Little harbours and big ships

Greece has over 1400 islands and islets and many of these don’t have an airport so it’s no surprise that ferries are a popular mode of transport. It’s not uncommon to arrive at a small harbour, only to be followed in sometime later by a rather large ferry, deftly manoeuvring only a few metres away from where you’re moored. It’s a bit disconcerting the first time, but the ferry captains seem to know what they doing.

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That’s Loki moored at the top left-hand end of the marina.

“Hey Donny, do you think there is any wind under that cloud?”

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They do a good thunderstorm in this part of the world. One minute blue skies and sunshine, the next ominous black clouds followed by breeze (lots of it!) and torrential rain. Welcome to the northern Sporades. (Head north from Athens, up inside and around the top of Evia, Greece’s 2nd largest island). We’ve witnessed a couple of events, one where a yacht at anchor near us was lying on it’s side, gunwales in the water (the top side of the boat) and their dingy was doing sideways cartwheels at the end of it’s tether behind the boat – spinning so fast that it snapped off their wooden flagstaff, complete with flag. Happily they managed to retrieve both their anchors before they dragged on top of us.

14-06-17__MG_1799The view of Skiathos harbour, looks better the day after a thunderstorm.

We had a fabulous catch-up with Billy, Dora & the girls, and Chris, Penny & Bridgette in Nea Marmara, on the Chalkidiki Peninsula, northern Greece mainland. I suspect we wouldn’t have made it so far north and seen so much of the Aegean if there hadn’t been a plan to meet up. We enjoyed relaxing days on the beach, were treated to Soula and Michael’s home cooking and had a lovely day cruise with Capitan Panagiotis, amongst other things. And what a gorgeous bunch of young women our friends have produced!

During the cruise Michael dived down and caught some “fooska” (please excuse the phonetic spelling), a lot like oysters but yellowish orange, served freshly shucked with lemon juice and olive oil. If a picture is worth a thousand words then Fitzy’s face tells the story.

From Nea Marmara we headed around to the other side of the Sinthonia Peninsula to Nisos Dhiaporos before making our way south to the Eastern Sporades. First stop was Limnos, stuck out in the middle of nowhere in the northern Aegean. According to Greek mythology, the women of the island refused to serve Aphrodite who in turn afflicted the women with appallingly bad breath, causing their husbands to ignore them. The infuriated women subsequently went on a killing spree murdering all the men folk. The tale continues that Jason and the Argonauts came across an island full of frustrated women in their travels and stopped off for a couple of years to help the girls out and repopulate the island. Decent chaps! (You can’t go past the Greeks for a good yarn).

We anchored stern-to the town quay at Myrina, Limnos, a lovely small town beneath the hilltop remains of a 13th century Genoese fortress, and hired a car to drive around the island. Limnos has got everything from sandy beaches to wetlands, salt lakes, massive sand dunes and a unique architecture combining Greek, Italianate and colonial influences. Moudros Bay was the base for the ill-fated Gallipoli naval offensive and home to Winston Churchill’s headquarters. The two small military cemeteries of Commonwealth soldiers are meticulously maintained to this day. Seeing the graves of so many young Kiwi and Aussie lads was a somewhat sobering experience. We also found one of the island’s smallest churches nestled under a craggy overhang up in the hills. Great views from the top.

Continuing south we headed for Lesvos, enjoying some spirited sailing along the way. This island is home to some eleven million olive trees and the grand old mansions of the olive barons from a bygone era line parts of the shoreline on the approach into Mytilini. The Refugee Museum which tells the story of the 1922-23 post-war population exchange between Greece and Turkey is worth a visit, as is the Olive Press Museum. Next stop was Oinoussa, a very small island that punches above it weight in maritime terms. This little island is the ancestral home of some of the richest shipping barons in Greece, who became hugely wealthy in the 19th & early 20th centuries. Apparently Greek ship owners control some 70 million tonnes of shipping, about the same as the rest of the EU combined. A local told us that their Naval Academy produces “Captains, only captains. No engineers or stewards, just captains”. The small maritime museum and the shipping families’ mausoleums attest to the islands heritage.

