Stark contrast

Finally the time has come. After a long week of windy weather in Monemvasia, we are able to sail on to Kythira, an island on our route to Crete. The circumstances seem to be reasonable with some stronger wind and higher waves in the morning. At sunrise and a first cup of coffee we slip our moorings and off we go. Everything is calm. It’s shaping up to be a beautiful day. There is no indication that this is also going to be our last cup of coffee for today.

Sunrise over the Aegean Sea

The strong downwind predicted for the morning unfortunately turns out to be a light headwind, so we start of motorsailing. Some time later the mainsail also has to go. The predicted high waves are present while the wind on the other hand lets us down completely. The route takes us past two capes: Kamili just below Monemvasia and the larger cape Malea, the most southeastern point of the Peloponnese and the separation between the Ionian and the Aegean Sea. Near capes there is often a very nasty sea and Cape Malea turns out to be a notorious one, so we read afterwards. Without wind in its sails, Coco is like a rubber duck on the waves, which really come from all sides. We fly from port to starboard and we are rolling about terribly. It soon becomes clear that below deck Coco is not equipped with enough seaworthiness. Everything goes flying through the cabin including our freshly brewed coffee. I steer and try to stay at the right distance from the cape without knowing exactly where that is. Not too close because the sea is too rough there and not too far from it, because then we sail too much. Ron cleans the mess below deck and stays on the floor with the Captain. Jack can hardly stand on his feet and doesn’t like it any more. Neither do we.

All sorts of thoughts run through my mind: “Why are we doing this anyway? Why did we ever start this? I want to go back to the channels. I just want a house and solid ground under my feet. I’m afraid. I do not want this anymore. I don’t want to die yet. ” Ron says he will not sail further than Kythira and then go back. We have gone one cape too far, he says. But for the time being there is nothing else to do than continue sailing, because the way back will be just as annoying or even worse as the North Wind will start later. I hold on to the thought that it will get better after the capes and that the devil is not in the details this time.

Coast guard paying us a visit

And fortunately that is true. As soon as we leave the last part of Peloponesos behind us, the sea slowly becomes calmer. Not that the waves are getting lower, on the contrary, but they now come neatly obliquely from behind and cause few problems. For a moment we get a flash visit from the coast guard, but luckily, after a critical look at our boat from their front deck, they leave just as quickly as they came. Later we read that they confiscated a sailing yacht that was anchored in the area that day with a ton of marijuana on board. At 11 o’clock in the morning we can finally have some food and drink and then even raise the sails. Under full sail we go half wind with about 4 to 5 knots towards Kapsali on Kythira. It is hard to imagine how different the world looked an hour ago. How different we felt an hour ago.

The bay of Kapsali

When we approach Kapsali everything is quiet. Since we don’t know for sure yet whether we will anchor in the bay or moor at the quay, we wait with preparing the boat. Contrary to what the Pilot suggests, it looks nice and quiet at the quay. We decide to moor there, but this time on our bow anchor. Because of the chaos in our heads, we forget all about fenders and moorings, but with some improvisation it works out fine any way. Unfortunately our anchor seems to cross no less than two other anchor chains, according to our Greek neighbour who immediately dives into the water to inspect everything. “We will fix it,” I say confidently and immediately wonder how we will make that happen. Diving to our anchor at a depth of five meters and then shifting it is not a piece of cake for us. Otherwise we have to pull our anchor and start over again. Then I suddenly see a beautiful young man next to Coco in the water with goggles on his head. “Are you a really good diver?” I ask him very kindly. “Yes,” he says with a smile from ear to ear. It appears to be the son of the Italian neighbors and of course he wants to help. Together with Ron he swims to the anchor and in no time he has it in the right place and puts the chain nicely straight. The Greek neighbour looks slightly surprised, if not disappointed, when I inform him five minutes later that everything has been resolved.

The beach of Kapsali

There we are with the three of us under the bimini. Kind neighbours next to us. Relaxing in our cockpit with an ice cold beer and a view of the beaches and taverns across the bay. Sunshine in the sky and a refreshing breeze. Nothing to worry about. Unbelievable how all of this can be in one day.

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