Bits and Pieces of Summer 2022
Summer 2022 was filled with boat projects and leisurely day sails. We even spent several weeks just floating at anchor. Most mornings we felt like unfurling the sails and travelling into the next bay. Then, the day’s heat descended upon us and it was much more tempting to stay put in the shadow of the cockpit tent. We’re here to enjoy the cruising life, not to execute plans or cross things off a bucket list. It’s okay to stop whenever we want to, and it’s okay to go on indefinitely.
We had left Crete in the spring and sailed back to the Ionian sea, stopping in a few places along the way. Kythira island was love at first sight. Next, we stopped at Methoni and Pylos, both of them old acquaintances from last year. This time we even got to visit inside the Methoni castle, and what a beautiful place it was!
After two tiresome upwind passages since leaving Crete, we decided to wait for favourable winds before continuing. Now there was finally a southerly wind in the weather charts, so off we went. We left Pylos at sunrise and caught the pleasant wind, enjoying a whole day of nice downwind sailing – until it wasn’t nice any longer! It turned out that the passage between Zakynthos and the mainland Peloponnese can be a very gusty place. The waves were huge, the howling wind sounded like an angry witch choir, and the whole world suddenly became extremely uncomfortable. So what do you do? Push through until you find somewhere safe to drop the anchor and catch your breath. Those were some very long hours indeed. Eventually, we anchored in the shelter of the Zakynthos town bay in the pitch-black night.
The next leg took us all the way to Lefkas island, and it was pure sailing enjoyment from start to finish. The sky was achingly blue, the water flat and the wind on the beam getting nice and fresh towards the afternoon. Our boat Aina, with her tired sails and her fouled hull, felt happy and wild like she’d just woken from a long hibernation.
Vasiliki, on the south coast of Lefkas, is a pleasant little fishing village. It’s famous for its regular, fresh winds that have turned it into a busy water sports centre. Every day of the summer, countless windsurfers, sailing dinghies and beach catamarans dart back and forth across the bay. The morning breeze is light, making it ideal for beginners, while the afternoon catabatic wind called Eric can be challenging even for an experienced sailor.
We began our boat projects in Vasiliki, where a local sailmaker came to take measurements for a new staysail. The old one was destroyed in a Cretan spring storm. It’s the smaller foresail of our cutter-rigged boat, and we use it as an upwind sail and storm jib. When flown together with the bigger “Yankee” headsail, it makes the boat a little faster even in lighter winds.
Also, our newer mainsail needed modification to better fit the in-mast furling mechanism. It wouldn’t roll in and out smoothly and reliably, so we had never dared to use it in the open sea. All these years we had been sailing with our old, miserable, baggy mainsail, while the newer one sat in its bag, filling the forecabin. The leech of the new sail was cut straight instead of roach and its vertical battens were removed. This made the sail a little smaller, but it makes no difference to us. We don’t need fractions of knots to measure our speed – days and weeks are accurate enough for us.
Next, it was time to haul out Aina. We had made an appointment at the same trusted boatyard in Nidri where we’d done a great big bottom job a couple of years earlier. We’ve spent so much time in the area that it feels like home by now. This time there were no surprises. Aina got a pressure wash and a good scratch, and then it was time for us to get down to business.
During the next three weeks, we ticked off a dizzying amount of items from our list. At first, it looked like a dirty bomb had exploded, but one by one the projects were finished. When everything was done we invited a boat surveyor so we could update our insurance. He wrote such a praising report of Aina, it almost made us cry!
During July and August, we used Nidri as a base to explore the surrounding areas on foot, by boat, and sometimes in a rental car. The village of Karya, at the end of long, winding mountain roads was a particularly pretty place. We had a nice dinner there at a restaurant called “the Stupid Goat”.
We anchored several nights in front of the villages of Nikiana and Lygia and took a bus from there to visit Lefkada town. In Nikiana, we met a wonderful Finnish-Swedish-Greek family and invited them for a day sail with us. It was a lovely, sunny day in the best kind of company, as we drifted from one bay to another, swimming and enjoying ourselves.
At the end of August, we headed north through the Lefkas Channel. This time we were off on a longer adventure – but before that, we stopped for a few nights at our favourite anchorage in the Ionian, Two Rock Bay. The anchorage was still very busy with boats, but we managed to find a private barbeque beach every evening. Search, and you will find!
- Towards the Boatyard – Mini Holiday on Meganisi June 17, 2020
- Ionian Island Hopping: Kastos and Kalamos July 25, 2021
- The Strange Year 2020 – Sweat and Social Distancing December 31, 2020