We are making passage between Kos and Crete, via the islands of Tilos, Karpathos and Kasos. Our pilot guide refers to the area as ‘sea-swept islands lying between Crete and Rhodes in a stretch of angry sea’.
So we left Kos rather apprehensive of what we might experience. Our first passage between Kos and Tilos was around 5 hours with a swell on our starboard rear corner, and around 18 knots of wind. We arrived in Tilos to a deserted, barren bay, that afforded us shelter but not much more. There was one solitary yacht anchored in the bay, but we saw no sign of habitation, apart from the anchor light appearing at nightfall. I wondered what kind of person wants to spend time in this bay for more than one night – someone looking to retreat from the world for sure.
I was keen to make way the next morning, as we had a long 9 hour passage ahead of us, so we pulled up anchor at 7am and headed out. The next 9 hours were anxiety inducing for me, and sleep inducing for Scott. The sea state was quite challenging with a 2m side swell, resulting in a corkscrew motion aboard Nemrod. I think the Kwell could have contributed to Scott’s sleepiness, so I remained on watch. But we only passed two cargo ships the whole day. Once we had set our sails and turned on the autopilot, there was not much to do apart from watch our progress on the chart plotter. We averaged 6.4 knots for the trip, which was pretty good going given the swell, but it still seemed to last forever, and got me thinking: ‘Why am I doing this?’! Regular sips of water seemed to keep the seasickness at bay, a lunch of chicken and rice was heated up from the night before, consumed but not enjoyed, as I waited for sight of our destination, Kasos. We had a small respite from the swell in the middle of the trip when the wind died and we began to feel human again.
Finally the port of Fri appeared in our sights and with half an hour to go, I passed the time reading WhatsApp messages from my sister in the Outer Hebrides, and reflecting that is somewhere I would love to go in the van one day.
Fri is a lovely collection of harbour buildings, small cafes and shops, offering brilliant shelter from the meltemi. We are sharing the harbour with a motor yacht, the Kasos Princess, that does boat trips to Karpathos, an abandoned yacht, quite a few fishermen and a team of archaeologists from Athens who are here to dive around the island researching the marine archaeology of the island. Apparently they have discovered two cannons from previous wars.