1 Athens, Pireus
2 Crete (Chania, Elafonisi, Paleohora)
3 Crete (Samaria, Rethymno)
4 Crete (Amari valley)
5 Crete (Heraklion, Sitia)
6 Crete (Vai)
7 Crete (Xerokambos, Agios Nikolaos)
8 Kasos, Rhodes
10 Kos (Tingaki)
12 Mykonos, Paros
15 Amorgos (Hozoviotissis)
18 Santorini (Perissa)
20 Milos (Adamas)
21 Milos (Sarakiniko)
22 Milos (Provatas)
24 Athens (Plaka)
In the rental agency we were told to leave the car in the port, some 2 km from the center of Sitia, so we wouldn't have to walk to the port. I was surprised with their instruction to leave the car keys in the harbor master's office, but I followed the advice. Well, in the harbor master's office they were equally surprised! So I left the keys in the car...
The ship was one hour late. Every ship arrival in Greece is well organized: uniformed port officials show up before the ship arrives and organize the boarding. It all functions very well.
The ship sailed out and our 12-hour voyage to Rhodes started. We sailed near islets Gianysada and Dragonada, out to the open sea. The wind was so strong that the ship was inclined to one side all the time. And it was a big ship! Big waves were crashing on the ship's side and there was water all over the deck...
But surprises don't end yet. Our next station is island Kasos, an island mostly avoided by tourist due to its bad ship connections (and there's nothing much to see here - there's no vegetation on Kasos). Near the coast there's the local airport and one airplane was just beginning to land. We couldn't believe that it'll indeed land with such a strong wind - it seems that even the pilots here have some gift in dealing with the fury of Mother Nature.
We approach Fry, the biggest settlement on Kasos. The bay in which Fry is located is protected with two long piers on both sides of the bay, made of rock and now almost completely under high waves. In weather like the one we have today ships don't use the main dock, rather they use a small and more protected dock on the right side of the bay. The boat started anchoring, hoping to approach the dock with its stern. But as the wind was now blowing directly to the side of the boat, it was pushing it away from the dock. Policemen on the ground are shouting, preventing the locals from approaching the dock. After a few tries the crew managed to tie the boat to the dock with two enormous ropes. One of the ropes was tied to the dock diagonally, preventing the ship from being pushed away from the dock by the wind. However this diagonal rope prevented the vans from disembarking. In one moment this diagonal rope was completely released and the vans started rushing out to the dock as fast as they could because with no diagonal rope the boat was again pushed aside from the small, 15 meters wide dock. Suddenly, the departure of vehicles is interrupted and the rope tied again, thus allowing the stern of the boat to be aligned to the dock. This process is repeated a few times, until all vehicles disembarked. Then we sailed out.
Our next station is Pigadia on Karpathos, an island whose town, beach and the island itself merit a visit. However, not this time. Karpathos is a middle-sized island whose northern and southern parts have a bad road connection, so the boat also docks in the much less attractive city of Diafani in the northern part of Karpathos. Slowly it's getting dark. We see the lights on Rhodes in the distance.
We docked in the city of Rhodes. Rhodes is a city encircled by massive protective walls, reminding us of Dubrovnik. We had planned to spend two nights on Rhodes but as we had to remain one day more than planned on Crete we'll spend just one night on Rhodes. As Rhodes is the center of mass-tourism in this part of Greece we didn't plan to cruise the whole island. Although we arrived pretty late (at 22 hours) in Rhodes, there were numerous apartment owners in the harbor, trying to convince us to choose one of their apartments. Sometimes they have photos of the apartment that make it look like the residence of Louis XIV, and when the tourist gets to the apartment.
Although we usually avoid these people (they can be quite annoying), we were too tired to look for an apartment around the city tonight, so we choose a lady that took us to her apartment, after lowering her initial price for a few euros. We left the backpacks in the apartment and went for a stroll through the old town. Rhodes looks much more Venetian than Greek. The central street in the Knights Quarter is The Avenue of Knights (Ippoton). Nearby is the Grand Master's palace. As the center was quite empty we went to the yacht harbor Mandraki where we found a bar with live music. We enjoyed listening to the singer while drinking cocktails...
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