From nothing to nowhere

When the weather forecast finally indicates two calm days, we are ready. Our stocks have been replenished to the maximum, because we don’t know how long it will take before we’ll run into amenities such as running fresh water and a supermarket again. When double reefed we still sail out of the bay at top speed, we wonder what will become of the ‘calm weather’ forecast. As soon as we leave the shelter of the bay behind us, there are also the high waves after two weeks of Meltemi. It promises to be a tough journey. With the waves almost exactly sideways on our Coco, we regularly imagine ourselves in a washing machine. Fortunately, our speed is good and we pick up a mooring early in the afternoon in the perfectly sheltered eastern bay of the almost uninhabited island of Levitha.

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Blue zone

Around here the blue of the sky almost seamlessly flows into the blue of the sea, but that’s not what they mean by ‘blue zone’. That term refers to a number of areas in the world where people live measurably longer and there are relatively many centenarians. The island of Icarias is one of them. I still doubt whether I want to live to be a hundred, but just in case, I would like to know how they actually do that.

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Sammie from Samos

According to our French neighbor Marcel we have completely lost our senses and frankly I sometimes have doubts about our mental abilities myself too. After all, adopting a crossbreed Jack Russell puppy of about 8 weeks old living aboard a tiny sailboat isn’t an easy job. So much for peace and quiet aboard our Coco. And all thanks to our new sailor, Sammie. Sammie from Samos.

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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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Lockdown

When we get up at 6:30 that Monday morning, the Greek lockdown has just started half an hour ago. From now on we must have a statement with us to be out on the street. Walking Jackie I quickly do illegally. While drinking our morning coffee on our sailing yacht Coco, we find out exactly how it all works. When I read the statement that goes with it, I imagine myself in a scene from Orwell’s famous book ‘1984’.

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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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Scared

I lie awake for a while allready. Nightmares are ruining my sleep. I feel warm and I’m tossing and turning. In my dream I have lost Captain Jack and I am calling out to him constantly. Suddenly I wake up from a loud bang. Jack too. He is scared and crawls under our bed as far as possible. I have an indefinable premonition. The wind should be howling right now, but instead it is calm and dead silent. I lie in bed with baithed breath. It is half past two in the morning in the harbour of Ormos Marathokampou. All of a sudden the predicted storm and torrential rainfall do break through the ominous silence. A fierce katabatic windgust pushes Coco crooked over her fenders against the concrete quay. Things fly through the cabin. “I’m scared,” I say to Ron. “Me too,” he replies.

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