We returned to Greece to sail the Dodecanese Islands for the second time. This summer, however, we took off from the port of Kos (instead of Rodos), and traveled north to the islands of Kalymnos, Leros, Patmos, and Lipsi. We took the “road” a little less traveled this year and ended up with a very different experience – it was a little more relaxed, more rustic, and definitely more windy with rougher seas. Our captain was also younger and drank a little (lot!) less, which made us all feel a little safer aboard. Overall, Greece never disappoints, and I am happy to say my skin is no longer translucent, but instead a speckled light tan color.
Interestingly enough, when we arrived in port, our exact same boat from last year (Sofoula) was moored next to our new ride (Fata Morgana). It was rather crazy, considering there are thousands of boats in harbors all around Greece and we didn’t even take off from Kos last year. I guess it truly is a small world.
After our first day out on the high seas, I think a few of us were ready to jump ship (literally). The winds were incredibly strong and the seas were really high. Our captain, Dimitrius, told us that the weather patterns in Greece generally follow the one week windy, one week calm pattern, but our week turned out to be “exceptionally windy”. Needless to say, when we reached the first bay to stay the night, we were ready to step foot on “la terra ferma” for a bit. The World Cup was in full force, so we ate at a hilltop tavern and unfortunately, saw Greece get knocked out of play.
Luckily, the weather got a *little* better after the first day of high seas (or maybe we just got used to it), as shown by the next photo.
Actually, Bobby spent a lot of time relaxing on the boat. I figure he deserves it though, as he had just finished writing all 400-some pages of his PhD dissertation. Amazing!
At our next port, we even had American neighbors for a little while. However, they were traveling in a bit larger accommodations.
However, this little old French couple win for the best sailboat.
When pulling into the bay to moor, we had some difficulties tying to the buoy, which left Francesco in the water and Bobby playing Captain Hook (and of course, Tatiana and I played the cautious observer/direction-giver roles). After about 15 minutes of circling and diving for the tiny string attached to the bottom of the buoy, we successfully tied the boat off and found the cutest beach-side tavern for dinner.
Most nights, we stayed out in the bay and took the motorized dinghy we had on board to land. However, we did stop one night in Lakki on Leros Island. We were able to stock up on fruits and vegetables for our daily salad lunch aboard as well as take a little stroll around town. Bobby and I even went on a run in Lakki to stretch our legs a bit and see more of the island.
Our second-to-last day in Greece took place on Patmos island, one of the northern-most islands in the Dodecanese chain. It’s one of the more touristy locations in the north, with large cruise ships coming through every day. The island is split into two parts, the lower port city called Skala and the upper city called Chora. We hiked up to Chora to see the castle and the old city and we had some impressive views of the bay below. We also walked through the Monastery of St. John. The island of Patmos is famous because in the Book of Revelation, John received and recorded a vision from Jesus. Early Christian tradition identified this writer, John of Patmos, as John the Apostle, though some modern scholars are uncertain. Because of this, Patmos is a popular Christian pilgrimage site.
As we pulled back into the home port of Kos a week later, we felt like this trip went by way faster than last year. Not wanting to give up any last minute Greek site-seeing opportunities, we spent our last night out in the town. The Kos old town is charming (albeit touristy) with lots of shops, restaurants, and even some Greek ruins thrown in.