Karpathos

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WorldMediterraneanAegean SeaGreeceDodecaneseKarpathos
Karpathos
35°36.69′N, 27°7.63′E Chart icon.png
Greece Karpathos S.jpg
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Satellite View of Karpathos

Kárpathos (Κάρπαθος), the Venetian Scarpanto, is one of the largest Dodecanese islands. Its highest mountain is Mt. Kalilimni at 1,188 m (3,900 ft). The island, with an area of 324.800 km2, is divided by this mountain in to two almost separate parts the South with most of the fertile land and inhabitants and the much wilder and isolated North. It is in the North and especially in the village of Olympos that, because of the isolation and now for, I suspect, tourist reasons, some of the folkloric customs and costumes are preserved.

The Angry West Shore of Karpathos]

Because Karpathos is isolated, it has very few anchorages, and the surrounding Karpathian Sea is notorious for its bad weather, Karpathos is very seldom visited by yachts. However, precisely for these reasons, Karpathos is one of the least spoiled islands in the Aegean and worthy of exploration.

Because of the isolation of the island and poor conditions many of its inhabitants migrated to the US, and later to Australia. A sizable number of these immigrants have now returned and have brought back a sizable wealth. Karpathos today has one of of the highest university graduate population rate in Europe.

Karpathos also, has a very strong musical tradition. Like Crete the 15-syllable improvised mantinades (couplets) are very popular especially in the more isolated norther villages. Two Austrians, Rudolph Maria Brandl and Diether Reinsch after a ten year study and recordings published in 1992 a many volume work on the subject titled: Die Volksmusik der Insel Karpathos.

Charts

BA
2824 Scarpanto (Karpathos) and Kasos islands
Imray-Tetra
G35 Dodecanese and the Coast of Turkey
NIMA
54400 Nisos Samos to Nisos Rhodhos
2824 Scarpanto (Karpathos) and Kasos islands
Greek
452 Rhodos to Castelorizo

Weather

See Aegean Sea.

Passages

Islands

Communication

  • Greek Coast Guard - VHF channel 12, Tel. +30 2450 22 227
  • Olympia Radio - VHF channel 03

Also see World Cruiser's Nets.

Navigation

Approaches to Karpathos are straightforward but there are very strong gusts during the meltemi season.

Berthing

Ports

Karpathos has only one harbor, of questionable safety, and considering the size of the island only a few anchorages.

Chart of Pigadia

Pigadia

Pigadia/wiki/Karpathos#Pigadia
Harbour icon Pigadia [[Karpathos#Pigadia|Pigadia]] (Πυγάδια) 35°30.638'N, 027°12.791'E

Pigadia or Port Karpathos is one of two harbors in the island of Karpathos. The main space available for visiting yachts is on the outside of the mole enclosing the fishing harbour, where yachts anchor moor in depths of 5 meters (the inside of the mole is full of fishing boats on laid moorings and a yacht should not attempt to enter). There is reportedly a heavy ground chain on the bottom about 60 meters off the quay, on which yachts have occasionally fouled their anchors, so care is needed when mooring. Pigadhia gets very uncomfortable in any winds over force 5, especially since they are generally from the north to northwest, which send a heavy chop down onto the quay. In these conditions, either pull further off the quay or anchor off the beach in the northern part of the bay, where the fetch of the waves is shorter. A yacht should only be left unattended on the quay in settled weather.

A new ‘mini-marina’ has been constructed to the west side of the harbour, where charts show a rough breakwater connecting the shore to Garonisos islet. The marina has laid moorings, water and electricity. However, although enabled with EU development funding, it is already filled to capacity with local boats and visiting yachts will be fortunate to find a vacant berth.

Warning: The harbor is subject to very strong gusts and it can be uncomfortable and even dangerous with the meltemi. It is better to anchor in Pigadia Bay, just 2 nM north of the harbor.

Pigadia Harbor
New "marina" at Pigadia
New harbour in Diafani

Diafani

Diafani/wiki/Karpathos#Diafani
Harbour icon Diafani [[Karpathos#Diafani|Diafani]] (Διαφάνι) 35°45.36′N, 27°12.78′E

Diafani is the small northern port town of Karpathos See photo here. It links travelers by sea to the village of Olympos. The new port was built and completed in 1995 on the NE coast of Karpathos now permits large Ferry Boats from Rhodes and Piraeus to dock in Diafani. Anchor out stern to pier, fishing boats will move for you. Water on pier.

A very helpful Greek called Vassili will assist you, and drive you to Olympos, she also owns a great restaurant the Chrissi Akti, not to be missed.

--Summercruise 15:53, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

Marinas & Yacht Clubs

None.

