The weather is turning early this year. The first part of this week shipping was disrupted by northerly gales in the Northern and Central Aegean caused by Storm Xenophon. Now we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the optimistically named Medicane Zorbas. This sounds like some sort of weird Greek pharmaceutical but it is actually a meteorological term for the Mediterranean version of a Category 1 Hurricane.
The weather is turning early this year. The first part of this week shipping was disrupted by northerly gales in the Northern and Central Aegean caused by Storm Xenophon. Now we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the optimistically named Medicane Zorbas. This sounds like some sort of weird Greek pharmaceutical but it is actually a meteorological term for the Mediterranean version of a Category 1 Hurricane. The Mediterranean Sea is over-heating and feeding storms more commonly associated with the tropics. Zorbas is currently revolving over the Ionian and South Peloponnese. Crete is already feeling its effects in the form of storm surges and gale force winds. It is moving slowly towards us and the various computer projections seem undecided as to when and where it will hit the Eastern Aegean and Dodecanese. The bulletins are changing hourly, the shipping companies are struggling to keep up and travellers are worrying about planes, ferries, connections and insurance. Somehow the last weekend in September is behaving like the last week in October.
I had to go down to the harbour this morning to see the dentist. Symi may be a tiny island and somewhat inaccessible but we do have two excellent dentists and, despite the various ferry disruptions, my new bridge arrived in time to be fitted this morning. The harbour, Yialos, was very busy as some late season fancy yachts had decided that retail therapy was the answer on a grey blustery day. The water taxis and excursion boats aren’t running today due to the anticipated storms so late September visitors were also in the coffee shops and boutiques rather than sunning themselves outside the Pedi Beach Hotel. Workmen were banging in battens and balancing on ladders, rigging the plastic ‘tents’ that provide protection against the elements for those hospitality venues that stay open through the winter. This ritual is usually performed in late October or early November, not the last week in September.
It is by no means cold. It is about 28 degrees today and very humid under a heavy blanket of cloud. The day has been punctuated by intermittent showers and the wind is starting to rise, buffeting the yachts at anchor in Pedi bay.
Have a good weekend – and I will let you know if Zorba came to visit or passed us by.
August is over. The crowds have gone. The children are preparing for another school year. Next week the ferry schedules change as Blue Star reverts to smaller boats on the Symi route. Good bye, Nissos Chios, Welcome Back, Patmos!
There is also far less traffic on the roads. British tourists tend to be apprehensive about hiring cars and driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road. The holidaymakers from other parts of Greece and further afield who arrive with their cars on the Blue Star have also gone home again. If you do visit Symi in September it is well worth hiring a car for a day or so to explore the interior of the island and visit Kokkimides monastery, Roukoniotis monastery and Toli Bay. While there are organised mini-bus excursions if there are enough of you, having your own wheels gives you more freedom to stop and take photographs as well as linger at places that take your fancy. On a clear day you can see as far as Kos on one side and Rhodes on the other with the islands of Halki, Tilos and Nissyros also visible.
As the continent of Europe starts to cool to the north of us, so has the breeze that blows down the Aegean, bringing welcome relief from the searing temperatures of the Symi summer. It is still around 30 degrees at midday but after days in the forties, 30 seems quite mild. Nights are cooling off too. We plugged our boiler in for hot water yesterday for the first time since May. Not quite time to dig out the duvet and woolly jumpers just yet though. That doesn’t happen until early November!