6 to 8 March 2018
Fry, Kasos to Livadhia, Tilos, N36° 25.02’ E27° 23.18’, 69nm, 11 hours
to Rhodes Town, Rhodes, N36° 27.12’ E28° 13.67’, 42nm, 7 hours
There is always something magical about waking up during a night sail to daylight and a first glimpse of your destination. This is what greeted me when I woke at around 8am after our sail from Kasos – the rugged coastline of Tilos.
By 10.30am we had rounded the cliffs and entered the big bay at Livadhia. We had called the Harbourmaster, Stefanos, in advance to check we could get into the harbour. He laughed and said no problem with space. They hadn’t seen anyone for months! He was there to see us in between the fishing boats. For the first time since we arrived in Greece we were told to visit the Port Police. Stefan took all the papers up to their office. The officer photocopied everything and later came to politely inform us that there was a slight discrepancy on our crew list. Clearly he’d had nothing else to do than scrutinise our papers in great detail!
The harbour was home to lots and lots of cats and more seemed to appear every time the fishing boats came back from a day at sea. They waited hopefully next to Pintail too – one even jumped on board. As tempting as it was to adopt a ship’s cat we decided against it.
There was more evidence in Tilos of small scale tourism along the pretty seafront. No one had sat on this bench for a while though and the bars and tavernas were all still shut up.
We decided that this was as good a time as any to resume our breakfast picnics and got up early to walk around the headland to Lethra beach.
The path on the climb down to the beach was full of beautiful flowers – daisies, cyclamen and poppies.
At the beach Stefan fashioned a seat out of some driftwood and stones and ate his sandwiches.
We decided to follow the advice of the Lonely Planet and walk back to Livadhia via the Potami Gorge. It described it as a fairly easy walk. It wasn’t! Firstly it wasn’t really signed so you had to guess where to go and secondly it involved a lot of rock scrambling. We eventually found our way out of the top of the gorge and onto the island’s main road.
We were grateful to find a freshwater spring at the top but our legs were too tired to carry on up to the abandoned village further up the hill. At least it was all downhill back to the boat.
We left Tilos at sunrise the following morning. Once again the winds were stronger than forecast on our passage to Rhodes but with wind on the stern quarter we were flying along with the swell at 8 knots. Since leaving Crete we have really noticed how much more confident we are in such conditions even managing two perfect controlled gybes in the strait between Rhodes and Symi.
The Angry Sea had been kind to us but was about to show us its bite and claim a victim. The northern tip of Rhodes is very flat and as we rounded it to make our way in to Mandraki harbour the wind increased and the sea was very confused. As we tried to work out where the entrance to the harbour was, got the sails down and bounced around in the swell neither of us saw the bean bag disappear overboard. When we had everything under control Stefan noticed that his trusty friend was gone. “Did you take the beanbag downstairs?” he said to me hopefully. We couldn’t believe something so big and red could have vanished off the deck without either of us noticing. We had a look around but there was no sign of it anywhere. Little did we know that when I took the photo of Stefan on it above it would be the last.
Losing the beanbag clearly unsettled us. Getting onto the quay in the harbour was incredibly stressful. With wind pushing us on to the quay we couldn’t seem to get the anchor to set. We hate this type of mooring. You never really feel confident that the anchor is holding and will keep you from smashing into the quay. It was not the best introduction to Rhodes but the setting under the windmills and with views of the castellated old town gave us hope for our few days there….