Haynes World - ships, ferries, a laugh on the ocean wave, and other interesting things...


Greece 2012 Part 6

Saturday 1st September (continued)
After sailing on one 1970s-built ship during the day, it was a contrast to embark in Piraeus on another 1970s-built ship for our overnight sail. This was on the ANEK ship IEREPETRA L, which was built and later sold in Japan, before coming to ANEK. Her previous name was TALOS which we could still see in raised letters over the stern. The cabins on here are small and, with the addition of a little bathroom in part of that space, are now what I would call bijou without the sparkle of a jewel. Ah well, my bed was comfortable and there was time to look round the ship before sailing at 11 p.m. but more exploring can be done tomorrow. We are at sea for 12 hours before arriving at Vathi, on the northern side of the island of Samos.

We watched the last vehicles and passengers come aboard as we leaned on the rail high above the ramps in the warm night air. Beside us in the darkness was a small day-cruise ship. There were several officers on duty on or near the ramps, and we watched as two separate pizza/food deliveries were made to two of them. We could only assume that the food on board was not to their taste perhaps, and needed supplementing from a local delivery – well, that was the charitable thought. Deliveries made, the ramps came up, ropes were let go and off we sailed from Piraeus.

Sunday 2nd September 2012
Few people were around when I got up, and went searching for the ‘Serve Yourself’ for some breakfast. I finally went to Reception, via another Japanese-style Grand Descent little pair of staircases, and found someone to ask about food. Apparently the self-service had finished soon after 7 a.m. so I’d missed that, along with many other people. The bar had coffee and snacks so all was well. As on many ferries here, the prices of the basics are subsidised by the Government, so one pays a set low price. After looking around the ship, I went on the aft deck to sit in the sunshine and enjoy the sea and then the scenery. We are sailing east from Piraeus and will call at one other port before arriving at Vathi at 11 a.m.

Ierepetra L

Outside the Saloon

Japanese influence perhaps?

Cafe - closed

Disco - closed

Japanese styled Grand Descent into Bureau Square

On deck outside

Deck Plan

Meantime the deck had to be hosed down and so all of us, sitting quietly doing nothing much, felt we had to move. Not content with doing one side vigorously, another deckhand started doing the other side too, so several of us were isolated in the middle. I was chatting (well, smiling and pointing) with a Japanese woman at the time, admiring the musical instrument on her lap. As my companion remarked when he joined me, it was as if the deckhands and their supervisor had OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) as they continued hosing the deck. Ah well, it was finally done and clean and we could return to the sun-dried benches in peace.

Lovely coastline

Ship with a past

Unexpected staircases

I think I will duck out of describing this...

We had one port of call before arriving at Vathi on time at 11 a.m. The bay was ringed with wooded mountains, with the little town in an ideal sheltered spot.

Nissos Mykonos was tied up as we arrived

Ierepetra L at Vathi

We disembarked on the far side from the town, and took a taxi right round the bay. Accommodation was then arranged at one of the waterfront hotels (Aeolis Hotel) for the night, so we could relax and explore our surroundings for the next 24 hours. It is interesting to think that this island is quite near the Turkish coast and little ships often go to Kusadasi. I also knew that Pythagoras had once lived here on the island.

Ierepetra L, with Theofilos and Costa Atlantica in the background

The Aegean and islands

Samos island

COSTA ATLANTICA was tied up at the quayside in the bay, looking huge, and moored nearby was NEL Lines’ Theofilos, which we will be sailing on in a few days time. My companion wanted to walk back to IEREPETRA L to watch her sail, so I explored the little town and its cobbled backstreets. The church was closed but looked good in the sun, the museum was closed (Sunday afternoon), as was the shop selling coffee-making machines and the tattooist, so I finally retreated to the hotel’s little rooftop swimming pool and bar area. The views were stunning, and I could laze on a steamer chair and watch the comings and goings in the bay and enjoy the shade of this pretty area when my eyes were open.

Hotel location

Vathi church

A local cinema

Coffee making machinery

View from the terrace

View from the terrace in the other direction

COSTA ATLANTICA left at 6 p.m. with much noise on her horn, which was answered by IEREPETRA L who had returned for the second time today and was due to leave soon after the Costa ship. She did this, and departed amongst great clouds of billowing funnel smoke.

Costa Atlantica leaving, Ierepetra L in the distance and Theofilos still tied up

Ierepetra L getting up steam and engine power

Ierepetra L leaving Vathi bay

Dinner that evening was in a little local backstreet open air restaurant, again cooked whilst we enjoyed some local wine, and looking at photographs on display in a window. Many of them seem to have been taken locally in the 1960s, when the town flooded, and one was of an interesting little ship. Again we will need the help of friends to try and identify it.

Small ship at Vathi in the 1960s

Vathi views

Small ship at Vathi, again through thick glass

Ships seen: At Kala Varsi: Kapetan Christos, Meaina II,
At Vathi: Costa Atlantica, Theofilos, Nissos Mykonos, Samos Star – a little day cruise ship to Turkey, Sireus

To be continued....