Good Friday was our last day in Kos. The marina distributed plates of Easter sweet breads and bright red hard boiled eggs. The eggs are dyed bright red to signify the blood of Christ. The Greeks play an egg cracking game with these eggs called tsougrisma (τσούγκρισμα) which symbolizes the breaking open of the tomb and Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead.
|Easter sweet breads and eggs - a gift from the marina|
In the evening is the procession of The Epitaph. After a church service, an elaborate wooden bier, symbolizings the tomb of Jesus, adorned with fresh flowers (and the modern touch of LED lights) is carried from the various churches through the streets of the town. All the biers are brought by their congregation to the town square where the sombre rites continue to midnight. We walked into town to watch the beginning of the procession but could not stay on as we had an early start in the morning.
|The faithful waiting outside the church for the Epitaph|
|The Epitaph procession|
Up early the next morning for our passage to Leros. About an hour after setting out of Kos harbour a Turkish Coast Guard boat comes towards us. We of course were checked into Greece but in those waters the two countries are so close that it is impossible to go from one island to another without criss-crossing the borders. The Coast Guard ship circled us then called us up on the radio, asked us to turn off our motor and then came along side, tied up to us and then ask to see all our papers. They were very polite and even apologetic, explaining it was all routine. Fortunately the sea was dead calm with no wind so it was fine to have the large Coast Guard boat tie up alongside our little boat. I suspect that is why they chose to stop us - good practice for the crew.
|Turkish Coast Guard waving goodbye after checking our papers|
Mid-afternoon we arrived at Alinda in Leros. We were the only yacht around and able to pick up a mooring. We settled in to relax for the rest of the afternoon and evening. We didn’t bother to go ashore and happily stayed on the boat to prepare for an even earlier start the next morning.
Just after sunrise we dropped the mooring line for our long passage to Karlovasi on the northern side of the island of Samos. We managed to do a fair amount of sailing in the light southerlies but had to motor for the last two hours so we would get into the harbour before dark. After a 10 ½ hour passage we entered a deserted harbor with friendly Greek Coast Guard at the ready to catch our lines as we pulled alongside the town wharf.
|Only visiting yacht in the harbour of Karlovasi|
When we got back to the boat we Googled Mediterranean seals and found out it was a Monk seal. They are very rare with only an estimated 700 left in the wild. What a privilege to have had such a close interaction with such a rare and beautiful animal - even if she did have a brain the size of a pea and was a total slug!
|Bob tickling the Monk seal's belly|
|A slight lifting of the head was the only reaction we got from this slug-a-bug|
So we have settled into the berth at Karlovasi, watching the huge ferries come and go, resting and waiting for the next good winds to our trip to Chios.
|Huge ferry docking on the wharf about 50m from us|