2009: A summer in the N. Aegean

Fuga had been laid up ashore at Marmaris Yat marine. We returned to her, attended to the bottom jobs, and relaunched towards the end of April. Our plan was to head north, up the Aegean, but first of all we had our friend Sandy coming to visit. We picked her up at Bodrum, and spent a pleasant week or so cruising the Gekova Korfezi. English Harbour and Sogut (Karacasogut) were the highlights.

Limnos was the forward base from which the ill fated Galipoli invasion was launched, having a large natural harbour that provides a choice of anchorages, as well as a quay at Moudros. The main town, Mirina, is on the west coast. The island is off the tourist trail and unspoilt. From Limnos, it is another day sail to the Sithonia Penninsular, the middle of the Halkadiki and the most cruiser-friendly. Finding a berth, fuel or water is not so easy however unless you visit the eye-wateringly expensive marina at Neos Marnaras. There are however many anchorages from which you can explore the monastries of Mount Athos. These magnificent old buildings cling to the sheer sides of the mountain, interspersed with hermits' shacks.

This was our most northern point, and from here we sailed south to the Northern Sporades: beautiful islands with many anchorages, the main ones being Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonissos. We had good friends at Steni Valla on Alonissos, and my son Peter came out with Debbie and the grand children, who sang Abba songs on Mama Mia island. Skyros lies to the south, and has a reputation for wind. After several days we at last managed to get ashore and hire a scooter to tour the island - the first time I had driven one! It wasn't very powerful, and Mo had to walk up some hills.

Our route south was via the Evia channel, Lavrion, and day sails via Kithnos, Siros, Mikinos, Paros, Ios and Thira. We were very disappointed that we did not find a secure anchorage at Thira to visit the chora, (although there is a 'marina' on the south) and had to leg it to Astipalaia where we sheltered from more wind. From here we visited Nisiros, Tilos and Simi, before returning to Turkish waters. At Nisiros we hired another scooter, and visited the volcano and walked down in the still active caldera. At Tilos we were greeted by the German lady harbour person, who explained that she settled in Tilos for 'love', and that they had no problem accommodating visiting fleets, evidenced by a photo she carried with no space left at all!

During the summer we logged 2250 miles, and spent only 15 nights tied up in a paying harbour or marina.