On Tuesday, with her migrane only slightly better we set off almost due south from Sykia towards the island of Kyra Panagia aiming for a large, landlocked bay on the north of the island called Ormos Planitis. The island is uninhabited, apart from goats and cattle and the description in the Pilot Book made it sound idyllic.
It was about a 6 hour trip from Sykia to Planitis, motoring the whole way. The day started out so flat calm with mirror smooth seas that with the haze, it was almost impossible to make out the horizon giving the impression of floathing along inside a big fuzzy grey ball.
The entrance to Ormos Planitis is only 82 metres wide and not easy to make out as you approach, but with sat nav, a chart plotter and radar the approach was very straight forwards.
The problem with secluded, quite bays on uninhabited islands is that they don’t remain so for long, filling with yachts fairly quickly, and we were about the 10th! We found ourselves a spot and once we’d anchored, with no engine noise or clattering anchor chain it was really pretty, tranquil and quiet, until some charter, boats turned up.
Also, as we examined the shore line, we noticed that it was littered with discarded plastic, fishing nets and even a couple of, what looked like, old fridges. There was also strange ‘things’ floating in the water, and although they were probably vegetation, with the state of the shore line and the presence of so many yachts the water didn’t look quite so appealing anymore! The state of the foreshore was rather disappointing as the eastern five islands in the chain are part of a nature reserve, the National Marine Park of Alonnisos, Northern Sporades, and is the home to endangered Monk Seals and Ibex. But ignoring the litter, the surroundings were lovely. Once the sun went down and the insects stopped ‘chirping’, and noisy charter yachts turned in, it was almost completely silent and when the moon sunk below the hills, with no light pollution, the stars were fantastic.
The following morning we decided that we’d move on and leave the goats foraging amongst the plastic and fridges and head towards the capital of Alonnisos, Patitiri, just 18 miles away.
As soon as we left Planitis we got the sails up and did manage a fair part of the trip under sail but as we entered Ormos Vasiliko, the channel between Alonnisos and Peristeri Islands, the wind began to drop away and move around to behind us and even witn the Cruising Chute we were more ‘drifting with style’ than sailing.
It was now that we had my first ever ‘near-miss’ with another boat. With the Chute up and making only a couple of knots we found ourselves being overtaken by another Lagoon 39 catamaran, motoring up on our port quarter. The Collision Regs say power driven vessels keep out of the way of vessels under sail; however, this boat just stood on until I was forced to turn away to starboard, gybe and try to dump the chute. It was a bit ‘frantic’ for a moment and as we came round into the wind the other boat just carried on regardless, watching us as they passed! Very bad form. Valeria and I both told them so quite loudly ……. but not in quite those words. I joke about it only being a ‘close quarters situation’ when you can shake hands with the other crew, but this, at my be 30 metres was quite close enough! So after a bit of a tussle I got the Chute down and we decided to motor the last couple of miles to Patitiri.
Patitiri is in a small bay of three parts, comprising the harbours of Patitiri and Votsi and a small cove called Rousuomi in between. Both ports looked rather small and crowded and Rousuomi was crammed full with 6 yachts so we switched to Plan B. This involved retracing our steps for a mile or so toanother large bay, Ormos Milia.
This too has three coves of which the central one was empty. We crept in, found 4 metres of water smack in the centre of the cove and 100 m off the beach and anchored.
That was about 5.30 pm and we spent the rest of the evening swimming and barbecuing sausages and some of the ‘coracão de frango’, chicken hearts, we’d bought in Dave and Jane’s local butchers in Limenaria. We then settled down to a rather rolly night with the small wind holding us across the swell rolling into the bay. But it was quiet, dark and tranquil, even more pleasant then last night.
Although the swell made the night a little uncomfortable, the following day was perfect. Hot, sunny, calm with a light breeze and crystal clear waters; we decided to stay another day but the place virtually to ourselves, other than a brief visit from a day trip boat and another yacht. We swam, I took the Go Pro for a snorkel and we even took a trip ashore to the beach bar in a fruitless search for some WiFi, before returning for another BBQ.
The second night was the same as the first, rather rolly, and although the days were delightful, we decided that on Friday we’d move on towards Nisos Skopelos. We also had an added complication of some strong northerly winds on Monday and Tuesday and so we’d need to find shelter from them.