedes Bus certainly had seen better days, but as a reliable german product he brought us safely up the many hairpin bends to the village even with a heavily complaining gearbox.
And beyond expectations, the first view of Olympos was impressive!
Our walk through the narrow streets of Olympos confirmed our first impression. A real beauty! A village with lots of attention for detail; incredible clean and (good for us) without any further tourists. Almost at every house we could see the double eagle of the byzantine empire. Sometimes carved out of wood, another time formed out of plaster. On lots of houses you see a beautiful painted frieze.
At the central village kafeneon we met the Sunday morning gathering of the community council. We got introduced to Jannis, the village shoemaker. Jannis is still running the little workshop of his ancestors. As the last one of his family he is still manufacturing the traditional Karpathos boots with the same tools as his Great-Grandfather. Even though it was on the holy Sunday, he took us to his workshop and proudly showed us the tools of his trade and some finished and partly finished boots. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWjvrLEU-YI
After our return to the harbor, there is still time enough to stroll around the little village of Diaphani to explore the Restaurant facilities. The food supply is still important even after such an exciting day!!
A check on the weather report reveals that it is not promising! Strong Southwest winds on Wednesday accompanied by heavy rainfall. A check on the charts and we decide to sail off next morning to the volcanic island of Nisiros with its cosy little harbor of Paloi and than off on Tuesday morning to Kos Marina before the bad weather hits.
Monday, the 4th of November 2013
After Bärbels traditional „Early-Bath“ procedure and after a good, solid breakfast we set a heading of 358° towards Nisiros. With moderate NW winds we pass the islands of Antithilos and Thilos.
Early afternoon we are arriving at the lovely little harbor of Paloi. As expected, there are only a few yachts moored in the harbor. In the summer it’s a different story! One of the Yachts is looking sort of familiar: Relatively short mast, double forestay, yellow deck and Aluminium hull. She must be the yacht of Klaus, a german friend from Rhodes. And there he is, taking our ropes.
Natascha and Bärbel rush off to rent a car to visit the still active Vulcano of Nisiros. Graham, Ross and I went up to the crater last autumn so we remained on the yacht this time to have a chat with Klaus. He is ships electrician and always full of tips, advices and interesting stories.
Below you see the crater of the Vulcano. The descend is very exciting. It bubbles and whistles everywhere. You really have to get used to the smell of sulphur, just like rotten eggs. Also as you descend the temperature is steadily increasing!
As we did on our last visit, for dinner we dropped into „Vickies Restaurant“. Vicky and her husband looked after us last November. Last year we left their restaurant loaded with bags of oranges and many home made specialities. Yet again, it was absolutely delicious! Lovely, lovely in Grahams words. Unbelievable that she remembered us after one year and hundreds of faces later. At least, she remembered Rossy, with me I am not so sure!
Relatively early, but not without the “Good-night-drink” we crash into our bunks again.
Tuesday, the 5th of November 2013
This morning it is grey, with heavy clouds and light southwesterly breeze. Engine one, cast off and straight over to Kos Marina before the shit hits the van! Even the relatively sheltered Harbor of Paloi does not seem to be safe enough for a serious Southerly storm. Klaus decided to head off towards Symi or even better towards the Bay of “Panormitis”
We didn´t have to wait long for the promised rain. First light, than more and more water is falling down on our Sun roof. But, no problem: Foul weather gear out and onward!
Now without any wind and only under engine we arrive around 3pm the Kos Marina. After calling the Marina by the VHF, a few minutes later a RIP appeared and the very friendly and professional Marinieros guided us to our berth. Done and safe!!
After a „Welcome-Kos-Drinks“ and taking care of the formalities, we are ready to explore Kos City.
Two things are noticed immediately: They have paths for bicycles! And there is no rubbish at all! Not even a small plastic cup out of a Frappe! Nothing!
For the visitor interested in history, Kos is an absolute paradise! At each corner we find an archaeological site, a wall of huge, ancient and massive stone blocks, and here and there an old Minaret reminds you of the Turkish occupation.
On our way back, we visit a huge „Agora“. A typ of Supermarket only for special fruits and herbs. The offers are incredible: A fantastic selection of Curry, Basil, Rosemary and, and……
In one of the small streets nearby the old harbor, discovered again by Graham, our Cruise-Gourmet, we find the restaurant for the evening. From the outside it is not really impressive, but inside very clean and nicely decorated in expectation of the evening guests. The name “Mummys Cooking” was not really enticing, but it was good, really good. So much, that we went back the next evening.
During the night, the expected storm arrived with all its power. The shrouds are tensioning, the haylyards are drumming against the mast. And the rain! Like three heavy metal music groups together.
The next morning shows us several wet spots inside our Yacht. Time for some seals to be replaced, I believe. But no wonder after that tons of water that fell on us.
