Dodecanese : Greece
These notes are intended to compliment Rod Heikell’s excellent Greek Waters Pilot, without which we would not have been able to properly and so expeditiously explore the Greek waters we love so much; we strongly urge you to buy each new edition as it is produced. It is never possible for such a comprehensive publication to be totally up to date thus, where appropriate; we have mentioned changes.
A windier area than the Ionian, Saronic or Northern Sporades but with some really super places to visit and some great sailing; if you are going down wind that is!
If you can’t remember the name, do what we do, call it Agatha Christie; it is easier to remember.
A surprisingly ‘busy’ little port on and island with only 120 inhabitants; apart from the numerous sheep and goats that is. It is very picturesque and ideal for ‘getting away from it all’. The four tavernas are quiet busy with visiting yachts (6 whilst we were there) and back packers arriving on the ferries to stay a few days. The speciality is wild goat, shot on the island.
We moored alongside, as going stern-to as the pilot
suggest could prove difficult in the prevailing Meltemi beam wind and
with the depth off the quay. However, space has to
be left on the quay for the twice-weekly ferry that seems to come everyday?
Just 3 nms east of Ay Yeoryiou is this well protected bay with two potential anchorages, both in ideal swimming water (clear emerald water over a white sand bottom). The holding is perhaps dubious as the sand appears very soft but we rode out a day of F6 without recourse to the kedge we also laid forward as a back-up despite the fact that the CQR initially pulled through the sand in F4.
This is one of our all time favourites. A tiny almost new-moon shaped islet that offers excellent protection from the Meltemi (we moored up there for two nights in a gale in 2005) with fixed moorings provided and maintained by the tavernas ashore.
In July 2005 we ended up on the rocks after two days and nights attached to one of the many laid moorings riding out a substantial gale. The lines on that particular mooring of which we were using two, parted at 05.00 on the third morning and, despite also having a secondary anchor out, we gently drifted down on to the rocky shore at the south end of the bay. Our friends on their yacht also managed to drag one of the moorings across the bay. So, have a good look at the buoy you choose; those at the northern end appear to have more substantial bases and chains than those to the south.
The taverna to the south of the bay is recommended for lunch and the taverna to the north of the bay for dinner; the latter is superb and different whilst still very economic. There is a third taverna in the middle, new since 2001, that was not tried.
It would appear that just one family live here and run or lease the tavernas during the very short summer season.
There are the ruins of the original village settlement and a sweet and well-maintained little chapel on the crest of the island that are worth a visit.
A busy harbour that is a bit noisy as the main road backs the quay. Water and fuel are available, both from mini-tankers.
Good for general provisioning and there are some reasonable tavernas both in the ferry harbour area and the Chora above the town which is worth the taxi fare for a visit.
Not a place we like very much.
Whilst described as a bay, it is a fully-fledged harbour and for such a small island the facilities are surprisingly good, water and power are available on the pontoon.
The island is well described in the Lonely Planet
Yannis’s taverna close to the pontoon is the business; the food and service are quite superb. Try the Symi shrimps, just as they come. They are so very small you eat the whole thing and its like eating sugar lumps.
The island has many more beaches to anchor off in fair weather and a monastery that is worth a visit. We will be back here without a doubt.
A delightful bay lying off small select collection of houses and tavernas, themselves resting at the foot of the most stunning mountain peaks and cave infested slopes. Substantial aid moorings are provided which is just as well as the anchorage is deep and weed strewn so not easy or good holding.
The water is crystal clear and the bay protected from almost all angles; it would easy to spend a few days here.
An interesting little inlet and harbour, well covered by the Pilot but we found it difficult to moor due to our length and thus lack of scope for the anchor as well as the risk of fouling fixed mooring lines or being fouled by other yachts dropping anchors.
Everyone has heard of
In the summer months it pays to phone the marina and book a berth as the number of visitor berths is limited.
Other than that we have not really visited any other
ports though we did spend a week here in 2001 and stopped off in 2004, 2005
and 2006. The Greek Waters Pilot covers well the ports and bays there are available.
Nisiros is an active volcano, albeit a very quiet one these days. The island is almost cone shaped and the top clearly that of a volcanic crater. Perhaps it is living in this ever threatening environment that gives its residents an exceptionally, even for Greeks, laid back and friendly attitude. It also seems to attract visitors looking for something a little different; a bit like Totnes for those who know what that means.
