Our home port is Leros and this will really be our first time to explore the surrounding Dodecanese islands. We planned to spend 3 weeks exploring before heading east again for a last trip into the Cyclades. Our daughter and her friend joined us for the first week.
We started on the 6th September with a trip to one of our favourite Greek islands Patmos. A trip of 21 nm taking about 3.5 hours. We anchor just to the east of the main town Skala in a small well protected bay. The Monastery is clearly visible as you enter the bay and is well lit at night. Once again we visited and were not disappointed by our favourite island restaurant "Pernera". We intend to return here next May for the Easter celebrations.
On the 7th September, we took a short 10nm (1 1/2 hr) hop across to Arkoi where we anchored in the crystal clear waters of Tiganakia bay. We had plenty of wind here but were well protected. It was a hike through narrow paths to the small town on the other side of the island.
The 9th was another short trip of 12nm (1 1/2 hrs) to Lipsi (Katsadia bay) where we found good shelter anchored off the shore in 7m.
The winds had been pretty strong over the past few days and the 9th was no different with 20-25knots from the north so we continued south to Kalymnos, a 24 nm trip over four hours arriving at 11am in the lovely little port town of Vathy tucked away in a fjord.
On the 11th September the wind had eased somewhat to 15knots from the North so we headed for Kos. A 15 nm trip taking about 2 hours. We tied up to an old Hydrofoil pier no longer used and right outside the main town. It was ideal and Kos town was lovely. We were alone on the pier except for the locals who use it for rod and line fishing. We had a great time here and my daughter and her friend had easy access to the town. We stayed three nights and they were able to fly home from here.
On the 14th we let lines go at 7am and headed off, without daughter and friend, for Simi, a 45 nm 8 hour trip. The trip was made longer by the fact we needed to stay out of Turkish waters. It was well worth it as we arrived into the beautiful Panormitis Bay, protected from all directions and home to the amazing Panormitis Monastery. It is so peaceful here with the Monastery, a small bakery, a very small shop and a Taverna that only opened for a few hours a day. There were lots of turtles swimming about in the calm waters. Temperatures were 28-30 degrees so very pleasant. We loved it here and used it as a base to explore the island (bus from the monastery) and were able to travel over to Rhodes for a night by ferry.
The main town of Symi is really pretty. We had intended sailing around but the regular bus service from outside the monastery meant it was easier to take public transport - Symi is pretty busy and laden with tourists (mainly day trippers) so it was nice to return to the peace and quiet of the bay.
In order to save time we took the lazy way out and got the ferry to Rhodes (22 nm away) for an overnight stay. We left the boat at anchor in Panormitis bay. Rhodes exceeded our expectations. What an amazing place - the castle is is amazing condition and its easy just to transport yourself back in time. We will definitely come back and spend more time here.
Before leaving Simi, we sailed around to the easy coast, a short 8 nm 90 min trip to Marathounta Bay. A lovely small bay that we shared with one other boat. We anchored and tied lines ashore and spent the day on the beach with the goats, that were absolutely everywhere - you could not leave a bag down or they were rummaging through it looking for food - after a while you just learn to ignore them and they you.
It was finally time to move from Simi, so on the 22nd September we headed off for the Island of Tilos 28nm to the west. We raised anchor at 7:20am and motored into the 14 knot breeze for 4 hours, arriving in Livadia where we anchored a few hundred meters from the beach and port. A very pleasant town and great anchorage. We stayed two nights. Certainly a nice relaxing place to stay for a day or two.
The northerly winds were easing so we decided to head north again (24th Sep). We spent another night in Kos (35nm and 6 hours motoring into wind) as the northerly winds kicked in again as the day progressed. It was too windy and there was a large swell so we could not use the small pier we had stayed at on our way south. We anchored off the breakwater of the marina and used it as our parking spot for the tender.
We left early on the 25th and headed 40 nm north to Agathonisi island arriving at 13:20. We anchored just off the harbour in Agios Georgios bay. A very small town with room for a few yachts to anchor and another one or two to tie up. Very quiet with very little open bar a few small shops.
On the 26th we decided to head back to our favourite island Patmos (23nm to the east) for a night before we headed east into the Cyclades again.