Girmantas | Windsurfing, Kitesurfing, Travel, Spots | May 10, 2010
Rhodes island separates Aegean sea from the Mediterranean. Island is legendary due to one of the Seven Wonders of the World – Rhodes Colosus. Today the island is heavily visited by tourists. They like the atmosphere of small Greek villages, almost Asian climate and warm water. Though many travel agencies organize travels to this island and it should be easy to reach the place, on 2007 just before our trip, direct flights from Vilnius were canceled. Still our determination to reach the island was stronger than any inconveniences and we found a way to get there via Turkey.
We all gathered in Vilnius airport at 5 am. After short conversation with the air port officers seven bags of windsurfing gear went to the plane and we all went to some local store. For a bear! After an hour check in began. Our loses were minimal – officers took away mayonnaise only. We have been preparing for the trip all night long and once we reached our seats – we slept like babies. The flight was short and easy, so we woke up when the plane was already landing in Dalaman airport, Turkey. Dalaman airport is in the desert, so we immediately received a heat stroke. From there to the sea port in Marmari is about 100 km. We have hoped to catch some taxi – van (like the ones cruising in Egypt) that could take us to the port. However, we were really surprised when we found only luxury class taxis outside the air port. After long discussions and bargaining with taxi drivers, we succeeded to get a proper car for our equipment, took a few taxis for ourselves and finally took off to Marmari. As we had another five hours in the port, we used the opportunity to see the small town well known for tourists, get something to eat and later just for the rest on the benches.
Bringing our equipment to the ferry was a great attraction! One Turk officer was asking to bring the gear through his checkpoint while the other one would jump in front of us telling to stay where we are. It should have looked quite ridiculous and we couldn’t do much about it. Eventually with some stops we got into the ferry and left the port. After an hour we already were in Rhodes island, Greece. Greek custom officers weren’t very friendly. They have tortured three or four tourists before us (later we realized that they don’t like any Turkish souvenirs). After an hour of waiting they started their routines with us. Checked our bags, food and then our equipment. Decided that we need to fill in the forms about the quantities of our equipment that we will have to show when leaving Greece. They had to be sure that we will bring back all nine boards and nineteen sails. Only then we realized that even though we were EU citizens, we were entering the outside EU border from Asia. Anyway we have never expected attention and mistrust like this.
After few hours spent in customs we found the taxi parking lot empty. Started to hunt for some transportation that could take us to Prasonisi. Our final destination was only 100 km away. Rental car would be an advantage in Rhodes. Still we were eight, so we wouldn’t have fit into any of the rental cars. Moreover, we were trying to save some money and the car in Prasonisi wouldn’t be so necessary. Finally Marius and Mindaugas found some man who had a small truck. He promised to help us and come to the port with his truck. Smiles showed up and the whiskey bottle was opened. Later on whiskey was running out and we still waited. Hopelessly. The man with the truck finally showed up but… on a scooter. Apologized for making us wait so long and promised to come back with the truck quickly. His promise was enough and after we had finished our whiskey, small ISUZU truck made a turn to the port area. We loaded up our equipment, jumped in the trunk and hit the road. Still our adventures weren’t over. After few turns the road became narrow and didn’t looked like the main island road at all. Trees started to bruise our heads and after we stopped in some yard rounded by the bushes it became really scary. We all started to look for some sticks or a way how to jump out of the truck. After a few seconds the driver showed up in the doors with his girlfriend and some blankets – they have decided to spend the night in Prasonisi. Finally! We regained the hope to reach the goal of our trip. In total it took us 20 hours to get there from Vilnius.
We spent our first night in Prasonisi, right on the beach. On the equipment, in the board bags. As we found out in the morning, we got lucky – police is always looking for those who are sleeping on the beach. First day was light wind wise. We got our light exercise on 6.0′s. Left Prasonisi to small Kattavia village in the evening. It’s 10 km from the spot and is the best place to stay while sailing in Prasonisi. Our search for rooms weren’t very successful. Six of us managed to get a small room in „Prasonisi Club“ hotel but Girmantas and Marius had to spent their nights randomlly in the balconies of other international windsurfers. On the third night all eight of us got room. Double room.
Kattavia village is mostly developed due to windsurfers and kiters that come to ride in Prasonisi. In the summertime locals are waiting for windsurfers to rent rooms and in the winter – they are waiting for the summer. If you’ll decide to live here, you’ll have to find bed by yourself. The spot is close and it’s easy to hitch the hike. Travel agencies usually offer to live little bit further away from Prasonisi – Gennadi (30 km away) and Lindos (50 km). But then you have to have a rental car. Still sometimes you can get last minute deals that are so cheap that even with the rental car you’ll not spend more money. So it’s worth to search.
