We left Alinda on Leros and re-traced our tracks to Xerokampos for a night and then headed to Kos Marina, just south of Kos town. We’d booked in there for 3 nights to pick up my Mum and my niece who’d be joining us for a week.
It was a motor all of the way as there was no wind which is a bit of a rarity in these parts. We called up the marina on VHF channel 77 and were asked to wait at the entrance until the marinero arrived in his RIB to guide us in. By this time the wind had picked up to 20kts from the north. Luckily the berth we were allocated was south facing which meant we’d be reversing into the wind. It may sound odd but yachts will happily reverse straight into the wind and the wind would also help us turn into our berth. I’m pleased to say we didn’t make a hash of it as there were several spectators. Two of them were Carola and Bobby on Blue Pearl. We’d overwintered with them in Kalamata and met them at a couple of anchorages since. It never fails to amaze me how often we meet up with friends.
We arrived mid-day on the 10th and my mum was flying in on the evening of the 12th which gave us a couple of days to get Coriander ready, do some provisioning and check out the town. There is a good but fairly expensive supermarket in the marina and an excellent Kritikos supermarket just a few minutes walk away.
Kos marina is the base for several charter fleets. We’d been told that we’d have to leave the berth by 9am on the Friday. We knew that there was no chance of a berth Friday to Sunday, not that it was a problem for us. Of the 5 fingers, 3 were dedicated to charter boats.
The reception staff were very helpful and efficient. The costs weren’t too bad at €50 per night for 15.2m, More expensive than a town quay but way cheaper than Balearic and Italian marinas.
We walked along the promenade into the old town to get our bearings. It was quite a shock to the system to be in such a busy place after the quiet towns and anchorages that we’d become used to. Kos town is very much geared towards the tourist trade, the old harbour is full of tripper boats vying for trade and is surrounded by tavernas and coffee shops.
Mike and Claire had hoped to anchor off Kos a few weeks earlier but the weather had been against them. Mike has a penchant for real ale and they’d researched a real ale venue which I’m pleased to say we found and tried 🙂
Early the next morning I took the walk in to town from the marina to the port police to get my Dekpa or cruising permit stamped. This has to be done each year and costs nothing though there are large fines if it isn’t done. The process was very quick and efficient. We’ve found all of the officials in Greece to be helpful and friendly although we’ve been careful to ensure we are compliant at all times so haven’t given any reason for there to be any problems.
We did another supermarket run and then headed to town for something to eat before getting the 9pm bus the 25km to Kos airport to meet Mum and Gabi. As an aside, the 9pm bus is the last one to the airport and there isn’t a later one back.
Their flight was of course delayed and we finally met them around 11pm. We took a taxi back to the marina, got everyone settled aboard Coriander and headed out to get something to eat as the travellers were hungry. One of the great things about Greece is that you can get a meal pretty much any time. In this case one of the tavernas in the marina served up two huge burger meals at midnight.
We decided to spend the next day in Kos town to sight see and leave the marina on Friday morning.
The stroll along the promenade to town was fine in the warm breeze but once in the shelter of the town it was stifling. Luckily there were plenty of tavernas to choose from.
Refreshed, we then took in some of the sights of Kos Town:
and my favourite, the ancient Tree of Hippocates
According to legend, Hippocrates of Kos (considered the father of medicine) taught his pupils the art of medicine in the shade of this tree.
Given that this was 2400 years ago and the trees don’t usually live much beyond 500 years it’s doubtful although it may be a descendent of the original tree.
Culture done, we left the marina at 8:30 the following morning. The winds were due to be strong northerlies to we chose to head along the south coast to Kamari where we’d be sheltered from the winds and the waves.
As forecast, the wind increased but we had a great beam reach along the coast, reaching 9.9kts at one point.
Once we’d anchored and had lunch it was time for a swim to cool off.
Kamari is a smallish town and probably one of the least touristy on Kos. The wind had picked up as forecast and the sea was pretty choppy so we decided not to risk going ashore, being content to swim and chill.
We stayed at Kamari the next day because the winds were strong from the north and that was the direction we wanted to go. Not that it was a problem as the weather was gorgeous and the winds made the temperatures comfortable.
On the Sunday morning we decided upon a long sail up to Alinda on Leros. This was because we knew the charter boats would be leaving Kos and we wanted to get ahead of them.