Anchorages

Chart of Pigadia Bay

Pigadia Bay

Pigadia Bay/wiki/Karpathos#Pigadia_Bay
Anchorage icon Pigadia Bay [[Karpathos#Pigadia Bay|Pigadia Bay]] 35°31.5′N, 27°12.1′E

Pigadia Bay is just about 2 nM N of Pigadia Harbor. It very well protected from the meltemi despite the violent gusts down the mountains. It is exposed, however, to the S winds. Proceed to just S of power company and anchor in 4-5 over sand. Very good holding. The scenery is very attractive and there is good food at the Greenpeace restaurant just ashore. I have weathered a force 9 gale here [--Istioploos 18:15, 6 November 2008 (UTC)]. The only drawback is that the town of Pigadia is a good 20 minute walk from here.

Pigadia Bay

Amorfos Bay

Amorfos Bay/wiki/Karpathos#Amorfos_Bay
Anchorage icon Amorfos Bay [[Karpathos#Amorfos Bay|Amorfos Bay]] 35°28.5′N, 27°12.5′E
Amorfos Bay is about 4 nM S of the Pigadia Harbor. While it is exposed to the S and SE winds it is reported to be less subject to gusts them either Pigadia or Makris Yialos. Anchor in the N corner of the bay.

Makris Yialos

Makris Yialos/wiki/Karpathos#Makris_Yialos
Anchorage icon Makris Yialos [[Karpathos#Makris Yialos|Makris Yialos]] 35°25.5′N, 27°09.6′E
Makris Yialos is about 2.5 M S of Amorfos Bay near Cape Lingi, not far from the airport. It provides good shelter from but it also subject to strong gusts. Anchor in 4-8 m over sand. Good holding. This protected, but windy bay, is an almost ideal place for wind surfing.
Chart of Finiki

Finiki

Finiki/wiki/Karpathos#Finiki
Anchorage icon Finiki [[Karpathos#Finiki|Finiki]] (Φοινίκι) 35°29.4′N, 27°07′E

Finiki or Foiniki or Phoiniki is the only anchorage on the SW of Karpathos. It has a rough breakwater which provides some protection from the meltemi but is exposed to the S. Go either stern or bows-to the quay where it is 2-2.5 m. It is an attractive place if not well protected.

Warning: Watch out for the reef lying about 60 m SE of the breakwater. With a strong S wind the anchorage can be dangerous.
Chart of Tristomo

Trístomo

Trístomo/wiki/Karpathos#Tr.C3.ADstomo
Anchorage icon Trístomo [[Karpathos#Trístomo|Trístomo]] (Τρίστομο - three mouths) 35°49.3′N, 27°12.7′E

Trístomo or Trístoma is a nicely sheltered inlet on the NW of Karpathos. It is the only anchorage on the N of the island. Anchor either at the head of the inlet or at NE cove. I have heard of a yacht that was safely holed in here during a spring NW gale.

Danger: DO NOT enter from either of the two N passages; they are full of reefs. Enter from the southernmost entrance.

Warning: With either a strong meltemi or strong southerlies there can be fierce gusts and the seas can pile up to the point of neither entry or exit is tenable.

Amenities

Facilities
Water Diafani: Water on pier

Pigadia: N/A (Not Available).

Electricity N/A
Toilets N/A
Showers N/A
Laundry There is an expensive laundry in Pigadia
Garbage Trash cans in the harbors and in many beeche
Supplies
Fuel Pigadia: there are two gas stations N and S of the town. Unfortunately both are a few km from the harbor
Bottled gas ?
Chandlers Only fishing supplies
Services
Repairs N/A
Internet In Internet cafés
Mobile connectivity 3G in the S of the island, spotty on the N
Vehicle rentals Pigadia: available in and around the town

Provisioning

Pigadia/wiki/Karpathos#.5B.5B.23Pigadia.7C_Pigadia.5D.5DProvisions icon Pigadia [[Karpathos# Pigadia| Pigadia]] There are several stores.

Eating out

Mike's/wiki/Karpathos#Mike.27sEatingout icon Mike's [[Karpathos#Mike's|Mike's]] has a good reputation.
Oraia Karpathos/wiki/Karpathos#Oraia_KarpathosEatingout icon Oraia Karpathos [[Karpathos#Oraia Karpathos|Oraia Karpathos]] has a good reputation.
Kali Kardia/wiki/Karpathos#Kali_KardiaEatingout icon Kali Kardia [[Karpathos#Kali Kardia|Kali Kardia]] has a good reputation.
Greenpeace/wiki/Karpathos#GreenpeaceEatingout icon Greenpeace [[Karpathos#Greenpeace|Greenpeace]] has good food & friendly service.
Chrissi Akti/wiki/Karpathos#Chrissi_AktiEatingout icon Chrissi Akti [[Karpathos#Chrissi Akti|Chrissi Akti]] on the seafront terrace, has Greek food, tel: +30 22450 51215.
Taverna Olympos/wiki/Karpathos#Taverna_OlymposEatingout icon Taverna Olympos [[Karpathos#Taverna Olympos|Taverna Olympos]] is highly recommended.

Transportation

There are daily flights and ferries to Athens and other islands.

Tourism

History

Greece Karpathos6.jpg
The drive to Olympos
Greece Karpathos Olympos1.jpg
View of Olympos
Greece Karpathos Olympos2.jpg
An Old Oven at Olympos
Greece Karpathos Olympos3.jpg
Olympos woman in Costume
Greece Karpathos Olympos4.jpg
View from Olympos
Greece Karpathos8.jpg
Beach on SE of Kapathos

In ancient times the island was named Porfiris, after the red dye extracted from a sea cell on the island. This dye was exported and up to the Byzantine times was used to color the garments of kings and emperors. Another ancient name for the island was Tetrapolis originating from its four cities: Vrykous, Possidion, Arkesia, and Nissyros. By the time of Homer it was called by its present name: Karpathos. It is believed that the name originates from Arpaktos or "robbery" because Karpathos was always an island of pirates. A few Mycenian artifacts have been excavated near of Pigadia.

By the middle ages pirates dominated the island and the city of Arkassa was a major slave market. In 1206 the island fell under the Frankish crusaders, to be followed by the Venetians. During the Ottoman times the Turks stayed away from this lawless island. It is said that many sunken pirate treasure lie in the bays of Vrontis and Arkassa.

In the early part of the 20th century, Karpathos, like the rest of the Dodecanese was under Italian occupation. During the World War II about 6,000 Italian troops were based on the island. After the war, Karpathos became part of Greece.

Places to Visit

By far the most interesting place to visit in Karpathos is the mountain village of Olympos (Όλυμπος). It is one of the most striking villages in the Aegean perched over a stark mountain ridge. It affords a wonderful view of the area. This remote village has retained its old charming architecture. It has many narrow winding streets, many with stairs. One of the streets has been spruced up and is lined with stores and restaurants for the tourists who are brought with tour busses from Diaphani. Many of the stores are tended by ladies in Karpathian costume who sell embroideries. They had several attractive designs and they are not too expensive — 7 to 10 euros.

Because of its isolation, Olympos is a historical throw back. Its inhabitants have retained their own dialect which traces back to ancient Doric and Phrygian. The music tradition as I have already mentioned, is here very strong. The Karpathian lyra (smaller than the Cretan), the lagouto, and the tsamboúra (a goatskin bagpipe) are still used. The women dressed in their traditional costume can still be seen baking their elaborate breads in wood-fired ovens in front of their houses.

While tourism has invaded even Olympos, it is still not too pervasive. The busses from Diaphani come only during certain times and not off-season.

You can reach Olympos by either taking a boat tour from Pygadia to Diaphani or by a long drive over a dirt road. I drove on this road with a rented motorbike, The road follows the high ridge of the island from which one can see both the East and the West coasts. The view is breathtaking and so are the gusts which threatened to blow the motorbike off the road. In many exposed spots the wind made it impossible to ride, and I had to push the bike on foot. I was scared, but I kept on pushing and riding the bike at very low speed. Despite having changed to the long pants, pullover, and storm jacket, the wind penetrated them and I was cold. After a long time I finally saw Olympos at a distance looking like a mirage. I strongly recommend this rigorous but most rewarding ride.

Near Olympos

A dirt road from Olympos leads to Avlóna, a village inhabited only during the harvest. From there after a two hour hike you can visit Vrykoús, the site of the ancient Phrygian city of Vourkoúnda. There are rock-cut burial chambers and some walls. In a nearby cavern there is the chapel of Ayios Ioannis. Here in August 27-29 there is a large panegyri (fiesta) where people come from all over the island and sleep outside, light fires, roast meat, dance, drink, and play traditional music.

SE Side

There are several villages worth a visit NE of Pigadia. Noteworthy are Aperi the old capital of Karpathos, Othos the highest village of the island (a local red wine known as Orthiko krasi is quite good), and Piles. In Othos there is a small Ethnographic Museum.

On the SE coast there are a number of very attractive and uncrowded beaches.

In Trístomo

In Trístomo one can see the submerged remains of the ancient city of Nissyros. The city was founded from colonists from the island of Nissyros.

Saría

On the Saria island the ruins of Palátia (palaces) a Byzantine pirate stronghold can be visited by day-trip boat from Diaphani. It is good hike to the ruins from where the boat drops you.

Friends

Contact details of "Cruiser's Friends" that can be contacted for local information or assistance.

Forums

List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)

Links

References & Publications

Comments

We welcome users' contributions to the Wiki. Please click on Comments to view other users' comments, add your own personal experiences or recommend any changes to this page following your visit.

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Names: Istioploos, Summercruise, Atheneoflymington


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