Wednesday, the 5th of November 2013
Our program for the day:
We rent a car and explore the island, of course. Originally we wanted to go over by Ferry to Bodrum/Turkey. But all the boats for Turkish daycruises were already gone for the winter break! Besides that, we considered that it would not have been a good idea given the weather situation.
The rain started again, and so did we! No worry! Lets go South!
We pass Mastichari, sometimes the road takes us as close to the sea but mostly we are driving in the middle of the island all the way down to the South. At the little port of Kamari we turned around for the drive back. As we are used to on Rhodes, almost everywhere around the coastline we could the signature of mass tourism.
Actually half the way on our journey to Kamari, we decided for a short stop to move our stiff legs and maybe to find a open Kafenion. Graham surprised us with the fact, that he and Ross had been here before, many years ago, when he was still young and handsome…..
After a short search, we found a nice place, close to the seaside with a great view of the angry looking sea. Thanks God we are in a safe harbor and not out there, somewhere (beyond the sea……..). Giorgos, the owner, offered us an excellent coffee and finds the time to sit with us for some stories of the “Good-Old-Days”
Even though the weather was terrible, we had a great day and we know a little bit about our neighbor island Kos!
Back on time for dinner, after the Sefton Family took their obligatory shower, we were heading straight for dinner. Natascha and Bärbel decided to stay in to take it easy. Graham, Ross and me decided again for the previous evenings restaurant. And again Jannis and his wife produced a fantastic meal with lots of traditional starters.
Thursday, the 6th of November 2013
Unfortunately the weather didn´t settle sufficiently. Wind and rain dropped, but the sea was still too rough to enjoy. There was no hurry so we decide to stay another day. Some of us went shopping in Kos City, the others, like Graham and I stayed on board to have a close look at our seals.
The day passed easy and Italian dinner this time. We discovered a small, cosy Italian Restaurant close to the Marina. Great idea! Fantastic Pasta, great red wine for the Seftons (beer for me!) and the nice Owner couple took care of us as we were the only guests this evening.
Friday, the 7th of November 2013
Its decided: We say “Goodbye” to Kos Marina and off we go! Direction Symi!
The wind is great, sails are set. First heading South and sailing a while together with Canadian Yacht. After a while they are altering their course towards Karpathos and later to Crete.
After about two hours on broad reach, passing the Bay of Buyuk, we altered our course as well to heading on 089°, direction North of Symi. The wind was still steady North with gusts up to 23kn, and we rapidly approached Symi.
Three hours later we have the small passage in front of us, which separates the little island “Nimos” from the main island of Symi. It is still an exciting experience to sail through this very narrow and shelter water. No problem for us with a draft of 1,85m, but still.. This time Graham stays as lookout on the pulpit to guide me. Because of the heavy rainfalls of the last days, there are lots of obstacles drifting from Turkey towards Symi. Even whole trees.
Well done and one hour later we are moored on my favourite spot at Symi harbor. Just next to the clock tower with a magnificent view to the village with its lovely restored houses, most of them painted in pastel colors.
The usual 4 o´clock-drink and after the walk through the village, is almost a tradition already and every time a special taste.
This weekend the locals are celebrating the “Panagiri Panormitis”. For sure, the restaurants will be more than crowded at dinner time. So better to organize a place for the 5 of us at our favourite place “ Panthelis” directly on the quay.
We were just ready to leave for dinner as somebody in uniform approached our Yacht and recommends to leave our nice “berth” immediately, because in a few minutes the BlusStar2 would arrived next to us. The turbulences of the thrusters could do serious damage to our boat.
Not a minute to hesitate, off with the ropes and further into the harbor, searching again for a good berth. And the best place is: Straight in front of our evening restaurant! Coming closer we discover a well know big American Motor Yacht, moored lengthwise as well. Decision is done, we will go in front of him. Must be enough space for the both of us.
Please no mess up now in front of the whole audience!! But all went ok, our American friend took the ropes with the words: where the f… have you guys been? Been waiting for you all day long!” No wonder with his couple of 1000 HP under the bonnet.
As expected, the food was great and after plenty of drinks the last day over our Autumn Cruise comes to end.
Saturday, the 8th of November 2013
After a quiet night we start early in order to reach our final destination “Rhodes Harbor” in the early afternoon. No wind this time, all the way under engine, we are arriving at Mandraki at 3pm, as expected. For the last time: Graham, ready on the anchor? Natascha, ready on the stern ropes?
And guess who overtook the ropes again? Friend Klaus, of course! He didn´t wait as planned in Symi for the storm to pass. Instead he escaped straight away to Rhodes, more safe, he said!
Our car arrived to take my crew back to their homes but not without a last “Farewell- drink”. We all agree: next autumn again:
But maybe Turkey this time?
In the meantime my crew has left and it is quiet on board again. I am staying another night to finish the season 2013 just by myself
Monday morning I will bring „Boheme“ over to the shipyard of Rhodes, where Sabri and Co will get her ready for the next summer.