This web page contains the logs of the first leg of a 31 day sailing trip that I took with S/Y Thetis in the Greek and Turkish Aegean. The leg covers a period of 14 days of sailing from the island of Samos to the island of Chios (Emborios, Ayia Dynamis, Limenas, Elindas, Limnia, Chios Marina) via the islands of Agathonisi, Marathi, Arki, Fourni (Petrokopio, Korsei) and Oinouses.
The logs are illustrated with photographs and maps and also include some historical and geographical descriptions of the places visited as well as several links to other related web sites.
Tuesday July 20, 2004 Day 1
My friend Manos Castrinakis together with Nadia Demenopoulou were to come for a cruise with Thetis but last minute health reasons changed their plans and Manos came by himself. I picked him up with a rented car at the airport in the early afternoon and we proceeded to the Pythagorio Marina where Thetis, full of provisions and fuel, was waiting for us.
Despite the strong wind of 18-30 knots NW we departed at 1700 and headed for Agathonisi where we were to meet the next day with our friends Froso and Elias Vassiliades and their friend Yiannis who would be coming with their boat the S/Y Semele II, a 38' First of Benetau. They had participated in the 2004 Aegean Rally. Now their boat was in the harbor of Pythagorio while they had gone for the day in Kusadasi to visit ancient Ephesus. As soon as we stowed the shore lines and the fenders we raised the mainsail and set it to its 2nd reef. Then we opened about 30% of the headsail. We had a wonderful and fast sail approaching along the W side of Agathonisi, where we arrived in the Gaidouravlako cove [37° 27.2' N 26° 57.7' E] at 1945 after 17.2 M. Folding the mainsail now that the crew were two was amazingly easy.
As soon as we entered the cove we were greeted by a trumpet—at least that was what we thought— which turned out to be the mooing of 3 grazing oxen. We anchored in 4.5 m over sand letting out 35 m of chain and then we took an 80 m line from the bow to a rock on the windward NW shore. Thetis was nicely balanced between the anchor and the shore line in the middle of the cove with the shore line taking most of the load.
For dinner we made rice, which we served with pork chops cooked in a fresh tomato sauce that I had prepared before in Kalami. Also we started consuming one of the 3 large bottles I had brought of our own homemade Kalami wine. It was a windy night.
Wednesday July 21, 2004 Day 2
This was a quiet day at anchor. Elias called and told us that Semele II will be departing from Pythagorio around 2:30 PM with an estimated arrival at 5:30. After they came they anchored and took a line to the NE shore.
Later Manos and I went with the dinghy to the harbor and took a walk up to the Megalo Chorio (Large Village). There we bought some local soft goat cheese. Then we returned to the St. George harbor. We sat at the Glaros restaurant and had an ouzo with some mezedes (snacks).
When we returned to our cove, where the two boats were anchored, Elias and Yiannis were cleaning the fish that they had speared. In the mean time, Froso had prepared a dish of eggplants. Manos cooked a great Spanish omelet with the tomatoes from Kalami and eggs contributed by Semele II. We all ate in Thetis’ roomier cockpit (tiller rather than a wheel). These we washed down with Kalami wine. It was a lot of fun to meet again with Froso and Elias, who have been family friends for almost 40 years.
Thursday July 22, 2004 Day 3
The Navtex keept issuing gale warnings for the Sea of Ikaria but here the wind was only 15-25 knots NNW. Yiannis, in Semele II, woke up feeling ill-disposed and did not appear all day. We swam a lot while Elias went spear fishing.
We were invited for lunch in Semele II but after 1 PM Elias had not returned, so Manos and I feeling very hungry had a snack in Thetis. Finally Elias returned with a catch, and we all had lunch around 4 PM: fried cuttlefish, and other fishes, a salad, and Kalami wine.
Later Froso, Manos, and I went swimming in a nearby small cove where we went with the dinghy. In the evening we went with the two dinghies to the St. George harbor. There I met the French S/Y Freya that winters in the Agmar Shipyard (renamed Moor & Dock) in Partheni, Leros and with whom I have crossed wakes several times in the past years.We were invited aboard for a drink. Later we climbed to the Mikro Chorio (Small Village) from where we admired the view. After our decent we sat at the Glaros where Yiannis, the proprietor, served us an assortment of mezedes along with the requisite ouzo. By the time we returned to our boats it was dark and the new moon had already set. Our plan was to sail to Marathi in the morning.
Friday July 23, 2004 Day 4
It was windy all night. When we woke up we prepared for departure: we collected the shore line, tied the dinghy for towing, etc. We departed Agathonisi at 0950. The wind outside the cove was 15-20 knots NNW, a good wind. We raised the mainsail which, because we were afraid that the wind might strengthen, we left in the 1st reef, and opened about 40% of the headsail. It was a very good fast reach for almost ¾ of our way, after which the wind diminished to 10-15 knots and we just slowed down. We reached Tiganakia [37° 21.6' N 26° 45.5' E], the small group of islands just S of Arki, at 1210 after 12.9 M.We anchored for lunch and a swim and waited for the arrival of Semele II, which came soon after we anchored. Yiannis had recovered and was his usual energetic self. In the mean time, the wind increased to 20-25 knots and by 3 PM we were uncomfortable. We raised our anchor at 1510 and motored to near by Marathi [37° 22' N 26° 43.6' E] where we caught one of Pandelis’ moorings.
Semele II had developed a problem with her windlass which was leaking oil. We tried to open it but we did not succeed.
In the evening the crews of both boats went ashore and we took a longish walk around the N end of the island. We ended at Pandelis where we had a great meal with salad, octopus with fresh caper leaves, fried zucchini, octopus balls, mousaka, and young roast goat with homemade pasta. All together a very satisfying day.
Saturday July 24, 2004 Day 5
I called Angelos, the owner of Agmar Marine (renamed Moor & Dock), and discussed Semele II’s windlass problem. He said that he will look at the workload and call back to inform us if and when they may be able to fix it. Indeed, a few minutes later he called. However, his shop is already dealing with another boat, with an unexpected problem, and two boats are already waiting for emergency repairs. If Semele II were to go to the Partheni shipyard the soonest they might be able to attend to her problem would be Tuesday. I told Angelos that I will tell Elias and ask him to call him back directly.
At 1210 we cast off Thetis’ mooring and motored across the channel the 0.75 M to Glipapas, Arki. By 1230 we were anchored and secured. Later Semele II arrived also anchored near by. The wind, despite the forecasts, was a brisk 15-20 knots NNW. Manos and I decided to leave, if the wind calmed down, very early in the morning and go directly to Chios.
We spent a pleasant afternoon swimming and reading under the tent. In the evening all 5 of us went ashore for a walk. For dinner, Froso had already cooked the octopus which Elias had speared yesterday. We walked to the mini market in Port Augusta where we bought some tagliatelle and other supplies. When we returned to the boat, Manos cooked the pasta for the octopus while Elias cooked the fish, which he and Yiannis had speared this afternoon, in the oven over a bed of vegetables. All these made a memorable, if late, farewell dinner. In the mean time, the wind was howling which made our scheduled morning departure rather doubtful.
Sunday July 25, 2004 Day 6
I woke up and checked the wind several times during the night but it was always blowing at 20 knots. By 5 AM however it was down to 10-12 knots NNE and we decided to depart for Fourni. We raised the anchor at 0610. The wind in the open sea was 15-26 knots NNE, not a favorable one for our course of 107°. The sea was also very choppy, not bad but uncomfortable. We slowly motored for 19.6 M and at 1035 we arrived in Petrokopio [37° 34.6' N 26° 28.7' E]. We anchored in 3.5 m and let out about 40 m of chain, then we put up the tent.
It was very calm in the cove and we enjoyed swimming and lunch. After we rested, we went ashore and Manos saw the ancient quarry.