The, so called, main harbour, fine in the prevailing winds but deadly if the wind turns even slightly east of north as we discovered in 2001 when within minutes the wind turned and rose to 40+knts and we were driven onto the quay; and that was after two days of peace.
An excellent little harbour with a very narrow entrance alongside a keel hungry reef so when the Meltemi really blows, entering can be interesting but appears dangerous rather than being actually dangerous. Our first visit in 2001, after leaving Mandraki in a hurry, was in 45 knots of wind on the beam as we entered!
Beware of the shallows around the shore side and the eastern quay though we have laid alongside the outer eastern quay on one occasion.
We seem to manage a visit here every year.
There are two good tavernas adjacent to each other right opposite the main quay in this quiet little spot and even more in Mandraki just 4kms away, a ride we just love to take on our bikes.
A stark and barren island with an impressive cliff lined coast. It attracts a disproportionate number of British visitors though why that should so is unclear.
A quaint and generally peaceful little harbour with most of the amenities visiting yachtsmen may require. Since the Pilot was published the town quay has been upgraded and now has two to three metres clearance against a new concrete quay. Power and water is now available on the town quay as well as the mole.
Power is charged at €3.00 per day (2006) and water at €1.00 per 100 litres. The port police reputed charge visiting yachts but we stayed three nights at the end of September without being approached to check in or pay dues.
In October 2006 we took shelter here despite it being less than ideal for the expected easterly gale but it was the nearest half-decent harbour. The storm was probably the worst we have ever experienced but with our anchor well set right under the outer mole 40m’s off our bow and our stern 10m off the town quay Charlie Girl IV and six other yachts rode out the storm very well. We needed all the 10m slack in our shorelines and anchor chain.
Another Greek island that snuggles
uncomfortably close, just three miles off, the Turkish coast and twelve miles
It has several bays we passed by but did not stop in. Ormoss’. Nanou, Marathouda and Faneromeni are all are worth a stop.
A safe anchorage once your anchor is in. For once our CQR cut through the weed at the first attempt and we rode out the nighttime blow of up 25 knots with the anchor alarm set for comfort.
A land locked bay that’s barrenness is compensated for by its slightly milky emerald water, the superb monastery complex ashore that includes a three-storey almost wedding cake style clock tower with its numerous bells. It is an elaborate mock-Baroque copy of the tower of Agia Foteini in Izmir.
The archangel Michael is the patron saint of Symi and all Greek seafarers many of whom make a pilgrimage to the monastery to pay homage to him. It is said that if you ask a favour of St Michael you must vow to give something in return; the monastery museum is full of such gifts, many beautifully crafted models of ships and boats.
Limited provisions are available, in particular fresh bread, baked in the monastery bakery. (Charlie is getting seriously worried about the quality of Greek bread we are finding; it is challenging her previously claimed superiority in that field!) Here they make a special brown bread that tastes a little like ginger cake and a basket of it is put out in the monastery courtyard for all visitors to help themselves. Other than that you can buy white and wholemeal brown as well as the usual (for Greece) nummy nummy nummies (cheese and ham goodies and a variety of sweet croissant style goodies that are really fattening!).
A very busy and well organised little port. As you approach, an organiser blows a whistle to attract your attention and directs you to an appropriate berth. Beware of ignoring him though, he is a bit arrogant and overly officious and may report you to the Port Police for ignoring his berthing instructions. It has also been reported that he demands €5.00 for taking your lines though we did not experience that ourselves when he was present in 2005 or 2006. Don’t let him take your lines and the problem will be avoided.
Crossed anchors in this narrow harbour are almost an inevitability, particularly when it is a large gullet or motor yacht on the opposite quay; they have to drop their anchors under you bow to gain enough scope. Leaving your yacht unattended for long periods of time is inadvisable in our view.
All provisions are available in the town and close to the waterfront. Water is available on all quays but power is only available on the north quay from a very helpful and cheery round faced chap who will happily charge you €8.00 a day (2006) for electricity and €16 per cm for water; we declined the latter. All water is delivered by water tanker ships, thus is limited and expensive. The quay is free so paying for power is quite acceptable in our view.
Eating out is a lottery and can be a trifle disappointing. Symi is renowned for its small shrimps and we have been eating those on nearby islands with great enthusiasm. Here they were both poorly cooked and twice as expensive as they were, by example, in Lipsi. Though we did find one excellent Greek style taverna Manolis 50m inland from the western end of the harbour and an excellent English run Internet bar (Vapori) where you can get smoked salmon and scrambled eggs for breakfast whilst you check your e-mails AND read today’s English newspapers.
