The ports we visited along the way were all similar that mainly because they were geared to the sailing drop-ins (such as this noisy Aussie bunch) but all had their own individuality with a culture steeped in maritime history. Each seaside village contained a heritage weaved within their local surroundings. They seemed to fish for themselves and the local market (maybe even their local restaurant), and not a fish co-op to be seen! Each restaurant presented a uniquely shaped display icebox (usually in the shape of a colourful fishing boat) with their own presentation of the day’s catch comprising octopus, small fish and bonito. (Up to about 30cm in length). Each night these iceboxes were emptied and the following day replenished with new stock. We encountered beautiful people such as George at Ithaca Markets (a fiercely independent 94 year old gent who once was proud of telling us he once worked in Perth. Whilst at dinner we watched him spend almost an hour trying to lock his door while his daughter (equivalent to a carer) watched patiently letting him do it in his own time. We lost count of the amount of times we commented, “This would never happen in Australia!”, usually accompanied by an incredulous chuckle and usually referring to a traffic jam averted through patience and mutual respect. This particular case we referred to George trying to lock up his shop over the time it took us to devour a three course meal!
Some of our instagram followers may have seen Skipper DK’s alter ego ‘Jose’, after a few ouzo’s, tequila and espresso martinis. The skipper did enjoy sailing by day and drinking, eating and being merry by night. The Ionian islands is definitely an area worth exploring but probably a bit too busy for cruisers. Our only disappointment from the trip away came in Athens. We arrived in Athens after a week in Mykonos and we will tell you all about that next. When we hit the ground in Mykonos (after 5 hours drive straight from Lefkada to the Athens airport), we were met at the airport by our host, Gianni. The Greeks are a talented bunch and Gianni had the unique ability to fit 4 adults, accompanying luggage and emotional baggage into a vehicle designed for 2 midgets. In this case, our small hatchback laboured under the load from the airport but to add insult to injury, the hillclimb up to our unit was steeper than an advanced 4 wheel drive track at Landcruiser park. We were almost compelled to get out and push. But we did get up the goat track type of access road above the new port of Mykonos and were introduced to our beautiful two bedroom villa at Aeri luxury villas. We then met Vlad, our Albanian driver and host who became a great mate, putting on daily barbecues and driving us around the island. If we were to give any advice on anyone planning to visit Mykonos, get a driver… There are 30000 people in Mykonos at peak period, and only 32 taxis. Not very good odds for getting a ride.
This place is amazing, set up for incoming tourists for the summer period about 9 months of the year. Vlad told us that Mykonos is the island of the winds, which we didn’t experience first hand but apparently in winter it really howls sending the locals insane.
We couldn’t talk about one particular highlight, but so many awesome food spots and beaches including Kiki’s and Nikolas Family taverna where we had lunch on consecutive days. I would fly to Mykonos for lunch again at these two places, especially Kiki’s where we had to line up for an hour waiting for opening but wow, was it worth it!
The day started with a beach swim at the bottom of a steep sandy path. As usual there was a super yacht anchored off the beach. They were all too common place so by now we had given up paying too much attention. (To be honest, i was more captivated by the little fishing boats with their brightwork and single cylinder diesels). The beach was tiny, probably 100 metres long and relatively crowded. But there was a cool vibe, everyone kept to themselves and were happy. A young couple having their own personal photoshoot, a few topless women and the soon to be revealed Kiki’s manager, all having a pleasant time in an unassuming fashion. Thats Greece, especially Mykonos. We left Bretto to hold our spot up at Kiki’s taverna at the top of the path which was run by the overweight man we saw on the beach earlier in a pair of fluorescent (too short) shorts and no top. But he ruled Kiki’s queue with an iron fist and when people were accused of jumping the queue, our efficient host said, ‘I am in charge here, and I know exactly who was here first!’
Lunch was amazing, with a combination of pizza oven roasted fresh lamb and choose your own salads. The service was amazing, this was a truly hidden gem on Mykonos…
But the time came to fly home and we spent hours recounting the trip and days adoring the memories from Greece. The Naughticals are now back on Yachtmaster journey, sailing now in Sydney Harbour and finding the hidden gems only available to boats.