Best time to go N in the Aegean is in May or early June before the meltemi sets in, or from the middle of October onwards. If the meltemi must be faced, the situation may be eased by crossing to the Turkish coast and going N close inshore where at least there will be some favourable current and island shelter en route; from Cape Malea, the crossing could be via Milos, Paros, Naxos and Samos, before making N to the E of Khios, Lesbos and Bozcada. If coming from Corinth, the crossing can be made using one of the straits between Evvoia, Andros, Tinos or Mykonos, thence to Khios and north.
Other alternative is to use the Evvoia Channel and pass via the Sporades and Limnos tot he Dardenelles. This adds 100M to the distance but the Evvoia Channel is a bit more sheltered with more stopovers and the meltemi does start to ease off once N of the Sporades. A disadvantage is that a delay of up to 24 hours can occur at the bridge at the Khalkis narrows.
Shortest route passing between Evvoia and Andros and straight up the middle to the Dardenelles will be the most arduous when the meltemi is blowing, although Psara and Skiros can provide welcome stops en route.
There are many choices of route and ports to stop at and selection will depend on the time of year, type of yacht and time available. A number of possible ports are given and included in this adventure.
Winds in the Aegean in the summer are predominantly the northerly meltemi. This starts to blow in June, reaching its peak in July, August and September and dying away in October. In the north Aegean it blows from the NE, in the centre of the region it swings to the N and round to the NW in the south. It varies in strength from force 4-8, may blow at gale force for days on end or become fitful, often dropping or dying away at nights before renewing its full vigour by the middle of the day.
In the spring and autumn, winds are more variable and often southerly, sometimes reaching gale force. In the winter the strong winds can be from all directions caused by depressions passing across the region.
The seas generated by the meltemi do not become large and dangerous even after a long fetch in the north Aegean, but short and vicious, making gettting to windward a wet and gruelling business. At night if the wind eases or drops, the left-over swell also hinders progress north under power.
The sea temp. is 23°C in the north, 25-26°C in the south.
Fog is extremely rare but may be encountered at the entrance to the Dardenelles.
Strong outward current of up to 2 knots from the Dardenelles but thereafter the movement is generally southerly and weak on the west side of the Aegean, with a north-going counter-current close to the Turkish short from the Dodecanese northwards.
Tides and tidal streams
The only significant range is 0.8m at the N end of the Evvoia Channel in the middle of which the tidal stream can reach 7 knots in the narrows at Khalkis.