A charming bay in an idyllic setting where anchoring off is the norm though we did see one yacht alongside the short mole.
There are tavernas ashore.
A dramatic bay, worth a lunch time stop if only to wonder at the majesty of the cliffs that surround and protect the bay from any possible land access.
What can we say; you have to visit it, particularly the Old Town, steeped in history as it is with its direct connection to home through the Nights of St. John. The Old Town is now a World Heritage site. Whilst some of its districts are full of tourist tat there is much more to see that is not adversely affected by tourism. If you do nothing else, walk right round the moat; you will be amazed by what you see.
On the island in general, if you are looking for sun, sandy beaches, beach umbrellas and tourist orientated food rather than a more interesting and varied menu, Rhodes is for you. But, like Kos, it is not our scene.
There are many bays and inlets down the eastern side of Rhodes where mooring for lunch at least is possible. We did not do so but saw plenty of yachts so doing on our way along the coast. Most are not mentioned in the Pilot.
Mandraki marina is a nightmare that the Pilot warns you about but understates. Our anchor was picked by one yacht leaving rather hurriedly and snagged anchor to anchor by one entering after us whilst mooring to the quay at right angles to us. But it is not all bad, the marina staff are most helpful, it is cheap (€6.90 per night for us Aug 2005 & Oct 2006) and the nearby promenade tavernas’ and bars’ music is shut down, apparently by law, at around midnight. Thus a peaceful night’s sleep is more or less assured.
There is power and water available for which separate charges are made in addition to the mooring fee. It is still very cheap.
Turnaround days for the charter companies are to be avoided as the marina staff will ask you to leave if you are on a charter mooring (the visitor moorings are limited) so avoid Friday lunchtime to Sunday lunchtime, outside that you can moor pretty well where you like in the north-east corner; the trouble corner of course. Beware the inevitability of crossed anchors as well as the possibility of picking up the lazy-line mooring chain.
We used it several times despite all the downsides.
An anchor off spot that just has to be done. To anchor where the Knights of St. John had their ships under the watchful eye of the ancient acropolis and Byzantine fortifications on the headland above you has a historical magic that adds to the safety of the anchorage and its crystal clear, emerald blue water. Yes there are half a million tourists here each year but, as by that magic, they do not appear until around 10.30 in the morning and disappear by 7.00 in the evening.
Just round the corner from the headland and under the other side of the acropolis is the bay that the Apostle St. Paul overstayed in AD43 on his way to Rome. It is tight and a line ashore is advisable. It is idyllic though like the main bay at Lindos, is full of daytime tourists.
The two main islands of a group set just off the south west coast of Rhodes. Worth a visit but the winds can be challenging.
An enchanting bay in a wild and slightly spooky way. It is now deserted and the once active little hamlet, abandoned. Evidently the Germans had troops and the Italians submarines here during the 2nd world war and their graffiti can still be seen in some of the buildings they left behind.
Anchor holding is poor.
An absolutely charming little port where they put out a small pontoon for visiting yachts during the summer. Even power and water is available on the pontoon.
Generally it is quiet with its compliment of shore-based visitors keeping it going, in fact it looked as if some of the previously derelict buildings have been restored to use as holiday villas. We chose the wrong day to visit in 2005; it was bedlam with more than twenty yachts and other vessels trying to fit into a harbour equipped for a tenth of that number, evidently this is a rare occurrence. Certainly our visit in 2006 proved that to be so.
Beware of wind with south or east in it. Watching the locals moving all their boats from around the town quay and the pontoon area one morning thankfully gave us the nod to move on. The un-forecast storm with south and east wind in it wrecked the pontoon completely (October 2006).
Fri (pronounced ‘free’)
Windy, dangerous to approach in stormy conditions, it has a little harbour that is safe in all winds though we suspect you would get very wet in a true northerly gale. It even has power and water laid on!
The friendly Port Police may require your attendance and payment of some small dues for the power and water available on the quay.
The old harbour office is now a taverna run by two burly but charming ex-fishermen who accepted an EU grant to stop fishing. Their food is a bit snacky and thus limited but in 2006 we became addicted to their paninis; local sausage and tomato particularly.
There are several other bars and tavernas around the new harbour and the delightful and very small old harbour.