Simi to Panormitis - Day 65 - 1st October

Spent the day hanging around the harbour reprovisioning, doing school-work and meeting our friends at the Port Police so that we could leave.

Historically Simi is famous for the sponge divers that risked all to harvest the phylum Porifera, often without any breathing equipment, many metres on the ocean floor.  Today the town makes it's money from tourists, selling them imported sponges.  Not quite as romantic, but a lot safer.


Around mid-morning, whilst the kids were trying to concentrate on their school work, the fun and games started as a small German boat attempted to up-anchor and away.  It became apparent that when they arrived they laid their anchor at 45 degrees to the harbour wall instead of the customary 90.   The nett effect of this is that the subsequent arrivals, who did lay at 90 degrees, in effect laid their anchor chains over the Germans'.   Soooooo when they came to leave they found that they couldn't pull up their anchor.


We watched them circling for around half an hour, huffing and puffing, heaving and a hoving.  Being gentlemen of advancing years there was a lot more of the former than the latter.   Eventually I couldn't stand it any longer.  My vocal 'encouragements' were being ignored, perhaps because my choice of Anglo-Saxon words are not readily understood by non-English speakers - admittedly I would be very surprised if this select vocabulary was taught in schools.  So I dived in and swam across to them and took control.


Five minutes later we had managed to pull up the anchor and unhook the other's chains and they were off.

As you can see, sailing brings you to the peak of physical perfection


Once I became bored of basking in the glory of being Anchor-Release Man to all of the marina groupies, it was our turn to pull up the hook and move back to Panormitis, filling up with diesel on the way.  Not much to say on the relatively short 13nm sail.


When we arrived the kids were a little shocked and surprised to see more Germans in the bay.  These were not having trouble with their anchor,  their problem seems to have been that someone had stolen all of their clothes.  I think the swimmers were a little surprised and embarrassed when the kids started giggling, but then they do have a lot to live up to.

Simi - Days 63 & 64 - 29th & 30th September 2009

We finally set sail from Nisyros after 3 days.  When I say set sail that is a bit of an exaggeration, there was no wind which has been unusual of late.


The plan was to head to Simi, Symi, Syme, take you pick on today's spelling, and the main harbour there, but we had heard that it can be difficult to get into.  Instead we were told of a fantastic bay called Panormitis towards the south of the island, so we made this our objective.


True enough, when we arrived the bay fulfilled the wild outlandish claims heaped upon it.  The water was still, turquoise and the sandy bottom could easily be seen.  There were few boats in the bay and so I picked a plum spot right in the middle of the bay in front of the fantastic Monastery of the Archangel Michael.

The monastery was last remodelled in the 1870's on the Venetian style and is the only building of significance in the bay, dominating the landscape.


 The next morning, after visiting the monks at work, we tried to get a bus or taxi to Simi town.  Unfortunately there was nothing happening on the taxi front, and the bus was a 2 hour wait plus 1 hour transit time.  We decided to take a flyer and sail around, if we couldn't moor in the harbour then we had heard of another bay nearby that was supposed to be good.


Like yesterday the wind was not playing again  - we did try to sail but the engine was off for a maximum of 15 minutes on the 14nm journey.


I was so busy reading my book - The Hunt for Red October - that I completely missed the turning,  Fortunately The Admiral was at hand to mildly point out my navigational error - it's amazing what she can do with a pointy stick, most people would call it torture, she calls it motivation.


Getting into the harbour was no trouble at all, I guess it was because it was so early in the day.  After mooring up I went off to visit the harbour police, whilst the kids did school work and The Admiral sharpened her now blunt stick.  This is the point when I make some observations about greek bureaucracy,  however I am still in the country, not 50 metres from his office and he might be reading this blog.  I know that sounds unlikely but he must be doing something all day, because he certainly isn't doing port police work.


Later we watched one of the many ferries that run the Greek islands docking in the harbour.  It was huge, that's a full sized yacht under the 'K' and the whole entrance/exit was blocked for the 10 minutes or so he was tied up.



Nisyros - Day 60, 61 & 62 - 26th, 27th and 28th September


36° 37' 7.9284" N, 27° 10' 14.1816" E

After doing the runner from Kos to avoid the €0.88 departure tax we had a lovely, and lively, 22nm sail to the Greek island of Nisyros.


We decided to hire a car to tour the island and we came to the conclusion the island stinks.  Mostly when someone complains about the smell it is because of my feet, but on this occasion I plead innocent.  Upon further investigation the rotten eggy smell was eminating from the centre of the island where a volcano crater is grumbling away.

What's hot and stinks of rotten eggs?


After looking at the volcano and visiting the volcano museum we toured some of the few villages on the island.

Nikia - a typical greek village in the mountains


Next it was to the 'capital' Mandraki where we wandered the streets for a bit.


Swimming a few hours ago - Dinner in a few hours time



Kos - Day 58 & 59 - 24th and 25th September


36° 53' 30.9336" N, 27° 18' 6.9372" E

From Bodrum to Kos it is a massive 10nm, the shortest point between the two landmasses being only 5km.


Entering into the EU for the first time I had to go through the rigmarole of customs, passport control, port police and obtaining a DEKPA, some sort of cruising permit for Greece.  Naturally these things are easily, and cheaply obtained, NOT......


Whilst certain elements could be done in the marina, for other parts I had to go into town to visit the harbour and tax office.  Naturally the marina port police told me this upfront therefore only having to make one journey, NOT.....  Back and forth for 2 days getting thoroughly peeved with each mile I had to tramp along the sea front, back and forth.  If you need any information on the coastal path in Kos I am your man.  I could tell you every pot hole, curb stone and dog turd along the way.  I never actually managed to complete all of the allotted tasks, when she told me I had to go back to the tax office a second time to pay the €0.88 departure tax, I nodded understandingly and set sail for Nisyros.


But before doing the runner we did go into town to look at Hippocrates tree, piles of rocks from the olden days and the Knights castle.

A 500 year old tree that apparently Hippocrates pondered under 2500 years ago

Allied Carpets finest circa 500BC

Bodrum - Day 57 - 23rd September


37° 2' 3.2928" N, 27° 25' 26.94" E

An early start as we wanted to get to Bodrum by lunch so that we could see the castle in the afternoon.  The 28nm journey was pretty uneventful and we were moored up in no time at all.  Bodrum marina is fantastic, the settling, the enviroment and the staff - naturally such things are not cheap so we were determined to spend as little time in the marina as possible.


We worked our way around the harbour towards the castle, stopping for lunch on the way.  At the harbour front restaurant we saw an octopus 'swimming' in the sea.


After lunch it was into the castle.  The Castle of St Peter is currently laid out as per the Knights of St John who did a considerable amount of construction circa 1400, although the site has been fortified at least since the days of Mausolus (it was from his impressive shrine that the word mausoleum was coined, and the shrine was trashed by the Knights for building material at the castle) around 370BC. 


Besides being an historic building in it's own right, the castle is also home to Turkey's Museum of Underwater Archaeology with impressive collection of recovered artefacts.

Some of the amphorae recovered in the surrounding seas

Old style stone and wood anchors recovered

For those classically trained, Bodrum's ancient name was Helicarnassus and was home to Herodotus.

It's all greek to me



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