Having had to cut short our last trip to Kalamos island because of our unwelcome guest we went to try again, this time with the aim to visit the main village. A windless day meant a motor across flat seas to the distinctively hump backed island. We didn’t want to go into the harbour as its a drop your hook and reverse place so anchored just to the north of the entrance. The water was clear and 3 to 4m deep so we could easily see the bottom which looked like patches of sand amongst rock and weed. We picked a patch of sand and tried a couple of times to get the anchor to hold, but it didn’t feel very secure.
I had a quick trip ashore to walk around the village. The quayside was pretty with lots of colourful flowers decorating the tavernas that lined the sides. A sign pointed up to the centre so we headed up the steep, uneven path/road, dodging the scooters and golfcarts wizzing up and down. ‘Centre’ was a bit optimistic for what we eventually found; a church with a stopped clock, a bar, internet cafe and a couple of shops. It was a good workout though wandering the narrow paths and spotting all the old, bashed cars. A man drove by holding his misshapen door as closed as he could, rust was in fashion and the word MOT must never have troubled the residents of Kalamos.
Back at the boat Colin had had a bumpy time with swell coming in and bouncing off the steep sided island making it all a bit unpleasant. Time to find a more comfortable anchorage.
Back on the mainland around the northern tip of Kalamos is Mitika, a small town on low lying flatlands on the northern edge of a large bay. Mitika looks pretty with its red roofed houses lining the shore, but it will not fare well at all when global warming causes the sea water to rise, the whole town being less than a meter above sea level. The water here was pale turquoise and slowly shelving from a pebbly beach that ringed the bay. The wind had picked up a little and gusting; as soon as the anchor hit it was well set in. The wind increased into the early evening so we stayed aboard. There was a bit of a chop from the north westerly wind, but as we were lying to it, it didn’t feel too bad. As the wind dropped in the late evening, the chop dropped too.
Next morning all was calm for a trip ashore. We tied Crazy Horse in the small harbour and saw it would be a tight squeeze getting Emerald in there with room for maybe 6 boats along the length of quay for visiting boats to drop their anchor and reverse up to. The town was very Greek, its inhabitants mainly elderly with a taverna / cafe / shop lined main street and a church which like Kalamos, also had a stopped clock. A campsite backed the beach and there was a lonely swan in residence paddling along the shoreline. The surroundings are beautiful, with mountains ringing the bay which glowed pink at sunset and the tree covered slopes of Kalamos to the west. With only four boats anchored whilst we were there, its a good place to escape the crowds.
From our anchorage in Mitika, every day we saw 10 or so boats arrive and anchor off the end of Kalamos, although only a couple stayed overnight. We fancied a look and a walk onshore, but rather than uproot Emerald from our well dug in spot, we decided to let Crazy Horse have a good gallop and dinghied the 1nm across.
We tethered Crazy Horse in a small cove with a ruined chapel and a concrete ramp with a road leading to it. We zigzagged upwards with the thickly wooded hillside providing welcome shade and joined another road. Turning right, after a while we came to a cluster of houses and a tourist sign for a castle. The tall walls with their arrow slit holes were still standing but the roof was gone and inside was overgrown with trees. We stuck our noses in as far as we could get without needing a machete to find stone archways lining the inside walls. It is known as Kastromonastiro as it was once a monastery, a wee white washed building outside the walls now serves as a place for making offerings.
The road runs along part way up the mountain rather than by the coast giving us good views across to Mitika. Another half hour walking brought us to the village of Episkopi, its cottages lining a steep downhill to the harbour. Another fine selection of ancient cars coughed, rattled and spluttered their way up the hill. In the harbour there were 5 small yachts tied up ( nothing longer than 30ft) and we reckoned there would be room for bigger yachts to anchor off in the bay. There was a cafe down by the harbour and after an ice cream to reload on calories we headed back the way we had come. Total walk distance was 4 miles.
30th July – Spartochori to Kalamos: 13nm travelled (green track); Kalamos to Mitika: 4nm travelled (red track)
Weather – dry, hot, light winds
Position: 38 40.21’N 20 57.33’E
The Greek Waters Pilot guide isn’t very encouraging about anchoring off Mitika. Perhaps its one of the places Rod Heikell wants to keep for himself, or we were just lucky as we didn’t suffer from any uncomfortable swell. Other the three days we were there boats came and went, at the most there were 10 other boats anchored with huge amount of available space.
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