We are currently in Chios with the first of July’s visitors, my sister Barb & Cecily, arriving tomorrow. We are looking forward to once again catching up with family and friends from home.

I’ve changed the format a little for this post. Have interspersed some of the images within the copy. Let me know if you think it works better……….or if you are reading any of it??? No comments received after the last post. Yes, I know it’s cold in Melbourne, so hopefully you’re sitting in front of a fire with a glass of red in your hand. We saw some of the images after the recent storm. Looks like Melbourne winter has set in.

We are well. Hope all is good with you and yours too.

Yassas!

Kate

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9 Comments

  1. Sallie
    Posted July 12, 2014 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Hi Kate and Fitzy,
    Not sure how you are going to adjust to real life when you come home. The travels and photos stories are great. Like this format.
    Tonight we are having a dinner party for the old boy…..50 just an intimate dinner for 20 at home, with 3 lovely helpers….that would be the kids as staff. Could be a late night!
    Samantha is heading off to Canada next month to study second semester at Guelph university near Toronto, she will be back for Christmas. Jack is completing year 12…..at least he is attending. And Sarah still into soccer, we are off to the Gold Coast in Spetember as she is playing the same championship as last year. Hopefully we can beat the kiwis this year.
    Pete, my sister Catherine and I have purchased a wee Dolls House at Cape Paterson so we have holiday escapes. Love the Beach, can’t say it has been very beachy in Melb though a top of 11 today. On the flip side a great ski season…..I am off to Hotham in 2 weeks?
    Otherwise, all, good in Melbourne work goes on to support the life and pay the bills.
    Keep the posts coming
    Dowdneys

  2. Oğuz Kunak
    Posted July 12, 2014 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Thank you for a great post, Kate. Very informative. All the best, Oguz.

    • Posted July 13, 2014 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Oguz. Have just arrived in Cesme. Nice to be back in your country. Will be exploring south of here over the next few weeks. Regards, Kate

  3. Kerrie
    Posted July 12, 2014 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Hi Guys,
    Greece looks amazing, sometimes when i read your posts it feels that we are there with you, i wish we were!!!!!!!!!! You both look so happy
    and relaxed. Love the new format and look forward to your next post.
    lots of love and hugs
    Kerrie Pete and Billie xxx

  4. Greg Clinnick
    Posted July 13, 2014 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    Keep the stories coming Kate. Just not much news back here although Sue and I are just back from a great three weeks in France, Luxembourg and Bruges in Belgium. At least the pier has reopened and we can get to our boats without relying on the ferry. Paul and I are off for a ski next weekend which is the only upside of our cold weather. Great snow. Say hi to Cec for me. I am sure you will have a great time.

    • Posted July 13, 2014 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Greg. Saw some of your photos on FB. Looks like you had a great trip. Hope the snow is good. At least that’ll make the cold more bearable. Cheers,
      Kate

  5. Jeremy Wilkins
    Posted July 14, 2014 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Hi Kate & Fitzy, So great to read your posts Kate. Lots of great detail but on the most recent post some of the photos didn’t come out. Probably my computer!
    I spent about 3 months living on Skiathos back (early ’80’s) quite a few years ago. Very pretty place & great sandy beaches. Had a little apartment in the main town & lived the island life with quite a few Aussie ex-pats who did nothing but party!!
    You’re so right about Melbourne being cold but it is winter! Keep up the good work!
    Cheers, Jeremy

    • Posted July 14, 2014 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

      Glad to invoke some old happy memories. Sorry to hear some of the photos didn’t come out. Did you click on the last link at the bottom of the email notification? That usually takes you straight to the latest blog post on my website. All there images are coming up there O.K. Maybe give that a try and see if it works. Cheers, Kate.

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