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Old 01-21-2014
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Greece: Dodecanese vs Ionian islands

We're starting to look into chartering in Greece this summer. The plan is to go the first week of July and we're considering either the Ionian islands or the Dodecanese. We're not currently thinking of the Cyclades because the conditions can be pretty rough at times. Ideally we'd like an area where we can do some good sailing, but also drop the hook in a secluded bay for the kids to go swimming.

I'm looking for advice on itineraries that would work for a one-week cruise. Any pros and cons of either island group? Last year we spent a week in the Hisaronic Gulf along the Turkish coast (vicinity of Simi) - really nice - so I would assume sailing conditions there are not too different from the Dodecanese. Any info on local charter companies would be very helpful too. Any hints, advice, tidbits of information would be much appreciated!
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Old 01-21-2014
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Re: Greece: Dodecanese vs Ionian islands

I'll be following this thread with interest-we're chartering in Turkey this May for two weeks through Sunsail. I'd like to learn a bit more about the area around Greece for a future trip.
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Old 01-22-2014
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Re: Greece: Dodecanese vs Ionian islands

Mmmmm, sailing the Greek islands. I can't offer any advice, but will be very interested in hearing the comments that follow, as well.
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Old 01-22-2014
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Re: Greece: Dodecanese vs Ionian islands

Quote:
Originally Posted by jvlassak View Post
We're starting to look into chartering in Greece this summer. The plan is to go the first week of July and we're considering either the Ionian islands or the Dodecanese. We're not currently thinking of the Cyclades because the conditions can be pretty rough at times. Ideally we'd like an area where we can do some good sailing, but also drop the hook in a secluded bay for the kids to go swimming.

I'm looking for advice on itineraries that would work for a one-week cruise. Any pros and cons of either island group? Last year we spent a week in the Hisaronic Gulf along the Turkish coast (vicinity of Simi) - really nice - so I would assume sailing conditions there are not too different from the Dodecanese. Any info on local charter companies would be very helpful too. Any hints, advice, tidbits of information would be much appreciated!
On the Dodecanese Islands you will not get much less windy conditions in July than on the Cyclades. I will be there sailing this year for 3 or 4 months, I mean a bit all around Greece and Turkey and I had been there last year (Ionian, and Aegean).

If what you want, like your post subject, a tranquil kind of holidays with kids and not too much wind, Ionian its the place. You will have medium to strong wind also but normally only in the afternoon, dying at night (while on the Cyclades and Dodecanese in can blow strongly for days and nights). Not a problem if you are sailing there for a month or so: You just stay on a shelter and wait it to blow way, but in a week, if it is blowing hard at that time it can spoil a substantial part of your charter time.

Regarding beautiful places to stay on anchor, there are so many that it would be hard to make a route for a week only. Consider to Charter from Lefkas, go down the channel and them you would have an incredibly beautiful scenery with several green mountainous islands around at short distance. You will not have time to explore them all and if you can make it for 2 weeks I strongly advise you to do so. The Islands:

Lefkas, Meganizi, kalamos, Kastos, Skorpios, Itaka, Kefallonia, Zakinthos.

That's not by accident that Onassis chose one of those Islands for having his summer house, in fact he owned the entire Island

Instead of telling you about favorite sites (I have sailed there on two seasons anchoring every day and I am far from knowing all anchorages) I strongly suggest you to buy this Pilot book, it is inexpensive and very valuable:

Ionian: Corfu, Levkas, Cephalonia, Zakinthos and the Coast to Finakounda: Amazon.co.uk: Rod Heikell: Books Ionian: Corfu, Levkas, Cephalonia, Zakinthos and the Coast to Finakounda: Amazon.co.uk: Rod Heikell: Books



Regards

Paulo
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Old 01-22-2014
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Re: Greece: Dodecanese vs Ionian islands

Hi Paulo,

Thanks for your feedback - I was hoping you might comment on my post . Is there much difference between the Cyclades and the Dodecanese in terms of waves when the wind picks up? I'm not necessarily as much concerned about the wind, than about waves making things uncomfortable for my family. From what I've read, things can get fairly bad around the Cyclades once it blows for a while.

Thanks,
Joost
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Re: Greece: Dodecanese vs Ionian islands

HI Joost,

Last year I just went to the first Islands of the Dodecaneso, Donussa to be more precise. I had plans to make that area but 15 days lost on account of an accident and the not previewed need to get back to Rome (to repair the boat) at the end of the season, instead of living it on Greece, changed my plans.

Those small Islands (Little Cyclades and the smaller Dodecanese Islands) are a piece of the paradise with much less tourists then bigger Islands and also much less sailboats. They are protected by wind and some waves from the crowd of charter boats

But I see that you have a Pacific Seacraft 34 so probably it would not be a problem for you but off course, it can be for the others.

Regarding the sea and wind conditions, there are Dodecaneso islands near the Turkish coast and also others (the smaller ones) more exposed. On those ones the difference to the Cyclades is not significant. On that zone the normal wind in the summer is F4/F5, rarely is F3 and with some frequency is F6/7/8.

Contrary to what would be expected the stronger wind is near the Islands were strong gusts can be felt. The sea is not dangerous in the summer but can be uncomfortable since the type of wave is a short one and the Islands sometimes create waves from slightly different direction. The waves rarely are bigger than 3m but even 2m short period waves can create a lot of motion. In short, if you have on the crew people that gets seasick with sea motion probably it will not be a good idea and that Ionian zone that I had suggested will be much more indicated. You will have wind in the afternoon (less) on almost flat water.

Even if everybody is not prone to get seasick if you get the bad luck to have at the time of the charter F7/F8 or if you arrive immediately after some days of meltemi, the sea will be quite rough and disorganized. Even downwind with a F7 or F8 is very uncomfortable.

To give you an idea I will post a video that I made last summer, the wind is F5 conditions (the forecast was for F4). Remember that on a movie the waves seem smaller and I was going downwind.



Regards

Paulo
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Last edited by PCP; 01-22-2014 at 05:13 PM.
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Old 01-23-2014
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Re: Greece: Dodecanese vs Ionian islands

Hi Paulo,

Thanks for the advice - I loved the video. It looks like real nice sailing, but choppy and a bit reminiscent of our trip to Knidos last year. Maybe we should look into chartering in the Ionian Islands, the kids will enjoy that better.

Cheers,
Joost
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Re: Greece: Dodecanese vs Ionian islands

I suggest that you look at my answer & analysis (no. 3) at the thread "Departing from KOS island...North or South?" dating back in 2007.
South Dodecanese wind pattern is very much similar to the one in Hisaronu bay, Turkey.
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Re: Greece: Dodecanese vs Ionian islands

Chrondi - thanks for the reference. We decided to charter out of Kos, so this advice is very welcome indeed. I have a preference for going north, but that will depend in part on the wind conditions once we get there.
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Re: Greece: Dodecanese vs Ionian islands

If you go North of Kos you may find the rather unknown anchorage of Palionisos on the eastern coast of Kalymnos very useful. Remember that the highlight should be Patmos island, visiting the monastery of St John on the top of the hill and in midway the cave where he dictated the Book of Revelation (St John was blind by that time).
You may also watch the video I filmed two years ago:
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