Trip on Prometheus starting 2023-04-15 in BSAJune23

A Greek Idyll 15th to 22nd April 2023 – report by Ian Collins

I’ve long wished to experience the Greek Islands as a sailor and this was the opportunity to have this adventure with friends I’ve enjoyed so many sailing trips with. The sailing began in Rhodes, but our journey began by car that brought Kath Lyddiard and Rhian Phillips and their friend Caroline to Bristol Airport to meet up with me who had arrived by Bus. Easyjet and a Taxi completed the travel to Rhodes, Mandraki Harbour Mapwith instructions that Prometheus, our yacht, a 46’ Bavaria from the 1990’s was moored opposite the windmills. Our obliging driver found us the windmills (ancient monuments on the harbours outer wall) but Prometheus was not apparent. A phone call by our driver to the charterers elicited the additional information. Opposite was in this case the far side of the harbour and the boat was moored alongside the Yellow Submarine. With one submarine down; not yellow enough. At last we found it, bobbing stern-to the boulevard cum harbourside amongst the trip boats next door as promised to a very yellow submarine.

At 46’ Prometheus was roomy. Licensed for 12 on a day trip and 8 cruising. 4 cabins, 2 heads with showers, an ample galley and a capacious saloon. We had arrived late in the evening on the Orthodox Easter and we were only a discus throw from a large church surrounded by an even larger crowd waiting for midnight to celebrate Christ’s rising from the tomb. All this activity and only one restaurant open so that’s where we sat and ate as the crowds celebrated and the fireworks exploded. Quite some welcoming party.

The handover was arranged for Sunday morning, so by general consensus it was decided to use the day preparing, shopping and sightseeing the fabulous Rhodes Old Town. This was a very worthwhile excursion, and we were only 200 metres from the fortified north entrance, moored up in the original Harbour with its entrance guarded by a medieval castle. Early in the season the town had only a sprinkling of tourist, so walking the old streets bordered by mostly closed shops was a pleasantly peaceful experience. So much so that we returned in the evening to eat at a very nice mainly traditional Greek restaurant.

On Monday morning we set off. Within 20’ we returned and a passerby disconnected our electrics. Nobody’s perfect. Prior to the trip I had read the books, sought out sailors with experience, etc. etc. The local knowledge, metrological history, and Pilot Guides agree, the prevailing wind is from the Northwest. So with certainty we sailed from this, one of the world’s most ancient and famous harbours into a brisk South Easterly wind.

As always my long term sailing plan proved its worth. On entering the Mediterranean Sea, plan B was implemented, we turned left. This choice gave us a brisk sail on a easy sea up to and around the Northern end of the Island. Initially this put us on a reach as we sailed down the north coast. Rhodes, as both enemy attackers and tourists quickly become aware is a lot lower at its northern end rising steadily as it heads south rising to a mountainous conclusion. Impressive landscape is fine for the viewer but plays havoc for a sailor dependant on a Southerly wind as the closer you get to the southern headland, situated at the highest part of the Island. The wind, distracted by the headland, spins round the end and a reach slowly becomes a headwind. So engine on and a motor-sail to our first island destination Khalki.

When someone says small, nigh on original Greek island port. That’s KhalkiMap. The pilot says that it has only just started to attract tourists. We were the only yacht there. A local with some English took our lines as we came alongside the quay well away from the ferry docking area. He pointed out his own boat and told us he was a fisherman. We took a harbourside stroll where I viewed the rickety walkway out to a rock, with entrance denied by copious tape. This was the entry point to the no longer existent yacht jetty mentioned in the pilot text and drawn on the chart. Perhaps it reappears, along with tourists and yachts later in the season.

That evening we dined on a delicious meal beneath a shade tree at a restaurant where our friendly fisherman had now become chef and his wife waitress. The following morning the largest of the ferries arrived and delivered his verdict on amateur yachtsmen. Making his turn to come stern to as close as he dared, then with what I thought was a completely unnecessary blast on both engines that thumped us hard against the pier damaging a section of toe rail. He then had to go some distance out into the harbour to position himself to make his stern-to arrival at the other end of the pier. That particular ferry aside, the remaining ferries came and went, providing a service to the Island that seemed certainly superior to First Bus, and with no drama.

Chalki now behind us we headed north into that prevailing North wind. Making once more an assisted passage to the next Island on our Odyssey. Tilos. The pilot assures us that Tilos remains off the beaten track. So we headed for what appeared the brightest lights available. We were not spoilt for choice. Livadhio is the only port on TilosMap. That is disallowing a small fishing harbour in the SE corner where a yacht might squeeze in and at 46’ I was cautious about playing sardines with Greek fishermen. In Livadhio we moored on the inside of the quay having to tuck in front of two other Charter boats crewed by Austrians who kindly came to assist us having only left the tight space in the corner of the harbour and quite obviously doubting we could squeeze in. The port seemed to have mainly been developed from a hamlet recently, as a tourist destination. It sits at the head of a large, sheltered, attractive bay. There was apparently only one restaurant open and this was pleasantly staffed and the food was good. Interestingly as we were leaving the ferry which on the previous day had blasted us into Chalki’s jetty arrived, turning and coming stern to on the outside of the quay with minimal fuss or wash. This time the yacht’s safe on the inside.

