We were not scheduled to come out of the water for another four days but due to the weather forecast the yard decided sooner was better. Indeed, 36 hours later the gale force winds began.
The technical manager, Nikos, drove us to our hotel and recommended a friend’s restaurant. While eating, in walks several guys and one of them is the policeman who drove Roland back and forth from their station to the boat. (story in previous blog). He gave a big smile and a thumbs up when he recognized Roland. As they sat next to our table there were laughs as he explained what happened to his buddies. He then bought Roland a beer.
Because of the high winds we took a break from working on the boat to drive around the Island. We drove to the top to see the castle and the traditional windmills of Leros. The Castle was build in the 11th century by the Byzantine empiror Alexios Komninos and it was given to the Bishop Christodulos. It was later occupied by the St.John’s Knight’s and later on by the Ottomans. When outside we had to hang on to handrails due to the strong gusting winds. Also visiting at the same time was the recent graduates of the Greek Coast Guard, all dressed in their white uniforms.
As we were driving down we stopped in the lee of the wind to get a photo and notice the sailboat we saw earlier anchored in a very dangerous and uncomfortable place with the storm, being towed by a fishing boat. They were in that anchorage because their engine quit due to fuel problems.
To the other side of the island we visited the War Museum which is on display in the tunnels built by the Italians during WWII. Leros had been under the fascist regime of Italy for 31 years, during which time they established a strategic naval base. During the war Leros was bombed by the British Royal Air Force and later in the fall months of l943 it was heavily bombed and invaded by the Germans, who defeated the British and Italians and conquered the island. The Nazi flag flew from the Castle of Leros.
The church of Agios Isidoros stands on a very small island and is connected to the land by a narrow walkway. This little chapel is built on the site of a ancient temple.
Leros hosts several nice beaches around the island. It was nice to see that large touristic developments have not occurred so it feels very authentic, calm and relaxed.
Sailboat Nr. 13 stored at the yard is owned by Anders and Birgitta from Sweden. They have been sailing “Cache-Cache for several years in the Greek Islands and know Leros very well. We had two lovely evenings with them and over dinners they gave us more insight about the island and all the people they have met over the years.
After 3 days of winds, they finally stopped so we could then get the cover installed on Bella Luna before they started again the next day. She is now ready for her winter rest.