At 1800 we departed Petrokopio and motored the 4.3 M to the main harbor of Fourni, Korséi [37° 34.7' N 26° 28.8' E] where we arrived at 1840. There was considerable amount of swell inside the harbor. We moored side-to.
An officer of the Limenarchio (Coast Guard) came as soon as we had moored, but not before to be of any help. He politely asked me to bring the boat’s papers to his office. We went ashore and while Manos did some minor provision shopping I went to the Limenarchio. They were polite but they took forever to calculate the 4.86 € docking fee. Why can they not simply have a table and charge us right there at the quay instead of asking us to present ourselves and watch them ineptly struggle in endless and error-prone calculations?
After that, we went to Miltos restaurant where we had a great lobster dinner. We returned to Thetis early because we were planning departure for Chios in the very early morning hours. It was hard to fall asleep. There were strong harbor lights, a swell, and a group of 12 preteens, boys and girls, horsing around loudly right next to Thetis. No wonder I have been avoiding this harbor in the past.
Monday July 26, 2004 Day 7
I woke up at 2:40 AM. Overnight we received a favorable forecast: force 2-3 WNW. I started preparing for departure. Manos also got up and we departed at 0335. The wind was 15-22 knots WNW, and the sea was very choppy. Our heading for Chios of 330 was completely against the wind. We motored, making slow progress toward Cape Drapano, the easternmost point of Ikaria. At 0615, while the sun was rising, we were passing the point and the wind eased to 12-20 knots and veered to the NW. We raised the main and removed its reef. We also opened the full genoa. Thus we were able to sail until 0730 when we had to take a reef. The sea by then was very calm. At 0815 the wind was down to 4-6 knots WNW and we were forced to turn on the motor and motor-sail. Later the wind reduced further to 4 knots NE and we had to roll in the genoa which was flapping. We continued motor-sailing.
We arrived in Emborios [38° 11.2' N, 26° 01.8' E], a small anchorage in SE Chios at 1240, after 44.4 M. We anchored in 5 m depth at the entrance of the cove because further in there was no room, being occupied by several motor cruisers. After we put up the tent and jumped in the clear water to cool off we went ashore and bought fresh bread for lunch.
Later we both slept under the cool tent. There was hardly any wind by that time and although it was very calm we drifted too close to the rocks. To prevent this getting any worse we took a line ashore and tied it to a large rock on the N side of the cove and then let out more chain while taking in the line. This brought us close to the N shore and kept us nicely away from the entrance and the S rocks.
In the evening we went ashore for a walk. Since my last visit here many new houses have sprouted. By and large, they are not architectural masterpieces. Further inland, towards Mavra Volia (Black Pebbles), there were several very substantial villas complete with swimming pools and Filipino servants. Mavra Volia itself was still very nice. The beach was kept very clean and they have constructed a very nice cobble stone walkway leading to it.
For dinner we made pasta alla puttanesca.
Tuesday July 27, 2004 Day 8
For today the Navtex forecast called for SE winds of force 4-5. This is not a very good wind for Emborios, which is open to the SE. I connected to the GPRS and confirmed this forecast from the other services. While it was very calm and there was still no wind this morning, we decided not to stay. I went ashore and bought some fresh bread and vegetables because Manos wanted to cook a briam (potatoes, eggplants, zucchini, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and onions baked in the oven) for tonight.
We departed at 1050 heading towards Salagonas. Since there was no wind we put up the tent and motored.
After passing Cape Masticho, the southeasternmost point in Chios, we saw an attractive cove which we entered in order to investigate it as a future anchorage. The cove is named Avloniá (Αβλωνιά) [38° 09.8' N, 25° 59.6' E] and it did look very promising. It is a deep cove surrounded by high cliffs and the bottom is mostly sand sloping gently. It looked like it would be well protected from the N winds.
