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REFLECTIONS ON. . . AND OF PAROS

June 16th, 2010 No comments

From Naxos we sailed (at least for a while before motoring) less than 10 NM to the northern tip of Paros, just across the channel.  A Cypriot-American we met in Naxos had recommended the anchorage at Ioannou which is part of a large bay off the town of Naousa.  The pilot guide called this spot “idyllic”, and indeed it was.  Sparkling clear water and a sandy bottom made for easy anchoring.

Ioannou Bay view to Naousa

Ioannou Bay view to Naousa

The peninsula surrounding the anchorage is a nature preserve and park lined with hiking trails, and there is a small beach club reminiscent of France or Italy.  The park is also attractive to “naturists” who like sunning and swimming “au natural”, although they are asked to keep a discreet distance from the small chapel sitting on the shore.  It also hosts an eight day Summer Solstice Festival starting on June 20th which includes music, art and other activities.

Chapel overlooking Ioannou

Chapel overlooking Ioannou

Modern amphitheater will host a Summer Solstice concert

Modern amphitheater will host a Summer Solstice concert

Destiny from Beach Club

Destiny from Beach Club

The variety of boats that congregated here included mega-yachts equipped with ski boats and wave runners, making the anchorage a little less tranquil, but for the most part it was as described in the pilot guide.

Big and bigger yachts filled the anchorage

Big and bigger yachts filled the anchorage

The second night we moved to the marina at the little town of Naousa just across the bay.

Approaching  Naousa

Approaching Naousa

After anchoring in a small cove to the west of the marina, we found that the marina was free and there was plenty of room.  Although it didn’t have water or power, despite towers awaiting both, it was nice to hop off the boat onto shore to go for a walk to the ruins of a Venetian fort that sits at the harbor entrance, or to go to dinner at one of the many outdoor tavernas that line the quay.

Venetian Fort

Venetian Fort

Kent never saw a fort he didn't want to climb. . .Jolie is not so sure!

Kent never saw a fort he didn't want to climb. . .Jolie is not so sure!

The calm water in the harbor and late afternoon to dusk light made for many interesting reflections.

Reflections of water on fishing boat

Reflections of water on fishing boat

Eventide Reflections

Eventide Reflections

. . .all around the harbor.

. . .all around the harbor.

Reflections of Sunset

Reflections of Sunset

Candles reflecting on Gold

Candles reflecting on Gold

. . .and on harborside diners.

. . .and on harborside diners.

Street lamp Reflections

Street lamp Reflections

Sometimes, the beauty of these towns is hard to capture in pictures or words.  Suffice it to say, each is unique and breathtaking in its own way.

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KENT TO THE RESCUE

June 14th, 2010 1 comment

Having sailed for more than 45 years, Kent knows the perils of boating well and is quick to jump in to help someone in distress—that is literally “jump into the water” as he did in Naxos recently when a Belgian flagged boat had trouble getting its anchor dislodged from an old mooring. 

This is what we'll do. . .

This is what we'll do. . .

The day prior with heavy wind pushing all our boats toward the quay, this particular boat had dragged anchor and Kent went aboard to help get her secured.  When they went to leave it was apparent that they were in trouble, so off he went again in our dinghy, mask and fins in hand to help out. 

Almost there

Almost there

After several dives on the anchor he was able to secure a line to the offending bottom tackle and assist in the anchor being raised.  Then the poor fella got caught in what little wind there was and ended up back in the slip, this time bow to.

 

Oops, wrong way

Oops, wrong way

 

Well done, Kent

Well done, Kent

All was well that ended well, but this is the third or fourth time that Kent has been under someone else’s boat to solve a problem—it is amazing how few boats even have a mask and snorkel on board.  I can only hope that if he injures himself rescuing someone, that some like minded person will rescue him.

Carol

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NAXOS: A CYCLADES GEM

June 11th, 2010 No comments

Sailing into the harbor of Naxos town on the island of the same name, you are greeted by the Portara, a pillored arch that was the entrance to an unfinished Temple of Apollo, begun about 530 B.C.  The arch is situated on a small islet that has been attached to the mainland by a causeway that also affords protection to the harbor.  It also serves as easy access to the ocean for swimming in the calm water on the lee side.

Portara

Portara

The Portara greets incoming boats

The Portara greets incoming boats

Steps to the water

Steps to the water

On the west side of the islet a massive stone seawall has been constructed to create an anchorage from the meltemi winds and further shelter to the town harbor which has a rather low quay. 

Causeway from islet to mainland

Causeway from islet to mainland

The island of Naxos is the largest of the Cyclades islands, depending on which guide you read, and displays the remnants of its Venetian history in a myriad of tiny alleys and streets that wind through the oldest part of the town.  There are Venetian family crests decorating the buildings.

Venetian Family Crests in Old Town Naxos

Venetian Family Crests in Old Town Naxos

Like all the Cyclades islands, stark white buildings are set against a brilliant blue sky, and trimmed with blue that seems to match the sky.  Flowers abound and are even more dramatic against this backdrop.

Ubiquitous Blue on White

Ubiquitous Blue on White

Bougainvilla

Bougainvilla

Trumpet vine

Trumpet vine

Container gardens line the narrow alleys

Container gardens line the narrow alleys

A portion of a Venetian tower rises above the town, and there is a family owned Venetian museum that is quite an assorted collection of memorabilia from many generations of its inhabitants—much of the décor is whimsical and not particularly old.  The museum also show cases the works of local artists, and serves as the location for nightly summer concerts ranging from Greek folk music to jazz and classical performances under the stars.

Venetian Tower at Dusk

Venetian Tower at Dusk

There are fabulous views from the Venetian Museum as well.

Naxos Marina Island of Paros in distance

Naxos Marina Island of Paros in distance

 There are views from the Old Town to the marina and Paros as well.

Dinner in at Taverna Kastro

Dinner in at Taverna Kastro

Followed by a beautiful sunset. 

Naxos Sunset

Naxos Sunset

A perfect day in Greece.

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THE JOYS OF MYKONOS AND DELOS

June 8th, 2010 No comments

 

Dan is loving the sleigh ride to Mykonos

Dan is loving the sleigh ride to Mykonos

After an exhilarating sail from Ermoupolis on the island of Syros to Mykonos in 25 kt. winds on the beam, we arrived in the Mykonos Marina just ahead of a charter boat flotilla that pretty much filled the already full harbor to over flowing. 

Mykonos Marina is packed

Mykonos Marina is packed

Boats were rafted so deep into the harbor, that we joked with our friends on Glass Slipper that they could walk boat to boat to come for cocktails.  When a Celebrity cruise ship arrived with a couple thousand people on board, the marina and town were jumping. 

As in every port ferries are everywhere, and here there are cruise ships too!

As in every port ferries are everywhere, and here there are cruise ships too!

No visit to Mykonos would be complete without seeing the ancient ruins on the island of Delos about a 30 minute boat ride from the Old Town of Mykonos.  We had visited Delos for the first time while in Greece for Kent’s 60th birthday and were looking forward to returning.  Like the Acropolis, we are fascinated with the remnants of this ancient civilization.  One can’t help but wonder what, if anything, will remain of our civilization thousands of years from now to warrant such awe. 

Delos is Magical

Delos is Magical

Delos is an ancient religious site and was home to 30,000 inhabitants in the thousand years before Christ was born.   Nearly everything that still exists on this barren island was transported from the mainland.  

Remnants of an ancient civilazation

Remnants of an ancient civilization

No marble is indigenous to the island and yet the remains include marble columns (reportedly floated to the island suspended between ships) and mosaic floors made up of tiles so tiny that they appear to be painted. 

Temple Columns

Temple Columns

Famous Dolphin Mosaic

Famous Dolphin Mosaic

Some mosaics have tiles so tiny they look like paintings

Some mosaics have tiles so tiny they look like paintings

From the higher points on the island you can see the other islands that protect Delos, making it the center of the Cyclades.  Spreading out in all directions are the remains of walls of the city and entire facades of Temples to the various gods that were worshiped by the inhabitants. 

Ancient ruins as far as you can see

Ancient ruins as far as you can see

The House of  Hermes is a classic example and one of the most complete of a typical home of the era.  There was an open courtyard on the first level held up by marble columns and a second set of columns that supported the second floor. 

Maison Hermes from a distance

Maison Hermes from a distance

First floor courtyard of Maison Hermes

First floor courtyard of Maison Hermes

Original paint on interior walls of Maison Hermes

Original paint on interior walls of Maison Hermes

Set on the side of a hill, the views from the second floor are spectacular.  We could only imagine what it was like to live in this exquisite villa during ancient times. 

Kent relaxes on marble bench at Maison Hermes

Kent relaxes on marble bench at Maison Hermes

View into courtyard from second floor

View into courtyard from second floor

The view is incredible!

The view is incredible!

Happily, we realized after the fact that the reason the path to this house was so overgrown was that it was no longer one of the permitted sites to visit as it had been when we were here several years ago.   As it turned out, it was one of the highlights of our return visit as we had the place to ourselves.

There is also a wonderful museum that houses many of the more perishable antiquities, such as the original Lions of Delos which stood guard over the man-made lake that once existed but is no more. 

Delos Lions now repose in the museum

Delos Lions now repose in the museum

The lions were removed from their original location to the museum and replaced with reproductions to save them from the affect of the predominant north wind and other destructive forces. 

Reproductions stand where the original lions once did guarding the sacred lake

Reproductions stand where the original lions once did guarding the sacred lake

Once back to Mykonos, which is truly the St. Tropez of Greece in its cosmopolitan feel, we remarked on the contrast between the classic Greek vacation town and the splendor that was Delos, including ubiqituos sidewalk cafes.

Grilled octopus for lunch--yum!

Grilled octopus for lunch--yum!

Mykonos does have its share of attractions, including 365 churches–one for each day of the year–and old windmills that provide character.

Mykonos is White Chapels. . .

Mykonos is White Chapels. . .

and windmills!

and windmills!

Mykonos is very special but Delos is magical in its ability to draw you back to a time when mythical gods ruled the universe and man could fashion marble into forms that transcended time.

Simple elegance

The simple elegance of Delos transcends time

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OFF TO THE CYCLADES

June 6th, 2010 No comments

 The day after Carol’s Mom and Aunt left, Kent’s cousin Betsy and husband, Dan arrived to join us on Destiny.  Since Betsy and Dan are both salty, having owned and lived on a sailboat for a time, we knew they would be ideal companions for the challenges of heading toward the Cyclades where the summer meltemi wind can make for interesting, and wet sailing.

We left Zea on June 4th enroute to the northernmost Cyclades island of Kea.  Enroute we passed Sounion and its conspicuous Temple of Poseidon built in 444 B.C. on the Cape. 

Approaching Sounion

Approaching Sounion

Poseidon's Temple

Poseidon's Temple

As we rounded the tip of Sounion and headed east the wind became favorable for sailing and we were making 6 ½ to 7 kts. in SE wind that started at 11-12 kts. and increased to 18-20 kts. as we approached Kea.  As the wind increased so did our speed over the bottom and at one point it reached 9 kts—much to Kent’s delight. 

Dan takes the helm for sleigh ride to Kea

Dan takes the helm for sleigh ride to Kea

Betsy enjoys the ride

Betsy enjoys the ride

It was one of the best sailing days we have had in Greece and foretells what is to come as we head through the Cyclades islands which are notorious for strong summer winds.  We arrived in Kea about 4:20 an anchored off the village of Korissio where we enjoyed a great sunset.

