Friday, March 16, 2018
One of my goals was to go south and ride in the warmer climate of Crete or Turkey or Cyprus through the winter. Waiting for refrigerator repairs conspired to keep me in Athens, but this morning I am on my last leg and will be nestled somewhere in Crete by the time you read this post.
The sea of Crete is wide open, 3-4,000 feet deep and so I am taking another bumpy ride today before the next storm sweeps through on Saturday. I pulled off the dock alone at 6:15, even with a 15 knot wind holding me on the pier. My thrusters gave me enough leeway to get away safely. The winds last night were pretty significant again, and the sea of Crete has a lot of fetch, so the waves are bumpy and hitting me broadside. As I make my way further south the winds are diminishing as expected and the waves will follow suit soon I am sure.
Yesterday between Milos and Thera I saw almost no boat traffic except within five miles of Milos and Thera. Today its even more sparse. I have seen just one ship and only because I saw the AIS signature did I look for the ship. There is another out here now, but too far away for me to see. This is a good estimation of what life will be like when I cross the Atlantic next winter. Although then I will have 2-3 other people with me.
The good news is that I don’t have to stare out the window constantly. There is nothing out there. I check the engine fairly frequently (today I discovered that I am very low on transmission fluid. Will be attending to that as soon as I reach Crete) always looking for leaks and temperature changes. If the water were smooth I would cook something but with the waves hitting me broadside everything is locked down and I am simply snacking. I am reading primarily and planning for guests on a couple of occasions over the next little while.
The temperature here is around 20C and the sky is mostly clear. It’s my first winter in Southern Europe but I think the cold is now gone for good. I have run the heaters for a few hours in total since arriving back in Athens a week and a half ago and I will probably not need them in Crete.
As I type this, the sea is flattening considerably. Despite being 30nm offshore the island is protecting the water from the wind (reducing the fetch) all while the winds diminish closer to land. It is all as expected.
I have lost cell connection here too, so no more reading the news, but I do have a few books and I am digging through Fire and Fury. I could write for hours on the problems this man (Trump) is causing for the world, but I try to remember that this is the internet and not a place to tear people down, and certainly not a sitting American president. While I have always known that Trump is not very bright, this book offers insight, apparently first hand, into just how shallow and brainless he really is.
Crete is about 65nm South of Santorini, and new to me. The weather in the Sea of Crete will likely get much worse for a few days beginning tomorrow so I am looking for a marina. A place to tie the boat up and leave it for a while. I will make Crete home for the next 6 weeks or so and launch my activities from here.
This post has blended over to Saturday morning…
I arrived last night around 6pm and after some paperwork began cleaning the boat. I have now been to three islands in the last week and haven’t taken the time to clean the boat. It is salty and dirty, so today it will get a thorough wash down.
Google maps doesn’t really help me figure out a name for the town I am in. The marina is ayios Nikolaos, and it is well protected, and a short walk in town last night suggests it is a lively town. This should be as good a base as any for riding and travelling if I choose to return to Toronto for a couple of weeks.
There aren’t any meaningful pictures today because I have been on the water so much. But maybe later today when I am on the bike. The featured photo is sunrise upon leaving Santorini/Thera.