Once we experienced the utmost pleasure to the extreme, one day we sailed to Marathi, a few hundred metres across the western coasts of the island Arkoi. On the eastern side of this small islet, whose total coastline is less than two nautical miles, there is the sheltered bay which forms its natural harbour.
Here is also the only beach of the island, which covered with fine sand beneath the sea trees and bushes, hosts numerous visitors. Boats full of people, who come from Patmos and Lipsi, tie up on the two small moles on the right and left of the bay. In the limited remaining space of the two moles, small groups of small boats crowd, while the bigger remain anchored in a row, literally filling the entire space of the natural harbour.
Luckily, we found some good friends from Chios and tied up alongside their ribs, rising that way the already excessive number of inflatables that were tied together. Three rows full of ribs tied alongside one another, with more than six or seven boats each, formed a large platform, while they were the proof that something very nice takes place here. Under the impression that we were in a floating boat show we watched one by one the various boats. Whatever you could think of was here. Small and large, massive and heavy, light and more elegant, with shallow or deep hulls, open or with cabins, with single or twin engines.
There was only one thing common on each boat. The smile and the joy that the owners and the crew reflected.
This random and joyful gathering in this small island gave me the answer to the question that sometimes torments us: is there eventually the ideal boat?
Fond of the sea routes and of the absolute navigation, I was always looking among boats with deep V hulls to find the ideal, easily dismissing everything else, overlooking the weight and high level of fuel consumption that the ferocious engines require. Over the years, however, meeting many and different kinds of people, I realized that there is no ideal boat. Or rather, there are many boats that are ideal, simply because the selection criteria are different and very subjective. The most important criterion that makes a perfect boat, is the specific use for which it is intended. Fishing, travelling, nautical tourism, high performance or nearby family trips. If firstly we canvass ourselves very well, and then decide what kind of sea leisure satisfies us most, we are very close to making the right choice.
There may eventually be no ideal boat, but certainly there is the ideal owner for each boat.
Because the ideal boat is the one that makes its owner happy. And that was what I realised now, just looking at the happy faces around me.
We went to the pier, walking on the tubes of the ribs, and took a seat at the tavern of the now famous Piratis. Under the shadow that the sea trees provided, with tables just two metres away from the shore, we enjoyed our ouzo and the fresh seafood that came with it.
Eventually, we took the road beside the tavern and went up to the top of the low hill. In a few minutes, we stepped on the ridge, where there is the church of Ag. Nicholaos. It is bright white, with its small blue dome raising among the ruins of the old stone-built village. From that point, the view to the well-shaped bay with the green waters, is beautiful. The sea trees in a row, take over the beach from one end to the other and this the place where the taverns of Piratis, Stavragkos and Pantelis are. The three nice taverns, hidden literally among the green foliage and the charming surroundings, and the few rooms to let located just behind them, guarantee the visitors’ pleasant stay. This is the only infrastructure of this small paradise.
In recent years, this beautiful corner of the Aegean, has become the “hangout” of many boats. For five whole months there is constant bustle in the natural harbour, which many boats that pass by use as a spot to rest and relax. Although that sweet solitude and absolute tranquility that characterized it, is not the same any more, it is still a wonderful place tremendously fascinating. It is a place where we always plan at least one overnight stay while wandering in the Dodecanese.