Day 7: Mykonos – Tinos
The prevailing southwestern wind had shifted to an easterly direction on Day 7, which made it the perfect time to head to Tinos. We didn’t know much about Tinos, but the locals and fellow sailors we talked to all agreed that it was an island worth seeing.
There was only one sheltered harbour on the island, and that was in Tinos Chora, and we had our doubt about it when we approached the port. The only berthing options seem to be going stern-to (we didn’t have a proper stern anchor to go bows-to) on the harbour basin, which exposed the boat directly to the main street or on the quay a little bit off the main street. We opted for the quay, and managed to squeeze into the remaining space. This proved to be the ideal mooring, since it was directly in front of many cafes, which means once we visited one with the strongest wi-fi signal to get its password, we got a reliable source of internet for the duration of our stay.
We didn’t hang around the town for long, we decided to get ourselves a rental car and explore the interior of the island instead. Tinos is known for its spiritual tourism, and the island has many pilgrimage sites, monasteries and churches in old villages. Be warned, if you plan to visit any of the churches and monasteries, wear something that covers your legs (applies for both male and female). Hubby was refused entry to one because he’s got a pair of shorts on.
Using very rudimentary map of the island, we made our way up, rounding the highest point of the Island, the Exombourgo crag. While it was sunny down by the water, the higher we got, the windier and cloudier it got (which made it really difficult to make good pictures). From there on we made our way to the old village of Volax. The village with its Seussian name had a landscape to match. The whole place looked like it was bombarded from outer space with boulders of all sizes. Many of the houses were built on top of the boulders. Traditionally a basket weaver village, there was still one or two operating, but otherwise it was a very quiet place (it was siesta time when we’re there), with friendly goats and sheep roaming about.
Another distinctive feature of Tinos are the intricately decorated dovecotes. Found scattered throughout the island, they are used to house pigeons as food source. I’m not sure whether or not they’re still in used, but most of them seemed to be in a good shape.
We headed back to town for dinner and to have a stroll in the Chora itself. After dusk, the little streets of Tinos came alive with shops selling all kinds of devotional trinkets and souvenirs. The Kid got enamoured watching an old woman weaving colourful bracelets from ribbons and beads (we bought two of those). This was Saturday night, and the town stayed abuzz until quite late, and we ended the day with some chilled wine and milkshake for the Kid at midnight before going to bed.
On Sunday morning, there was another kind of buzz going on with church bells ringing, and people on their Sunday best going in its direction. Later on, still in their finest, they filled the town’s cafes for coffee, pastries and cakes, and lively conversations. We had some pastries ourselves (which turned out to be the best pastries we had in the whole Cyclades), stocking up enough for our lunch on the way to Andros later that day.
Day 8-9: Batsi, Andros
While we’re enjoying the local life of Tinos, we had to move again to Andros. The north wind was forecast to happen any day then, and when that happened, we wanted to be on our most northerly destination. The main harbour in Andros is Gavrion, but we set our course for Batsi; a smaller and quieter port 4-5 NM before Gavrion.
We were sailing along the coast of Tinos, cross the small strait between the islands, and continued along the coast of Andros. It was a lot more scenic than the usual middle-of-the-sea sailing.
Batsi truly was a quiet port town. There were only four other boats on the harbour, and activities in town was very low key. What the town had in plenty was spring water. While most of the Cyclades islands import their water from other sources, Andros has plentiful of water all year round. Not only this is evidenced with the green lushness of the island, walking around Batsi, you can hear the spring water gurgling among the trees, and making its way into the ducts to town. We also enjoyed the free spring water dispenser offered at the harbour.
We spent two nights and two (enjoyably) slow days at Batsi, waiting for the wind to finally come from the north so we can continue our homeward journey south. Hubby rented a scooter to zip around the vicinity of Batsi, taking along The Kid (I don’t have a drivers license, and therefore, got left behind, but I didn’t mind, I could always use some me-time).
One source of excitement for us all can be found not far away from our mooring. On the breakwater wall around the harbour was a gap that let in plenty of wave action. With calm wind it’s a nice spot to sit and watch the sea, but when there were waves, it splashed the whole width of the jetty and you really needed to time your step to get to the other side if you don’t want to get drenched. The Kid found it a fun challenge, and she always wanted to cross it to go to town (to her credit, she never got soaked). Here’s a video of one trip to get some ice cream: