Tinos & Andros sailing holidays
The thickly wooded island of Andros - Άνδρος, the most northerly and, after Naxos, the largest of the Cyclades, is a kind of south-easterly continuation of Evvia, from which it is separated by a busy and sometimes stormy channel only 8 nm wide.
In the island's four ranges of hills, the largest of which is Mount Petalon (997 m), are marble quarries which were already being worked in antiquity.
Thanks to its unusual abundance of water Andros – most Cycladic islands are rather barren – has a flourishing agriculture.
History of Andros
In antiquity Andros was sacred to Dionysos, and its festivals in his honour were widely famed. Originally settled by Ionians, Andros came under the control of Eretria at an early stage.
In the 7th c. BCE it sent settlers to Chalkidiki. After the Battle of Salamis, when it had supported the Persians, it was unsuccessfully besieged by Themistokles. Later it became an ally of Athens; then in 338 BCE it fell into the hands of the Macedonians, and thereafter became Roman.
From 1207 Andros was ruled by Venetian dynasts, who built the watch-towers still to be seen on the island.
At the beginning of the 15th c. Albanian incomers settled in the north of the island, preserving their language into the 20th c. In 1566 Andros was occupied by the Turks, and remained in Turkish hands until the establishment of the Greek State in the 19th c.
Myconos and Paros are the closest yacht charter bases to Tinos and Andros. Most sailing holidays will start in Athens (and rarely perhaps Lavrion) though, which are much larger bases to rent quality yachts or catamarans from.
Andros island ports
The small port of Gavrio has a difficult approach – reefs, islets and rocks – but once inside it provides safety except during the strongest southerlies (waves and swell). Moored between the two ferry piers means lots of scary close-ups. Early in season there can be strong north-west gusts, in the summer months north-east gusts. Despite the many visitors from the mainland it has its appeal and it is a convenient place to leave the yacht safely unattended and explore the inlands. The five-storey tower of St Peter (Hellenistic period) dominates the mountainscape (at Fournos bay) between Gavrio and Batsi. The inhabitants used the 20 m high tower for protection against enemy raids.
Nearby to the south-east is the equally small port of Batsi, suitable for all wind directions but strong north-east gusts can push the yacht against the southern pier, which is now extended (preferably moor here alongside). Reportedly difficult in strong southerlies and local boats can block much of the available spots.
Androu port in Kastri bay – with the famous Tourlitis lighthouse – is the safest place on this side of the island when moored in the internal basin, during Meltemi moor here as far east as possible.
The port of Korthi is small but offers protection against the high waves and winds of a Meltemi/Bouro storm. Despite the 40 m extention of the quay there is little room for visiting yachts.
SSW winds funneling along the valley to the south will make this port untenable.
Clouds obscuring the Castle of Kochylou will herald northerlies.
Andros island anchorages
Fellos bay is a delightful anchorage just north of Gavrio which offers clear blue waters and a taverna 200 m inland. Safe in all but south-westerlies.
Palaiopoli (Παλαιόπολη “old city”) bay farther south offers perfect snorkeling conditions to examine an ancient mole. In calm weather take a line to the modern mole.
Both Apothikes bay and Plaka bay can be used to visit the Zagora ruins, an vital archaeological site since one of the few cities dated from the Geometric era that were abandoned and not built upon. Clearly visible from the water are the vertical rock formations and foundations of Zagora.
To the south east, beyond an every narrower channel, is the island of Tinos - Τήνος. Its highest peak is Mount Tsiknias (713 m), at the east end of the island.
The inhabitants live by farming on terraced fields. Characteristic features of the landscape are the Venetian-style tower-like dovecots (see image further down), of which there are some 1300, of which half are in good condition. There are also numerous windmills.
Despite their charming ports both Andros and especially Tinos are rarely visited by charter yachts. Yet, the ports of Batsi, Gavrion and Kastro on Andros, and the ports of Panormos and Tinos on Tinos island are definitely worth extra mileage.
History of Tinos
In ancient times, from the 3rd c. BCE onwards, the Sanctuary of Poseidon and Amphitrite was a major religious centre and in our own days, since the early 18th c., Tinos has possessed a leading shrine of the Orthodox Church.
Held from 1207 to 1712 by Venice, Tinos had the longest Frankish period of any part of Greece, and in consequence its population includes a considerable proportion of Roman Catholics.
The island came into international prominence when on 15 August 1940, two months before Mussolini's declaration of war, an Italian submarine torpedoed the Greek cruiser “Elli”, which was lying in Tinos harbour for the Feast of the Dormition.
All around Tinos, especially near Tarampados, Potamia and Tripotamos you will find the Venetian styled versions of a columbarium with usually two storeys; the pigeons living on the upper level.
These dovecotes adorn pathways, and notably streams, since the presence of water is essential to nesting.
The breeding of pigeons is a habit inherited from the Venetians.
Each dovecote is distinctively decorated with masonry triangles, rectangles, rhombuses or circles, but also non-geometrical cypress trees or suns are used.
Tinos island ports
The inner port of Tinos has alround shelter but is affected by swell from W-NW winds (pull the yacht well away from the quay). Ferries can manoeuvring at high speed creating chaos as well in their wake. The southern mole is being lengthened in steps. VHF 12.
The bay of Panormos all round bay on the north-west coast of Tinos island is used since ancient times as a port and a surprisingly well sheltered anchorage (in the Ag Thalassa holy sea bay), also for the transport of marble.