19/05/2023: We left at the first light heading south. What a trip! We sailed downwind, half wind, no wind (motor), and then finally downwind again while we were rounding the corner of our next destination: Oinousses. Entering Oinousses is quite spectacular, as the surrounding islets make the entrance almost hidden, the wind disappears and a mermaid statue welcomes you in the port.
Oinousses is a complex of 9 (!) islands, meaning 1 small island and 8 islets. Still, it is considered the “richest” Greek island, as it is the hometown of the most Greek successful ship-owning families: the Lemos, Pateras, Hadjipateras, Samonas, Kollakis, and Lyras families, who collectively own more than one third of Greek shipping.
Of course, that is not obvious from the island itself, as it is a rather simple village. Still, it is a very neat place, very calm, with deep blue waters, a very sheltered natural harbor, and cute little islets we explored by the dinghy.
After two days of relaxation here, we motored the 8 miles to Chios and on 21st May, our wedding anniversary and Elena’s name day, we moored Libra at Chios marina. The word “marina” is used loosely, as it is not an official marina; rather it is an unfinished marina. It is well built and well sheltered, but there are no facilities whatsoever, but that also meant that was completely free.
We choose not to moor in Chios harbor itself, based on Navily reviews about swell and whatnot, but in all our days there, we did not notice any of that and if we ever visit Chios by boat again, we will choose for the public dock instead. Not that the marina was not good; it was great! We even met Dutchies and had a BBQ on the pier, and then more people joined and it was truly fun, it was what sailing is all about, meeting new people and visiting new places. However, it was far from the town itself and there was almost nothing nearby, except a coffee place and a big supermarket. There was a bus, which Elena and I took to explore the city of Chios! We visited the Naval Museum and walked around the busy streets and even had a great lunch in a super cute place!
We even met some family of mine in Chios, my second-degree cousin and his family, who visited us on the boat, brought us local sweets, took us for a great lunch, arranged a car for us, and told us all the tips for the island. What a great thing family is! And so, equipped with a car and all the best places to visit, we started our tour to Chios island.
Our first stop was the beach “Mavra Volia” which is a black pebble beach, the result of a volcanic eruption from the -now inactive- Psaronas volcano. We then continued to the “Mastic Museum”, a really impressive building depicting the history and the processing of mastic, the resin of the mastic tree only found in south Chios. Mastic is used primarily for producing chewing gums, but it is also used to produce liqueur, cosmetics, shampoos, food additives, and many others. It also showcases actual mastic trees where you can see the white resin (mastic) yourself!
We continued to visit two of the mastic villages– medieval villages where mastic trees grow and get collected- Pyrgi and Mesta. Pyrgi is a truly unique place. This fairytale village is medieval, with all the houses painted in black and white, like giant playing cards, with arches and balconies filled with circles, diamonds, and arrows. Mesta is another medieval village, no paintings here, but red stoned houses and tranquility and a place stopped in time.