The Greece's Dodecanese Islands
The Greece Dodecanese Islands are an interesting Mediterranean yacht charter destination. The islands lie in a crescent chain along the Asian Turkish coast curving west towards Crete and are suited to both motor and sailing yacht charters. A Dodecanese yacht charter vacation offers quite a variety so they are difficult to sumarise, except to say that they have rustic and rugged landscapes, clear blue ocean stretches and they could be considered generally to be less touristy than the Cyclades and other parts of Greek Islands.
While the Dodecanese islands are fairly bare of vegetation - although not to such an extent as the Cycladic Islands - in fact several islands are abundant with natural springs, especially Kos and Rhodes (Rodos), which are also relatively green and wooded. Their inhabitants live by farming, sponge-fishing (the Dodecanese forms the base of the Greek sponge-fishing fleet), but increasingly, the tourist trade and visiting charter boats.
The name "Dodecanese" came into use in 1908 when twelve islands of this group excluding Lipsi, Kos and Rhodes but including an outsider, Ikaria, protested about their deprivation of the special privileges and tax exemptions they had been granted in the 16th century by the Turks. Like most of the Greek Islands, the Dodecanese are the tops of mountains that stood on the plain of the Aegean before they were flooded. They are situated between the islands of Crete, the Cyclades, lkarias, Samos and the Asia Minor seaboard an other very interesting yacht charter crusisng grounds for sailing and motor yachts.
The Dodecanese (twelve islands or Dodekanes - Rhodes, Astypalia, Kalymnos, Karpathos, Kasos, Kos, Leros, Nysiros, Patmos, Symi, Tilos. Halki) are the most southerly group of islands in the Southern Sporades, lying off the south-west coast of Asia Minor. The Island group includes the larger islands of Kos, Lipsi, Patmos, Leros, Symi, Kalymnos, Astypalea, Nisyros, Tilos, Rhodes, Khalki, Karpathos and Kasos, together with some 40 smaller islets and rocks. Apart from the twelve main islands, which gave the name to the island complex the islets of Lipsi, Pserimos, Agathonisi, Sari, Kastellorizo, Levitha, Giali, Kinaros amongst other islets, barren islets and rock peaks, all constitute the group of islands known as the Dodecanese.
Often charter yachts have their bases in either Kos or Rhodes. Keep in mind that the northerly winds do influence any itinerary and that a down wind one-way charter from Kos to Rhodes is popular. Other charter bases in the area are Samos (Pythagorion port) to the north and Paros (Paroikia port) to the west.
Neither in Greek or in Roman times was the Dodecanese a separate political entity. Rather, they were an administrative region of the Byzantine Empire. Only when the islands came under Turkish rule in the 16th century were they given extensive rights of self-government in domestic affairs and gained a common political status.
There are forests and bush lands of pine, cypress, wild olive, cedar, mastic, arbutus bush and holly. There is also a variety of annual and long lasting turf, aromatic plants (oregano, thyme, lavender), carob and olive trees. This all makes for a rich mosaic of plant varieties. Often on the islets unique plant and animal species have been observed (especially reptiles and invertebrate), remnants of an isolated evolution and adaptation to the unique conditions, which were created when these islets were cut off from the larger islands.
Rare species of birds such as birds of prey small hawks, wild pigeons, herons and cormorants find refuge in the many caves, crevices in the rocks, high rocky formations and dangerous dins.
The well-known "Meltemi" is blows during summer from the NW-W beginning in mid June and continuing till mid October. It often blows strongly in the months of July, August and September reaching a wind force of 7 and this should be considered on your yacht charter planning. In spring time the prevailing wind is mainly SE and not very strong. During the winter it usually blows SE and sometimes N or S.
During the "Meltemi" time, especially in July and August, the gusts of the lee of the islands of Patmos, Kalymnos, Kos, Nissiros, Tilos, Karpathos and Astypalaia can be very strong, even if the wind in the open sea is not strong. The temperature in the summer may reach 35° C, although the average temperature is less.
A Snap Shot of some Islands
Agathonisi is the north-most islet of the Dodecanese island complex. It has an impressive coastal configuration and many beautiful windless bays.
Astypalea, called Ichthyoessa (Island of the Fish) by the ancients for its rich fisheries. It resembles two islands linked by a natural bridge.
Halki looks like a part of Rhodes but without the great current of tourism. It is a mountainous island and ideal for those who wish for peaceful holidays.
An island of barren rock, golden beaches and tiny green valleys. It owes its fame to its celebrated sponge fishers.
An oblong island and the third largest in the Dodecanese. Boasts incomparable natural beauties and traditions jealously guarded by its inhabitants.
This is land is at the southern end of the Dodecanese towards Crete via the Carpathian Sea.
A small but heroic island to the east end of the Aegean. An outer link of the wondrous Dodecanese chain it used to be called since Antiquity, Megisti mean ‘maxima’.
This island gave the world Hippocrates – the father of medicine. It looks like a huge floating garden and the city is built along a wide bay and catches the eye from the very first moment.
A generally mountainous island with deep bays often full of green vegetation. Also picturesque valleys and dented coasts.
A small charming island with magnificent beaches. You will also find picturesque charming tavernas which serving fresh fish and local wine.
Approaching Nisyros by boat you cannot fail to be deeply impressed by the visual image. It has perfectly white houses, dense greenery, and the colors of the volcanic soil.
Called Jerusalem of the Aegean, Patmos is an island of ascetic austerity. It is made of rock and bays and surrounded by seagull islands.
Is mainly a rocky island, except for its southern part which is covered with pines as well as mulberries and fruit-bearing trees.
An island with iconic sandy beaches, full of springs and streams and Genoan towers. It is uncrowded and there are few tourists.