Pedi Port, Symi

Vasco da Gama
Ian Strathcarron
Thu 11 Aug 2011 15:26
We are back in Greece, tied up alongside a town quay in a quiet port.  There is only one line of buildings ashore, but the bay is full as all the yachts are sheltering from a coming storm, already the winds are gusting at 35 miles an hour.  We were lucky to find a space on the quay, as everybody at anchor is bouncing around and being driven in large circles around their anchors.  The sun is shining down on us all, and it's still too hot to be outside in the afternoon, but we've just been for a refreshing swim off the side of the boat, and we're looking forward to dinner in a taverna ashore.
We spent an idyllic week anchoring in sheltered bays along the Turkish coast, all of them with unpronouncable names, but all very quiet, sometimes with a restaurant in a beach shack hidden in the spectacular scenery.  Each morning started with an early swim for me to untie us from the rocks to which we attached a line ashore, and then out of the bay into the wind-swept sea, sometimes we were tossed around as though we were in a giant washing machine, but of course it was very exhilirating, and to be drenched by a wave in the intense heat was very exciting.  One bay, called Circe Limani, was long and thin like a fjord.  We were helped to anchor by a friendly Turk called Osman who met us in a dinghy, and he tied us up in a beautiful quiet cove, surrounded on three sides by sheer cliffs.  Ian was immediately inspired to go completely native, tore off his clothes and jumped overboard.  I followed close behind and soon found myself skinny dipping in a Turkish fjord, for the first, but I hope not the last, time.   
The following day we arrived at Symi, one of the nearest Greek Islands to the Turkish coast.  I had fallen asleep on deck, but woke to see a small town on a hill, dotted with domes and crosses rather than minarets and crescent moons and with the sound of bells rather than the muezzin.  Symi was once a centre for sponge fishing and was very prosperous in the nineteenth century, providing the Ottoman sultans with sponges, and also renowned for ship building.  Nowadays it's a popular tourist resort.  We went by bus to the main port this morning.  Symi port is built in a large horseshoe shaped bay, whose steep-sided surrounding hills are lined with Venetian-inspired sea captain's houses.  It's very picturesque, but August is not the best time to visit, as hordes of tourists arrive regularly on day trips from Rhodes, so we were glad to escape back to our quiet bay.
When the storm has passed we will continue our journey west, back to Turkey for a few nights, on our way to Cos.