 

Kea Sunset

Kea Sunset

Korissio is also a ferry port for Kea

Korissio is also a ferry port for Kea

Red Sky at Night - Sailor's Delight

Red Sky at Night - Sailor's Delight

When we awoke Saturday morning, we were surprised to see a boat at the quay that Kent and I had sailed on in the Cyclades for his 60th birthday. 

Boat we spent Kent's 60th on

Boat we spent Kent's 60th on

On that occasion, which predates retirement and Destiny, we had the owners cabin which took up the entire stern of the boat—the “good old days”.

 

Owners stateroom was across the entire stern

Owners stateroom was across the entire stern

Despite a beautiful rainbow, the morning weather was ominous and it had rained overnight.  We decided to push on to Ermoupolis on the island of Syros (another place we had visited on the Windstar in 2003—on our honeymoon).  The clouds gave way to pouring rain, thunder and lightning making for a stressful 37.8 NM passage between islands.  The wind blew, but on our nose this time, making for a long motoring day.  Even Jolie had trouble staying dry.

Our passage to Syros began with a rainbow

Our passage to Syros began with a rainbow

Jolie snuggles in a towel to stay dry

Jolie snuggles in a towel to stay dry

Kent and Jolie are ready for the rain

Kent and Jolie are ready for the rain

Dan gets ready to dock in Ermoupolis

Dan gets ready to dock in Ermoupolis

We finally arrived at Ermoupolis about 3:15 p.m. in the pouring rain and came alongside the quay only to find that the wake from large ferries plying the port made it dangerous to stay there. 

Alongside is NOT going to work

Alongside is NOT going to work

This is not the fun part!

This is not the fun part!

So within minutes we again docking, this time stern to in a part of the harbor protected from the meltemi winds that were forecast for the next day.  Kent and Dan got soaked getting us secured to the dock.

Dan & Kent get us tied stern to quay

Dan & Kent get us tied stern to quay

By this time we are all rain soaked and ready for a strong drink.  Since the rain kept coming, we stayed put and Betsy whipped up some great pasta for dinner.

Betsy makes spaghetti for dinner

Betsy makes spaghetti for dinner

By the next morning, Sunday, it was sunny—at least for a time.  We dried out the foul weather gear (which we really hadn’t expected to use in Greece) and then climbed to the Greek Orthodox Church situated high over the harbor to enjoy the view and get some much needed exercise off the boat. 

View to Ermoupolis town hall and cathedral

View to Ermoupolis town hall and cathedral

Holy Church of the Resurrection of Christ sits high above the town

Holy Church of the Resurrection of Christ sits high above the town

 

Betsy, Dan & Carol rest after the 30 min. climb

Betsy, Dan & Carol rest after the 30 min. climb

Harbor view from church-one of masts in foreground is Destiny

Harbor view from church-one of masts in foreground is Destiny

Sidewalk cafe

Sidewalk cafe

Small family chapel in Ermoupolis

Small family chapel in Ermoupolis

Quintesential Greece

Quintesential Greece

Dan & Betsy take a break

Dan & Betsy take a break

Ermoupolis is the largest city in the Cyclades islands and the old part of the town is paved with marble streets and sidewalks.  This time of year it is lush with many varieties of flowers.

 

Bouganvillia loves this climate

Bouganvillia loves this climate

Cactus thrives here too

Cactus thrives here too

Don't know what it is, but it's beautiful

Don't know what it is, but it's beautiful

We spent our Sunday afternoon as Greeks do, over a leisurely lunch at a harborside taverna with Destiny moored nearby.

Ermoupolis waterfront

Ermoupolis waterfront

Destiny is the only blue hull

Destiny is the only blue hull

Harborside Taverna Lunch

Harborside Taverna Lunch

We will stay put for another night while some forecast heavy wind passes through and then sail east to Mykonos where we look forward to visiting the archeological site at the island of Delos.  It is great fun to be returning to some places we have visited before on Destiny.

 More adventures to follow.

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