We spent our last few days for this summer in Sivota, can’t think of a better place to be. The temperatures have cooled a little and there is more cloud around. Although the days are still in the mid-20’s, a jumper now accompanies us when we go out in the evenings. Don’t get me wrong, we are still in shorts during the day and I have my daily pilgrimage to the little pebbly beach for a sunbathe, but the swims are more of a paddle than a plunge.
Tim and Tina were with us for the first few days, but have now left for their winter moorings next to Alice up in Lefkas Marina. So that has left Mark and I to do our final chores on Hapatoni and enjoy the last few days of sunshine in our apartment.On our final evening in Sivota, we chilled on the balcony of our apartment overlooking the bay, with a glass of red wine in hand, the sun starting to set, reflecting on this year’s adventures and watching the final few yachts arriving in the vain hope of finding a mooring on the town quay. It certainly feels like a story of two halves, our departure from Crete back in late April seems a long time ago.
We covered a mere 880 miles this year, less than half of what we did last year, with only one overnight sail, making me a happy girl (I am sure Mark will make up for it next year). Our adventures were confined to Greece and although our season was cut short, we still managed to visit 21 different islands, mostly in the Aegean, as well as several parts of the Greek mainland. Despite this, we have not even scratched the surface, Greece has over 6,000 islands/islets mostly in the Aegean. 227 of these are inhabited, although only 53 have more than 1,000 residents and 95 have less than 100 inhabitants.
Of the many Islands we did visit this year, we have had several favourites which we will definitely revisit. The untouched Island of Arki with a human population of 38 and a goat population of several thousand, all living within walking distance of the harbour with its two tavernas. The island of Amorgos, with its uncompromising mountain ranges, the welcoming village of Katapola a short drive from the amazing monastery of Panayia suspended three quarters the way up a vertical cliff. The anchorage at Sandy Bay Kolona on Kithnos was beautiful, but our favourite anchorage was Wreck Cove, which you will all remember for Mark’s very “white shorts”, such an incredibly tranquil spot and remarkedly we didn’t have to share it with anyone else. Finally, one of the most amazing but eerie experiences was to be the only two people standing in the middle of a smoking volcanic crater on the Island of Nisyros …. and of course not forgetting our Ionian favourites, Sivota and Giaos.
When we return to the Aegean, I think we will confine our travels to the “less than 100 inhabitants” islands, these are the places we have adored, whereas the larger ones have, in typical Mediterranean fashion, been commercialised and although they haven’t suffered the “high-rise” disfigurement of Mediterranean Spain, they can be a little too “kiss me quick” for Mark and I.Getting Hudson home is always complicated because of the distance from our cruising grounds in the Ionian to Athens, which is the only place in Greece with facilities to fly pets to the UK. Hire car companies charge extortionate amounts to pick up and drop off in different locations, there are no trains to the Ionian and Hudson is not allowed on long-distance buses, unless he goes below with the baggage. So this year Mark had to return our local hire car to Lefkas, then fly from Preveza to Athens Airport to pick up another hire car, then drive the 5 hours back to Sivota in preparation for our five hour return to Athens on the 27th Sep – I know it sounds complicated but it is by far the cheapest way to get Hudson back home stress free ‘ish. Our return to the UK was uneventful, although I think Hudson knows what is coming when we drop him off in cargo at Athens Airport, he always lets the whole airport know his thoughts on being separated from us for the flight back.We arrived back in Hamble at 12:30 am, Mark is talking about lighting a fire.