Despite predictions of reasonable light winds, there were absolutely no winds and a dead calm sea for our 60 nm passage north to Thasos. However the boredom of motoring was relieved about 3 hours into our trip when a pod of dolphins came to visit. About 12 dolphins surrounded our boat, leaping out of the water, riding our bow wave and having a great time. Then after about 5 minutes all but 4 left. These four stayed with us for about 20 minutes. They played on our bow wave as I laughed and talked to them over pulpit. They were so close I could almost touch them. It was such a thrill!
|The sea was so calm that even going at 6 knots there was barely a ripple to be had|
We arrived in Thasos port late afternoon to be greeted by our friends Robin and Suzie from the Cruising Association. It was good to see them again. They had organised the fantastic Lycian Cruise in Company in the autumn of 2015 and this year we and some other CA folk are doing a loose, informal cruise to the Northern Aegean and Sporades.
The first few days in port were spent catching up on laundry, boat chores and maintenance. We thought our dinghy had been damaged in the big blow in Limnos as it was holding water, but it turned out to be only a loose bung to the hollow fibreglass hull.
Chores sorted, we explored the town. It is quite lovely with ancient ruins scattered throughout and an excellent archaeological museum. The town is set up for tourist but unlike many of the other islands we have been to, the tourist here are mostly not from other countries but from mainland Greece which is only a short ferry trip away.
The main attraction at the archaeological museum was the 3 ½ m kouros statue from 600 BC. This statue is quite unique as the naked boy is holding a goat (most kouros have the boy with his hands at his side and look quite stiff). Unfortunately due to a crack in the marble during the sculpting the artist threw the unfinished statue away. Its broken bits were found in 1914, reconstructed and housed in the museum.
|The sculptor must have been so annoyed to have had to throw such intricate work away|
The agora was lovely but as with so many sites in Greece, no maintenance has been done and the ancient ruins lie in overgrown fields with no signage. The amphitheatre was even more run down. We were told the area was closed because of restoration work but we decided to walk up to the area for the views. There a fence with more holes then fence surrounded a worksite that obviously had not been touched in years. Tourist easily walked through the holes in the fence and explored the site. Crazy.
|View from the amphitheatre hill|
|The port of Thasos|
|The amphitheatre under 'renovation'|
|Slate roof with moss. Note the burnt hills at the top of the picture.|
|Stone house Maries|
|100 year old olive trees|
|Snapdragons growing out of a whitewashed wall in Panagia where we had lunch|
The coastline offered superb views of steep cliff faces and idyllic sandy beaches. There were excellent views of Mt Athos, 50nm away and considered one of the most sacred places for Greek Orthodox. The entire peninsula on which Mt Athos lies is an autonomous area for monks and approved male devotees. The cliffs are dotted with monasteries and no women are allowed within one mile of the coast. At one point even no female animals of any kind were allowed on the peninsula.
The next day we stopped at Costa’s Pottery. Robin is a potter so Costa found a kindred spirit and told us all about the history of his family pottery business. Costa had learned from his grandfather but now he is the only one of the family still practicing the art. He is a master. He threw some cups while we watched and it was poetry in motion. He also showed us the large stone kiln that they used years ago, firing the pots using wood. He explained the whole method of wood firing. How a small hole would be left in the bricks so they could watch the fire and then specific cuts of wood would be added to control the heat. First large flat discs of wood would bring the temperature up slowly so the clay could dry. Then smaller pieces of wood would be added. Each cut of wood had a specific purpose. It was fascinating.
|Costas at work|
|Sunset over Thasos and the mainland|