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A warm welcome

A slight feeling of seasickness takes hold of me when we try to get out of the bay at Sitia, motorsailing just too close to the wind. It’s the first time since our departure 2,5 years ago. No one is ever totally free from seasickness, I’ve once read somewhere. Another 3 hours until we have rounded the cape and can change course to Kasos. If we can hold on that long and the wind and waves don’t stop us too much, the rest of our trip will be fine so we are trying to encourage ourselves.

Leaving Sitia at sunrise

We have waited a long time for ideal weather for this crossing, but that didn’t come. So now we settle for ‘acceptable’. Ron also looks rather sallow, but assures me that he’s totally fine. In front of us lies a trip of 44 nautical miles first along the intended coastline of Ak. Sidheros, and then the infamous sea channel between the north eastern tip of Crete and our final destination, the small island of Kasos. Looks like this is gonna be a long day. Fortunately we can indeed sail without using the engine as soon as we pass the cape. With a reef in the mainsail and later also one in the genoa, the strong wind presses us firmly into the turbulent waves. My nausea sinks slowly and even gets replaced by a blissful feeling when we suddenly find ourselves in the midst of a large group of dolphins. With around 5 knots on average, we are now heading straight towards our goal.

View from our Coco in Fry harbour

It is late afternoon when we arrive in Fry, the small capital of Kasos. A fisherman nods approvingly when I ask him if it is okay to moor at the back of the south side of the inner breakwater. The small inner harbour indeed looks just as well protected as the Pilot promised us. We moor alongside and put the Captain on the quay. He snuffles around satisfied and we don’t think it looks too bad here either.

During our first exploratory walk through Fry, a man on the street immediately invites us to a party. There is a wedding on Saturday and the whole island is welcome, so he says. We kindly thank him in our best Greek and walk on. There is a striking number of shops and cafes in this small village. There are still some tourists left, but fortunately no signs of mass tourism. We are curious to see what remains of all this activity when the tourist season ends completely. In the back of our minds, the idea of staying here longer lurks. This place suits us better than a marina on Leros or Samos.

Alleyway in Fry

It is the next morning. We are having our morning coffee. A car parks next to Coco and honks. It’s the Port Police. The officer asks how long we plan to stay. I say we don’t know. Maybe a week, maybe a few months, Ron adds. Whether I want to drop by with the papers later. After coffee I walk to the office in the harbor. He looks at our papers and is surprised that I am registered as ‘Captain’. “And he is your husband?” He asks, nodding toward our Coco. He laughs. In the meantime, he instructs a younger colleague on how to complete the form. “You can stay as long as you like,” he says kindly, “very peace and quiet.” We like that, I tell him. “Véry peace and quiet,” he emphasizes with a slightly ominous smile. I cheerfully walk back to the boat. Perhaps we have just found our winter port.

View over Fry and the harbour

The next day we walk to Agios Marina, one of the other small villages on the island. There seems to be no lack of money here. A lot of houses are beautifully maintained and even new ones are being build here and there. Yet many houses are also empty. At the bakery of the village we get into a conversation with an older woman who speaks remarkably good English. When I compliment her on that, she says that she left for New York 30 years ago and that her children and grandchildren still live there. Her American accent already suggested something like that. It reminds me of our encounters on Othonoi, our first Greek island 1.5 years ago. It is the story of all the small Greek islands, she says. There is nothing, so many residents seek refuge elsewhere. She also leaves for America again for a few months in January.

Ag. Marina

We say that we are in the harbour with our boat and maybe stay for a few months. That Kasos is a beautiful island with nice people. A big smile on her face is the result. “Low profile”, that’s how people are here, she says. Good that we stay and she hopes to see us again. “Low profile”, she repeats. And that is perhaps the best description for this beautiful and relatively unspoilt island and its inhabitants.

Ron doing chores on the ‘workbench’

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