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?

Continue reading “Normal”

Category 6

Although I still wonder daily how the hell we got into this global mass hysteria, at the same time I try to accept our fate: in lockdown living aboard our Coco on the beautiful Greek island of Samos. There are worse places to be stuck and fortunately the strict rules also offer some escape options, like our favorite ‘category 6’: personal exercise and walking with pets.

Continue reading “Category 6”

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’.

Continue reading “Lockdown”

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.

Continue reading “Unreal”

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.

Continue reading “Scared”

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.

Continue reading “Travel stress”

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.

Continue reading “Ochi”

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.

Continue reading “Distant friends”

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.

Continue reading “Chania rocks”

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.

Continue reading “Parttime paradise”