Ionian to Aegean – s/y Aina’s year 2021 in Greece

Ionian to Aegean – s/y Aina’s year 2021 in Greece

When our sailing journey began in the summer of 2018, we never thought we would be staying very long in any country. But we’re still in Greece after more than two years! This winter will be the third that our Aina rests in a Greek harbour – this time in Crete. We hope our readers can wait for future sailing plans patiently, as they are never revealed even to us until the very last moment.

Although the country and currency remained the same, we enjoyed our life just as we had imagined it to be when we first embarked on this adventure. Waking up to a beautiful landscape each morning, free to sail when and wherever we felt like sailing, and free to stay put if we didn’t feel like sailing just then.

During the lockdown, boats weren’t allowed to move, of course. But ever since the restrictions were lifted in May, nothing held us back, apart from the weather gods, and possibly a port police or two. Greece promptly vaccinated even foreign visitors, so we were ready to hit the islands in June. It was easy to stay away from crowds and big cities in the quiet coves of the Peloponnese and the Aegean islands.

Due to the pandemic, travel has turned into something totally different for most people. Overseas holidays and city breaks have become rare. But travelling on a sailboat is still pretty much the same it always was. It even seems a bit fashionable these days, along with hiking in the local woods and national parks, touring with camper vans and enjoying the country life in cabins and cottages. It’s easy to keep a distance from others when you live on a boat, even in the Mediterranean.

If there’s one thing our journey has taught us, it’s living in the moment. The changing world has made that philosophy even stronger. But it doesn’t mean it’s easy – it’s been a hard lesson, especially for someone who’s always made plans and designs for a living. Very few are born with an innate ability to live in the moment. It’s all about finding the right balance, I guess. If you make plans, they might not materialise. If you don’t, you might turn into one of those really annoying people whose answer to everything is “whatever”. Still, this moment is the only thing we really have. Tomorrow, next week, next year – all of that is pure speculation.

We wish all of our readers a Very Happy New Year nevertheless! Fair winds!

Finally, sundry statistical facts of the year 2021:

The sailing season began on May 15th. We headed west from our winter base, Galaxidi, and spent the first summer weeks island hopping in the Ionian, and then crossed to the Peloponnese in July.

There will always be incidents and accidents – our boat almost sank because of a fouled prop! But we lived to tell the story. Eventually, we sailed into the Aegean in September, just as planned.

Next, more island hopping in the Saronic Gulf and the Cyclades. Then the weather got cold and we decided to migrate south – Crete – for the winter. We made it to Spinalonga bay on November 1st. November 24th we parked Aina in Agios Nikolaos marina.

1035 nautical miles travelled

8 nights on passage
165 nights at anchor
24 nights in a marina
4 nights on a boatyard
43 anchorages
1 marina
17 islands

Nicest anchorage: Spinalonga bay, Crete
Nicest town: Naxos

Prettiest village: Apeiranthos
Most interesting island: Delos
Most handsome temple: Aphaia’s temple, Aegina
Finest castle: Methoni
Most beautiful beach: Mizithres, Zakynthos
Most exciting sight: sunken city of Ancient Epidavros
Longest passage: Mykonos – Crete, 140 nm
Most memorable moment: meeting a sperm whale
Biggest ordeal: distress in Mezapos bay
Greatest achievement: Inka’s diver’s certificate
Hottest day: August 5th, +45°C
Number of Finnish people met: 10
Best seafood: quick sushi made from self-caught tuna
Best bread: Aina’s own sourdough rye loaf
Best pizza: our friends on s/y Relax cooked just as good pizza as Al Ponte, Gdansk!
Best local dish: Kalamata’s smoked pork hock, Taverna Chagiati

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