Our final day in Lesvos consisted of a short walk up to the tiny church which overlooks the bay of Skala Loutra, with tee shirts not winter coats for a change we worked our way through the little streets of Skala, dogs barked, yapped and some even kept us company up onto the deep steps which form the slabbed pathway uphill. Taking a moment to admire the growing view as we climb higher, we begin to notice the heat, the route is steep yet not actually very far. At the top of this hillside we see the village in its entirety spread out around the harbour and stretching back as it adjoins the farmsteads and fields. The bay resembled a lake, very calm with still waters, a town on the opposite shore seems so close from this perspective yet we know it is far enough away to warrant an additional can of fuel in our dingy, should we venture across. What an incredible sight, the lush landscape could easily be mistaken for a piece of English countryside, in a few months time in that crispy dry sunshine it once again will feel like Greece.
The remainder of our day we spent relaxing until our final evening meal with Lorraine and Paul, which was great. Having spent around three weeks travelling and sharing these lovely islands with our friends, we will be sad to leave their company. We have had a great time despite the cold and rain, but we must head south once again and Lorraine and Paul are continuing north over the next few weeks. Thank you for your company, great meals and plenty of fun...... and for catching our lines of course! 😁
Monday 15th April
Our water tanks are full as are our cupboards and fridge, it is time to move on towards our next port. Oinoussai island 41 nm south from Lesvos, with winds evading our canvases the journey was disappointing, 8hrs on the engine. The forecast suggested 12 knots from a northerly direction which would have been a slow but manageable journey, what we experienced was a measly 5-6 knots of wind and a very swelly sea. For hours we bounced around assuming the sea state would ease and hopefully the wind would consider coming to a generous 12 knots, but no, it was not to be. Having said our goodbyes at 08.00 hrs we arrived in Oinoussai at exactly 4pm.
The island does look very inviting on first inspection, a long thin strip of land which we must travel around to its southern edge, with not one gust of wind to help us on our way!
The entrance to the port appears rather shallow and even though our charts and navigation inform us that we have sufficient depth below our 1.74 metre keel, the clear turquoise water and easily visible sea bed do not have us entirely convinced. We are wary, the fact that there are no other boats on the suggested pontoon for yachts, (it is only April remember) and the starfish staring up at us from their sea floor, we convince ourselves that it is better to moor stern to rather than alongside. Less chance of running aground!! We moor with no problem and no one around to assist with ropes, Lorraine and Paul, where are you when we need you?
Feeling exhausted and hungry we sit in our cockpit enjoying the lovely town in front of us. Terracotta roofs, churches, fishing boats, the Coastguard boat pulling up right next to us........ he moored alongside, clearly he knows this harbour and he has no keel. Feeling a little nervous when these boats show up is quite normal, they generally have no real interest in yachts, yet it's difficult not to feel intimidated by their presence especially when they park so close.
They go about their duties while we watch, but try not to stare, they are very laid back in attitude yet when you as a sailor are approached, they are pretty scary initially until they are confident that your paperwork is in order, then they change to happy chatty chappies.
We decide to explore before dinner and the sun descends, we have been sitting down all day, so need a bit of exercise. The town is small and quaint, a few small market shops, a couple of bars and most other buildings are closed. Mid April sees most of these islands beginning their seasonal clean up, Oinoussai doesn't appear to have much to open and even less to titivate. Beautiful views across towards Chios island on the west and the Turkish coastline on the east capture our gaze as the sun dips gently over Chios. Silhouettes begin to form from the tiny rocky outcrops, clouds throw sun rays across the sea where they shimmer into the gentle waves. What a glorious time of the evening, the air becomes cooler as we wander back to Kejstral, we do call into a cafe to take advantage of their internet. As we order our coffees we are informed that the island has free internet, fabulous, what a bonus.
Tomorrow we will explore a little before travelling to Samos the following morning.