North Aegean Islands

With Sea Cloud up and running again, we left Kalymnos, keen to get as far north as possible before the Meltemi, (strong prevailing, northerly, summer wind) sets in. We planned to get to Thassos, about 400 nautical miles north of Kalymnos, with quite long legs between the islands.


The North Aegean Islands are quite different to islands south and central with fewer tourists and only a handful of other yachts at this time of year. Of course the strong Turkish and in parts, Italian influence on the islands’ architecture is apparent. With plenty of bays in which to anchor, and by and large, good winds it is a sailor’s paradise. Food is cheap and fish more plentiful than in other parts of Greece.


Dropping anchor in the isolated bay of Fimaina off Fourni, we were surprised to hear “Hey Sea Cloud” in Diana’s Aussie accent from across the bay. She had brought her group of painters up from Kalymnos to sketch the sites. We took her excellent advice and had our annual dose of (Aegean) lobster that evening in the charming nearby village (with its sophisticated modes of transport) – superb!



Fourni 024

Fourni 028

Fourni 029

Fourni 031


Once we got over the angst of our berthing in a 24kt southerly cross wind against an unforgiving jagged concrete wall in the EU-funded, but typically unfinished Chios ‘marina’ we enjoyed this picturesque and friendly island.


Chios 043

Chios is famous for its mastic – a tree resin used to make everything from gums, alcoholic drinks, sweets and cosmetics.

Mastic tree

Chios also has a number of charming small towns, and beautiful swimming bays. The decorated houses in Pyrgi look as though they have been there for centuries, but most are quite recent.

Chios 109

Chios 069

Chios 077

Chios 078

It is easy to get lost within the fortified medieval town of Mesta with its very narrow passageways and small, I suspect extremely dark houses and a surprisingly elaborate church.

Chios 096

Chios 091

Chios 099

Nea Moni, a fortified monastery first built in the 11th century, once housed 400 monks – isolated and serene, typical of Greek monastries, high in the hills above Chios town. The fires which had ravaged great portions of Chios last year had come disturbingly close to this lovely place.

Nea Moni monastery

Chios 116


Very pleased to depart the uninspiring Chios “marina” we dropped anchor behind the small island of Oinoussa just off the northern tip of Chios.

Chios 140



With favourable southerly winds and a good sail north to Lesvos we initially anchored in Plomarion, a small town on the southern coast, famous for its ouzo – the best the Aegean has to offer. What we didn’t realise, it was also famous for its production of olive oil soap in the 19th century. According to the locals, the soap was so good that Ataturk organised one of the local soap makers to move to Turkey. Now all of the soap sold in this part of Greece (labelled as local) is actually made in Turkey.

Lesvos 052

Lesvos 044

Lesvos 045

Moored behind Alex and Diana on Enki II in Lesvos  marina in Mytiline – 2 HR 48’s with Australian flags side by side – you don’t see that too often. We spent an enjoyable day in their company albeit exchanging stories about engine woes as Enki still trying to sort theirs out.

Lesvos 053

Lesvos 162

Molivos harbour at the north eastern tip of Lesvos was  surprisingly quiet and one of the most pleasant small fishing harbours encountered this season. Good shelter and spectacular views to and from the castle overlooking the village. Source of superb local produce (eg famous olive oil) and one can even find a great mojito here!

Lesvos 126

Lesvos 129

Lesvos 117

Lesvos 150


With strong northerly winds predicted in a few days time, we left Lesvos expecting to do some work but lucked out with a brisk southerly (not predicted) for most of our sail north to Limnos. Myrina harbour was a great place to settle into for 4 days of strong wind, rain and thunderstorms (is this really June in  Greece??). Rather than anchor in small bays as we had planned instead we explored the island by car. Limnos has a wonderful small archaeological museum in Myrina – great to visit before seeing the source of its contents – the Poliochni, site (3,500 – 1,400 BC).

Limnos 006

Limnos 019

Visited the Commonwealth war graves at Moudros, adjacent to the large natural harbour that housed the Allied Fleet in 1915 during the Dardanelles campaign.


We were very lucky to meet Andrew and Mary, Aussie-Greeks who spend 3 months a year in Mirina, the rest of the year in Sydney. They very kindly invited us over to share a dinner of Andrew’s wonderful stuffed tomatoes and to sample the local ouzo Tsipouro.

Lesvos 166

With the emergence of the sun, the yachts emptied and there was quite a gathering in the Ottoman fort on top of the hill which commanded superb views of the harbour and adjacent beaches.

Copy of Myrina

Limnos 033

Limnos 029


After a long and bumpy sail into strong northerly winds, we anchored in Aliki bay with its crystal clear water and marble outcrops. The sand and water are unusually white and turquoise as the island seems to be composed almost entirely of white marble.

