Our Port of Entry back into Greece was to be Symi. We’d had mixed reports about the place and as soon as we arrived we were turned away by the Port Police and told to come back at 4 pm. A good start!
Our passage across had been straight forward and as expected the wind was from right ahead of us although only 5 to 10 knots. It built as we approached Symi and was gusting to 20 knots as we tried to find somewhere close by Symi port to anchor for an hour or so. We couldn’t. The nearest bay, Empourio, is just north of Symi and is too deep for us to anchor in apart from one small, shallow spot off the village, easily identified by the yacht anchored on it. There was nothing for it but to drift for an hour then join the rush hour back in Symi harbour.
We found a spot and once secure, and paid, I went in search of officialdom. The first office to visit was the Port Police for Immigration, they are on the north side of the harbour entrance. Then on to Customs, right in the middle of the end of the harbour before going round to the other Port Police for the DEPKA, they are on the south side of the harbour entrance directly opposite the Immigration Port Police. Immigration were impressed I had the correct Crew List, the Customs man wasn’t interested in VAT, he only wanted the Insurance, Registration and our impressive Crew List and the other Port Police wanted the same documents and our DEPKA, and to collect a €15 tourist tax. It is a mystery why you need 3 offices at, quite literally, the three extremities of the harbour, but rules are rules, and at least I didn’t need to pay someone to do it for me! Another bonus of touring the harbour was locating a Bakery close to the Customs House.
That evening Valeria found us a great restaurant, Taverna To Spitiko, just a few metres from the boat. Wow. We had a seafood meze and it was fabulous. We were munching our way through it trying, unsuccessfully, to recall better this year; it was a great welcome back to Greece!
Following that we went for a wander around the streets and found ourselves at an open air concert, three singers and an organist doing classical type music. Hardly Greece has Talent but it was fantastic to simply pull up a chair in the church yard and relax; Valeria was Live Face-bragging for most of the recital. Really cool.
And then it was back to the boat for another night of Air Conditioned comfort!
Symi is a pretty town, built along the steep sides of the hills which surround the port. None of the stark blue and white buildings we’ve been used to, here the colour scheme is far more subdued going for pastel tones in cream and white! Symi is the nearest Greek port to Turkey and so is very busy with boats doing what we were doing. The ferries ploughing back and forth set up quite a surge in the narrow confines of the harbour which makes it rather uncomfortable, alarmingly so sometimes. Our idea is to stay another day to look around the town in day light before moving on to explore some of the bays around the coast. Then we will embark on our journey westwards through the Southern Cyclades to the Peloponnese and on to Cephalonia for September.