Sailing the Cyclades 2nd – 13 th June 2012

We left Turkey for the second time on 2nd June and had an uneventful sail to Nisos Nysiros. This is a volcanic island with a dramatic caldera as its centre. This is easily accessible by a vey scenic motorbike ride inside the main rim of the crater. The small villages on the island are the typical greek style, very different from Symi with whitewashed square houses and blue shutters.After a pleasant day there we set off again for Nisos Astipalaia and found a very wild anchorage in a steep sided bay,no need for the rather tiresome long line ashore here as we were the only boat there. It felt much more like the outer islands of Scotland than Greece. The following day was hard work as the winds were very variable from nothing to 40 over the course of the day and always changing direction so Baringo was truly put through her paces and so were we. The evening found us on the southern tip of Nisos Amorgos rather than Nisos Ios which had been our original plan. It was a curious anchorage tucked behind a rocky headland with little shelter from the wind but providing a flatter sea. Luckily our Red Sea experience helped with anchoring a such a strong breeze and we were confident our gear would hold us once we had settled. We were rather surprised to find four other yachts in there but there was enough space for all of us .The wind blew all night but we woke to a beautifully sunny morning showing all the varied turquoise blue hues of the sea. Wednesday 6th June we sailed to Nisos Ios reputed to be a backpackers favourite with the usual accompaniment of bars and music. Luckily the port was quiet but the Chora the small village about 20 minutes walk up the hill lived up to its reputation but it was fun and we had an excellent meal. Surprisingly we met another Hong Kong boat on Ios “ Silverline “ they were sailing to the Canada en famille with a teacher . West wards again the next day to Folegandros and a much calmer sail. We anchored in the small harbour there rather than go stern to against the wall with the other boats . The meltemi started the next day so it was slightly less than tranquil and complicated by being asked to move the following morning by the port police as we might obstruct a large vessel arriving that night. Our anticipated relaxing morning disappeared in several re-anchoring attempts. Folegandros is a very quiet island so we decided to stay an extra day and walk to the Chora which is about 3.3 km away and well worth the trek. The large vessel did arrive at about 01.20 but we were not convinced our small move had been worth the trouble . The next journey was to the south of Nisos Milos where the Venus de Milo was discovered by a greek farmer but then summarily snatched by the French .We decided against going to the main port as it lies at the end of a 5mile bay on the north coast and it would have taken some time just to cross the bay so we opted for Ormos Provatas on the south coast .This proved to be a great anchorage with a sloping sandy shore line and lots of space so we ended up with 10:1 scope as the wind was still blowing over 20 knots and we felt very secure .The night brought calm and so a good nights sleep at least until 5.00am when we started the 71nm sail to Kithera which we wanted to try and make in daylight.  All went well sailing at 7-7.5 knots at lot of the time until the wind disappeared in the afternoon and we had to motor the last 15 miles into the harbour in Diakofti a ferry port on the east coast of the island There were already two boats alongside the wall so we tried three times to anchor but without success as the bottom was too rocky .Eventually we went alongside a Swedish Bavaria 39 bas stern to mooring would have been impossible because of the poor bottom. The place came to life when a ferry arrived,cars lorries and people hurrying on and off then suddenly the ferry left and all was quiet again .We hired a car, fortunately easy to do next to the ferry terminal offices and drove across the island to the Chora for provisioning and the internet .The island is quite bare with little sign of agriculture but there were dramatic views of the sea and the Chora was delightful with all that we needed. In view of the weather forecast we found ,we decided a departure the following day was impossible so decided to wait until Thursday. We returned to Diakofti in the late afternoon just in time for a huge gale which reached over 40 knots (Force 9) and lasted until 03.00 thee following morning. We were busy with the other two boats securing additional warps and fenders. The waves quickly built up with such a strong wind and came directly onto out stern with a lot of slopping and splashing .It all happened so quickly and was so strong we were all rather taken by surprise .The next day remained quite calm so we enjoyed swimming and doing jobs on the boat preparing for the 3 days sail to Sicily, about 400 nm.

leaving turkey- taking down the flag

Nisiros harbour (Palon)

volcanic crater Nisiros (still active)

Nikia village centre Nisiros

cat siesta Nisiros

typique (Nikia, Nisiros)

entrance to restaurant with fantastic view over crater

moonrise on astipalaia island

leaving our quiet anchorage on Astipalaia island

Kitheria island (Kapsali town back alley)

Norwegian ship wreck near our anchorage on Kitheria (Captain was drunk!)

norwegian wreck again- unnerving

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1 Response to Sailing the Cyclades 2nd – 13 th June 2012

  1. John S says:

    Impressive shipwreck. Norwegians eh? Too much Aquavit probably…

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