Quiet Ancient Delos and Vibrant Mykonos
Mon, 30th May 2016
We had a boisterous sail from Dhenoussa to Mykonos - 7 hours of the crash and bang variety in a lumpy sea. We were glad to anchor in a calm bay, but the thumping muzak coming from the local resort drove us away to the next cove along, where all was peace and quiet.
We had spoken to a local skipper who said one is allowed to anchor in the Delos Channel until 8pm, but that it can be tricky in anything but calm conditions. Friday dawned calm and clear, so we decided to try it and very glad we did too. We could spend as much time as we liked at Delos without being constrained to tripper boat timetables - we much prefer doing things under our own steam.
Delos is a large spread-out site, a sacred place as it was supposedly the birthplace of twins Apollo & Artemis. Originally settled in the 25thC BC, the Minoans spread out in the 15thC BC, and by 1stC BC it had been through the various classical periods, and was a thriving commercial island of 30,000 people, full of merchants, bankers, ship-owners, craftsmen and artists. The houses were decorated throughout with statues, frescoes and mosaic floors; quite a bit of competitiveness apparently - a real "keeping up with the Jones's" (or Yannis's). Market places, temples and dedications to the Gods abound.The classic shot of Delos is the line of lions, magnificent beasts; the originals are now safely in the on-site museum, with well-done replicas sitting on their outdoor plinths.
They weren't a shy lot, there are lots of frescoes, engravings and statues of a phallic nature, many of them shall we say, of an enthusiastic posture (see pics for dedication to Dionysis). Sadly, many of the poor chaps' bits got smashed off, a bit like most of their noses.
After a long hot day of clambering about, we dinghied back to the boat and set off again for Mykonos, this time to the Marina and town. The marina is chaotic with lots of charter boats, fluky windy conditions and many mishaps with stuck anchors and crossed chains. As a "little" boat, we were ushered into a tucked-away corner alongside - very secure and no possibility of problems - just hemmed in by charter catamarans.
Mykonos town is accessible via the excellent Seabus. It is a real tourist destination, all glitzy bars, expensive shops, tacky trinkets and waterside restaurants. The nightlife is serious. For all that, it has its windmills, pretty houses and winding streets, and the waterside watering holes of "Little Venice" are very attractive.
Having spent a couple of nights here, it is time to move on. Today we are heading for Syros for a food stock up (as a tourist place, there is no such thing as food shops in Myk). We know Syros from old, having been stuck there for 6 days a few years ago sitting out gales. It is a real place, active, lively and workaday, with everything you could want. 30nm away, of hot sun and sea.