Its seems like a lifetime since arriving in Greece back in April but the end of the season is coming fast with temperatures dropping. We actually took the duvet out of storage and have started to wear jackets in the evening - don't get me wrong, its still sunny and in the mid twenties, but after the higher temperatures, it's funny how your body adjusts. I dive in to check the anchor every time we drop it and for the first time in a long while it feels nippy on hitting the water (which is still 24 degrees !!).
We leave Patmos and head for the Cyclades island of Naxos 65 nm to the east where we will anchor in the main port in Naxos town. It a long 11 hour run so we decide to leave at 2 am on a clear night with a full moon to light up the way. We arrive in Naxos at 12:45. This is the main ferry port of the island and very busy with an endless stream of large ferries coming and going. There is an area for yachts to safely anchor but it is right beside the main ferry terminals, so noisy and lots of fumes. Plenty to do and see here, but for us its all too busy. We stay to night and push on east.
On the 29th the winds have picked up somewhat and we head for Paros and anchor in Paroikia bay just
north of the town and a very short hop in the tender to a well protected fishing port. It's an 18 nm trip taking us 3.5 hrs. Little did we know but Paros would become one of our favourite islands we have visited this year. Its just really pretty, well maintained but not too touristy to lose its real Greek feel. We also found a good ships engineer who was able to fix our anchor windlass which was about to quit on us. Being a 48kg Mantus anchor with 100m of 12mm chain, I am getting far to old to even consider pulling it up manually.
We loved Paros, and hired a car to explore the island. The town of Naousa to the north was just as charming although anchoring looks more challenging.
We explored the bays all around the island and visited the charming town of Lefkas inland.
After six days in Paros, it was time to move on so we took the short 6 nm trip across to Anti-Paros. An hour and a half trip through tricky waters with lots of shallows. When we reached the port it was equally as shallow with depts of 1-2m inside !. We eventually backed out a bit and found a spot clear of the ferry path in 3m. Anti-Paros town is very small and by this time of year nearly everything seemed to be closed, so a bit of an anti climax. We stayed the night and headed to the south of the island to Despotiko bay and anchored in 5m just off the taverna. It was very windy 20+ knots with big gusts. It was not near as protected as it looked on the charts but we took the tender ashore and walked the coastline (well wrapped up). It was starting to feel like the end of the summer.
After a wild and windy night we took advantage on the northly wind and headed 22 nm south to Sikinos anchoring in the mouth of the small harbour in Skala. It's a lovely town and port mainly visited by Greek tourists. It was the nicest sandy beach I had seen for some time. The waters in the port were shallow and clear sand beneath, so a lovely as a swimming spot. Definitely a place I want to return to.
On the 8th October, we headed for the well known (unfortunately sometimes for the wrong reason) island of Ios. In a 1 m swell on the beam and 13-16 knots we reached over to Ios which was a short 1 hour 7nm hop. The winds were forecast to be strong from NW so we avoided the main town and anchored in the well known Mylopotas Bay (home of the FarOut beach club). There is nowhere to tie up the tender but as the season was at a close the local sea sports club allowed us to use their floating pontoon so we had a safe place to tie up in the windy conditions. Almost everything was closed now as the season was over but we found one or two tavernas that were still open. It was a short bus ride to the main town, again mostly closed up as the season had ended. Regardless of the island being in close down mode, we remained for 5 days.
On the 13th October it was time to head east for our home port of Leros, so we set off at 8am on our 38 nm 6 1/2 hour trip to Amorgos. We anchored in Katapola bay about 100m from the little fishing port in the north east of the bay. Katapola is a pretty little town and the anchorage is well protected and spacious. with great holding in sand. We anchored in 5.5m.
We hired a car and toured the island and of course visited the amazing monastery of Panagia which is built into the side of a cliff.
And then all of a sudden it was time for our last journey :-(. On the 15th October on a chilly morning (16 degrees at 7am) we headed east for the last time in calm seas and blue skies on the 58nm 9 hour trip back to Leros Marina where we have our work cut out to prepare the boat for lift out on the 21st.