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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Pull up the anchor

Porto Helio has a beautiful church, but the town itself doesn’t set our hearts on fire. It’s hot, busy and more touristic than we’d expected. In the large bay we’re anchored among lots of abandoned yachts with the view of a likewise abandoned marina under construction in front of us. Water taxis and rental boats constantly race past Coco leaving her behind violent shaking on their big waves.

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Sulfur bath

A pungent rotten egg smell, like the stink bombs we used to crush to spoil the music lessons of Mr. Vink, the last crusader at our high school, a shrill whistle of the harbour master in response to our entry and a sign at the entrance with bans for respectively anchoring, catamarans and ships longer than 47 feet: we have arrived in Methana Marina.

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Heat

With a dark red face, the woman strides across the quay past our Coco to her yacht further on. Sweat pearls all over her face. She drags a cart with two jerry cans of diesel behind her, but she herself seems to pose the most explosion hazard. Her husband follows at a safe distance with the third jerry can dangling on his arm. He also looks hot, but seems resigned. Apparently the walk to the gas pump in Itea is a little longer than their relationship at forty degrees Celsius tolerates.

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Jack & Jack

Just as we get off the boat to walk to the Filoxenia Pool Bar, Stuart is standing in front of us with little Jack by his side. At this first reunion since half a year the Jack brothers are not overflowing with enthusiasm to say the least. They sniff at each other for a moment and then seem to pay more attention to us and their environment. I had imagined something else, something with more violin music, so to speak. After all, they have lived together for more than six years with their first boss.

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