The Cyclades: better on foot??

11 Aug

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The Aegean has a reputation for being pretty windy. This should be a good thing for sailors. After all, who wants to spend the whole time on a sailing boat with the engine going because there isn’t enough wind to get the boat moving?

I don’t mind a good bit of wind when we’re sailing! In fact, I quite like the challenge of seeing how fast the boat will go without breaking something! However, whilst a nice cooling breeze is welcome when we’re in harbour or at anchor, I also like to feel safe and to be able to relax a little once the sailing’s over. I DON’T like the feeling of anxiety in the pit of my stomach that the threat of a dragging anchor brings, or the worry that we’ll have to high-tail it out to sea to find somewhere safer when the wind is howling and it’s pitch black outside.

I know that this stuff is all part & parcel of liveaboard life, but the Aegean – the Cyclades in particular – seem to generate more than my fair share of anxiety.

We’ve sailed in the Cyclades before, 10 years ago in our previous boat, Escapade. We had a great time and thought nothing of the threat of the meltemi then.

We’re in the Cyclades at the moment – Sifnos to be precise. Prior to here we stopped off Amorgos and Skoinousa. So far the weather has been tolerable. Good fast sailing on passage and no howling gales through the night (not nice and calm either though 😐 ).

Amorgos - looking down on Katapola

Amorgos – looking down on Katapola


Sifnos - Vathy, good shelter, poor holding.

Sifnos – Vathy, good shelter, poor holding.


We had planned to track north now, via Serifos and Kithnos, before turning west to Poros in the Saronic Gulf. However, the forecast for the next week isn’t looking good so we’ve had a change of plan and will head south west to Milos tomorrow and then 65 miles on to the east coast of the Peloponnese to avoid the worst of the forecast wind.

It’s a shame that we are rushing through the Cyclades. The guide promises that each island is worth exploring in it’s own right, every one with it’s own virtues and unique qualities – and I’m sure that’s true. I just don’t really want to do it on a sailing boat, given the scarcity of really safe harbours to tuck into when Aeolus shows his wrath. At the moment it feels as though the Cyclades are to be endured rather than enjoyed. That shouldn’t be the case in such beautiful islands so I’m sure I’ll be back here…but next time it’ll be with walking boots or maybe even on a bike!

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One Response to “The Cyclades: better on foot??”

  1. lamputts August 13, 2013 at 6:45 am #

    Having sat through a meltemi for nearly a fortnight with the constant threat of dragging, I would entirely agree with the sentiment!

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