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With Meltemi on Lipsi

The wind has been blowing from the northwest at over 30 knots since yesterday. We are moored in the harbour of the small island of Lipsi. As the inside of the pier is now fully occupied, boats that have fled the even stronger wind outside in the open sea are now trying to moor on the outside - a very challenging manoeuvre that most do not succeed at the first attempt. The bow anchor needs a lot of chain and must hold immediately, the boat must not slam across and be pushed onto the pier. "Harbour cinema" for those who are already moored, they sometimes say. But this is no fun. Some boats turn away again and look for a bay to anchor freely.

We sailed over from Patmos the day before yesterday with a nice half wind. That was a pleasure. Then the Meltemi came. The strong wind blows directly into the cockpit and there is no balmy summer evening on deck. But we are lying well, the anchor is holding and we have deployed our heavy lines with the jerk fenders to spare the other ropes. 

It's no punishment to be stuck here in Meltemi. Lipsi is a beautiful little island with agriculture, viticulture and fishing. Things are quite tranquil here. While walking, we see bays with beautiful beaches, countless little blue and white churches, and on the heights we always have wide views over the many small surrounding islands. We can also see over to Leros, our next destination.

Manolis, in a white chef's waistcoat, comes onto the pier with his little daughter and hands us the menu of his restaurant in the village. We see very interesting dishes on it, for example "Grilled vegetables with honey vinaigrette" or "Tenderloin stuffed with dried tomatoes and cheese". We can't resist and go to "Manolis Tastes" for dinner one day. Simply delicious!

While walking, we discover Dimitris' farm. Here, Dimitris' son, Kostas, runs organic farming and winegrowing. We tell him that we also come from a wine-growing region and that, due to climate change, completely different grape varieties can now be grown there and the grape harvest is starting earlier and earlier. This is also the case on Lipsi, he reports. In the past, the grape harvest would have started towards the end of August, now it starts in July. We taste his wine, which he grows without using herbicides and without adding sulphur during pressing. The strongest one we taste has 16 alcohol percent. We take two bottles with us and decide to drink it only in small quantities. At Dimitri's farm we also meet three young women from Germany. They are doing a four-week voluntary service here to help with the local agriculture.

Back on our boat, the wind blows unabated and we wonder if we will be able to make our last beat to Leros tomorrow to the summer place for our boat as planned.          

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