From Samos we sailed west to the island of Ikaria where we were hoping to get into the harbour at Kirikos. Kirikos is the main port for the island and has a very large harbour but can only take three or four yachts on a specially designated quay which is a pity as 90% of the harbour is used for about 1% of the time, the rest of the time it lies empty.
We were lucky and found we were the only yacht on arrival although a Swedish yacht joined us later that evening.
The Harbour at Kirikos
The town was pretty and seemed to cater mainly for Greek holiday makers probably from Athens and was quite a change from our last port of call. There was no scooter hire so we took the local bus and toured the island in that.
The roads were mainly single track and tended to be of the alpine variety with numerous hairpin bends and blind corners, not to be taken by the faint hearted. Well certainly not in the local bus!
View from the bus
We spent three delightful days in Kirikos before setting sail for Mikonos about 50 miles to the west. I say sail but Murphy had different ideas and we motored all the way in an oily flat calm sea with the auto helm doing all the work. As we arrived at the north end of the island the wind suddenly got up to about a force 6 (about 25miles per hr) and we flew down the last few miles to the marina at Mikonos town.
On arrival in the marina it was still blowing hard and the place looked more like a building site than a marina.
Marina or Building site
Our berth was alongside an area which was in the process of being levelled and prepared for concreting. The marina was started in 1992 with help from the EU and is now in the process of spending a further 13 million euro courtesy of the EU so that cruise liners can berth on the outside of the outer breakwater. The original marina is still incomplete with no water or electricity.
We hated every minute of our nine day enforced stay in Mikonos. Enforced because the wind which had welcomed our arrival blew at gale force for the next 9 days. The locals said they had never known a meltemi to blow for so long at this strength.
Dredger at work in the marina
Cruise ships at anchor
The town is set up to extract the maximum amount of money from the tourist/cruise line passenger that it can. Prices were on average 50 to 100% more expensive than we had been charge on the other islands for the same goods or services. The harbour area was full of restaurants, cafes, jewellers and trinket shops, we found it difficult to buy normal groceries, in fact I had to cycle 3 miles up into the old town just to find a butcher. It will be a long time before we are back at Mikonos!
After nine days of purgatory we finally escaped and had a great sail averaging 7 knots to Finikas on the island of Siros, here we hoped to meet up with our friends from Marmaris, John and Vanessa. On our arrival at the town quay they were there to take our ropes and see us safely into our berth. This being swiftly followed by an invitation to sundowners on their boat at the duly appointed hour. Sundowners are an age old custom, some would say ritual which is strictly followed by all cruisers, and is based on thanks for deliverance from the sea. Only those who have sailed will really know!!
Following on from our safe deliverance we hire a scooter and made a tour of the island. Siros was our kind of island, one main town (Ermoupolis) where you can stock up on essentials and a great number of bays and coves with their small cafes and restaurants.
The Beach at Galissas
One of our favourites was at a small village called Kini set in a cove on the west side of the island, here you can sit with your drink on the waters edge and simply forget time.
Looking down to Kini Village The fountain on the water front
But as someone once said 'time waits for no one' so it's off to the main town of Ermoupolis and shopping, also to admire it's main architectural attraction 'The Town Hall'
Town Hall Ermoupolis
We very much enjoyed our time in Siros and would be happy to revisit it sometime in the future visiting places we missed on this visit and revisiting some we would like to see again.
All dressed up and somewhere to go!