We continued towards Salagonas but by the time we got there the predicted SE wind had arrived at 10-14 knots. Afraid that as the day would go on the wind would strengthen we did not anchor at Salagonas but in nearby Ayia Dynamis [38° 12.9' N 25° 54.7' E] instead. We dropped the anchor in the center of the cove in 6 m depth, letting out 50 m of chain at 1235. This arrangement would allow Thetis to swing in any direction and still stay clear of the shore. We had motored for 10.7 M from Emborios. During the anchoring maneuver we had some trouble. We forgot to shorten the dingy painter and it fouled the rudder. It took some diving to clear it.
Manos, as promised, cooked. With our dinner ready we went ashore in the late afternoon. We wanted to walk to the mediaeval village of Olympi. On the way we saw the newly opened to the public entrance of the Olympi Cave. It is open from 0900 to 1930 every day except on Mondays. It was too late for us to visit, we will have to go back. We walked on and on. It turned out that Olympi is at least 4 km farther from Ayia Dynamis then form Salagonas. By the time we arrived at the village it was almost 8 PM. We just had enough daylight left to take some pictures. We sat at one of the cafés in the main square, had a drink, and inquired about a taxi to take us back. On the way the taxi driver spotted a hare crossing the road. Instead of avoiding it, he gleefully aimed the car at it. To his utter disappointment and to our great relief he missed. By the time we retuned to the boat it was past 9:30.
We quickly put the briam in the oven to warm it. Soon wonderful smells permeated the cabin. In the mean time, a considerable amount of swell had developed and we had a nice but rocky dinner in the cockpit.
Wednesday July 28, 2004 Day 9
The night was not very comfortable because of the swell. We departed Ayia Dynamis at 0830. The wind was 6-11 knots from the SSW. We motored for 13.2 M to Limenas [38° 17.4 N, 25° 55.8' E] where we arrived at 1040. We covered more miles than the actual distance because on the way, we backtracked a bit to investigate another possible anchorage Merikounta (Μερικούντα) [38° 16.5' N, 25° 53.3' E], which did look from a distance a rather promising shelter from S winds. On closer inspection we did not like it very much and although the bottom slopes gently it is full of weed, which would not give good holding.
We moored in Limenas side-to, helped by a Greek gentleman who owns the Dutch flagged S/Y My Dream. He is from the island of Ikaria and has lived for many years in the US. He sailed her across the Atlantic about 10 years ago starting from Norfolk, VA. He also knows Nikos Vartzikos who single handled his 42' Joshua ketch S/Y Samos, about 12 years ago, also from Norfolk non-stop to Samos. Unfortunately the man from Ikaria left early the next day and we did not get the chance to exchange our names.
We ate a lunch of very fresh barbounia (red mullets) in a local restaurant. Other then a few restaurants there are no stores in Limenas, and you cannot get any provisions not even bread. The proprietor of the restaurant gave us the name of somebody in Pyrgi who rents scooters. Although the GSM signal here is weak (but the GPRS is strong) we managed to call him and he later came and picked us up. At his store in Pyrgi we rented 2 scooters. Now this was Manos’ first experience in driving a scooter. He did very well.
We returned to Thetis and rested and later we rode to the medieval village of Mesta. After wandering around the narrow picturesque streets we ended up sitting in the delightful taverna O Mesaionas (The Middle Ages), in the main square, where we had an assortment of mezedes: octopus, cuttlefish in wine, cheese balls, etc. So instead of just the ouzo that we intended to have we ended up having a whole meal. By the time we rode back to Thetis it was dark.
Thursday July 29, 2004 Day 10
We had a quiet night. In the morning we filled the main fuel tank by siphoning fuel from the jerry cans and then transported them with the scooter to a gas station near Mesta and re-filled them. Although Manos had done remarkably well riding the scooter I did not want him to risk a ride carrying a can full of fuel, so I had to make 3 trips. Altogether we got 53.5 L of Diesel.