Thassos 003

In fact in Thassos, everything from cobblestones, to kerbstones (even harbour wall ballast) is marble! After a quiet motor in mirror calm seas the next day, accompanied by dolphins in the bow wave, we arrived in Thassos harbour on the north shore, with mainland Greece just 20miles to the north.

Thassos 020

Thassos 019

Thassos 014

Thassos 021

The Hellenic amphitheatre and ruins on the peak above the town provided wonderful views over the crystal clear blue water and the heavily forested island, so unlike many other Aegean islands.

Thassos 006

Thassos 008

Thassos 004

Looking at the weather forecast for the next few days, we were very pleased to have made it so far north before the Meltemi – all downwind sailing from now on!


Kalymnos – Be thankful for “Greeks bearing gifts”


Wishing to get well north before the Meltemi sets in, we hadn’t planned to spend  more than a day or two in Kalymnos. A broken alternator bracket, shattered adjacent pieces of alloy, sheered bolts and a disabled engine changed all that! The next 2 weeks in Kalymnos sorting parts and repairs gave us a very personal insight into Kalymnos, its generous and hospitable people and, at the same time, restored our faith in human nature. There are many people to whom we owe heartfelt thanks.

Iannos (harbourmaster; mob: +30 6944816743) swung into action on our arrival and interrupted his dinner at 9pm to assist our relocation to a safer part of the harbour as a SE blow was imminent. He monitored our circumstances and repairs throughout.

Ioannis introduced us to a superb mechanic, Bayramis Mices  (Mob: +30 6936826268) who dropped everything to assess the damage that first night and got to work on the problem the next morning. Bayramis enlisted the help of his brother Manoli to provide an extra mind and pair of hands when needed while Ian acted as general gofer, helper and sourced parts from the UK.


Manoli coaxed out the sheered bolt form the engine block after due preparation and care (with a hail Mary just in case!) with finesse that would put many orthopaedic surgeons to shame. We adapted to Bayramis’s work hours and got use to the site of he and Ian lying on the cabin sole at 8pm with bottoms up and heads down in the bilge with lights, mirrors and spanners! It was a slow, difficult and frustrating job requiring lateral thinking and jacking up the engine off its mounts to remove the broken bits – a full day’s work. While waiting for new parts to arrive from the UK (Paul Jenkins at Volspec very generous with his time and sourcing precise parts), Cathy did some internet research to source clippers to shear Manoli’s 800 goats! Thinking that was the least we could do for him after his masterful removal of the sheared engine bolt, we were taken by surprise when he arrived the next day bearing gifts – lovely (famous Kalymnos) sponges and a large bag of fresh apricots from his trees.


George Hatzisimalis  from the Tourist Office near the port  was also very helpful and generous with his time and acted as liaison person and destination for parts arriving by air freight from UK and France. George was also provided a lot of information about local sites and things to do in the interim.

Monastery above Pothia

Monastery above Pothia


Climber Masouri

Climber Masouri






Babi and Diana (Babi’s Bar and Grill, Myrties) were also very kind and extended us typical Kalymnian hospitality. We spent a marvellous evening with their guests and danced the night away in traditional style. Diana originating in Australia means that Babi’s stages a hugely popular Babi’s BBQ every Sunday evening (on a genuine Aussie barbie from Bunnings!). Unfortunately we didn’t get to try Babi’s breakfast which is legendary throughout the eastern Aegean!




For most of our 2 weeks stay, Sea Cloud was alone in this part of the harbour – a very central, albeit noisy spot.


Surprisingly, it was a great fishing spot, with the man in the striped shirt bringing in fish this size a few times each day.




As well as sightseeing, we spent time doing maintenance on Sea Cloud, and ourselves. While Ian fixed the watermaker, I visited Club Mode in Pothia (Kalymnos main town) for a Greek hair style!

Ian fixing watermaker

Hair 001

Another two days of parts installation by Bayramis and we have a functioning engine – just before another predicted force 8 SE blow. On our day of departure, Bayramis arrives to check engine trials went well. He also arrives with a gift – a to die for Kalymnian desert pie! We sat for some time chatting about the future of Kalymnos, Bayramis’s family and future plans and assisted him with some ideas as to how his son could get him connected to the internet to source parts. In fact it took a very long time to get him to come around to talk about his (very modest) bill for his hard work!

Bayramis – excellent mechanic!

We had arrived in Kalymnos thinking we’d be “stuck” for 2 weeks. Instead we departed with some sadness after a most fulfilling visit and with our faith in human nature restored.