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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Scaredy-cats

American boat friends lovingly call us ‘scaredy-cats’ when we tell them about our doubts about sailing on the Aegean Sea. According to them, it is not too bad. Adriaan, skipper of sailing yacht the ‘Bataaf’, talks about it with more awe. Too much wind, he says and he tells us about the German sailor from Aachen who left his ship twice in blind fear and now no longer can get insurance for his yacht.

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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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