As most of you will know Turkey is not (as yet) part of the EU, this means we have to go through the ritual of booking out of the country, visiting the offices of Immigration , Customs and Port Police. Forms have to be completed, signed and stamped then you are free to go.
We were heading back to the island of Rhodes to stock up with some provisions we couldn't get in Turkey and the bad news is, as we are coming from a country outside the EU we have all the procedures to go through again in reverse with the Greek authorities in Rhodes.
Mandraki Harbour Rhodes
Mandraki harbour is the main harbour for yachts visiting Rhodes, it is normally very difficult to find a berth here as most of the berths are taken by charter yachts that are based here, but today we are lucky. After completing all our paperwork with the authorities and paying for a week's berthage we can relax and take in some of our surroundings.
Rhodes is steeped in history being founded in 480BC and becoming a predominant power in the Aegean. The part best preserved and visited by tens of thousands of tourists was built by the Knights of St John in 1309. The mediaeval town (known as the Old Town), the Castle and the palace of the Grand Masters should not be missed. One drawback is the number of cruise liners visiting the island, as many as four in a single day, depositing 10,000 people into a very small town, you just can't move far less see the sites. Fortunate for us we don't run to a timetable and the cruise liners normally only stay for one day, so we could pick the quietest time to visit the town.
Alba Voyager in Mandraki Harbour
Having completed all our chores and managed a bit of sight seeing we sailed for Pedhi on the island of Symi. We picked
Pedhi which lies in a deep bay on the east side of the island rather than the main town and port on the west side, this we thought would be much quieter after the hassle and bustle of Rhodes.
Pedhi village on the island of Symi
Something which may not be appreciated in the UK (especially after last summer) is that water in the Greek islands is a scarce commodity and in many cases has to be ferried to the islands. The pictures show the water boat discharging then departing Pedhi early morning, this was a daily occurrence.
Water boat discharging its cargo at Pedhi Water boat crossing our bow early in the morning
We enjoyed Symi and could have stayed longer but we are trying to head as far north as possible before the Meltemi (strong northerly winds) set in. The next island we are aiming for is Nisyros famous for its volcano. Since leaving Turkey we have enjoyed some good sailing and haven't had the motor on except for getting in and out of harbour. Today is Tuesday 27th May and again we enjoy fair winds until the last five miles when the wind came on the nose. So it's motor on and motor sail the last five miles to the main town and harbour on the island of Nisyros, Mandraki with its castle built by the Knight of St John over looking the harbour. We hired a scooter (the best way to get around) to tour the island and of course visit the famous volcano
Looking down into the crater Down on the floor of the crater
The crater of the volcano is situated in the middle of the island on the Lakki plateau. The main crater is 260 metres in diameter and about 30 metres deep.
The temperature is over 100deg F down here You can hear the water boiling
Although the guide says the volcano is extinct when down on the floor of the crater the air is filled with the smell of sulphur and you can hear and feel the water boiling under your feet. The steam rises out of large vents, I tell Anne "Don't go stamping you feet here".
Watching us watching them
The saying goes "Mad dogs and English men out in the mid-day sun". I suspect that's what the tourists were watching
from the observation platform or was it us watching the tourists?
Cafe in the shade
Having extracted ourselves from the floor of the crater where the temperature was well over 100deg F it was a great relief to find this cafe tucked under the trees for shade. This scene very much reminder me of South Africa where like here the sun is your enemy and has to be treated with great respect.
Time for lunch, so it was back on the scooter and of to Nikia a small village high up in the hills with commanding views of the sea and the islands beyond.
Viewing the crater from the village of Nikia
The main street in the village of Nikia
The reason for such narrow streets was to create shade and of course when these houses were built the motor car hadn't been invented, donkey would be the main mode of transport when not on foot.
The village square with the sea beyond
Lunch over, back on the scooter and off to visit the Monastery situated high in the hills above the harbour. Unfortunately when we arrived at the Monastery it was closed (or everyone was asleep), but there was always the small consolation of viewing what reminded me of 'a little bit of Scotland' (although they grow very much higher here).
The Monastery high in the hills A small reminder of Scotland