Tag Archives: gyros

The Heane’s are here.

We booked an Air BnB place so that we didn’t subject David and Angela to the horrors of the boatyard ladder in the night. From here we were able to explore a little of the old town and have one or two delicious pitta gyros. 

On the morning of Friday 21st September, we completed all the last minute jobs on board.

 

Linea was put back in the water at 1230pm, having been seven weeks out of action.  After a quick check from Kamel that all was well with the sail drive and engine, we set sail for Symi.

Actually, we motored the whole way as the wind was on the nose and we wanted to test the engine.  We were able to use David’s vast fishing experience and trolled a line behind us.  David’s conviction that we were going to catch a fish was contagious.  We had a bite, a big one, but it got away.  A few minutes later the line went taut and we actually managed to reel in our first fish!  After consultation, we discovered that it was an Atlantic Bonita, a member of the tuna family, of which even adult ones are quite small – 12cm to 35cm apparently.  It was duly dispatched and filleted.  We anchored in Panormitis Bay just in time to watch the setting sun flit across the impressive monastery edifice and plunge the bay into shade.

Next stop, and a fantastic sail away, was Nisiros: The volcano island. No joy with fishing today. We had a wonderful couple of days there and then set sail for the south coast of Kos to sit out some strong northerlies and to drop off the Heanes

In the morning, we saw a large shoal of pipe fish making murmurations in the shade under our boat.  There were several large predators nearby and one came in for the kill, carrying off one of the thin fish broadside across his mouth.  We tried in vain to tempt him with our lure from the dinghy but he was not to be fooled.

The windy weather arrived and we decided a long lunch was called for.  We headed for shore and to the Sydney bar and had a fantastic meal two days running.

All too soon, it was time to say goodbye to David and Angela.  We waved them off as we sailed west for Astipaliea.

 

Our 40th Island in Greece and 39 years since I was first here!

The cathedrals and churches of the Chora above and the pretty coloured houses of Klima on the shore of Nisos Milos.

We left Milos after an informative morning at the Mining Museum and headed to an anchorage about 15 miles east.  We anchored over incredible sand and enjoyed some snorkelling.  We saw a wide variety of fish and even an octopus.

The jagged pyroclasticfloe rocks of Nios Poliagos.

Next day, we headed to Ios in the southern Cyclades and arrived bang on our ETA.

We anchored in Milapotas Bay over white sand and clear waters.  We discovered that Keira and her group of hen party friends were staying very close to the bay so we met up for a beer in the evening.

It was so great to see them all.

The view through the arched door of Port Ios

The following day Ian and I took a bus to Ios port and I tried in vain to orientate myself with my 39 years old memories.  It all seemed to have changed quite a bit.  There are certainly lots more buildings in the bay to the north and the dirt road as was, is now a proper road.

Church of Port Ios headland.
One of about 7 seven old windmills at the top of the CHora

We walked up to the Chora (litter picking the plastic debris on route as it is Trash Tuesday again) and had a wander round.  It wasn’t quite as charming as I remembered although there were some pretty bougainvillea shrouded squares, bonny churches and old windmills.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me and Steph in Crete 2011

Of course, we had a pitta gyros and toasted my best friend, Stephanie Minto, with whom I shared a good few gyros during that summer of ’79.

 

 

Meanwhile, there was lots of communication back and forth between us and Erin as her plans for her plans for Grandma’s 80th birthday trip to Wimbledon came to a head.  Her source for tickets didn’t work out; then Grandma missed her train.

But it all worked out alright in the end and they are about to crack a bottle of wine on Henman Hill !

It was a massive amount of organisation for Erin to do whilst working many hours at the restaurant too.  She sorted travel, accommodation, transport to Wimbledon, parking, tickets, picnic and even strawberries and cream.

What a fantastic memory making day!

Sun shining through the pretty church tower.

 

 

Heading for the North Greece and the mainland

After being fortunate to find a bar showing a couple of the Lions games which we thoroughly enjoyed at the very civilised time of 1030hrs over a coffee or two, we sailed away from Skopelos towards Alonissis, the next island along.  We anchored in a little bay and walked over the headland to the nearest big village, Patitiri. There we visited a exhibition about the severely endangered monk seals (Monachus Monachus) which inhabit the most eastern islands of the Northern Sporades and are protected by a Marine National Park.  Such beautiful creatures. 

