I had a hard choice to make. Mick was headed towards England, Ireland, cold pubs and warm beer. Spring is my favourite time of the year in England, the tourists have gone, and the weather is the same as the rest of the year. Crap. I really want to go with him but my hearts just not in it. Sorry Mick.
Who am I trying to kid. You couldn’t get me out of northern Europe fast enough. Sailing around the Greek Islands is one of those fantasies that I think everybody dreams about. Fitzy and Kate had sent their boat over on a big Freighter, and had spent the last couple of months exploring the French Riviera, Monaco, and the Italian coast line. Greece was next, “Pick Me”.
This is how I found myself on a windy afternoon in Corinth Harbour, talking to the customs bloke and looking for a dot on the Horizon. Eventually the dot turned up and that’s where I joined the Yacht "Loki" and my crew for our jaunt around the Aegean. After convincing customs that I really didn’t want to escape the country yet, we headed off through the Corinth canal, and into the sea of Islands. We spent a couple of days cruising down the coast stopping at the little towns at night for dinner, breakfast and a bit of sightseeing on the way. Then we turned east and out into the Aegean proper. Our first stop was Kythnos, and the little fishing town of Loutra. The crew did an excellent job of birthing us at the wharf while I supervised, then we headed the 20 meters into town for a coldie and a bite to eat. The next morning we caught a taxi up into the hills to check out the main town. They built them up here in the first century to deter the pirates, they where lazy bastards who couldn’t be bothered walking up the hills. There is no shortage of hills here. It’s hot, but the town’s all have a cool square with vine covered walkways and little cafes off them. After lunch, it’s a bit more sightseeing round the island with a local history lesson from the taxi driver. Back to the boat for dinner, and then off to the next island in the morning.
The Aegean can be very windy. The local breeze is called the Meltemi which sort of sounds like bad wind in Spanish but god knows what it means in Greek. It blows from May to September then vanishes. We missed it by a week, consequently we do a lot of motoring, sticking the sail up when the is the odd hint of breeze. The islands make the winds blow from all directions, and very inconstant, so by the time we get the sail up the wind is generally gone. Our taxi driver tells us this is the best time of the year, the tourists have gone, the Meltemi has gone, the weather is good, and the locals are cruising to the end of the season before packing up and heading back to Athens.
We follow the same pattern for a week, then I’ve got a plane to catch. I leave the crew to find a berth for the boat in Turkey, while I fly 2000 KM in the wrong direction to catch a plane which flies back over where I’ve just left. I tell the guys to notify me immediately if they find a Greek Island which is not, hilly, covered in houses with white walls and blue windows, has trees, or doesn’t have perfect weather. I’m still waiting for the call. Click the Pic