Friday, 26 May 2017


We left Naxos marina at 09.10 on Sunday May 21st in a light southeasterly wind and reached the big bay at Kolimpithres in the north of Paros at midday. Monday was forecast to be another windy day and the bay provided excellent shelter. There was one very large yacht and a catamaran already there, but they soon left. We did not have the bay to ourselves for long, because a dozen more boats arrived during the afternoon. Later in the afternoon a familiar boat anchored just behind us. It was Philippe and Conceição in their Ovni, Jad, with Scuba, their Portuguese water dog. We had not seen them for three or four years because they come out before us to set off on their travels and stay out longer ( ). Monday turned out very windy but we were well dug in.

 We were about to row ashore in our dinghy for a walk round the bay in the afternoon when Philippe and Conceição arrived in their dinghy to give us a lift. We had a very enjoyable walk with them and Scuba, catching up. They recommended visiting Naoussa, which we had dismissed as a modern tourist town, but they said the old part was as pretty as any town in the Cyclades.
We set off at 08.50 on Tuesday May 23rd to sail to Paroikia in a light northerly wind. We sailed down to Naoussa, but we did not want to stop and there didn’t seem anywhere to anchor comfortably off the town, so we headed off for Paroikia, where we arrived at 11.00 and anchored in the bay. 

We put the outboard on the dinghy, it started first time, and went to look around town, do some shopping, check out the buses and have a beer before lunch. Paroikia was much more of an up-market tourist town that we had anticipated, with lots of expensive clothes and jewelry shops in little Cycladic lanes. After lunch aboard we swam and chilled and cooked dinner in the evening.
The wind died completely and some kids in a dinghy with a bicycle aboard were becalmed. A passing motor boat took pity on them and towed them ashore to riotous laughter.

On Wednesday we went into town after breakfast, bought bus tickets, and went to look at the old Byzantine church complex of Panagia Ekatontapyliani

The church was very impressive, having been restored to its original form in the 1960s, ripping off the stucco façade and repairing the stonework. 

The women’s gallery gave the best views of the church, because you could see behind the iconostasis to the sanctuary. 

The fourth century baptistery was very impressive, though of course we don’t know how much is original and how much imaginative restoration, but it puts flesh on the bones of the other early Christian churches we have visited, which have at best been little more than foundations and a heap of stones.

We got the 10.30 bus to Lefkes, the original capital of Paros, for another mostly downhill seven mile walk to the sea. 

In addition to those who got off our bus to look around Lefkes, the lanes were blocked by a coachload of French tourists photographing ‘typical Cycladic scenes’. We worked our way through and joined the old Byzantine road, which once crossed the island from coast to coast. Parts of the road were wide and still marble-paved, but other parts had become derelict. 

We were followed for the first part of the walk by a hungry cat. 

The walk down the valley, past some lovely meadows,

 to a little bridge 

and then up the hill on the other side 

was very pretty, but the second half of the walk was not so attractive, looking down on and through the coastal plain. 

We had a big lunch at Tsitsanis, a taverna in Prodromos 

recommended in the walk book, and then lost our way in Marpissa, where the text of the walk book and the map seemed inconsistent, but the Garmin came to the rescue, finding a path down to Logaras beach, 

from where we walked round the headland to the endpoint of the walk, Pounda. 

After a rest and some water we walked back along the coast to Pisso Livadi, a pretty little harbour,

 from where we got the bus back to Paroikia via Naoussa at 5 o’clock.
We left Paroikia at 6.30 am on Thursday May 25th in a light Southerly wind to make our way back to the Dodecanese. We went round antiParos and Despotiko, then West to Koufonisia. 

The main harbour was quite small and open to the south, so we went round to the other side of the island to anchor off Pori beach, where there was a highly recommended taverna. There was a catamaran and one tripper boat when we arrived, which left after lunch, and a few naked bodies on the beach. 

We went ashore in the dinghy 

 for a short walk to look at the next bay

 and found that the taverna was not opening until next week, so we Lin made an excellent pea risotto aboard for dinner, coincidentally on the day that Felicity Cloake featured pea risotto in the Guardian, debating the merits of fresh and frozen peas, though no mention of the excellence of Greek tinned peas as an ingredient.

On Friday May 26th we left Pori at 0600 in a force 4 southeasterly wind to sail over the Lipsi. Because it was a long passage and we wanted to keep up speed we motorsailed with just the genoa on a beam reach though the wind died for a while halfway across.


We left Katapola for Naxos at 08.20 on Thursday 18th May in a light northerly wind which died when we went in to the Naxos-Paros channel, so we motored the rest of the way to Naxos marina, arriving at 14.00. We were lucky to get the last place on a pontoon, later arrivals having to hang off the corners or raft up. The manager was there and told us where to drop our anchor, by the bows of boats on the opposite pontoon (nearly all the lazy lines have been destroyed and not replaced – the marina is still municipal and has not yet been privatized so there is obviously no money for maintenance). Simon went for  a walk to find our favourite restaurants of four years ago, East-West, an Asian fusion restaurant owned by an Anglo-Swedish couple and Picasso, an excellent Tex-Mex restaurant. Neither were to be found where they had been. Later internet searches found that both had moved, East-West a bit to the east in town and Picasso to a distant beach. We could not find East-West in its supposed new location, so it has probably not reopened, but instead we found an excellent and friendly Greek restaurant, Nostimon, where we sat in a pretty garden freezing in the cold wind.

Friday was windy, up to 30 knots but we were snug in the marina.

Grotta Beach
Simon went shopping at a distant and disappointing supermarket in the morning and we left the washing at a wonderful laundry. In the afternoon we walked up to the castle and wandered around the little lanes – it was almost deserted.  We did not want to leave the boat for too long with the strong winds and chaotic arrivals, so we ate aboard.
On Saturday May 20th we took a very dramatic bus ride over the mountains 

to Koronida in the north to walk down an ancient path to Apollonas. Simon had made a mistake and bought tickets for the previous stop, Koronos. 

Lin refused to get off at Koronos and extend the walk, quite rightly as it turned out as it would have meant going up and over another mountain. She confirmed with the driver that the bus did go on to Koronida, since the map was ambiguous. The bus had been packed leaving Naxos, but by the time we got to Koronida we and a Finnish woman were the only passengers left. 

We set off on the walk, first making a detour up the hill to see a Mycenaean tomb, apparently one of the best preserved in the Cyclades, 

then had a fantastic, though rough, five mile walk down to the coast, 

making a detour to see an unfinished ten metre high statue in the quarry above Apollonas – it seems that the marble cracked so the sculptors abandoned it where is has lain for 2,500 years. 

We had lunch in Apollonas,

 joined by the Finnish woman whom we had passed on the walk, and got the 3.30 bus back to Naxos, picking up returning hikers as we went. That evening we had another excellent dinner in a ‘fine dining’ restaurant Antomoma, though prices were normal, most of the tableware was very beautiful and some of the promised accompaniments were little more than dirty marks on the plate.
We debated whether to stay longer in Naxos and do some more walks, but the forecast meant we would have to stay two days so we decided to leave for Paros on Sunday.