Skopelos via Patitiri (on Alonissos), Ormos Tzorti and Loutraki
39:07.420N 23:43.865E Tue 6th June 2017
We left the rugged island of Skyros on May 30th after sitting out another day of strong northerly winds. Hanging out a load of washing was quite a challenge! David had an energetic run into the hilly countryside and I walked a similar route, greeting the goats along the way. In typical fashion, after all the earlier winds, we had to motor for almost the entire passage to Alonnisos over glassy seas. We even left the bimini up which is very unusual for us as we don’t like it obstructing our view of the sails. We tied up stern to in the little harbour of Patitiri which means “wine press” as the island used to have a thriving wine industry before disease destroyed the vines. Later that afternoon we experienced the most violent movement yet when the fast cat ferry roared in and the whole water surface heaved for several minutes. The boats surged up and down alarmingly and the cover of our fattest fender split as it was squashed flat against the quayside.
Goldcrest on her own on the quay in Patitiri:
The following morning we walked up to the old town above the port which was abandoned in 1965 after an earthquake destroyed most of it. The inhabitants were moved down to the coast, but now incomers have bought and renovated the old houses and brought the pretty town back to life, albeit a quieter, tourist version. We then looked around the Folk Museum which gave a good idea of the largely self-sufficient former way of life and had terrific sea views. In the afternoon we walked around the coast to have a look at the two nearby tiny coves before returning to Goldcrest to hold our breaths as the daily ferry arrived to cause the same mayhem. We decided two lots of that was enough and we would definitely be off the next day.
The old Hora(village) and wooded hillsides above Patitiri:
Thursday we motored for all of 50 minutes to a stunning anchorage in a bay called Ormos Tzorti just beyond a red, rocky outcrop which is believed to be the site of the island’s ancient city of Ilkos. The bay had little pebbly beaches, green wooded slopes, the occasional very tasteful villa and, best of all, fabulously clear turquoise water. So June 1st Lindsay had her first swim of the year in the best possible location – heaven. It was such a lovely spot that we stayed there at anchor for three nights in the end. We rowed ashore in the dinghy once for a walk to the headland amongst the sweet smelling pine trees, and otherwise just enjoyed the peace and the water. David worked very hard snorkelling under the boat to scrape slime of her bottom (worth an extra ½kt of boat speed!), while Lindsay just swam and read and dreamed of owning the villa opposite!
Goldcrest in Ormos Tzorti’s Caribbean hued waters with Lindsay’s favourite villa behind:
On Sunday we left the anchorage on an overcast morning and headed for the more well-known Sporades island of Skopelos, 20 miles away. We had a lively sail in gusty winds for the first 7 miles to the end of Alonnisos, but then it was back to the engine again. We anchored in the pretty harbour of Loutraki, the ferry port for the island’s second largest town of Glossa which tumbles over the hillsides above. Loutraki means “small bath” and there were a few remains of some Roman baths by the seashore. It’s a modest place but very peaceful and we were happy to row ashore without any anxieties about leaving Goldcrest unattended. In fact the following morning we headed uphill to the old town, a steep 30 minute climb along a cobbled path. From there we carried on into the beautiful countryside en-route to a point of interest. This time is wasn’t a worthy ancient ruin, but a location for the 2008 film “Mamma Mia”. This is the church perched on a rock off the coast where Meryl Streep sings before the wedding scene. It was a good excuse for a great walk we told ourselves, although we were a bit annoyed that our arrival at the church after a 4½ mile hike coincided exactly with that of a tripper boat disgorging crowds to visit the same spot. There was a real riot of wildflowers en-route and some flowering trees and shrubs with delicious scents as well as the more common olives and broom. We were back in Glossa by lunchtime, so decided to reward ourselves after the walk by trying the more upmarket restaurant there which overlooks the harbour and has been around since the early 1950s (like some of us). The food was excellent and the views over the harbour, Goldcrest and out to sea probably amongst the best we can remember. We didn’t really want to leave. The town of Glossa is a gem too with its typical steep, narrow lanes and superbly kept, balconied houses. Back on board later, we rested our legs and watched a whole flotilla of yachts moor up on the quay. We were glad that we had decided to stay at anchor with more peace and privacy.
The church made famous by “Mamma Mia”:
A pretty good lunch-time view from Glossa:
Yesterday we moved on from Loutraki to Skopelos Town, a 13 mile motor which took us past the Mama Mia church again. The coast of the island, like Alonnisos, is wonderfully green and wooded and undeveloped for the most part. We moored in the very large harbour by mid-morning with plenty of space to choose from as other boats were just on their way out. The town is very pretty and very popular with lots of tavernas and trendy boutique shops and, apparently, around 120 churches! Ferries both fast and more leisurely, come and go during the day. Some of them kick up quite a wash, but nothing as scary as in Patitiri. It’s a fun place to spend a few days as a change from quieter locations and there is access to a little beach beyond the harbour wall if we fancy a dip. The water temperature is only just high enough for Lindsay still, so we shall see!
Skopelos and one of its very many churches:
A pretty street in Skopelos Town:
A better view of Skopelos Town & harbour: