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Katellorizo, a Michelin 3 star restaurant for Turtles

A proper bonus of Katellorizo is the number of Caretta Caretta Turtles, apparently the sea grass in the harbour is the Turtle equivalent of fine dining at it's best, but more of that in a bit.


When we started this adventure we had a specific target in mind, as we often do, more specifically to visit the Greek island of Meis (as the Turkish call it) or Kastellorizo (as the Greeks call it). We've passed it before but because of the phaff in checking out or Turkey and into Greece and back again, we gave it a miss. Our interest was re-kindled sailing in the Dodecanese last year as Kastellorizo is the most Easterly Dodecanese island (nearest neighbour Rhodes, over 70 miles away). If you look at the map below you can see how much out on a limb Meis is, especially as it's only 3 miles, ish, off the Turkish coast, you have to look carefully to see the tiny island on the far right of the map.

So what's the story of Meis and Kastellorizo? The island was first colonized by the Dorians who named it Megiste. During the Hellenistic Period, the island was controlled by Rhodes, which continued into the Byzantine Period until 1306 when the island was taken over by the Knights Hospitaller who restored the castle which is where the island gets it's Greek name from today. The island was then conquered by Ottoman Sultan Suleiman I in 1512 and stayed in the Ottoman Empire (excluding short bouts of control by Venice and Greek insurgents) until WWI. After WWI the island was seceded to Italy, however the Second World War again brought much chaos to the island beginning with a short British occupation in February 1941. Italy regained control for a short while before capitulating to the Allied Forces. It wasn’t until the 1947 Paris Peace Treaty that Kastellorizo was assigned to Greece. The population of the island peaked at over 10,000 but today is just 250.


Our plan was to take Yilki to Meis, however whilst taking a ferry just involves your passport, taking a boat involved shipping agents, clearing the boat through customs (out of Greece, into Turkey and back again) as well as a new transit log (we have a Turkish transit log, not a Greek one). But despite all the phaff the killer is the cost, over 400 Euros in total. So it's a no brainer, we left Yilki in Kas marina and took the ferry, 30 Euros return and takes 30 minutes. The ferry journey was very pleasant and we get 4 new stamps in our passport. The picture below is the Meis Express leaving Kas harbour and Ellison enjoying the journey.

So what of Kastellorizo? It's an absolute treat, cute as a button and if you want somewhere beautiful and peaceful, it will fit the bill. Isn't it a bit remote, I hear you say, and indeed getting the Kas to catch the ferry would be a bit of a phaff. However this monster (see below), the Blue Star Chios, drops in 3 time a week and takes 3 1/2 hours from Rhodes. The Blue Star Chios arrived just after we did and only just fitted in the harbour, by about a foot. As usual with Greek ferries there was absolute pandemonium with people, cars, trucks goods and goodness knows what else getting on and off. The all of a sudden it's gone, everything that's disgorged (including people) just seems to disappear and peace is returned. Some piccies.



You might think there would be some animosity between the locals of both countries, but as far as we could see, not a bit of it. We had lunch at Athina taverna, in fact we stayed there most of the day (it was like we had been super glued to the chairs). The proprietor is a great example of how the locals from both countries get on. Karem is Turkish, from Kas and as you can see from the piccie below is happy to wear a shirt with Kastellorizo on it, not Meis, and yesterday, when we visited Meis it was Karem's birthday. Happy Birthday Karem.



Now what of the Turtles I mentioned at the beginning of the blog? When we sat down at the Taverna we were amazed as a Turtle cruised by right next to us. We were thrilled, but Karem dismissed it saying there were loads in the harbour, and he was right. The turtles in question are Loggerhead, scientific name Caretta Caretta. They're big, averaging over 100 cm long and weighing over 100Kg. This bad boy cruised past us all day hoping for, and getting, continuous snacks. Film by Ellison.



Despite it's history and being so close to Turkey, Kastellorizo looks and feels like a properly Greek island, in fact the architecture it very similar to Symi and Chalki (two other Dodecanese islands), and like them is chocolate box beatiful. Katellorizo.





We've moved on from Kas and as I write this we're at anchor in just outside Ucagiz in the stunning Kekova Roads. I'll post a new map in the next blog, we're now about 100 miles south east of our starting point in Gocek. Blogs might become a bit thinner over the next week, we plan to do very little, other than anchor in different places, but I'll be sure to keep you updated if anything interesting happens, in the meantime here's a view from my office.



Serefe!



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