Don’t be shocked if you’ll meet a tank or other heavy military while resting on the island. They shouldn’t be aiming at you. Island part between Kattavia and Prasonisi is NATO military zone. In the winter time they close the road and start their men games.
One day we decided to change scene and find some place for cliff diving. After few hours of walking we found some 8 meter rock which was perfect for jumps into the water. Feelings that overcome when you jump are incredible. Not all of us decided to jump from the highest point. Still those who jumped later were very happy about it.
If while being in Rhodes you decide to rest from the salt water and want to do a little bit of sight seeing, it’s best to rent a scooter. Rhodes is famous for its old castles, churches on the highest rocks, mountains, nature and small Greek villages. Those who want some parties, can find it in Rhodes town, Faliraki and other bigger tourism centers. These places are famous for clubs, discos, beach parties and so on. This island is great for everyone – family vacations, windsurfing trips and even party weekends.
After 12 marvelous days it was time for us to go home. So we packed our equipment in Prasonisi and left to our room in Kattavia for the last night celebration. In the morning the rented bus was already waiting for us. Our trip back wasn’t so impressive as forward, still all of us traveled on our equipment rather than comfortably on the bus bench. Moreover, due to the technical problems the brakes for the bus had to be changed on the way. We felt much more calm with working brakes while traveling those mountain roads. Greek custom wasn’t so attentive this time. Soon we were enjoying the ride in the speed catamaran. In the evening we already reached Marmari, checked in the hotel and went sightseeing and partying. Next morning we flew out of Dalaman. Turks accepted our equipment slowly and asked us to carry it almost to the plane.
Great training camp. Exiting time. Marvelous Greek cuisine. Rhodes is good…
Wind and waves
Strong thermal Aegean sea effect reaches Rhodes. Sea water warms up in summer and sucks cooler air from the North – straight from Balcan mountains. Still because of the huge air masses the wind depends on the general European conditions. If you’re lucky, it is very possible to get 20-30 m/s NorthWest wind for two weeks. On the other hand if the sea will remain cool, there could be no wind for some time. Forecasts for our trip wasn’t very promising, still we sailed 9 days out of 12 (mostly on 5.3′s). And the rest three we spent voluntarily traveling and cliff diving.
Water is very warm. No need for a wetsuit in summer. Still don’t forget that the sun is very intense. In the North of the island you can find fun “bump&jump” conditions. Western and wild Aegean shore is known for small fun waves. South – Prasonisi spot can offer small waves on its Western part and flat water conditions on its East.
Prasonisi in Greek means “green island”. Small island with a lighthouse is separated by the water from the main Rhodes island when the tide is very high (usually in the winter time). In the summer most of the time these two pieces of land are connected by the sand spit. North West to the spit – waves. South East – flat water. Best place for training slalom, freestyle or just enjoy warm weather, water and constant wind. The wind squeezes in between two high shores and gets stronger. Thus, here it is usually more windy than anywhere else in the island. The atmosphere in the water is fun. Though the spot is pretty crowded, still everyone feels welcome. If you sail in the East part of the spot, evaluate the risks that the wind here is off-shore and the next stop is Cyprus or Israelis. That’s why almost all the kiters ride in the West part of the spot.
There are three rentals in Prasonisi. Austrian „Pro center“ (JP/NP), Polish „Prasonisi center“ (Fanatic/North sails) and Polish „Wind4Fun“ (RRD/Naish). We kept our equipment in Wind4Fun. They seemed to be the most flexible for our group and, of course gave us the best price. After we rigged our 19 sails there it seemed that Simmer opened their rental in the spot. Furthermore, in Prasonisi there are a lot of instructors and each school has its power boat for rescue.
Spotas friend Laisvūnas took some time to travel on the west coast. He said that the west coast is dedicated for those who love wild beaches and romance. Also for those who are looking for the waves. Who are not afraid to go out in unknown spots, where the rocks are hiding everywhere underwater. Driving along the coastline you’ll see places where waves are peeling long and nicely and it makes you to stop for a moment. Laisvunas hasn’t seen any surfers or windsurfers, but has no doubt that some guys are sailing there. Still the wind is lighter than in Prasonisi spot.