Khalki (or Halki or Chalki)
When we left Ag Nik we decided we were all Crete'd out for the time being, so bypassed Sitia and made straight for Khalki, a small island off the coast of Rhodes. This was at the suggestion of a friend from work, Hatty, who had met her husband there many years ago. Rhodes didn't appear to offer much in the way of anchorages or marinas, so we took up Hatty's suggestion and went to Khalki. This meant an overnight passage, so we left Ag Nik around lunchtime and arrived at Khalki mid-morning. The pilot book said that a pontoon is put in the harbour during Summer time for visiting yachts, but that it was not always in place, so we weren't sure what we'd find.
What we found was a lovely harbour with a visitor's pontoon where we were soon tied up.
Hatty had given us the name and address of friends who live here, and we set off to make contact. Unfortunately their house was all shut up and on enquiring with the locals we discovered that they were not on the island at the moment. However, the locals are very friendly and we were made to feel very welcome.
We walked up to the old town, high up in the hills and now deserted. Apparently it was common on the islands in the time of pirates to have the main town hidden away in the hills, but once they were no more, people moved down to the coast. The view from the top was stunning and no photograph could ever do it justice.
After a long hot walk up and back down the hill, we stopped at the beach for a swim and lunch. Back in the harbour, we were joined by a tanker delivering the island's water. Apparently in the summer it arrives three times a week, as the island has no water of its own. It was quite amazing to see the tanker slowly rise up as the water was gradually pumped out.
The water tanker on arrival - note the waterline... and as it was leaving.
Steve had been chatting to the owner of a small fishing boat moored near us in the harbour, and he had invited us to join him and some friends for dinner that evening. We had a superb dinner of meze dishes, together with the dorade and tuna that Simon and Howard had caught that day. In conversation over dinner, it turned out that one of the group, Bob, was Steve's friend Luke's bosun in Gibraltar back in the '80's. It's a small world. After dinner we were invited to join them as they all went back to Bob's house in the town - Bob now lives in Khalki - and we finished the evening dancing and drinking Metaxa in Bob's kitchen!