Chartering a yacht around the Dodecanese Islands
The Dodecanese extend from Patmos in the north, to the island of Kasos off the north-east coast of Crete. The name of the island group is derived from the number twelve (dodeka in Greek). Dodecanese literally means ‘twelve islands’.
The archipelago was originally part of the mainland of Asia Minor but, after a series of earthquakes and floods, it became separated from the mainland. Kos and Rhodes are green islands with beautiful wooded areas, offering a contrast to the other more barren islands in the group. Each island has its own character – some are picturesque, some remote and quiet, while others buzz with tourist activity.
The distances between the islands are pretty minimal; you’re unlikely to encounter more than 20 to 25 nm between islands. Particularly beautiful are the small islands that lie off the beaten track. The ghost towns of Tilos and Halki, the volcano on Nisyros, and the small tavernas on Kalymnos and Arki are all, in our opinion, highlights.
Architecturally there’s much to write home about when it comes to the Dodecanese islands, whether it’s the wonderfully contrasting white and blue painted houses, a red domed church, the beautiful ruins of a castle or an impressive monastery like that of St. John’s on Patmos.
Wind & Weather: Sailing around the islands of the Dodecanese is less rough than the Cyclades, but you should still wary of the Meltemi. For this reason – but also because of the many well-protected bays and small Greek ports – we recommend the area for more experienced sailors.
The northwesterly/west Meltemi is the prevailing wind during the summer. It blows sporadically in June, then moderately to strongly from July to September, and becomes stronger again in October. During the summer months it can reach 4-6 Bft., sometimes rising to 7 Bft.
In early August you can expect up to 10 days of continuously strong winds. During summer these usually hit the leeward side of the islands – particularly around Patmos, Kalymnos, Kos, Nisyros, Tilos, Karpathos and Astypalaia. The sea between Karpathos and Astypalaia can be particularly rough, often lasting for several days.
In the summer months the Dodecanese often experience heat waves, which is why many sailors prefer to visit in spring or autumn. During this time, the wind often comes from the southeast at about 2 to