I also spent a happy hour at the private museum in Patitiri which houses an incredible number of artefacts from life gone by on Alonissos, when the island life was hard and goods and products had to be made on the island itself.  The exhibition showed tools of each trade; the cobbler, the joiner, the farrier, the copper, the rope maker, the iron monger, the boat builder, the saddler, the weaver, the potter, the baker, and so on.  The attention to detail was brilliant.  There was also an exhibition of old charts of the Aegean from 500 years ago, showing extraordinary accuracy for the time.  The pirate and World War exhibitions were also equally fascinating.

So, after an educational day, we made the short hop to the next island and anchored in Peristeri bay.  The sea was flat as a mirror throughout the day and evening.  We had been in bed for about 20 minutes when I was alerted to a rapid rise in the wind speed by the vibrations from the wind turbine above my head.  Ian leapt out of bed and just as well he had been so quick because our stern was gently brushing up against the bow of a French boat that had come in late on and anchored far too close to us.  In the non-existent winds of the earlier it wouldn’t had been a problem but in the stronger gusts of the thunder storm passing overhead, it was an issue.   We put our engine on and attempted to wake the people in the boat.  Finally, they came on deck and let out more chain but since we were swinging on more chain we soon found ourselves back in the same predicament.

So, the only thing for it was to up anchor and head out into the night.  We donned life jackets and wet weather gear because by now the rain was lashing down. We travelled the short distance back to Patitiri and with the lightning illuminating the way, reversed into the last remaining spot on the quay.  The wall was exceptionally high so I had to hoist myself up about a metre to get the lines secured.  Good thing my back was feeling better.

By 0300hrs we were snugged back up in bed and snoring.

Next day, we motored to the top of the next island –  Panayia.  We planned to anchor in this remote, deserted anchorage with two large bays and a narrow north facing opening.  Once inside this bay the water is completely still.   We found a perfect spot and were swimming in clear waters within minutes.  We never did solve the mystery as to how three knackered old chest freezers had ended up on the beach.  The island has one monastery and one monk guardian and no other inhabitants whatsoever!

A fresh North Easterly wind had been forecast for the Tuesday so that was a good day to sail north to the mainland.  We tonked the forty odd miles north across to the second finger of Halkhidhiki province and found yet another amazing anchorage.  An almost totally enclosed large bay with a lagoon at its southern end.  We anchored off the jetty in fairly deep water but we’re confident that with our new 100m of chain out we would be fine.  And indeed we were.

We went ashore to explore the area and walked all around the bay and round the lagoon.  The following day we walked the other way and found a Byzantian fort and numerous goat tracks winding around the olive trees and shrubs on the head land.  We passed pistacio trees which I have never seen before. 

Our nephew Sam and his friend Rory arrive on Monday and so we are now prepping for their arrival and positioning ourselves to pick them up in Thessaloniki.   Then the plan is to head south again and round towards the third finger and Mount Akti (huge!).

 

 

And on to Alonnisos and beyond.

After leaving the Gulf of Volos we spent a night at Ay Kiriaki to the south side of the Trikeri Peninsular, on the town quay.  The village was completely charming.  There were virtually no other tourists there at this time of year. We walked around the sea front and admired the prettily painted cottages and window shutters.  Every colour under the sun.

In the distance, we could hear a persistent, rhythmic slapping noise and on further investigation found that a robust lady in her sixties, wearing a fetching plastic apron, standing up to her knees in seawater, was knocking seven shades of ink from an unfortunate octopus, actually, several octopi! One by one, she bashed them mercilessly with a large flat wooden paddle, rather like a rectangular ping pong bat.  Presumably intending to tenderise them and force them to relinquish their inkiness to the ocean.

The next morning we set sail for Skiathos again passing huge limestone/marble quarries on the way.  We anchored in a sweeping bay trimmed with a long sandy beach.  The sand was dotted with regimentally arranged chess board patches of straw umbrellas.

Music, suitably matched to the time of day, pumped out from the bar nearby.  Soothing watery techno loops in the morning; raising the beat and volume early afternoon; popular songs with strong added under beat mid to late afternoon; mellow jazzy pop songs in the early evening.  All finished by 1900hrs and then the beach was quite literally our own!