After the refueling exercise we rode the scooters to the Olympi Cave. The cave is not very big but it is deep and very beautiful, with nice formations of stalactites and stalagmites. The guided visit takes about ½ hour. After the cave, we drove to Kato Faná (Κάτω Φανά) and visited the not very impressive ruins of the Apollo temple. After that we cooled off by swimming in the lovely bay.
On our way back, we stopped at the Olympi Village and had a cold beer along with zucchini balls. Very tasty. Then we rode back to Thetis for a rest.
In the evening we rode to Pyrgi and returned the scooters. We were charged what I thought the exorbitant amount of 26 € per scooter for only 28 hours usage. In Leros I usually pay 5 € per day. However, since Manos’ wallet had fallen off in the man’s truck and he was honest enough to calls us about it when he later found it, we paid without complaining. We walked around Pyrgi, admiring the xysti plaster decoration of its many old buildings. Unfortunately its many famous Byzantine churches were all closed. We ended at the Manoula (Η Μανούλα) café in the main square where we had an ouzo and a nice selection of vegetable mezedes. Finally we looked for a taxi to take us back to Limenas. It appeared that both town taxis had gone to Chios to meet an incoming ferry so we called our friend from Olympi who soon came with his taxi and picked us up. On the way, all he could talk about was the hare that he had missed killing the other night. Fortunately we did not encounter any more wildlife on the road.
After we returned to Thetis and were getting ready to retire for the night we were accosted by an officer of the Limenarchio (Coast Guard). He, as usual, wanted the skipper, me, to take the ship’s papers to his office since such weighty transactions cannot of course be conducted on the spot. At the office, he got out his inevitable calculator and after punching its buttons for about 20 minutes he arrived at the harbor dues of 5.28 €. I only had a 20 euro bill. He, of course, did not have any change and he had to go to a restaurant to get it. It took forever. It was past midnight and I was tired. One’s humor at this times does wear thin. When will this, by and large worthless service ever join the 21st century?
Friday July 30, 2004 Day 11
Manos and I have been talking in the past few days about a trip to the Caribbean. I have been dreaming of a transatlantic trip all my life but whenever I have been close to realizing that dream health related and family related issues have conspired to frustrate it. My original plan was for a single-handed trip but a few years ago, after several health mishaps, I promised my wife and oldest daughter not to do such a trip until I found a suitable companion. Well, how could I ever find a better companion then Manos, who is not only an experienced sailor with a naval architecture degree, but is also very familiar with Thetis and with whom I share so many common tastes ranging from food to music. The trip, as we have been discussing it, would start from the eastern Aegean in late September and reach Gibraltar by the end of October. We would then leave Thetis in Gibraltar until late December and then cross the Atlantic in January via the Canary and Cape Verde Islands, ending in Martinique. Then, after spending a few weeks in the Caribbean, we will once more leave Thetis in a suitable marina and join her again for the eastbound journey back to the Mediterranean via the Azores in late May. This plan follows the recommended sailing routes at their optimum times i.e. lack of strong weather. Manos seemed eager for the trip but I had a hard time letting myself hope that at last I might realize my life-long dream.
Closer to the more immediate reality we may go together to Turkey for a few days. I have been communicating with my friend Turgut over e-mail. He and his family will be leaving Turkey next weekend for a sailing trip to the western Sporades. So, we may be able to go to Çesme early next week and see Turgut and his family in their new house in Izmir.
We departed Limenas at 0930. Our plan for the day was to stop for lunch and swimming somewhere on our way and end in Limnia, the harbor Volissos in NW Chios. The ugly car tires on the quay have left black marks on our fender covers and some marks on the hull. I could not resist, however futile as it was, and I hailed the Limenarchio and told them that the 5.8 € they charged me cannot even begin to cover my cost in replacing the fender covers and that if they insist on charging yachts the least the can do is remove those offending tires. The wind was only 4-6 knots NNW and we motored for 7.2 M until we reached Elindas or Alindas (Ελίντας) [38° 23.5' N, 25° 58.5' E] where we anchored in 6 m depth at 1055.
