Monday, 16 December 2019


We got back to Lakki from our northern voyage on Tuesday 21 May. The boat was filthy and we had masses of washing to do so we stayed in Lakki doing repairs, cleaning, washing and catching up with friends. Ray and Carol were still here and came for a drink on Tuesday evening before setting off for Arkhangelos and Lipsi on Wednesday morning. We also caught up with Anna in Lakki marina, where we saw Bob and Lin, who were setting off next day for Turkey. We had dinner aboard, an early night and a long sleep.

On Wednesday Keith and Louise came for a drink and we had dinner with them at Skippers. They had not been able to come from Australia last year, so their motor yacht had been in the yard at Agmar (now Moor and Dock) for almost two years. They had an enormous amount of work to do, painting, varnishing and general maintenance, and their batteries were dead, so they had decided to spend almost three months in the yard working on the boat (and seeing their many friends in Lakki), so that everything would be ready to go next year.

On Thursday we got a taxi over to Xerokampos and had dinner at Aloni with Simon and Christiana. Lefteri was very harassed - the whole taverna was being run by him and his wife, Evelyn, who has a bad back, made worse by an operation over the winter. Their daughters are no longer around and he says that they cannot get staff at the wages they can afford to pay.

On Friday we had lunch at Poppy's with Steve and Nia, who were leaving on Saturday, and in the evening got a taxi to Platanos to have dinner with Jad and Julie at the grill in the square. This was not such a good idea - the mayor was having a rally before the election on Sunday, so there was a massive racket from the ghetto blasters in the town hall, firecrackers and rockets going off and the mayor wandering around kissing and hugging his supporters. This was followed by a long speech from the mayor. All our friends are desperate to get rid of him, but he is a populist, who goes to all the wedding and funerals and hands out largesse to his supporters, who dominate in the smaller villages. (He topped the poll on Sunday, but then faced a run-off with the second candidate, Australian George, who says that he is so rich that he does not need to steal. Our friends cannot decide which is the lesser of two evils).

We had a quiet day on Saturday, doing lots of shopping because most shops would be closed on Sunday, election day, and we intended to leave on Monday morning. On Sunday, May 26th, Lin wanted to go and see Patrick and Margaret in Artemis boatyard in Partheni, at the other end of the island. Patrick and Margaret are flying home, giving up sailing and putting their boat up for sale. The bus was not running on election day, so we decided to cycle via Gourna, which involves getting over two big hills, up most of which Lin got off and walked, so it took us over an  hour and a half to get there. Lin had thought she would not be able to get back on the bike, so wanted to take a taxi back, but after a drink with Patrick and Margaret, she decided to give it a go. We took a slightly easier route, via Rakhi, and, despite a lot of pushing up the hills, we got back in good time. For dinner we had a delicious roast leg of Leros lamb, which provided lunch for the next two days as well.

On Monday, May 27th, we set off for Palionisos, on Kalymnos,

and tied up to the inmost white buoy.

Philipe and Concecao, with their dog Scuba, arrived soon after us and we had dinner with them at Pothitos' taverna, Kalidonis. The water was warm, 21.5 degrees, so it was a pleasure to swim at last.

On Tuesday we walked down the rough path to the little cove, where we swam before walking back for lunch.

On the beach a baby goat had lost its mother.

There were hundreds of beautiful little blue butterflies along the path, moving fast, which made them difficult to photograph.

On Wednesday we gathered herbs to dry - Oregano and mountain tea. In the evening Lin went to bed, while Simon went to watch the Europa League final with Philipe and Concecao. We all went home when Chelsea went 3-0 up and Pothitos looked as though he was ready to close up and go to bed.

We had planned to go to Xerokampos on Thursday, May 30, but Lin found that she had chipped a tooth, so we decided to go straight back to the marina in Lakki for her to see the dentist. She went off to the dentist as soon as we arrived and the dentist ground the sharp bit off her tooth, told her that it would be OK until she got home, and did not charge her anything.

On Friday May 31st we cycled over to Pandeli to have dinner with Al and Kitty at El Greco. After the usual excellent meal and a lot of wine, we cycled back towards Lakki. Lin ground to a halt on a short hill, stopped, declared that the bike was not working, and fell over in the middle of the main road, grazing her back and bruising her leg. This probably sobered her up a bit, because the rest of the ride back was uneventful.

On Saturday, June 1st, we did a lot of shopping ready for Lin's brother John's arrival on Monday (the shops would be closed on Sunday for the run-off mayoral election) and had lunch at Poppy's with Keith and Louise. After dinner, Lin went to bed, while Simon went back to Poppy's to watch the Champions' League Final. The match was no better than the Europa League Final, but it was more exciting because closer.

