Normal

The Greek tavernas are allowed to open again, we are free to sail and step by step Greece is opening its borders for tourists. So all goes back to normal. Or not quite?

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Strangers

The first relaxation of the Greek lockdown is already more than two weeks old. After six weeks of sending text messages, we are allowed to ‘go out’ again. ‘Stay home’ has changed to ‘stay safe’: wash your hands, keep your distance and wear a mask. I make two of a few old duvet covers for Ron and me. They are not mandatory in most places, but highly recommended. We’ll watch what the Greeks do and adjust our behavior accordingly.

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Unreal

Perhaps there will be war with the Turks, the Greek fisherman whispers. We are having a drink with our neighbors, Ruud and Annette, and Yannis has also joined. Sometimes Turkish jets fly over Samos. Sometimes we see Greek soldiers driving around the island. Erdogan has opened the borders for refugees who want to go to Europe. The situation around the camps on Lesbos and Chios escalates almost immediately. The situation on Samos is also unsettled. It is forbidden to sail here. We are stuck on our sailing yacht Coco in what appears to be a war zone, but we don’t notice much of it here in Ormos Marathokampou. Sometimes there’s a silent witness on the beach: a disheveled life jacket. Empty. Lifeless. Unreal.

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Kees

While sailing you make friends. Our tiny boat ‘Coco’ is in a different place every day and we meet new people everywhere. Sometimes resulting in friendship for life, sometimes short and fleeting, but always special. While sailing you also say goodbye every time. You say goodbye to your brand new friends and acquaintances and you don’t know if you will ever see them again. Just like with Kees.

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Travel stress

“Well ma’am, it says ‘security’ behind your name”, the friendly Transavia lady at the check-in desk explains the reason why I could not check in online and even not now in person at her counter. “Did something happen on an earlier flight?” I react as ‘blondly’ as possible and seem to convince her. She assumes a mistaken identity. In the meantime, musing about a ‘security risk’, I imagine something completely different than a scared dog that cannot be put in a locked bag under an airplane seat, as happened to us on our first Transavia flight with Captain Jack.

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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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