A week sheltering in Merikha

Arriving in Kythnos was ‘officially’ the start of our summer cruise and, after cutting through the Corinth Canal, we were back on schedule.  Moving from our over night anchorage into Merikha we  found ourselves somewhere sheltered from the Meltemi.   The forecasts suggested we’ d be there for 4 or 5 days ……. 1 week later we were still there, waiting.

The plus side to this enforced stay was that we could spent the week with Graeme and Jayne as neighbours, going out for meals, entertaining on board and generally assisting each other with the ‘challenges’ presented by the dreaded Charterers.  It was really great that our paths crossed for so long.

Merikha across the fishing harbour
Merikha across the fishing harbour

Merikha is a relatively new town built around the port  catering for the ferries and coasters which keep the island supplied.  It also provides a small harbour for fishing boats, a town quay and an anchorage for visiting yachts.  Ideal we thought.  Shelter from the weather, a pleasant town and the opportunity to explore a bit of the island.  Oh how wrong were we!  Well, sheltered yes, pleasant town, yes but the place is infested with charter boats whose anchoring and boat handling skills are second to everyone’s, absolutely everyone’s.

It was such an issue that we were not willing to leave the boat during the day in case boats arriving or leaving hit us or took out our anchor!  When not directly involved it was rather amusing!

Merikha is quite busy but pretty quiet despite all the comings and goings.  Mercifully there are plenty of tavernas in which to recover from a stressful day; our favourites were the Ostia Restaurant, and Taverna Yalos Byzantino.

View from the Ostia
View from the Ostia

The Ostria was our ‘local’, not 40m from the boat.  Their WiFi wouldn’t quite reach across the road so we had to go there to get a signal, and a glass or two of wine, and a snack, or a coffee; it would have been rude not to!

Yalos Byzantino taverna
Yalos Byzantino taverna

The Taverna Yalos Byzantio was our favourite place for meals.   The owner, Costas, was a very engaging character who promised we would pay nothing if we didn’t like the food.   Well, obviously we told him the food was terrible ….. but the empty, licked-clean plates told a different story!   Twice we ended up with a bottle of wine on the house!   Excellent place!    One of his waiters by the name of Sam, a good old London boy, was thrilled that he could pick Valeria’s brains about Brazil.   He’s a bit of a world traveller in the winter and has been to Rio and São Paulo but wants to visit Manaus and ended up with a few pointers!  We had a couple of excellent nights there and had our farewell dinner with Graeme and Jayne there too.

Merikha side street

I found a great bakery and went there every morning for my breakfast cheese pie.  He had a whole variety of these, including one with a beef burger inside, and I managed to try one of each in our 7 days there, so, yes I did eat all the pies!   The mini markets had all the supplies we needed, although the lettuces were very poor; Valeria can’t wait to get to Kos!!!     The butchers were very simple, a shop with a large cold storage, a counter and a meat mincer; and you can buy what they have in the fridge, right down to the last half chicken in the village!

The beach next door

There are worse place to be stuck for a week waiting out the Meltemi.   Although the harbour offers protection from the wind, the swell it pushes into the harbour makes the quayside a sometimes uncomfortable place to be.  But the real aggravation was the frequent arrivals and departures of the charter boats which effectively kept us on board, on watch, and meant this was not our most relaxing port of call!

Merikha is really nice, in calm weather it would be lovely, but then that is why it is so popular with Athens based charter boats.