Monthly Archives: June 2013

Linaria Meal

Linaria is a pretty little town with white washed cubist homes on the hill and a white and blue church on the point of the bay welcoming you to the harbor.

We had a fabulous meal and evening from the restaurant directly across from our moored boat. We sat outside for several hours to enjoy a leisurely meal and enjoyed the simple pace of very relaxed Linaria. Posted here are images of that meal and evening.

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Hiking Skyros Town – Home of Achilles

Monday we hired a taxi and went to Skiros Town (also known as Chora or Hora). Its a beautiful cubist style town perched upon a cliff overlooking the sea on the windward side of the island. The town has an interesting history. It has a prominent castle on the top of the mountain that used to be an acropolis and was converted into a monastery of St. George. It was under construction due to damage from an earthquake when we were there so we couldn’t go inside but we did walk the winding streets up through the town, over rooftops and small alleyways built atop each other so we could see the view from the top. It was spectacular.

World’s Collide! Its a blog-cross over event. See: Cult of Achilles . Legend says that Skiros Town (Hora) is where Thetis hid her son Achilles in order to thwart the prophecy that only he could help win the Trojan war but would also die there. She dressed him as a girl and he was brought up as one of King Lykomides’ daughters. However, Ulysses was able to discover him living there and took him to Troy and victory as well as his demise. Traveling here was a pilgrimage of sorts for me to see the home of Achilles after having recovered from severing my Achilles’ tendon last year.
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Sailing with Dolphins

Tuesday we left Skiros by 8:45 in the morning for he 38 nautical mile sail to Stafylos Bay back on Skopelos. The day was hot and uneventful with wind finally building enough that we could sail for a few hours. The highlight was seeing a school of dolphin headed south cross us as we headed west. They took a slight detour and came to play for a few minutes in our bow wave.

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Soon after I spotted something that looked like a sailfish breaching the water. I saw it twice with others spotting once. It was confirmed by Jim (who was sailing far ahead of us) that they thought they spotted what they believed was a sailfish breaching the water as well. 7 or so hours later we arrived in a very pretty Stafylos Bay. Clear waters. Cliffs. Ample anchorage. A beach with umbrellas and a local taverna provided us places to snorkel, swim, eat, and sun ourselves.

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Skyrian Horses

We thought we had made arrangements for Clara to ride a famed Skyrian horse. The island of Skyros (Skiros) is home to a unique breed of horse. They are small horses, some of which still run wild on the island. Skyrian horses are ponies (like Shetlands) are bred and live only on this island. They are celebrated on the island in an annual festival where all the horses of the island are gathered together and judged.

We hired a taxi to take us to a horse farm in the middle of the island. He dropped us off and said he’d be back in about 2 hours to pick us up at 5pm. Unfortunately we didn’t know that the horse riding didn’t start until 6pm. So we were only able to pet the horses and photograph them. There were some day old babies that made it worth the special trip.
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Invitation to a Greek Taverna Kitchen

On the island of Skiros (Skyros) in the port of Linaria (a fantastic little fishing port) we sat down for dinner one night. We tried to order lamb but they didn’t have any. They said they had lamb but not time to cook it. They showed us their lamb and we asked for it tomorrow night and also asked if I could help cook it. They agreed. So around 7pm I headed over to the restaurant to help cook the lamb.

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The experience was unforgettable. The small hot kitchen. The simplicity of the meal. The flavors. The stray cats. The wine. The weather. The company. It was a great way to have our last meal on Skiros, an island I’ll surely return to.

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Grecian Haiku

Sirens pulled it in
Poseidon now reads Dan Brown
My Kindle no more

#Kindleoverboard đŸ˜¦

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Skanzoura

After we left the Monastary of the Birth of the Virgin we headed for the deserted island of Skantzoura about 10 nautical miles and half way between the main Sporades and the island of Skyros.

It was a hot and very calm day. No wind. No sailing. The Aegean was flat and still.

We arrived at Skanzoura in Limani Bay (south side) in the early afternoon. The fishing boats we just coming in from the mid-day heat to rest in the bay for the night. Skanzoura is a low lying deserted island that once held a monastery (although we saw no evidence of one). Its frequented by fisherman as an outpost from the main ports and overnight anchorage for early morning fishing.

Clara and I swam and found an old battleship grappling anchor we had heard was rumored to be in the bay.

It was a very relaxing and lazy afternoon as we planned our crossing to Skyros.

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Monastery of the Birth of the Virgin

On the island of Kira Panagia there is a constant. A single soul – the Father of the Monastery of the Birth of the Virgin, since 993. (No, I didn’t forget a 1 before that, that’s 993 AD).

We left our safe harbor at Kira Panayia Bay to venture to the other side of the island to Monastery Bay where we were told the lone monk is known to entertain visitors.

We passed the rocky and rugged side of the island and made our way to Monastery Bay.

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We anchored in Monastery Bay and took a dingy in to the rocky rebuilt quay to ascend the hundreds of steps to the monastery.

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When we arrived the Father was cleaning a few fish he had caught and throwing the entrails to some of the cats that account for his companions on this desolate isle. He invited us in for Greek coffee, mint tea (from the island) and Turkish delight. While he left to the kitchen he invited us to look around the chapel and grounds.

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This monastery was the replacement to the ruin we saw the night before at our other anchorage. It dated from the1800s and is currently undergoing extensive restoration with new pointing on the interior and exterior walls, new gate, solar panels, battery cells, and soon to be new oak floors. And an old olive press that they hope to one day restore to working order. There were extensive gardens (olive trees, vegetables, and lots and lots of grapes)
Our tour continued outside the walls on the cliffs above the Aegean with Byzantine and Greek flags flying where he gave us his sermon on the immortality of the soul.

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He was a sweet and charming man who assured us that he was a worse sinner than any of us and would most certainly be going to Hell, but we, of course, where such nice people we had little to worry about.

Just to make sure, I slipped a 20 Euro note into the coffers of the chapel. It never hurts to have a little insurance policy.

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Stormy Near Miss

Thursday morning we woke to mixed weather. A few showers sprinkled with sun breaks. We left Steni Vala and headed up the east side of Alonissos past many caves. One called the Blue Cave (which is said to be deep enough to easily paddle into and explore) and 3 other nearby caves which legend says that a sea monster lives in the third cave and nobody who has ventured into is has ever returned.

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As we headed out across Steno Palagonisou (Palagonisou Strait) we could see a storm brewing on the horizon and coming straight for us. The only thing North of us now as we crossed to Nisos Kira Panayia is a great expanse of frothy Aegean. We battened down the hatches, had Clara get her life vest on, put things away down below and braced ourselves for getting windy and wet.

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We were very lucky. This storm missed us by meters. We had an 3-4x increase in wind and some raindrops. But nothing like this storm was packing. We skirted it. Afterwards the weather looked much better so we raised sales and headed for the cool blue waters of Kira Panayia Bay. We slipped in behind Pelerissa Rock and dropped sail to find an anchorage in this tranquil bay that featured an old rock wall, an abandoned monastery ruin, a few goats (apparently a breed unique in this world to this island) and an old olive grove. We went ashore and tried to find a trail to the ruins but with no luck. We returned for a day of swimming and I cooked a dinner of penne and chicken with a metaxa (Greek liqueur) cream and made plans for exploring these uninhabited islands of the lesser Sporades.

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Stormy Night Before Steni Vala

Wednesday night was wild with wind, thunder and lightning assaulting us us most the night. The Gods clearly still displeased with our further encroachment upon their sacred isles.

At 2am we had to adjust our mooring to ensure we didn’t hit a fishing boat near us. It proved a very restless night but a lazy morning as it was cold and poured rain most of the morning. We waited for a break in the weather before making our own break for Steni Vala further up the eastern side of Alonissos. As we made our break we saw about 8 or 9 other boats coming out of Patiriri that had been holed up there due to weather as well. We assumed they were all heading to the same place, and were correct, because there are few other anchorages in this area. We had an advantage in the race to Steni Vala because Votsi was slightly further North than the main port of Patiriri. As Steni Vala is a tiny port it was important that our 3 boats got their first.

We were far enough ahead to make a quick detour into Kokkinokastro, a beautiful bay were evidence of humans with Stone Age tools dating from 10-30K years B.C. There are some archeological digs you can explore there, but we didn’t have time so we headed out of the bay for Steni Vala.

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Steni Vala is a cute little family owned bay with a few small stores and tavernas. We found a good spot right in front of the Ikarus Cafe where we were told to find Kostas, “Who will have answers everything you need to know about the Sporades”. He was easy to find.

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After our onboard happy hour we asked Kostas which is the best restaurant to eat at. “This is difficult for me to answer. You see, this is my cousin” (pointing to his left) “And this is my cousin” Pointing to his right. “Any the next one my cousin”. So we rephrased the question. “Where would you eat?”. And he said, “At home with my wife”. So we choose a taverna based on their hand painted menus.

On the way to dinner Judy stopped off at her boat, “Delos” which due to so many problems they’d renamed “Doris”. Stern ties are common in the Aegean but in this particular moorage it was very shallow by the quay so they had to pull anchor out further which wouldn’t allow their gang plank to reach. So Barry had Barry-rigged a bunch of lines to use their dingy as a step to/from the boat. However, one of the ropes to the quay was tied to short so when Judy pushed herself off the quay to glide to over to Doris the dingy stopped suddenly short causing Judy to fall into the harbor.

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Just outside the restaurant we saw a local with a jig fishing off the pier. He took one quick throw and pull and had his dinner for the night.

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