In contrast to Sifnos, Milos Island is a very popular tourist destination with its 35 odd beaches (of which 15 are only accessible by sea) and 7 small towns. It is a beautiful horseshoe shaped volcanic island and the most Western island of the Cyclades. The island of Milos is renowned as the place where the famous statue Venus de Milos (also know as Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love) was discovered in 1820. The statue is now exhibited in the Louvre’s Museum in Paris, with a beautiful replica in the Milos Archaeological Museum (apparently I should say… we never got to see it. The museum was unfortunately closed at the time we went through town… siesta has ripped us off once again!)
By the way , Milos proudly claims ownership of a few other famous statues too – the Greek god Asclepius -now in the British Museum – and the Poseidon and an ancient Apollo that is in Athens. The oldest city in the Cyclades (Phylakope) was on the north coast of Milos. This old city is one of the most important Bronze Age settlements in the Aegean and especially in the Cyclades with the significance of having been inhabited continuously from 12-3 BC. As we walked through the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, we were amazed with how much of the findings actually have been found on this island.
Coastline of MILOS:
Milos Island is also known as “the Island of Colours” thanks to its volcanic origin that gives the island an interesting shoreline with an amazing mix of different colour soil and rock. They happen to have a wonderful Sand Museum in Plaka and it is quite amazing to see the whole world’s sand samples exhibited there – I never realised how many sand colours there are! The Milos sand samples can be viewed through a microscope … an eye-opener to see how something as unnoticed/ insignificant as sand can suddenly become the most beautiful crystals under the lens of a microscope! From the boat the waters of blue, azure, emerald and green colours contrasting with white, pink, shades of grey or red rocks painted a wonderful picture all along the coastline of Milos!
To top that off, the east coast has a few small villages that has the prettiest array of brightly painted coloured houses, half build into the rocks (very unique to Milos). It is so beautiful that I initially assume that that is where “the island of colour” got its name from! These houses were hollowed out into the limestone rocks many years ago to give the fishermen a place to overnight if they live to far away after having been at see all day. As the pirates and Turks were ending their onslaught on the locals, the hollowed out cave houses were extended with stone and mortar and used as weekend dwellings for the locals and are now holiday cottages or permanent homes. They are really special and makes a great picture down the coast of Milos.
Enough of the historical claims ….
We docked in the town of Adamas and decided to take a bus to some of the smaller villages inland. As we were getting ready to dock, a big ferry came in and at some speed threw her stern around to dock and caused a massive surge! So much so that (luckily we could witnessed it before docking!) all the boats on the dock violently started rocking to the extent that the one next to where we were going to go in, knocked over a lamp post on the quay with the dinghy that was still on the davits! The police was called in and ended up warning the ferry skippers to be more mindful and careful coming in. Serves them right! They did behave much better afterwards, I have to say!
We were still shell shocked by the amount of rocking that happened and Johann then decided to put the dinghy in the water as our “taxi” and leave the boat about 5 meters clear of the quay. An interesting contraption of ropes and bungees connected the dingy to the boat and the dock. The idea was to get in the dinghy and pull yourself closer to the dock using the rope, in the meantime the bungee is stretching out allowing you to get off and the dinghy to ´shoot´ back from the dock to the boat as soon as you let go … Can you sense danger, accidents, embarrassment and bruising? … It was not an easy way to get ashore and most certainly not the most feminine way for the girls either! It took some stretching skills and arm muscles to hoist yourself up on the high dock without prematurely letting the dinghy (on an elastic trigger) go. After accomplishing that, the hugely undignified crawling out on all fours needed to be done with great care to prevent being slung back into the boat! I managed to get ashore the first time on my own with some the skin of my right knee left behind on the dock and severely damaged dignity. Anyway – needless to say I did not try it again without at least one and preferably two men helping me out one in the boat and one ashore!
The town itself is a busy mix of boats, scooters, four wheelers and tourists. Not the most attractive, exciting town we have been to, but a good spot to use as a base to do the island tours from.
“Max de Milos” was our dock master (that is a name we gave him – not sure about his real name) – what a character! Meet Max de Milos: a friendly chatty portly old Greek with a halo of grey unruly curly hair covered by his well worn captian’s cap and big grey beard, that has a brother in Townsville (Australia) became our new best friend in Adamas! He could tell us where to go and who is who in the zoo. A great contact to have … especially because he connects the electricity and water to the boat!
PLAKA and TRYPITI:
The bus trip to Plaka (the capital of Milos) and Trypiti: Plaka (the capital of Milos) is a quietly beautiful city on a hill leading to the wonderful church of Our Lady (Korfiotissa). It is a pretty steep climb up to the church and the 38 degrees did not make it any easier to reach! The view again was totally worth it!
Looking to the one side is a picturesque white domed church overlooking the see and adjacent islands below and to the other side Trypiti and Plaka are stretching out through the valley with more wonderful churches towering above the white typical Cycladic houses. We could even see Adamas from there. A truly wonderful 380 degree view from the church at the very top.
Looking down towards the bays where we know the most awesome beaches are, Johann made it very clear that the wind will not allow us to even think of going in there…. No matter how hard we have tried. The next day, passing them we realise that those beaches are all too exposed with massive swells and a wind of 30 knots and 2 meter swells will not make for a pleasant day on the beach. If ever you go there – go and check out the beaches on a good day – they are all really stunningly beautiful according to the pictures in the brochure.
As I have said, the trip from there the next day was one of the most uncomfortable we had with guests. At some stage, after changing course, the massive swells hit us from the side and waves splashing into the cockpit making a massive salty mess everywhere. We were doing 3.8 knots for a long time until we could get into the lee of the island. The two Dianne’s were very impressive with how they handled the rocking and rolling and the scary waves!
We were heading back to Sifno Island to anchor for the night in the protection of Faro bay. Johann made sure that we get as little as possible wind and pulled into the bay and almost dropped his anchor on the beach (slightly exaggerated)! He came so close to the swimming crowd (all 15 residents were on the beach swimming) and I was about to wave to swimmers to make way! Very unfair, but we only dropped anchor there and then drifted back out of their swimming area.
Faro is a very small village – we never got to see up close and personal. This will have to be one of the few nights we stayed on board without leaving the boat at all. It was a big and exhausting day for everyone and a good meal and early evening is just what we needed!
Lunch at Dispotiko Island (12/08/2013)
What a lovely bay (Bay Zonder Naam) – totally uninhabited with a pebble beach, clear blue water and a few big rocks on the side. I was totally intrigued by the amount of different types and colours of rocks and had to take my camera along for some pictures. The one lone water drop on the lens went unnoticed as I discovered when I downloaded my pictures that night. It is still worth showing it to get the idea of the amazing variety and colour of rocks. It was a lovely bay where the boys all just enjoy the sun and a beer on the trampoline and us girls were swimming and reading and enjoying the silence (with the men gone to the bow!) Lol . Dispotiko did not get us ashore either to see what is on offer, but the bay we borrowed for our lunch stop was wonderful!
A Bay on DESPOTIKO ISLAND: