36 43.6 N 24 26.9 E
14th – 17th September
We had a fairly uneventful sail from the mainland to Milos with various sail configurations depending on the wind. At one point we even had to put in the second reef in the main as the wind got up considerably but this was short lived! We saw few boats and several ferries on the way. On entering the large almost enclosed harbour of Milos we decided to take a look at the quay at Adhamas but to anchor overnight and manoeuvre the following morning when hopefully the wind would be less. We were soon securely ‘hooked’ and both had a sleep as it had been a long day. We were in the company of 2 large ketches in the anchorage – there were several mooring buoys with local boats closer to the beach. We had a quiet night and duly headed for the town quay in the morning. We were helped with our lines by Sam a local fisherman whose boat was on the other side of the quay. Later the ‘waterman’ arrived to explain about the water and electricity to which we duly connected. The quay had been pretty quiet on our arrival but was full by the evening.
Jacky went off in search of a car hire company and the local tourist information centre and en route met a chap called Patrick ( he has lived on the island for 30 years) an ex-pat who runs a car rental business from another town on the north east coast called – Pollonia. He suggested Nikos car rental as being honest, competitive and having good cars so that is where we got our vehicle from for the following day. In the mean time we explored and found an excellent supermarket and some other good shops for browsing. Jacky also met a lady – Maureen, who has been visiting Milos for 35 years she is in her eighties but has walked most of the island and gave us loads of information about where to go with the car.
On Thursday morning we set off for the first of our points of interest the villages on the hill above Adhamas –the ‘Chora’ and then on down to see the old fishing hamlet of Klima. The roads are reminiscent of high alpine tracks – mostly made up with many rough patches consistently one track wide with few passing places and of course the numerous hair-pin bends just to add to the mix! The tiny settlement consists of 2 story buildings set against the rocky foreshore – originally they were just fishing huts / boat houses but over time second floors were added so that the fisherman had somewhere to sleep when they had returned their boats to the cove. Each front has what appears to be a large garage door all brightly painted in various primary colours– which led into a place for the boat in the winter but mostly now being used as storage or even living rooms. Above on the second floor were terraces with brightly coloured window shutters painted to match the big doors.
There was an ancient city above Klima and it is still being excavated – we parked and walked to view the amphitheatre which was set looking out across the large bay of Milos – really spectacular. On the track leading to the top of this was the marked site from where the famous statue Venus De Milo was stolen by French soldiers in the 1820s – it now resides in the Louvre. Also near bye are the famous Christian Catacombs’ which were closed but apparently housed some 5000 bodies when they were opened!
Milos is still famous for its extensive mineral deposits which are mined all over the island. First settlers as long ago as 2000BC were extracting obsidian to use for arrow heads as there was no local supply of flint. The island was a huge volcano and the bay of Milos is in fact the crater created when there was an enormous eruption much like the water filled crater in Santorini. We next drove to the north western coast to Sarakiniko where there is an area of softer sand type rock which has eroded over time to create the most amazing moon-like landscape. We walked down to an almost entirely enclosed bay through sculpted sand dunes not dissimilar to the topography we saw in Cappadocia last year.
Next we headed for Pollonia a charming fishing village with a tiny harbour and a good sandy beach where we had a snack lunch and Jacky had a swim. We called in to speak to Patrick at his car hire firm – Axiom cars and met his wife Sheila. They suggested we should next head for Paleochori beach via the high point on the island which gave us a view of the various mining activities and showed the different colours of the rocks on this island. We eventually found our way (the maps are no help really!) to the said beach and collapsed for a rest – Jacky had several swims and we finished off with a cooling drink in one of the beach tavernas before heading for home. The route took us to the south of the island and into the much wilder landscape with ravines, crevasses and moor-like vegetation – we made it to one of the famous churches/ monasteries before the road surface defeated us and we turned back for Adhamas.
It is certainly an interesting island and well worth exploring by car – it was a shame we didn’t have more time. For walking enthusiasts it is wonderful.
On Saturday we left around 1000 and headed for an anchorage we had selected on the small satellite island of Poliagos to the north east of Milos. We had a rough slow passage as the wind was on the nose once we were out of Milos bay – however it was only 15 miles or so and we were anchored and swimming by 1400. The bay was called Manoloniso and was delightful – just goats for company and clear turquoise water! The goats are wild as there are no inhabitants on the island and they have obviously evolved to be big and hardy – they were almost the size of small cows and many had very long horns!
This anchorage was fine while we were awake but sadly when the wind got up around 0030 we began to drag the anchor and as it was such a small place we decided that prudence was called for so cut our losses and set sail for Thira!