We swam and read. I washed the black marks left on the hull with soap and a brush. I then finished reading Freya Stark’s The Southern Gates of Arabia. It is an account of a lady crossing the Arabian desert in the early 1930s, very interesting in its way but also very slow paced. After lunch, more swimming, and coffee we departed for Limnia at 1505.
The wind was by then 8-25 knots NNW, completely against our course and there was, as well, a rather ugly chop. We motored, rather slower then we wanted, the rest of the 7.4 M to Limnia [38° 28.2' N, 25° 55.2' E] where we arrived at 1700. We moored stern-to. We were the only sailing boat there. Several new buildings and restaurants have been built since Thetis was here last. None of them has improved the place. Now there are also water/electricity posts along the quay but, true to the prevailing Greek practice, they are not operational.
After securing the boat and resting a bit, we took the 20 minute walk up to the old town of Volissos and we visited its Genoese castle. There is now a new stone-paved path leading to its entrance, quite an improvement. Some restoration work has been done but it is not completed nor is there any evidence that it will be any time too soon. Lower down from the castle several of the dilapidated and abandoned houses have now been completely restored and are operating as a fancy and rather expensive (250-450 € per night) hotel. It is very, very attractive.
By dusk, as we were walking down to the boat the almost full moon rose. A lovely sight! We ate at the northernmost taverna along the waterfront, whose owner had been very helpful to me in getting fuel few years ago. Unfortunately the taverna has been sold to a new owner. The meal was reasonable if not special. We had a quiet night aboard until in the early hours we were roused by the cacophonous sounds of a new disco S of the harbor.
Saturday July 31, 2004 Day 12
We prepared for departure to go either to Marmaro or to Oinouses. We will decide on the way depending on the wind. We left Limnia at 0800 without any problems. The wind was 15-22 knots N. We motored until 1035, charging the batteries and making water to replenish the water tanks. At that time we changed course to the E and were able to raise the mainsail and take in one reef. We had a nice reach with the headsail opened to 60%. At 1155 the wind veered NNE and lessened to 8-14 knots and we had to roll in the flapping headsail and motor-sail until 1250 when the wind increased again to 10-20 knots and also backed to N. We, once again, opened 50% of the headsail and sailed rather nicely until we had almost reached Mandraki, the harbor of Oinouses. By that time there were violent gusts reaching 43 knots but most of the time the wind was around 27. The small pier in the harbor was full of motor cruisers and there was no room for anchoring off. We left the harbor and made for the nearby cove of Ayios Ioannis [38° 30.8' N, 26° 13.8' E], just a mile or so E of the harbor. The time was 1440. We dropped the anchor in 4 m over sand and let out 50 m of chain settling at 6.3 m. We were perfectly secured despite the gusts. We had come 33.1 M.
I have been in communication with my friend Turgut Ayker, the commodore of the Aegean Sailing Club based in Çesme, who has kindly extended his invitation to Izmir to Manos, as well, and has also found a berth for Thetis in the harbor of Çesme. Unfortunately, in the mean time, a family situation had developed and Manos had to go back to Athens within the next few days so, if I were to go to Turkey I will have to go alone. I think that I will do so since I want to see my friends but we shall see. I started reading a new book that Manos has brought to me: Maro Douka’s Athooi ke ftechtes. It is set in modern Chania in Crete where various characters recall, from their parent’s diaries, events taking place about the late 1800s. We swam and took a nap.
Later we went ashore and walked around the town while taking pictures. We ended at the Glaros taverna where my daughter Corinna and I had eaten many years ago. I had then written about it on this web site and had received an e-mail from a man in Chios who told me that the taverna belonged to his grandmother. Now I met them both. The young man was thrilled that I remembered our electronic exchange of several years ago and the old gal not only remembered me but asked about Corinna. It was a very warm welcome. We sat at a seaside table and ate very well an assortment of mezedes: cheese balls, fried zucchini, meatballs, salad, grilled octopus, and tiny fried fish (maridakia), along with an excellent Limnian white wine.
