By Ferry from Ios to Folegandros
I had been on Ios for a few days
and now was headed to Folegandros.
That's a fairly short hop across the Aegean
between two of the Cyclades islands.
Here we go — from Ios to Folegandros with a short stop on Sikinos.
Buy your ticket in advance! It was just €6.00 for the ride from Ios to Folegandros.
My ferry was scheduled to depart at 09:05, I made sure to be at the port in plenty of time. That was easy, as I had been staying just a block off the waterline. Walk to the end of the lane, a block to the right, then two blocks to the gate to the ferry pier.
Several trucks were lined up to load onto my ferry. Many of them had been there the afternoon before.
Here comes my ferry!
It's one of the Zente Ferries line. I would take the same line, actually the same vessel, the F/B Διονύσιος Σολωμός or Dionysios Solomos, onward from Folegandros to Milos in a few days. The ferry is named for the man considered to be the national poet of Greece.
These ferries are all more agile at maneuvering than any water craft I'm used to seeing. This one isn't as agile as one of the fast ferries with powerful jets that can quickly rotate through 360°, but it gets the job done.
Crew on board throw two light lines to the staff on the pier. They use those to pull the two heavy hawsers onto the pier and loop them around the bollards.
Then the hawsers are quickly pulled tight. You can see a man at a console just above and outward of the starboard ramp opening. He has a set of controls for the ship's engines and rudders and is also directing the work with the lines.
The ramps have touched down, and the trucks begin to load. The passengers disembarking on Ios are directed off to the edge of the pier to give those of us boarding room to hurry on board.
Then things are a blur. Get up the ramp and on board, move to the hatch leading to the ladders to the upper decks, show your ticket, climb to an upper deck and get ready to depart.
I have climbed ladders up through two vehicle decks and am on the first passenger deck, with a second passenger deck and the crew-only deck with the bridge above me.
I'm looking aft over truck trailers on the second vehicle deck as the last two trucks come aboard.
And then, as soon as that last truck is on board, they remove the heavy lines and we depart.
There's the port of Ios, Hora above it, and Προφήτης Ηλίας or Prophetis Elias at 490 meters behind it. Elias, called Elijah in English, is associated with mountains. An isolated chapel on a peak is likely dedicated to him.
How Elijah / Elias has not been designated the patron saint of telecommunications and microwave propagation is beyond me. A chapel dedicated to him is frequently accompanied by a cluster of omnidirectional VHF/UHF antennas and point-to-point microwave antennas.
I moved forward through the mostly empty central lounge.
That put me on the forward passenger deck, seeing the island of Σίκινος or Sikinos ahead of us.
This ferry moves at 32–34 kph, making the forward deck quite breezy but still tolerable. That's Sikinos ahead of us.
A Brief Stop on Sikinos
Sikinos is lightly populated, only 273 people lived here at the 2011 census. A few structures and that road are visible along the first half of its southern coast, but that's it.
The port of Sikinos comes into view. We made a brief stop here.
Χώρα or Hora, the main town, whose name simply means "Town", is in a saddle overlooking the north coast of the island.
The port has a cluster of homes and businesses, including guesthouses and tavernas welcoming visitors.
A few passengers and a car awaited our arrival.
And after a port call of just a few minutes, as there were no large trucks to unload or load, we were on our way again.
There are isolated chapels scattered around Sikinos, as on all the Greek islands I've seen.
Why are they built precisely where they are? I think it's due to several factors.
First, someone who owns a tract of land may build a chapel there. Maybe it's meant as a personal contribution to the Church at large. Maybe it's a tribute to a relative who once owned the land, or who recently died.
Another reason might have to do with it being an auspicious location. For example, a chapel dedicated to the Prophet Elias on an isolated peak or point. Or maybe it's auspicious for other reasons. Greek Orthodox chapels can follow the mysterious patterns of ancient Greek temples or Shintō shrines in selecting sacred sites. There's just an indescribable something about this location, be it the view, or the sound of wind or water, or just something about the physical setting.
That location somehow provides some connection to or awareness of the divine.
Folegandros came into view as we neared the southwestern tip of Sikinos.
Several small islets protrude above the waves, the tips of minor sub-peaks of these submerged mountains.
I noticed that the Dionysios Solomos was built in Japan. All that I can recognize is the katakana トン or to-n. It's a 3,981 ton vessel built in Japan. Otherwise it's just a haze of kanji.
Landing on Folegandros
Folegandros grew larger...
It was time to go below. This the lower of the two vehicle decks, looking forward and up the ramp to the second vehicle deck.
It's always disorienting as you prepare to disembark. The ramps open out the stern. But by the time you get there the ferry will probably be rotating in place, and what you see will be moving sideways.
Now we're aligned, and we're backing into place.
A car from what's roughly the Greek department of geology, mining, and energy was the only vehicle disembarking on Folegandros.
I'm ashore on Folegandros!
There's a bus between the port and Hora, but it wouldn't be leaving for another hour.
No problem, there are some tavernas here.
I found a seat at a table in time to see my ferry departing on the next leg of its travel, to Milos. I would take that ride in a few days.
Now I can have a cup or two of Greek coffee while waiting for the bus to Hora.
Θα ήθελα έναν ελληνικό καφέ, διρλό, σκέτο.
I would like a Greek coffee, a double, plain. The wait staff is impressed that I can conjure up that much. Thanks, but please don't ask me any complicated questions.
Or, Continue Through Greece: