We had left Crete on the 8th of May and were sailing towards the Ionian Sea. 24 hours later Crete was still looming on our starboard side as if we’d gotten nowhere. It is a big island, but our progress was very slow indeed. We were sailing close-hauled, and a lot of the time the wind was so light we had to motor.
I was a teenager when I first visited Crete. It was my first and only holiday trip “south”. Besides the beautiful beaches and too salty but wonderfully warm water, I’ve never forgotten my visit to an island of lepers. Decades later, we had arrived in the same place on our own keel, sailed past the famous island, Spinalonga, and anchored in the sheltered bay behind it. It was time to hop in the dinghy and visit the island fortress again.
Aina sailed peacefully, following her favourite compass heading, 180°. We saw Mykonos behind us, and soon also Naxos and Paros, as we continued further south. It was the last day of October, and the sun would set early. There would be no moon to guide us on this night passage. The cloudy sky soon turned pitch black. But the wind wasn’t bad, the sea not too bumpy, so we both slept well in turns. As I climbed into the cockpit for my shift around midnight, I saw the beautiful glittering lights of Santorini on our starboard side. Perhaps we would sail there one day, but not tonight – our destination was Crete.
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.