Greece Sailing Trip 2014

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.

Last year's model

Last year’s model

This year's upgrade

This year’s upgrade

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.

Our friend Francesco, Bobby, and our captain, Dimitrius

Our friend Francesco, Bobby, and our captain, Dimitrius

Tatiana, our Italian friend, and me

Our Italian friend Tatiana

Taking a dip the next day before traveling again

Getting read to take a dip the next day before traveling again

Bay swimming

Bay swimming

The water was a tad chilly, so I let Bobby take one for the team.  He's always a good barometer.

The water was a tad chilly, so I let Bobby take one for the team. He’s always a good barometer.

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.

All is calm on the western front

All is calm on the western front

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!

Example #2 of relaxation mode

Example #2 of relaxation mode

Example #3

Example #3

At our next port, we even had American neighbors for a little while.  However, they were traveling in a bit larger accommodations.

'mericans -- on a boat!

‘mericans — on a boat!

However, this little old French couple win for the best sailboat.

Doesn't it just make you smile?  The colors were even brighter in person.

Doesn’t it just make you smile? The colors were even brighter in person.

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.

Captain Hook.

Captain Hook.

Direction giver :)

Direction giver :)

The tavern from the boat

The tavern from the boat

The dinner setting.  How cool is the canopy structure?

The dinner setting. How cool is the canopy structure?

Close up; the canopy is made from old t-shirts

Close up; the canopy is made from old t-shirts

I loved it! I think the people at the table near us didn't appreciate me taking 1000 photos, but that's okay.

I loved it! I think the people at the table near us didn’t appreciate me taking 1000 photos, but that’s okay.

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.

The only group shot we got of the 4 of us - before dinner in Lakki

The only group shot we got of the 4 of us – before dinner in Lakki

Drinks before dinner

Drinks before dinner

Don't they know Pinocchio is from Firenze?

Don’t they know Pinocchio is from Firenze?

We also caught this gem......"I Puffi!"

We also caught this gem……”I Puffi!”

View on our run of the Lakki Bay

View on our run of the Lakki Bay

Our boat in Lakki Bay

Our boat in Lakki Bay

Outdoor memorial in Lakki

Shrine in Lakki

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.

Stop for a water break halfway up to Chora

Water break halfway up to Chora

View of the bay from the top

View of the bay from the top

Old windmills in Chora old town

Windmills in Chora old town

These beautiful flowers are EVERYWHERE in Greece

These beautiful flowers are EVERYWHERE in Greece

How many stray cats can we see on just one road?

How many stray cats can we see on just one road?

Monastery of St. John

Monastery of St. John

View from above

View from above

Monastery of St. John

Monastery of St. John

We tried to get a photo of us with the bay in the background.  To bad we're covering up the beautiful scenery :/

We tried to get a photo of us with the bay in the background. Too bad we’re covering up the beautiful scenery :/

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.

Ruins in Kos

Ruins in Kos

Oh, ya know....just some Greek columns laying around.

Oh, ya know….just some Greek columns laying around.

Enjoying our last day in Greece

Enjoying our last day in Greece

Tati and Franci

Tati and Franci

These little kids REALLY wanted to go down the stairs (the parents rejected their plea).

These little kids REALLY wanted to go down the stairs (the parents rejected their plea).

View from the castle over the Kos bay

View from the castle over the Kos bay

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