Fantastic sunrise as we prepare to leave Lindos towards Karpathos. It’s about 55 Nm to the main city on this very windy island, Pigadhia. The first part of the trip is along the beautiful southeast coast of Rhodos, wonderful images of the orange morning sun over the cliffs and Greatcircle just in front of it.
Just as both of us are down in the hull for a minute we hear someone calling us. A big coast guard RIB is next to us to warn us for an upcoming military exercise. We have to get 4 miles out of the coast, and they want us to change course immediately. That wouldn’t really help us to be able to sail directly to Karpathos later on, but it doesn’t seem smart to start arguing about that. Just to check what’s going on we stay on the VHF channel they used to communicate to us to hear them say similar things to a big cargo ship anchoring closer to the shore than we currently are. As this ship indicates it’s going to take them about an hour to lift anchor we assume that it can’t be a very big problem to alter course again to our preferred heading.
Perfect, because even though there isn’t a lot of wind forecasted, we are still getting between 20 and 25 knots at an angle we’re just able to sail with the normal jib. There’s always a lot of wind in this area as the wind often tunnels from the north around Turkey to the southeast. Karpathos has some pretty high mountains as well, so even if there is not a lot of wind on the windward side of the island, there can be a lot of wind on the other side coming down these mountains.
We learned in the meantime that the winds are often following the coast line, so we’re comfortable that we will be able to reach Pigadhia without tacking, even if the original heading is to far to the south. If you’re really lazy you can just put the wind angle into the plotter and the autopilot will see to it that you don’t even have to adjust the sails.
Arriving at Pigadhia we have to choose where to moor the boat. The original harbor only has spots on the outside of the breakwater, in an area where the big ferries also moor. At first we don’t see water and electricity at that quay but in hindsight is was there (no drinking water, but we have to get parts of the Sahara off again). There’s a new harbor right next to the original one however where we did find a spot. In the end it wasn’t easy to connect to the water here, but we just managed to get it from 2 different sides of the boat, one for each hull. The harbor master died a couple of months ago (RIP), so now it’s for sure that there’s not going to be any maintenance on short term.
Pigadhia as a town is OK, there are plenty of restaurants and cafes close to the waterfront. We meet Angelo on the quay. He was in a car accident 20 years ago where the airbag broke his neck and paralyzed him significantly. Cruel reminder of wearing seatbelts to prevent you from hitting the airbags to hard. Angelo was in a revalidation center in the US (together with Superman). As the new harbor was built, a special ramp was created that enables him to go onto his fishing boat. He explains us how they catch fish 500m deep on the bottom using a light that attracts them. It seems that we could use some advise as our total catch this year adds up to exactly zero.zero.
Next morning we motor 2 hours against the wind up the east coast to Diafani. With westerly winds we should be OK over there in the shallow waters in front of the little town. From there we plan to take the foldable Qwic e-bikes to Olympos, an ancient town 10 km away up in the hills on the other side of the island.
This would however mean that we have to leave the boat all alone on the anchor again. Normally that’s not an issue, but here we found out during the night that the strong gusts have made the anchor drag for over 50 meters backwards. Even though it’s still a long way to the first land (Cyprus), this ís a bit of a worry. Luckily we find out that the area on the south side of the little pier is even shallower and less rocky. 20 meters more chain, double checking the anchor and the environment in the water and we’re good to go again.
The Qwic bikes are really nice, they feel really stable and it’s not a problem to use them for longer distances. Sometimes Marijke and I have to switch battery halfway because battery life and weight seem to be correlated a bit. We already use them for the third year now and still without a problem.
That doesn’t mean that cycling uphill is a two-fingers-in-the-nose effort now, but to be honest it would be totally impossible for use to use a normal bike to go to the various choras high up the greek islands.
It also doesn’t mean that you don’t have to look at the map carefully before you decide which way to go. We should have followed the main road all the way to Olympos, but decided to use the short cut already in sight of the town. Around the corner of this steep road they apparently ran out of asphalt, so we had to leave the bikes behind an walk up to the picturesque town.
At the top I find cold bottles of water where an old lady exploits one of the old mills on top of the ridge. That helps saving Marijke who didn’t look like she was able to make it all the way up without it.
Olympos is a very nice town with wonderful views that according to the very friendly restaurant owner can be “very busy in summertime, when there can be 50 to 60 tourists around at the same time”. We expect that it might even be a bit busier than that but it’s still going to be a nice place to visit.
Going back down to Daifani is of course a lot easier but still we think we earned our mojito on the nice little benches at the waterfront restaurant.
There’s still enough time to continue to the very protected bay of Ormos Tristomo. We will have to go through the very narrow and shallow channel between the main island Karpathos and the smaller island Saria just north of it. It’s not only about dodging the rocks here and there, but there can be a lot of current here as well. Although it doesn’t feel like it on this side with winds up to 30 knots, it’s really nice and calm on the west side of the island and the channel.
We easily slip through and then it’s just a couple of miles south again for the entrance of the bay. The bay is only open on the west side, and there are 2 islands right in this opening forming 3 potential entrances. The pilot clearly states that the most southern one is the only one we should be considering and we can confirm this after sending the drone for a closer inspection. The “town” at the very end of the bay is not totally deserted anymore as the pilot says, it’s used by local fishermen and there seem to be a couple of houses being used as well.
We have a look around on that side but choose to anchor behind one of the islands at the entrance instead. A beautiful sunset concludes another beautiful day.