Greek Sailing Odyssey Day 17: Kalimnos - Astypalaia / by Honza Cervenka

I woke up at 7:30 just as I heard the roar of the boat's engine--it was time to move.  I rushed on board to help with the fenders and maneuvering and we were soon out of the port.  Sadly, our enthusiasm was not matched by that of the wind; soon after leaving the port we hit a patch of no wind and so we had to turn the engine on for a few more miles to get us through to an area with more wind.  As a side note--we rarely ever used our engine during navigation.  Dull as it was at times to be stuck with no or little wind in the middle of the journey, we usually weathered it and slowly made our way to an area with more wind--we only ever really used the engine for the absolute final approach to ports as the engine made the ship more easier to maneuver.  But today was an exception, we really had to make progress and could not have afforded to waste precious hours standing still.  

 Kalimnos bidding us goodbye

Kalimnos bidding us goodbye

Lisa and Maurizio took the steering wheel for the first few hours to make sure we didn't steer too much off the course; we were going against the wind and their control of the boat is more nuanced and experienced than mine or my dad's.  I was next to take command of the ship:  The wind was constant and the waves were big--what fun!  For the two hours or so that I steered the boat I maintained an average speed of over 7 kn, which was very rare.  After lunch I gave up the command to my dad and relaxed with my iPod.  I must have napped a bit because the next thing I remember was a big wave that rushed overboard--the sea was getting quite rough!  I peek my head through the door to the cockpit and found Lisa, Maurizio and my dad wet throughout.  There was no need for me to join the club, so I nominated myself to be the one dry sailor today and read some more.

As we approached Astypalaia we thought we'd have to anchor, because our guide to the Greek islands (Rod Heikell's Greek Waters Pilot, 9th edition, 2004) mentioned that the town only had a pier for ferries.  However, it turned out that in 2011 a new pier for yachts was built and we managed to find a spot and moor there.  The approach was a little tricky because of the strong wind, large number of ships and tight maneuvering.  People ashore watched our attempt to moor and in the end other sailors on the pier congratulated Maurizio on the approach and asked him if he was professional--He courtly replied he was just lucky, but it's clear he's hot stuff.

 View of the port of Astypalaia.

View of the port of Astypalaia.

Once moored, Maurizio and Lisa dived to check on the anchor and decided to put an additional one in right behind the main anchor--just to make sure we were affixed securely.  Then we walked up to the Chora to visit yet another old fort at the top--seems to be the 5th island in a row or so to have a massive medieval fort!  This one, sadly, was in ruins, mostly due to a potent earthquake in 1950s.  Most of the fort was closed off for the public, but I could still climb up a few roofs and jump over ruined walls; it was actually a lot of fun. There were two churches on the site of the castle as well, both closed.  

 Chora and the castle.

Chora and the castle.

 Ruins ruins and ruins!

Ruins ruins and ruins!

 One of the two churches within the fort.

One of the two churches within the fort.

Greece-Atypalaia-Castle-3-Honza-Cervenka
 View of the island shore from the top of the castle.

View of the island shore from the top of the castle.

After the castle we went for a walk around the town and had then had dinner.  Here's some pics:

 Typical little square filled with restaurant tables and chairs

Typical little square filled with restaurant tables and chairs

 An armada of windmills

An armada of windmills

 Just a cute little scenery

Just a cute little scenery

 An old lady selling self-made woolen socks.  We didn't buy any and I'm not sure why not.  I still remember her inviting us to buy some and I wish we had.

An old lady selling self-made woolen socks.  We didn't buy any and I'm not sure why not.  I still remember her inviting us to buy some and I wish we had.

Moored in Astypalaia at 4pm. Traveled 82.5 km/44.5 nm in 8.5 hrs.  See map for the route sailed during the Odyssey and click here for more posts from the Greek Sailing Odyssey.

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