Iris Jet

Iris Jet

Iris Jet at Kos. Photos by KosVoice

This high speed catamaran was built in France in 2000 (so claims that it is brand new are somewhat exaggerated).

Most unusually it is made from glass fibre reinforced plastic, and as a result has suffered longer periods out of service due to the usual bumps and scrapes than a metal shell would have done.

The Kos-based high speed craft is intended to do same-day excursions to islands that are otherwise just too far away from Kos to get worthwhile time there using conventional day excursion boats, and where the ferry timetables don’t work for day trips. In this, she’s replacing the hydrofoil that the Laumzis travel company used to operate. Among the possible destinations from Kos is Symi, probably combined with Rhodes, along with Leros, Lipsi, and Patmos on different days of the week. Actual excursions are expected to start from 1 June.

Now in days gone by, you could travel on the Laumzis hydrofoil as a one way passenger to or from Symi, if they had room, if there were enough passengers to justify running it, and if you knew which days it operated. I actually caught it once from Symi to Rhodes when I had missed the Symi I. But in those days the companies holding actual ferry licences weren’t especially combative, indeed they’ve all disappeared or relocated (Dodecanese Hydrofoils, DANE, GA Ferries, ANES). I suspect Dodekanisos Seaways and Blue Star will object strongly to anyone extra selling ferry-type tickets. They can’t object to day excursions. So far nobody hasĀ  applied for ferry route licences for Iris Jet, and given the time it takes to issue them, they are unlikely to get them for 1 June if they applied now.

My Laumzis journey was also before the great crack-down on ferries that brought about the national computerised booking system. You may ask what prevents someone buying a day excursion ticket and simply not showing up for the return journey. The answer of course is that there’s nothing to stop you doing this. However, the Coastguard/Port Police aren’t stupid. They supervise departures, and watch for people with baggage. Nobody takes a wheeled suitcase on a day trip, after all. Smallish backpacks on the other hand might pass un-noticed

There’s meant to be a trial trip to Symi in mid-May. Hopefully the additional day visitors she brings to Symi over the summer will help the island’s prosperity, but if you are looking for a ferry to/from Kos or Rhodes, well, we’ll see.

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