Amorgos - Island of ‘The Big Blue’


Amorgos sunset

After a perfect five hour motor sail from Levitha to Amorgos and what we thought would be a one day, two night stopover, almost gale force winds from the south-west dictated our movements.
Difficult to describe the colour... even harder to photograph



We now had at least two days to explore Amorgos, read, write and be inspired in whatever ways we individually desired. The harbour mooring was still quite protected and the adjacent cafes were welcoming and wi-fi provided. The island variety of Greek food here was really interesting, economical and something that we would certainly be exploring when we got back home.




Three shots of some locals
 And just like Gilligan’s Island the weather worsened and our two days turned into four. Here are just some of the funs things unique to Amorgos that we can recommend if you ever happen to get stranded on this particular compass point.
The Big Blue Cafe - can be found on the left hand corner of the harbour. The Luc Besson, cult doco/flick ‘The Big Blue’, is shown on the big screen in their outside beer garden (?) every night during the tourist season from April to October. We missed the first screening of the season by one night. Many parts of this film were shot on location in Amorgos. Even walking around the island in less than inviting weather there was something special and inviting about this place.













The Monastery of Panagia - for me it must almost be one of the seven construction wonders of the world. I know most of my construction work has comprised of letterbox and clothesline repairs but this place is really out there. Originally built in 880 AD, the monastery clings to the cliff face on the western side of the island (almost directly below Chora the island’s capital), some 300 metres above where the blue waters turn the stone into sand with the thunderous crashes of long, white hands. Three monks are currently spending the terms of their natural lives devoting all their time to world prayer and hosting 40,000 tourists a year through their unique home. My suggestion is not to ride a scooter down to pay them a visit on a windy day.

Taverna Nikos, (www.info@pagalihotel-amargos.com) the beautiful hillside village of Lagada provides Greek cuisine to the table from their organic farm near the village. We all sampled a yummy aubergine, fetta, tomato and cinnamon bake and left it with a five star rating. The taverna oozes atmosphere from the aging timber floors and walls and the Vassolos family will go out of their way to ensure that you feel a part of their family.





Judy with Vaghalis









Across the lane from Nikos is Iamata (www.iamata.gr), where you can give yourself a natural ‘treatment’. Proprietors Vaghalis and Eleni research, harvest, hand select, dry and retail their skin care products that they derive from around 600 aromatic plants (with a high content of essential oils) that grow naturally in the islands’s micro climate. They are two natural and beautiful people are are enthusiastic about sharing their knowledge and experiences of the wild side of Amorgos.
Sunrise on the harbour




After one really rocking night on board the ‘Forever’ in the harbour, we made a group decision to move ashore. Jo and I chose a quaint little room in the Villa Katapoliani (www.villakatapoliani.gr). It was a ridgy-didge Greek Island style accommodation with a roof-top outlook over the harbour and surrounding village and a cluster of the obligatory stray cats to pat every time you came in or out of the gate.
The 'Forever'







Just down the alley on our way back to the boat Jo found a newly opened (that very day) fashion shop and she was the very first customer. Byssos, owned and operated by Paporakis Vangglis stocks some really cool original styles which got Jo pretty excited and I also managed a krinkly brown Vespa ’55 t-shirt number.





Amorgos Island is nothing like Gilligan’s Island and you will not fade away physically. The TELEION snack bar on the harbour near where the boat was moored became our morning coffee port of call which sometimes spilled over into pre-lunch or second breakfast. The free wi-fi was fast and the cafe was a hub of local activity and an excellent means of plugging into the Katapola grapevine. The other harbour side venue we frequented for our evening meals was The Corner Taverna. The owner/chef put lots of spice and love into every individual meal and we complemented this by leaving clean plates.
Another hotspot that claimed some of our hours on the cooler wet days was the JAZZMIN Cafe and bar in the village of Chora which looked down on the harbour. Chora is one of those beautiful white-washed villages with colorful shutter windows and doors set high on a ridge overlooking the harbour. Some people we met in Katapola told us about this cafe and we somehow wandered aimlessly through the quiet lunch time streets of Chora and chanced upon it.
Chora village












JAZZMIN is a where the really cool cats hang out. All the local arty types appear to randomly drop in here and the dudes who operate it are switched on to music, art, photography and what constitutes interesting cuisine. The Forever crew spent a couple of extended sessions in a corner of this habitat indulging ourselves in excellent coffee, cake conversation, casual Greek food and funky fusion jazz. Can honestly say it would be an idea worth franchizing in Australia. And don’t any one tell me that we’ve got The Upfront Club or I’ll scream. I guess the personal ambience of such a place would be difficult to replicate.








When we finally left Amorgos just before noon on Wednesday and cleared the harbour I got the opportunity to take the wheel for a couple of hours. The wind conditions were challenging, the three metre waves a handful but I would have to say that I met the challenge and absolutely loved it.

John


The sublime spot for me of the whole sailing in the Greek Islands experience came about 5-6 miles off the southern tip of Amorgos. Once we had reached calmer water and were headed directly for Santorini, we were suddenly surrounded by a school of dolphins {The Striped dolphin(Stenellacoeruleoalba)}. Once they sized up the Forever and its misfit crew they spent the next twenty minutes or so riding the bow, doing crossovers and boldly eyeing us off, as (some of us) wet our undies with excitement. The noise on top of the bow most certainly erased any sounds coming from under the bow, such was the rapture openly expressed. 







Jo and I
Kerrie and Judy








Next time you see a dolphin in an aquarium, please set it free!! 




And Dimitri the skipper.... dolphin dreaming










Comments

  1. Love the blog. Love our dolphins. Love John, his performance just as wonderful and "wahoo able" as the dolphins. Makes my heart sing. Miss you. WWSS aka Judy

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  2. Great post! The photos are lovely and you provided a captivating description of your tour. It would be a great idea if you would consider writing a guide book of Amorgos. You would actually do a good job because it seems like you know the Island pretty well.

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  3. How wonderful! I know exactly what you mean when you want to scream at the mention of the upfront club! Traveling will make you feel that way, especially Greece!
    I reckon you could recreate a bit of ambience. Yay, lets do a Greek taverna in Maleny! I will send you a pic of what Greece made me do to my stairwell.

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