Plan B

Here we go again: plan B comes into effect. As enthusiastic as we were about our temporary winter stay in Kasos, as nervously we are now checking the weather forecast to see when we can sail on again. When do we ever learn: never tell about your plan, because it always turns out differently.

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Ochi

While farmers and construction workers in the Netherlands are stirring up against the government’s nitrogen measures and the English are still amusing themselves with their ‘deal or no deal’ Brexit, Greece has totally different problems to worry about. Just recovering from a major economic crisis, dark clouds are gathering over the country again: those of war and more refugees.

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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.

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Captain’s corner

‘A dog’s life’, do you know this expression? Well, that’s exactly what I have on board of my ship. They call me Captain Jack, but I don’t have shit to say. It’s sheer mutiny! Making a good impression with a shelter dog, that’s what this is all about. But Í will tell you what’s really going on here. At least if I get the chance to when they don’t pay attention. In my own Captain’s corner.

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Distant friends

A good neighbour is worth more than a distant friend. That certainly applies to us ‘gypseas’. All our old friends are far away and our new contacts are usually limited to ever-changing good neighbours. Usually, but not always. On Crete we meet our distant friends again. No less than twice.

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Chania rocks

Compared to our part-time paradise on Gramvousa, our stay in Chania has somewhat more infernal features. In the beautiful old venetian harbour we are moored between two music terraces. It’s already mid-September, but the city is still crawling with tourists. Every evening we are treated to a deafening mix of traditional Cretan live music and something that can best be described as ‘nothing-going-on-boom-tjak-house’. Chania rocks! A true torture for the ear and not conducive to a good night’s sleep. Unfortunately this is not our biggest problem.

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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.

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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.

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Cockpit TV

It is still dark when I wake up. “Where are we again?” is the first thing that springs to mind. There is a stiff breeze. The mooringlines are pulling our Coco. I’m not comfortable with it. After lying awake for an hour, listening and lurking through the portholes, I get up with the first dash of daylight. It’s not a moment too early. It is chaos in the harbor of Monemvasia.

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Trust

When it rains, it pours. After the troubles with our stern anchor in Kilada, the bow anchor spontaneously breaks from the chain when we leave Vivari’s anchor bay. Fortunately it doesn’t happens until the anchor is completely hoisted. As soon as the pole of the anchor hits the bowsprit, the connecting swivel falls apart. I utter a cry of bewilderment and thank our guardian angel, whoever it may be. If this had happened during the night, we might all have ended upon the rocks.

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