Bye Bye Crete, Malta here we come!

Entrance to Heraklion’s Venetien Harbour

Without a doubt, Crete has been our favourite part of Greece. It’s people seem friendlier, most food local, ancient history omnipresent and you don’t have to fight for mooring space with clueless charter boats. In fact, there’s so little sailing boats around that in the past 20 days we kept on bumping into the same people! We found the best marina in Greece in Ay Nikolao with free bbq facilities, laundry AND working shower (!); loved the local markets and Italian style town squares; never got tired of exploring more ruins; fell in love with funky university town and Crete’s capital Heraklion; had un unforgettable dinner at our sailmaker’s gorgeous garden place (Thanks again Korina & Gregoris!), strolled through picturesque Rethimnon and Xania and couldn’t get enough of arty cafes, toy-filled bars (yes, we travel with kids) and innumerable other loved and loving places.

If you need a sailmaker, handyguy, boat expert, mast climber or cave enthusiast in Crete, Gregoris in Heraklion is one of the few professionals who’s not only friendly and on-time, but really knows his stuff.

Crete is one of few Greek islands which is completely self-sufficient. A well and running economy based a lot around tourism unfortunately often means that bays which could be stunningly beautiful, like Bali or Elounda, are littered with sunbeds, ice cream vendors, ugly skyscraper hotels along the beach and boom boom teen beach parties till 5am (water indeed is a fabulous carrier of sound waves, grrr!), but Pablo shuts me up when complaining. Somehow Greece needs to get its economy back running. I guess he’s right and regrettably there seems to be a massive demand for this kind of holiday paradise en masse.

Ay Nikolao_403
Ay Nikolao

It’s been about a month since we took Happy Dancer out of the water to repaint the bottom and tackle another few things. Amazing how it affects the speed and fuel consumption in a positive way and so happy that this year’s anti-foul, contrary to the first one from the yard in Kilada seems to be doing its job properly without coming off at the touch of a finger. As such, we still cruise at around 5 knots, even with headwinds of 20 knots and more, typical for Crete summer when heading Westwards against the Meltemi.

Crete to Malta

We’ll leave for Malta later today and should arrive there on the weekend – maybe Friday eve if we don’t stop over at Gramvousa island. 435 nautical miles and hopefully a bit of wind ahead. We are hoping to catch the tail end of a meltemi for the first 24 hours and maybe a blow from the Ionina half way through the 4-5 day journey.  The kids are so excited to go back to Malta for a couple of weeks, they’ve started painting pictures for each and everyone of their little and big friends!

One last time we lift the anchor in Greece. Thanks for your beautiful islands, the history you’ve shared, all your winds have taught us, the friendships we made and souvlakis, fetta cheese and olive oil we devoured.

I’ve pre-scheduled a few recipe and yoga posts. You’ll here back from us life when we arrive in Valletta and can track our progress here until then. Unless our SSB miraculously decides to work, we won’t have internet access until our next landfall;) And here’s to the romance and uninterrupted  tranquility of the open sea!

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