We spent Sunday chilling and doing some final cleaning before John's arrival on Monday morning.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

From Tinos home to Lakki

We left Tinos at 7 on Sunday May 19th and motored down to Delos, where you can anchor off during opening hours, 8 to 8. We tried anchoring south of the landing place, but it was weedy and rocky and there was not much room, so we anchored instead just north of the landing stage.

and rowed round, arriving at 9. By then no more than a dozen people had landed so we had the site almost to ourselves.
We had been here in 1964, but did not remember much of it. We had a photo of Lin sitting in the remains of a house

and tried, but failed, to find the same house, so had to take a picture in a different one. 

The site is enormous,

but the greatest thing about it this year is the installation of 29 Anthony Gormley scultures (, five  of which were made especially for the site, so we went on a Gormley hunt, and found sixteen of them. 
The first we saw was in the bay as we were looking for a place to anchor.

6 Times Left (2009)

The second was at the head of the jetty. Lin thought at first that it was a person and wondered why he did not come over to help us in with our dinghy!

Another Time V (2007)

One was on the edge of the Agora 

Vice II (2015)
One was in the museum
Shift II (2000)

and one outside (a new site-specific commission), sitting on an exact replica of the ancient column and capital fragment.
Rule (2018)

Many of the others that we saw were placed in the ruins of houses. 

Cast III (2009)
Settlement III (2013)

Prop (2018)

Dionysus House

Reflect (new site-specific commission) in Dionysus House

Resort IV (2013)

Side II (2017)

Catch (2015)

Knot (2010) in the theatre

Cleopatra's House

Stem (2015)

One was overlooking a pond, 
Water (2018) Site-specific commission

accompanied by a strange croaking noise. At first we thought that Gormley had added a soundtrack, but then we saw that it was four frogs, croaking in the pond.

The famous lions on the site are reproductions,
The lions in 1964 - the originals?
The lions today

the originals being in the museum.

The museum has a lot of statues, none of which was particularly impressive, but some marvelous wall paintings.
By 10.30 the tripper boats were starting to arrive and by 11 we were having to fight our way through tour groups, 

so we decided it was time to leave, passing our last Gormley on a rock at the north end of the island.
Another Time XIV (2011)

We motored across to Mykonos, where we anchored alongside Mike and Helen in Island Drifter at the head of Korfos Bay. 

After lunch we rowed ashore and met up with Simon’s ex-colleague, Peter Ratcliffe, who spends every spring and autumn on Mykonos. With Peter we took a bus into town from Ornos Beach

and he showed us around the streets and harbour of Mykonos. We had only vague memories of our previous visit in 1964 (Lin also came in 1965), but the town (and the whole island) has been massively developed since then. 
Mykonos Harbour
The windmills
Little Venice

We didn't see Petros, the famous pelican, with whom Simon had made friends in 1964 (the original Petros was killed by a car in 1985).

We had coffee and cakes at a bakery and then walked back to Korfos, where we had a quick swim from the boat (18 degrees).

Mike and Helen had returned and called us up to invite us for drinks with their friends, Max and Sue. After drinks we made a light supper, as it was getting late, of salad and sardines on toast (because the safety cut out on the grill does not work, grilling involves holding the knob in the whole time).

Peter's photo of the boats piled up off Megali Amos beach at sunset (where we had thought of anchoring) 

We woke early on Monday morning, May 20th. We had been looking for a weather window for favourable winds to cross to the Dodecanese, but all the forecasts have been inconsistent and unreliable, which makes planning ahead difficult. All the weather forecasts for Monday showed the wind between south and west and up to Force 3, so we decided that it would make sense to cross directly back from Mykonos to Arki, setting off at 6.20. The wind was indeed a Force 3 southwesterly, so we got the sails up and motor-sailed at good speed. However, the wind soon went round to the east, on the nose, so we had to get the sails down and motor.  After lunch the wind went round to a Force 4 ESE so we could unroll the genoa and speed up a bit. Visibility was bad and got worse, so we could not see Patmos until we were ten miles off.
We were very pleased to reach the top of Patmos at 4.30

and get onto the quay in Arki at 6 after 75 miles.

After a day of thick cloud, as soon as we got to Arki the sun came out! After dinner at Nikolas, we went early to bed and slept a long sleep.
We left Arki at 8.20 and motor-sailed down to Lakki, getting into the marina at 12, in time to get the bikes out and go and have a beer at Poppy’s to celebrate the completion of our Northern Odyssey. 773 miles (and a lot of diesel) in 3 weeks and a bit.

