Sailing in the Aegean….

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As we are currently on dry land, and I have no sailing related news to tell you, I thought I would share a Sailblog post I wrote almost three years ago.  We had begun our circuit of the Aegean and had sailed from Syros, to the islands of Paros and Naxos, then on to Amorgos…..

21 May – on board Fandancer

weather: 25degC, winds light, force 2-3 NW.

After two peaceful days, we sailed to Amorgos which took four and a half hours. What a lovely place, one of our favourite islands, definitely worth a return trip. We moored on the quay at Katapola, the main town on Amorgos, alongside yachts from Austria, France, Germany, Belgium, Turkey and even one from Australia.

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Amorgos is famous for its scenic walks and we saw many groups of ramblers who were preparing to trek to the famous monastery which is built into an overhanging cliff. There is also an old Chora, or hill village to explore, with ancient windmills and winding narrow streets. In the evening we walked around to the other side of the harbour and sat at the appropriately named Moon Bar to watch the sunset with an ouzo in hand.

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We have paid very small amounts for mooring fees so far this year – three days in Paros cost us five euros in total, with free electricity and water. Naxos marina was twelve euro a night including elec and water. At Iraklia and Amorgos we paid nothing. The port police in Amorgos obviously kept a check on the boats coming into the harbour and asked the boat alongside is to take their papers to the office, which is common, and charged them ten euros, but they didnt even look at us. We can never fathom out the intricacies of Greek officialdom…….

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Our next stop was the amazing and very tiny island of Levitha, half way between Amorgos and Leros, known to yachtsmen as being a very safe anchorage from very strong winds from any direction. The wind had died away by the time we got there at 5pm. Apparently, the island is only occupied by one family of three inhabitants. They have a goat farm of 900 goats, and run a small taverna at their farmhouse. They have also put a dozen mooring buoys in the bay for yachtsmen, and charge seven euro a night for the privilege. We took the dinghy ashore and walked the short distance up the hill to the farm taverna. There were goats everywhere! Mostly small ones who presumably escaped the Easter cull,when everyone in Greece roasts goat on the spit.

There were about half a dozen tables in the farmhouse courtyard, beautifully decorated with shady awnings, and displayed on the walls were artefacts they had fished from the sea, such as parts of ancient amphorae jugs, and some huge sea shells.

The meal was very simple but delicious. We had a Greek salad, saganaki (fried cheese) then we chose the goat stew in tomato and garlic sauce, which was extremely tasty. I thought I would be squeamish about eating goat, like I am with bunnies, but it was amazing. It was a good job we took torches, as our walk back was through the unlit stony fields and you could easily get lost and the goats weren’t much help.

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Have you ever woken to the sound of hundreds of goat bells tinkling at dawn? A terrific start to the day. Lots of small goats came running down the rocks and along the rocky shore before disappearing into the scrubby bushes…..

 

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When in doubt, write a list…

I’ve noticed recently that other bloggers have been trying a 30 day Blogging Challenge, so I thought I’d have a look …..

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Sarah led me to a list on her blog which gave some useful prompts for blog posts if you needed some ideas.  You can find the list here.   I quite like the idea of writing random facts about myself, so here we go…..

I married my husband Tim in 2010, a second marriage for both of us.

I have four grandchildren, aged 3, 3, 1 and 1.

We live on a yacht in Greece for most of the year.

We have a cat called Artemis who lives on our boat with us.

I have been to over 40 Greek islands.

My favourite Greek islands are Syros, Paxos and Lipsi.

I was born in Malta, as my father was in the RAF.

I have been to 16 educational establishments.

I am left handed.

I am a Scorpio.

I like attempting cryptic crosswords.

My first car was a blue Mini.

I have a Masters’ degree in Psychology

My favourite food is a roast dinner.

I don’t like yoghurt.

I like sewing, writing and drawing (that’s three things!)

i have had several articles published in sailing magazines.

I used to be quite a good swimmer.

I’ve never been on a motorbike.

I have pierced ears but no tattoos.

My favourite colour is turquoise blue

I don’t like vacuuming or dusting, but don’t mind ironing.

One day I would like to have a book published

That’s all for now!  It’s very hard to think of things to write about yourself!

If you have a go at this, make sure you make a link back to this site, so I can read your random facts too!

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Which Greek island would you choose?

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Harbour at Hydra.

Today I was chatting online to a friend who is thinking of moving to Greece. She is very undecided as to where she should make her new home. As I have visited over 40 Greek islands on our yacht Fandancer, she has been asking me for advice. She asked me the following question, and I thought it would make a good blog post –

“If you were told you had to live on a Greek island and don’t factor in location or ease of travel where would you choose?”

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Mykonos

The first thing I told her, was that some people might immediately choose one the most picturesque and beautiful islands, the favourites of holiday brochures, with turquoise sea, a sandy beach and traditional Greek buildings. Like Paxos or Ithaca in the Ionian Sea, or Mykonos, Serifos or Amorgos in the Aegean…

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Anchored at Anti-Paxos

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At Loggos, Paxos

However, these beautiful islands may not be like this in the winter. Well, I know for certain they won’t be. The tourists have left, the tavernas have closed, the sea is colder, the weather is very different. Sometimes the ferries will stop in the winter. The bus timetable will be restricted. There will be little chance to see a doctor or dentist.

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Narrow street in Ermoupolis, Syros

If you are going to live on a Greek island all year round, you will need access to different things compared to what you want on holiday. You might not need a souvenir shop where you can buy a colourful beach towel, sun lotion, or flip flops. But you would like access to emergency services, banks, phone shops, a decent supermarket, butchers, bakers, hardware shops, plus all the multitude of other businesses that you might need.

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Beach on Meganissi

As well as visiting the islands by yacht, I have also lived on land in various parts of Greece, including being there in the off-season. The four islands I would recommend would be Aegina, Syros, Lefkas and Corfu. All of these islands have busy populations with shops and businesses open all year. They also have facilities like doctors, dentists and hospitals, unlike some of the very remote islands where you may have to rely on small ferries to take you to a town some distance away for assistance.

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Corfu sunset