Week 65 - Pirate caves and Milos

Pirate caves, big winds and a very social week. Adventures in Greece cruising the Mediterranean on our boat Matilda.

Week 65 - Pirate caves and Milos

Pirate caves, big winds and a very social week. Adventures in Greece cruising the Mediterranean on our boat Matilda.

As we continue our adventures in the Cyclades, it’s been a surprisingly social experience! On Sunday afternoon in Sifnos — Voula, a boat pulled in beside us and I helped them tie off stern to. We recognised the man Bruno and his wife Séverine as a couple we’d shared a taxi ride with from the Chora on Kea, so we invited them aboard for a drink.

It’s one of the really nice parts of travelling around, there’s always something to talk about with boats and people, especially those travelling a little more on the “slow” side, are almost always willing to meet and chat. We had a great time with them for a couple of hours on board and gave them a few tips of things to see in the islands and back in Athens. It’s also great because both Karina and I got to practice our French a bit more which is fun.

The church at Voula behind our boat — decorated with flags and greenery for the name day of the saint the church is named after.

From Sifnos — Voula we then headed further south to Milos. We were recommended to stop at Poliegos island for the clear waters, and sure enough they did not disappoint, they were so spectacular I had to go for a swim, despite the cool temperatures. The whole cove was so clear, it really felt like swimming in an enormous swimming pool.

We had initially thought to stop there for the night, but we felt like continuing on, so headed to the north side of Milos where there are some pirate caves at Papafragas. These are not the famous Kleftiko caves on the south west of Milos, but still quite spectacular and a lot of fun. We anchored out, dropped “Tilly” into the water and motored around. You could go right inside and it’s easy to imagine just what an amazing experience it would be if the water was warmer and we could swim!

There was too much swell to stay however, so we decided to head into Adamantas, the port town in the center of Milos. We knew this is where we would be for the next few days because a burst of strong north winds were coming through.

There were five boats, including us, at the port, all live aboards like us and we quickly got to know one another and on the second day we were there, invited them all for drinks on Matilda. It was great chatting to such an interesting collection of people. There was:

  • Rob, English living in France with his wooden boat from the 1960’s that he is restoring and aims to take it back to the original boatyard (which still exists) in Cowes on the Isle of Wight.
  • Phillipp from Germany, a 20 year old sailing single handedly around the Mediterranean in a 24ft boat he fully restored himself before starting at the Maritime Academy in July 2022.
  • Klem from Russia, 19 yrs old who is also sailing single handed having come from Sochi in the Black Sea.
  • Mark and Tina, fellow Australians circumnavigating the world who managed to “escape” the lockdown (eventually) because their boat needed maintenance (as they said, it’s ridiculous that the Government would let them out of Australia over a boat, but not some people with dying relatives). Nonetheless, they were glad to be here and of course are now working through all the issues that happen when your boat has been left in Tunisia for 2 years.

Over the four nights we shared together in port, we had drinks on Matilda, Tina & Marks Beneteau 53, Rob’s wooden boat and Phillipp’s tiny 24ft boat that just fitted all of us into the cabin.

We also took the opportunity to hire a car and explore the island. Milos is one of the more popular islands, and it’s easy to understand why with its dramatic volcanic landscape and beaches. Like most Greek islands a lot of the infrastructure and buildings can be quite run down that does detract from it a little, but you need to look past that to explore the natural beauty that was in abundance.

It’s also very actively being mined and parts of the island are full of big heavy trucks hauling minerals to crushing plants and ships loading up to take it all away.

I think our favourite place was Sarakiniko Beach which is the famous image of Milos with the dramatic white sandstone landscape, but we also loved Paleochori Beach for the stunning sunset and the amphitheater that was perched high on the side of the hill with a stunning view of the entrance to the caldera.

The ancient amphitheatre was placed in a stunning location. We also couldn’t believe that the intricately carved stones of the “scene” portion of the building used to be ground down to make limestone and whitewash for the local buildings.

We also took both Phillipp and Klem with us one of the days to explore as well and it was great getting to know them both a little better — they are quite inspirational young men, it’s no mean feat to sail around single handedly on the Mediterranean on the size of boats they both have.

Eventually the weather lifted and we all started to head on our separate ways. We exchanged details (and in the case of Mark and Tina, their boat card — something we’ve been thinking of doing but this is the first one we’ve seen, a business card for your boat with contact information) and gradually one by one, disappeared off on our voyages again. Who knows, we’ll almost certainly bump into one or the other of them again in the future, but it’s definitely one of the pleasures of this whole experience, meeting new people in interesting places with a shared common interest.

For us, we’re back in Sifnos, heading across to Paros and Naxos. It was very tempting to continue down towards Ios and Santorini, but the reality is that it’s definitely getting cooler, the heater is coming on more regularly and while we are enjoying ourselves, it’s not the same as being here when you can just pop in the water and swim when you like. It’s time to start heading back towards Aegina to get the boat ready for some much needed winter TLC.

Before that though, there’s a few more adventures as we’re going to meet our friend Erik in Naxos for a few legs of the journey back up north and then Hannah before the season really draws to a close. That said, we do know it’s coming!

Until next time,

Tim & Karina

Want to see where we are now? Check us out on NoForeignLand https://www.noforeignland.com/boat/matilda