Home > Europe, Greece > OFF TO THE CYCLADES

OFF TO THE CYCLADES

 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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