We met up with new friends on Miss Adventure and with friends from Marina di Ragusa on Halcyon.

After a couple of days there, we moved a massive two miles east after a couple of days to Ormos Kolios where we had arranged to meet my old (As in, long-standing) PGCE pal, Heather Wilson and her hubby, Gary.  We had a lovely afternoon catching up on the boat and then a meal high up above the trees overlooking the bay.

Later, we headed back to Skiathos town where we wanted to fill up on water and diesel, but after abortive attempts to get on the very full town quay we headed round to Skopelos instead.  Here we met up with more M d R friends, Lindsay and David on Goldcrest.

The forecast was for strong winds and rain, and I had a painful back, so we decided to stay for a few days.  Old Skopelos is a lovely warren of narrow streets and steps.  We took the opportunity for a bus trip across the island to Glossa, a delightful, small village clinging to the steep slopes above Loutraki.   White edged steps and passages, snickets and alleys weave like some intricate knot around the houses which have balconies overhanging the street.  Each balcony accommodates an ‘outside’ loo with no obvious means of plumbing.

After our exertions walking up and down steps we revived body and soul with gyros and a beer whilst watching local colourful characters in full flow.

Mary Poppins!

Gosh, Greece is vast!  We’ve been sailing now for six weeks around Greek waters and have still only touched a minute fraction of its coasts which apparently stretch to some 14000km.

How pleasant an experience it has been, too.  Not just because we are more familiar with the boat and parking techniques but because the harbours, bays and town quays are set up for visiting yachties.  There is usually some welcoming person to help take your lines, to organise refilling water tanks, to arrange for a mini tanker to deliver diesel and camping gas and yer man, in his laden pickup, will generally call by in the morning, baskets overflowing with delicious produce; announcing loudly over the microphone mounted on the cab, ‘Pataatas!’ (I say, ‘Potatoes!’)

Which leads me to contemplate the food available here in Greece. In tavernas we have eaten well.  Chicken and tarragon, pork with plums, lamb with wine and vegetables, beef with baked whole onions, Greek salad, olives and olive oil, grilled squid and octopus, marinated sardines, fava bean dip, (‘Fuh, Fuh, Fuh, Fuh, Fuh, Fuh!’  as Hannibal Lector would say!!) cod’s roe and tomato dip, grilled courgettes and aubergines and all manner of fresh fish and seafood.

All washed down with reasonably priced wine which now comes in far more sophisticated vintages and blends than the rather ghastly retsina of old.  (We bought a bottle by accident and used it, rather effectively, I might add, to de-scale the kettle!!!)

The wealth of edible vegetation in the Northern Sporades is amazing.  Plums are a speciality around Skopelos but there is such a wide variety of vegetation.  From the conifer crowded alpine slopes of the high ground to the lush vegetation lower down.  We have seen walnut, hazelnut, chestnut, pistachio, vine, cherry, fig, plum, lemon and apricot trees.  Nearly every home has some kind of kitchen garden.  Recently, we have eaten a kind of samphire seaweed which looks a bit like lavender but is much more succulent.  It grows on the sea-waters’ edge and is vaguely salty in a perfumed kind of way.  An intriguing seaweed full of minerals and phosphorus, apparently.

Bakeries are another joy, with cheese pies, spinach pies, honey soaked sponges, mille feuilles filled with nuts and coiled rings of stuffed filo pastry that you just know are not going to change shape much when they land on your waistline!  As well as that, there is a fantastic variety of healthy brown, rye, spelt, oat and wholewheat breads.

But, Godliest of Greek goodies, Olympus of oral gratification, the Oracle of the olfactory, the pinnacle of provender, has got to be the humble gyros.  Simple, compact, substantial, tasty, balanced and healthy.

A comforting spongy pitta, (don’t think of those dry oval slippers from home)  cozily encasing grilled slices of chicken or pork, garlicky tzatziki yoghurt and cucumber dip, lettuce, succulent tomato and crunchy onions.  Hmmmm hmmmmm! (Most places now seem to add chips as an added extra but they are completely superfluous to requirement!)

At between €2.40 and €2.80 they are a meal in themselves and extremely good value.

Together with an Alpha, Fix or Mythos beer (€3.40/4) it is Mary Poppins!  –  Practically Perfect in Every Way!