Sunday August 1, 2004 Day 13
It was a lazy morning mostly spent checking e-mail and reading. We contemplated going to another cove but inertia prevailed. Manos christened the new wind generator Froso in honor of our friend and also because of the “frr-frr” sound that it makes. More e-mails were exchanged with Turgut and my plans to go to Turkey were finalized. I will be going on Tuesday. The wind was gusting all day up to 23 knots.
At 1615 we raised the anchor and headed for the Chios “marina”. Our plan was to rent a car and spend tomorrow, Manos’ last day with Thetis, exploring inland on Chios. Outside the cove the wind was 15-29 knots N with higher gusts reaching up to 39 knots. We raised the mainsail, still on its 1st reef, and had a fast sail. We reached Chios marina [38° 23.2' N, 26° 08.4' E], 10 M away, at 1800. The “marina” is still in the same disgraceful condition as it was 2 years ago. No progress whatsoever has been made. It looks like a lunar crater. We moored side-to on the outer breakwater. By the way, extra care must be taken entering and leaving the “marina” because there is an invisible reef just S of its entrance. One must approach from the N and make a sharp turn to the W near the entrance.
After a cup of coffee we walked for 20 minutes to the town of Chios and looked for a car rental agency. The first one we found, Europcars, had no cars available but the second belonging to Mr. Psaras (tel +30 22710 41 361) promised to deliver us a car tomorrow morning at the marina for 40€/day. We took a taxi back to the boat.
For dinner we made pasta with fresh tomato and canned mushroom sauce. This we ate along with a Mavrofyllo red wine in the cockpit. Just as we were finishing our meal, it was past 10 PM, and we were about to start eating some fruit when a young man on a scooter arrived and boarded the old caïque moored upwind from Thetis. He started her engine and we were enveloped in a thick black cloud of noxious exhaust. It turns out that the caïque, a beautifully shaped trechandiri but in a state of serious neglect, has a serious leak and needs to be pumped out at regular intervals to prevent her from sinking. This torture lasted for over an hour. By that time I had developed a splitting headache.
Monday August 2, 2004 Day 14
We waited in Thetis until 10 AM for the car to be delivered. We then drove to town and Manos bought an airplane ticket for the 1315 flight to Athens tomorrow. We then drove to the most famous and oldest Byzantine monastery of Chios, Nea Moni. Unfortunately the monastery was undergoing extensive restoration and we could not see the wonderful frescos in the main church. Also, being Monday, the small exhibit was closed.
After lunch, we drove to the near by Anavatos, a fortified ghost town perched on a hill top. The last inhabitants here lived in 1822 at the time of the massacre of Chios. After the Ottomans sacked the town of Chios, they surrounded Anavatos. The inhabitants, seeing that the town was going to be sacked and faced with slaughter, rape, and enslavement, committed mass suicide by throwing themselves off the high cliff. Now the citadel is a museum. Again, being Monday (do not travel in Greece on Mondays), the main gate was closed and we could only walk around the fort.
Our plan next was to drive N to Volissos but when we reached the gas station outside the town it was out of fuel. Since our car was also running low on fuel we turned back and drove instead to Kardamila, where we refueled. After Kardamila we drove along the eastern shore of the island, over Langada, and we returned to the “marina.”
After showers we drove back to town and did some provision shopping. I wanted to get some yoghurt and cheese to take to the Aykers, who love these Greek products. Chios town is full of intriguing small shops and it is bustling with activity. After returning and stowing what we had bought in Thetis we decided to go back to town for dinner rather then spend another evening being fumigated by the exhausts of our neighbor while she is being pumped out. We found Hodza, the town’s oldest taverna, highly recommended by the Alpha Guide. Indeed we had a very slow and very tasty dinner. By the time we returned to Thetis the fumigation must have already taken place and all was blissfully very quiet.