Parttime paradise

It’s September 3th 7 a.m. when I step into the dinghy with the Captain. We are anchored at Gramvousa, a small island north-west of Crete. The tourists have not yet arrived, the fishermen are out fishing and the other sailing yacht that was anchored next to us last night has already left. We are all alone in Gramvousa. Alone in paradise. The three of us on our own uninhabited island.

Coco at anchor in Gramvousa bay

A day earlier we arrive from Kythera after the first long daytrip with Coco that we are able to sail almost completely without motor assistance. And it feels great! Under full sail Coco cuts through the waves like a knife. She is in the water like on rails. This is why we do what we do. This way we can handle any sea. Awesome!

With a blissful feeling we anchor in the small bay. When we moor our dinghy at the jetty, a fisherman kindly accepts our mooring and gives me a hand to help me up the high quay. On the island it is still buzzing with day trippers and especially on the beach there is a high level of ‘Jersey Shore, tats and testosterone’. But one hour later they all leave again with a large tripper boat back to where they came from. A little later some small speed boats come along with so-called ‘private cruises’, but they also leave well before dark. We are left with a few fishermen who seem to live on the island. Nice boat, says the long bearded fisherman, referring to our Coco. After a chat we walk further in this almost deserted paradise. There is neither telephone nor data range, so we are also without virtual company today. Unbelievable how quiet it can be in such a beautiful place near the busy, touristic Crete. The only downside is the bathing water temperature: with just a little less than 28 degrees ‘a bit fresh’, according to our shivery type Ron.

Sandy beach with turquoise seawater

In paradise there are of course few earthly facilities. The tavern that the Pilot has promised us turns out to be a shack for the day trippers and closes immediately with their departure punctually at five o’clock. Our planned ‘out to dinner’ will therefore not take place. I cook something simple myself with the stocks that we have on board: omelette, bread and salad made from tomato, green beans and spring onion. Then we drink tea under the blackest sky with the most and brightest stars we’ve seen in years. In the quiet anchor bay we slip away in a long, deep sleep. Our alarm clock woke us early this morning and it was a long day full of great experiences.

Ron climbing the stairs to the castle

The following morning, after coffee, we walk to the remains of the castle high on top of the island. The sun is already shining, but with a little bit of wind it can still be done. In about fifteen minutes we walk up on the whimsical, natural stone stairs. In addition to the remains of the castle, we are rewarded with beautiful views all the way around the island and dazzling abysses perpendicular down into the sea. The island is still completely deserted. For a moment we are the only residents of our own tropical island.

View over a foggy morning sea
Abyss to the bay

When we are back on our Coco around ten, the first speedboat is just arriving. We raise the anchor to go to another nearby deserted paradise: Balos beach. We sail past it, but do not anchor. Too many waves and to much swell. Two deserted paradises in one day may also be to much to ask for anyway, so we change course to our next destination: Kissamos. When we sail away we can just see the first big tripper boat coming in. It is almost twelve o’clock. Paradise is closing down again.

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