Thursday and we cast away to Simi. This Islands location to the ENE gave us a day of what was the best sailing. Good cruising speeds and light seas brought us to the hard-to-find spot. The very sheltered, port of PanormittisMap. Imagine a very large version of Lulworth Cove and exchange the main land feature, the pub, for a monstrously large monastery with a rundown quay and your somewhere near imagining Panormittis. No discos, no sports bars, in fact no most anything that one would find in such a favoured spot. There is a local bar with a godly number of black garbed heavily bearded orthodox priests amongst the clientele. A pleasant restaurant which was closed but opened up especially for us, then under-charged us. An error I’m trying to correct. This incredibly large monastery also acts as the local bakery so caters for both body and soul, And very nice bread to. The highlight of the visit was however neither spiritual nor temporal, more martial.

As we approached Simi toward its southern end we became aware of the presence of a gun boat, too small for a frigate, too large for a usual patrol boat. First spotted out at sea, then skulking alongside the rocky island, its camouflage working well against the shoreline. Definitely a case of now you see it, now you don’t. The concrete hammerhead had seen better days and we had tied alongside with caution and all our fenders. Not long secured and enjoying a post nautical gin, the entrance was filled by our bete noire, the gun boat. It tied up as much of it it could manage, nose to shore, along the jetty. Once secure the majority of the crew came ashore and headed for the Monastery. A smaller number forswore bells and blessings and got waylaid at the bar. After an interval of possibly forty-five minutes the church goers gathered outside on the grand staircase and had group photos taken bookended by Priests. They then all got back on board. Started up what must be the dirtiest diesel engines it’s been my misfortune to have come much to close to. Then departed with us left in a chocking cloud of fumes. The whole episode spanned probably two hours. A strange interlude in a most unlikely venue.

Simi had come strongly recommended. Friends who tour, friends who sail, my daughter an historian, then there was Yannis; the professional Skipper who sails Prometheus on trips and now also manages it for bareboat charters. He was quite insistent that I should take an apparently narrow, shallow passage Mapbetween Simi and Nimos at the northern end of the island. He explained it was quite safe and that the water was so clear you could see the seabed with total clarity. Considering the normal clarity of the Aegean Sea and mentally comparing waters closer to home, it was difficult to believe things could get any clearer. Although not easy to find Kath won the “Spot the Passageway Prize” after several abortive selections by me and we sailed through and over water so clear, if a little salty, that any British Water company would have been proud to push it through there pipes.

We then meandered round the bay before entering Simi Harbour. The pilot tells that a harbour attendant will whistle or wave you into a berth. In fact we were whistled and waved away from apparent berths. The first attendant had pointed and shouted for us to move farther down. Being waved and whistled away from several berthing attempts on the west side of the harbour, eventually we were directed to the east side where it seemed it was mostly trip boats. This time we were waved at by two men who seemingly were rearranging the tour boats from a dinghy. We stooged, we waited, we were ignored. The harbourside to the west seemed to be undergoing major roadworks but still had more tourists than we had seen so far on any island. A large Catamaran was assisted into a berth on the west side by the man who first waived us on. To the east our plight was, it appeared, of no interest to the harbour attendants still dicking about in their dinghy.

A look at the charts and a peruse of the pilot showed a deep inlet plus harbour just round the headland so a decision was made to take our trade elsewhere. PethiMap was the complete opposite to Simi. No attendants, no tourists. At first, apparently no people. A marina with a long jetty running parallel to the shore and providing a sheltered harbour for small craft. Only one large catamaran was tied up with no one on board. This marina was closed, but we tied up alongside anyway. The girls went on walkabout after finding a gate had been left open. Their visit confirmed summer season had yet to arrive in Pethi. Nothing but a local convenience store was open. They confirmed that nothing else was open, we ate on board and enjoyed a peaceful night, awaking to find a lady opening up the marina office. At a cost of a reasonable 27euros she also opened the showers. We paid, we showered then left this quiet alternative to being ignored round the corner.

Friday and return to Rhodes. This allowed us to almost complete a circumnavigation. Turning east where group of islets mark the Nisos Simi’s southern point. We had a first-class sail in brisk NW winds with a lively sea back through the main shipping channel to the North of the island dodging the most commercial traffic we had so far seen. On our arrival back in Mandraki HarbourMap we waited while the Yellow Submarine moored up then shuttled gently back to our mooring where Yannis waited to take our lines. There was a small problem with our fixed line to the bow. It seemed reluctant to come to the surface. Eventually with two of us heaving we managed to bring the line to the surface, plus, entangled in the line, an old, encrusted office chair. Once the chair was disentangled normal service was resumed.

Our flight home was not till late Saturday and Yannis said it would be fine to leave the bags on board till we left. So Saturday was spent doing touristy sightseeing round the Old Town. This time so different from our first time. Every shop, cafe, restaurant and attraction was now open. The main streets were shoulder to shoulder tourists. The back streets were also busy. But this place is a magical survivor. The Old Town gives us a chance for our imaginations to recreate the past amongst a medieval reality in stone and timber. We could easily have wandered longer but we had to go. A final meal, a not too delayed flight and we were back to 2023 and life as we know it.


This early in the season the weather, certainly at sea often needs a jacket, but is very comparable and mostly better than a UK summer. You can sleep in comfort at night and normally dine “al fresco”. Amazingly we saw very few other yachts. I've always, in the past found the Greek people very welcoming and was pleased to find that’s not changed. Their Islands are still the best in the Med for me. Prometheus, and the Crew were really great so, a big Thank You.


Mandraki Harbour  36.4494,28.2255
Khalki  36.2222,27.6131
Tilos  36.4166,27.3861
Simi  36.551,27.8459
narrow, shallow passage  36.6446,27.8361
Pethi  36.6146,27.8573
Mandraki Harbour  36.4494,28.2255