Saturday, 18 May 2019

From Khalkis to Tinos

We left Khalkis at 8.30 on Wednesday morning, 16 May, and wound our way through the channel, passing under the road bridge with room to spare. 

Just around from the bridge we passed a shipyard where the Blue Star Ferry Diogenes, that we have taken from Leros to Athens, was in dry dock.

There was sun and some wind at last, but it was Force 2-3 on the nose, so we motored again. We had intended to go to Almyropotamos Bay on Evia, but we decided to press on and arrived at Nisos Khernision (Xero) at 15.45, having covered 45 miles.

We had expected to find the bay empty, but there were two yachts already there (and two more came in later), but we found a comfortable place to anchor on 6m of sand.  It is a beautiful bay

and the sea temperature was 18.5, so Lin had a swim.

We had a long night’s sleep to recover from being up till 2 the previous night and left Xero at 7.30 with a very weak southerly wind. We motored round Tragonisi, a “strictly private” island with one inhabitant, according to the census, but with three very large houses and their own harbor.

The other larger Petali islands had substantial houses on them, Khersonisi

and Megalonisi,
 but are uninhabited according to the census, so presumably these are second homes.

The wind gradually swung round as we motor-sailed towards Andros, eventually reaching a Force 4 northerly. We arrived in Batsi at 12.15 and went alongside the quay. 

We had a week’s holiday in Batsi about twenty years ago, but there has been so much construction since then (and maybe our memories are weakening) that we could not recognize anything or remember exactly where we had stayed.

We went for an excellent lunch at a taverna overlooking the bay, run by a very friendly Greek owner and his German wife, who had been there for 33 years. 

When we got back to the boat, the harbour master came up and asked us to move forward, to make room for another boat behind, although there was lots of room on the other quay and even if we moved forward there would only be room for a coracle behind us. Nevertheless, we moved to keep him happy. We then went for a walk up the road to find the recycling bins and to see if we could recognize anywhere from our previous visit. We succeeded at the former, but failed at the latter.

We came back down a long flight of steps through town, passing the taverna where we had had lunch. The taverna owner recommended we go back up and follow an alley round the town, crossing a stream and seeing a neoclassical villa for sale for 2 million euros.
We had pesto pasta for dinner after our big lunch and got to bed early.

We left Batsi at 7.45 with absolutely no wind. We motored down the West coast of Andros, past the narrow channel between Andros and Tinos 

and down the West coast of Tinos to Tinos Town in the southwest corner of the island. On the way the wind went round the clock, so we had the genoa out for a bit on one tack, then on the other.

We always keep a good look-out ahead, but on ferry routes you have to keep a good look-out behind as well. We did not see the first fast ferry until it was about half a mile behind us. He clearly intended to pass inside us, close to the shore, so we held our course and surfed his wash, rather than turning to face into it. 

The same happened with the second ferry, which we had seen from a long way off. 

The second ferry passed us soon before we got to Tinos town and was clearly getting ready to leave again as we reached the harbor entrance, so we held back until he had left.

We reached the harbor, after 27 miles, at 12 to find very few yachts there, so there was plenty of room on the quay. Two young men in hi-vis jackets took our lines very professionally and booked a diesel delivery for us – they turned out to be self-appointed harbor staff, but only asked for a tip when they had finished, rather than demanding a ridiculous fee, as often happens. They seemed delighted with the 5 euros we gave them and we were delighted when the diesel truck arrived more or less at the time promised. While we filled with diesel, the harbor authorities turned up to demand their fee of 14 euros – apart from Orei, the only time we have paid to stay anywhere on this whole trip.

We went for lunch in a very good little taverna up a back street recommended by the Greek Gastronomy Guide. After lunch we walked up to the hideous church of Panagia Evangelistra with its sacred icon. 

As our Greek Island-Hopping Guide explains: “The icon is reputedly the work of St Luke … and, if true, shows a remarkable anticipation of Byzantine art…. It came to light in 1822 after a passing nun saw a hunky bronzed workman digging in a field and had a vision (of what, history hasn’t recorded). Given instructions where to dig he unearthed the icon, miraculously unharmed.” The church was built on the site of the discovery, the icon has miraculous curative powers and attracts huge numbers of believers to Tinos, and the nun was declared a saint.
After looking round the church and looking at, but not kissing, the icon, we made our way back down the carpeted walkway along the main road.

After shopping we went back to the boat, read and chilled before a light omelette dinner.