The first few miles were pretty bumpy once we started heading north as the swell had built up and was coming from that direction but once we’d got to the north of the island and could head for the pass between Kalymnos and Pserimos we could get the sails out and enjoy a good sail.
Alinda was where I’d done the diving course but this time I could do the tourist thing.
After Alinda, we sailed south to Xerokampos, via a diversion to Panteli to get a view of the windmills and town.
Once at Xerokampos (again) it was time to break out the paddle board for Gabi. It was her first time on one and she was soon paddling around the moored yachts.
It was great to sit in the sun chatting and relaxing.
After our hectic day we headed ashore for a meal at Taverna Aloni and then returned to Coriander for sundowners which, to be fair, went on long past sundown.
We were slowly making our way back to Kos and we re-visited Palionnisos where more swimming and eating ensued.
The following morning it was time for our final sail back to Kos marina. It was really strange for us to have a deadline, we could have spent another couple of days in each of the places we (re) visited.
We berthed back in the marina at 11:30am and had the rest of the day with Mum and Gabi before they had to get a taxi to the airport at 8pm that night.
We went out for lunch passing the statue just outside the marina gates
and had a lunch of pork Pita Gyros – The Greek delicacy
At around 6pm we headed to one of the marina bars for a final meal before Mum and Gabi got the airport taxi. Readers may recall that we’d walked in to town on arriving at Kos to find a bar selling real ale. We should have tried the marina bar first as they sold it there!
Far too soon (weeks!) it was time for Mum and Gabi to leave. It was really sad to see them go and we missed their company..
We left the marina at 07:45 the next morning to make our way North, firstly stopping for the night at Alinda again
and then on to the anchorage on the south coast of Leipsoi.
Our first choice of anchorage was in the triple bay of Katsadia but all of the prime anchor locations had been taken and when we tried to anchor we couldn’t get the anchor to hold. The sailing directions mention that the bottom is flat rock and that’s what we found. We left that bay and anchored in acres of lovely sand in the bay to the east – Hohlakora Beach. I highly recommend this as it’s both quieter and much better holding. We shared a huge anchorage with just 2 other boats.
From Hohlakora we headed north once more to the beautiful moorings and bay on the island of Marathi.
This gorgeous bay has 2 tavernas and a beach club. It is very sheltered and I highly recommend it although the moorings are pretty close together.
We were in need of supplies so we took the RIB across to the small harbour of Arki. We could have gone stern to the quay if we’d taken Coriander in and if we’d had more time we’d have loved to have spent a night there.
One of the taverna owners had built model boats and moored them in a small pool just outside his taverna, Fantastic!
The mooring buoys we were on was owned by the Pirate taverna which of course meant we ate there.
We were nearing the end of June by now and if our rough plans were to be met we needed to make our way North. Our next stop was an anchorage on the south of Samos called Limniona.
This was a spetacular anchorage in the shadow of the highest mountain on Samos. The bottom gently shelves for hundreds of metres and is all sand. We joined a couple of yachts and after a swim had a quiet night. We’d wanted to go to the main town of Pythagorion but the anchorage had been closed when yachts anchored in the path of the ferry – such a shame.
We rose at 8:00am the following morning to a beautiful day with light winds. By 8:30 the winds had reached 40kts and it took the best part of 30 minutes to get the anchor up. Looking at the charts we decided our best option was to head back south to Patmos where there were lots of sheltered anchoring options.
We unfurled half the jib and ran to Patmos, firstly anchoring off the town of Skala to go ashore and get supplies before we tucked in to a bay called Livadi to the north of Skala to shelter from the winds.
We’d had our first experience of the famed Meltemi winds for which the Aegean is notorious. These winds come out of nowhere and can be quite dangerous. They blow from June to September with various strengths and are formed when an area of high pressure (H) forms over the Balkans and low pressure (L) forms over Turkey
The bay with the trees behind it provided fantastic shelter for the 5 days that the Meltemi blew.
After 4 days the winds eased enough for us to be happy to go ashore for a meal and drink, and to look back at Coriander at anchor.
Time had got the better of us and we needed to make serious headway north so we decided upon a 2 day passage from Patmos and the dodecanese to Lesbos where we’d meet up once more with Owl and Pussycat.