On Wednesday 22nd August, Annie’s brother, Joe Schady and his partner Mary Griffiths arrived in Rhodes.

Right – let’s start with sundowners. Mary, Annie & Joe.

One of the gates into the old town.

Annie, Mary & Joe in the old town.

Ladies in conversation.

Narrow alleyways.

The two columns where the Colossus of Rhodes stood, at the entrance to Mandraki harbour.

View out of the old town – Esprit at anchor in the bay.

After two nights next to Mandraki harbour and exploring Rhodes old town, we sailed to Simi where we anchored at Panormitis on the south of the island. This quiet bay is home to a Greek Orthodox monastery.

The monastery in the background.

The sail up to Simi town was quick, but the harbour was chockers, so we anchored round the corner in Pedi. From here it was easy to catch the bus into town. We also had an excellent dinner at a local taverna.

Entering Simi harbour.

Simi town.

We set sail the following day and after a night in Alimia bay, we hopped across to Potamos Bay in Khalki. Pleasant walks into Khalki town followed, with delicacies bought from Dimitri’s bakery. Great swims in crystal clear water.

Schady siblings at Potamos Bay.

Coffees in Khalki.

The motor sail back to Mandraki harbour in Rhodes was uneventful and after a last BBQ, Joe and Mary flew home to New Zealand the following day. We enjoyed their company during their weeklong visit.

The fort at the entrance to Mandraki harbour.

Family update: Karen and Michelle took 2018 as a gap year to have a break from their respective professions – as they did after school, to travel the world, before starting University. Since the beginning of the year they have sailed with us from Thailand to Egypt and travelled in Africa and Europe. Michelle is back in London, not convinced that she wants to go back to the social work coalface, now freelancing in various jobs. She will join us in Greece during September. Karen went back to Australia during August for hospital placement interviews in 2019. She was offered six posts including her first choice, Newcastle, which she accepted. This hospital has the largest and busiest orthopaedic trauma unit in New South Wales. She will continue her apprenticeship in orthopaedic surgery in February 2019. To celebrate, she has bought a round the world ticket to travel for the next six months – starting with her 30th birthday party in London during September.

Karen & Michelle in Cape Town.

Rhodes to Amorgos.

Back to cruising. After three days in Rhodes we set sail for Tilos island in the Dodecanese group. A trip of 49 nm in varying winds. Tilos is off the beaten track and very low key, but we did manage to have a good dinner at a local taverna. The next day we continued to Nisiros island where we tied up in the pretty harbour of Palon. This island is comparatively green and has a crater in the centre, where there are a number of steaming vents releasing sulphurous fumes from deep down in the earth.

Palon town – pubs and tavernas within crawling distance.

Kiwi boat next to us.

Palon harbour.

Saturday afternoon was spent watching the passing parade of locals and tourists, before sundowners with our Kiwi neighbours, Michele Lennan and Christopher Hancock on their Jeanneau “Endless Summer”. Michelle is an Aussie and Topher an ex Saffer, living in Auckland with two sons, about the ages of our two daughters. It turns out Topher and us competed against each other in the 1982 Trans-Atlantic race from Cape Town, to Montevideo in Uruguay – he on Nutcracker and us on 34 degrees South. He met Michele after the race in the Caribbean and they have been sailing together ever since.

Early morning visit to the crater – Annie, Christopher and Michele.

View down into the caldera.

Walking down.

Bubble and squeak.

Breakfast at the Balcony taverna – crater in the background.

Early on Sunday morning, we joined them in their rented car for a trip to the crater, with a walk down into the caldera, before driving up to the village of Emporios, where we had breakfast at the Balcony Taverna. A visit to the Coast Guard in Mandraki town followed, to have our transit logs stamped. The town of Mandraki is quite beautiful with narrow streets and town squares, where we had cold frappes at a taverna overlooking the sea. The afternoon was spent on the beach with a swim to cool down, before dinner.

On the way to Mandraki – view down to Palon harbour.

Starting our walk through Mandraki town.

The streets are getting narrower.

View up a side alley.

Three ex Saffers – Topher, Annie and Dirk.

View to castle above.

And then, a shady square for coffee.

The week started with a boisterous and wet 44 nm sail to Astypalaia island, where we tied up in the harbour overnight, before doing another 44 nm sail to Amorgos the following day in kinder conditions. This sail was made even more pleasurable by keeping a bigger 55ft yacht with Kevlar sails and crew out on the rail, behind us for 30 miles, before reaching Amorgos. Esprit was now entering the central Cyclades island group of the Aegean, having left the Dodecanese group behind on leaving Astipalaia.

We anchored in an enclosed bay at the SW end of Amorgos in a little fishing harbour called Kalotaritissa. Soon, a 46 ft Prout catamaran anchored next to us and we noticed it flew Australian and South African flags. We invited them over for sundowners, to discover that James was an Aussie and Tam an ex Saffer, who worked and met in London. They have escaped the rat race in London, retired early, bought the cat three months ago in the eastern Sporades and are now setting out to do the ARC rally across the Atlantic to the Caribbean. After a relaxing morning on the paddleboard, we motored the 6 miles to Katapola harbour, doing a quick detour to look at a French yacht which ran aground recently.

Kalotaritissa – crystal clear water.

Annie getting her paddle board exercise.

Mon Dieu!

Architecturally, Katapola is a typical Cycladic town painted in white and blue, with ferries discharging and picking up, hundreds of tourists every day.

Katapola town.

Katapola street.

Katapola beachfront.

The ideal vessel for Annie to go and catch Octopothi.

There’s a ferry coming in!

They should call this one: the Colossus of Mote.

The following day we took a bus across the island to the south coast. On top of the mountain range is the chora (main town) with many old windmills. Halfway down the southern slope, the bus driver dropped us off for the walk up to the monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa. It is like a latter day pilgrimage to climb the more than 300 steps to this monastery built between 812 – 813 AD. You are rewarded with cold water, a shot of raki and Greek delight sweets (made by the monks). The two-hour round trip with the bus called for a swim and a nanna nap in the afternoon, before sundowners on the German catamaran anchored next to us. We rewarded ourselves with a splendid dinner at a local taverna.

View through the bus window down to Katapola.

Having a rest.

Getting close to the top.

Arriving at the top.

Clothes available to dress to the monks required standard.

Going inside – sorry, after this, no photos allowed.

Going down the 300 steps again.

The following day we had a leisurely cruise through the small islands of Karos, Andikaros, Skhinousa and Iraklia to the south of Naxos, before sailing up the west coast of Naxos to anchor in Naxos town at 4pm. We will continue from here in our next post.

Cheers for now.