2022 JUNE: Crete, Peloponnese, Malta, Sicily and arrived in Sardinia!2022-06-27
We are going to leave Santorini in Crete’s direction, where are we going to direct our bow, Plaka (to the East), Heraklion (in the center) or Chania (to the West)?
The weather conditions direct us to Chania.
We leave our anchorage in the morning around 10am, with a wind varying from 10 to 20kts from the North-West. MR glides well. We have more than 80 NM to do during the day. Moving away from Santorini, the wind stabilizes.
We arrive in the evening at 23:00 at Marathi Bay in Crete. Early in the morning, this idyllic bay reveals itself on the edge of an active stone quarry and not far from a military airport. It’s a shame because the rest is very nice.
Crete is an island of more than 250 km long and 55 km wide and 637,000 inhabitants. Will have to visit again.
After breakfast, we leave for the town of Chania (control of Richard’s platelets obliges). We spent three days in port, the swell outside makes the nearby anchorages very uncomfortable.
The old town is beautiful to walk every corner, but also very touristy. We moored MR in the small Venetian port, around which the life of the city is organized. We also discover a market of fruits and vegetables, meats, fish and local cheeses.
We rented a car to visit Rethymon, a pretty seaside town halfway between Heraklion and Chania. We walked through its alleys and discovered its houses, restaurants and its balconies with viewpoints and these bougainvilleas in bloom.
Then we went to Balos Bay, as seen from land, we liked it so much that we returned there to anchor and spend two quiet nights, in the morning and in the afternoon, because from 11 in the morning the tourists come by land, boat, ferry, but at 5 in the afternoon everything is peaceful again.
This anchorage is a true little paradise.
On Tuesday morning we headed to the south of the Peloponnese, which we passed a bit quickly coming from Corfu in the month of April. Our course points to the island of Elafonissos.
It is a beautiful bay sheltered from the north winds surrounded by white sand beaches. It is located at the end of the easternmost tooth of the Peloponnese. There are few boats and we spent a perfect night there.
The next day, we took the opportunity to swim and walk on the beach and we left this charming bay for Porto Kaggio late in the afternoon. We sailed the 24 miles west to the second prong of the Peloponnese.
We arrived in Porto Kaggio at nightfall. It appears to be a good shelter well protected. There are 4 waterfront taverns, but none are highly rated in the guidebooks. So we decided to have dinner on board. While we wait for the sea to calm down, we go around the bay looking for sea urchins, but we come back empty handed. There are small beaches that are not sandy and are covered with large stones and the sea urchins are all black.
In the morning all the boats leave and very quickly in the early afternoon the bay fills up again until it is saturated from the beginning of the night.
It is time to leave for the third tooth of the Peloponnese towards the small town of Methoni. We have a supporting wind that pushes us towards our destination at 52 NM and there is still a residual wave from the past days, but we arrived in 8:30 hours of navigation.
We anchor in the bay in front of the beach and go down to have our last drinks in Greece. While on land we were caught by a violent storm, which washed out the entire ship (including the interior because the deck hatches had been left open).
The next day we visit the Venetian castle and walk through the streets of the city to finish, of course, in a restaurant and say goodbye to Greece (which may be a see you soon)
Back on the ship, we prepare our journey to Malta, 358 min. We don’t add diesel, we have 150 liters which should be enough to go to Malta and then get to Tunisia to refuel there. In fact, in Greece the price is €2.20 per liter while in Tunisia it costs only €0.60/l.
Finally we left for Malta. This is the longest leg we have sailed non-stop together at MR. We are planning two nights of sailing (maybe three). The weather forecast announces light wind but enough to move forward. We establish a two-hour night watch regimen. The person on duty is prohibited from leaving the cockpit without waking up the other person who is sleeping outside on a bench.
The first night the full moon will accompany us, it rises at the same time as the sunset. Mercedes no longer knows where to point her camera.
The nights and days follow each other with sunrises and full moons and we enjoy these fantastic images, although this time the dolphins were not with us, but we saw a couple of turtles swimming and thousands of cargo ships and oil tankers.
During the trip we realize that we have very little diesel. Mercedes looks askance at Richard. In fact, it was he who made the calculations of the amount. Aside from a mechanical jamming of an indicator, the only explanation is that Richard made a mistake.
In short, we make the trip almost without using the engine to compensate for the calm that we find.
We arrived in Valletta (Malta) on the afternoon of the fourth day of sailing, quite stressed by our general lack of energy. As we approach the anchorage, Richard wants to power in, to which Mer advises against it, so we’ll take our anchorage under sail.
Once well anchored, we start the generator to recharge the batteries that are almost empty, but it only works for a quarter of an hour before stopping cold. Wow, thank you Mary!!! Red card to Richard for his mismanagement of diesel.
We are anchored in front of the Valletta yacht club in the center of the city. It is magical, the view is splendid and it is very easy to go ashore with our dinghy.
We stayed four days in Malta, we visited the city and the “Three Cities” which are surprisingly beautiful and lively, there are many things to see and we are short of time.
On Sunday we take the bus to the small fishing port Markaslokk where a famous market is held on the island. We found very good chunks of tuna there.
Monday, program change, we cancel the Tunis stage. We refueled with diesel before leaving for Sicily and then for Sardinia, from where Richard will take the plane to check him up at the Bordeaux hospital.
We stopped at the Bahia de Bleue Lagoon, but upon arrival we found a kind of Disneyland with tourists in swimsuits dancing, drinking and shouting. We would have bathed in this turquoise water but it was invaded by jellyfish.
At night after 8:30 p.m. everyone left and the place reveals its natural beauty until the next day at 7:30 a.m., time of arrival of the first boats.
At 7:30 a.m. m., we set sail for Sicily at Cala Grande (Capo ROSSELO) at 88NM, where we arrive in the evening at 10 p.m. m.
At lunchtime at sea, we taste the delicious tuna tartare with avocado and mango that Mer prepares for us. Yesterday he had prepared us a sublime tuna tataki (the result of the visit to the market)
The next morning, we wake up alone in this great bay, the sea is oily, the sun is already high and once again we cannot swim due to the presence of jellyfish. So we headed to the neighboring bay, Scala dei Turchi, which has a setting of white cliffs at the foot of sandy beaches and turquoise waters.
It’s after 10am, we’re heading to Favignana (Sicily’s westernmost island of the Egadi Islands) in a sea of oil with a light breeze. We alternate the engine and sail phases. In fact, along the way we are so slow that we change our plans and head directly to Sardinia at 180NM as the forecast predicts even less wind.
We sail all night always with light airs and in the middle of fishing fleets, the guards are active. code 0 works fine all night.
At dawn we find ourselves in a light fog, still on a sea of oil and without wind.
We alternately advanced engine, code 0, Genoa until we landed in front of Santa Maria Navaresse, a little north of Arbatax, on the east coast of Sardinia.
It’s already Saturday, a little south wind picks up, we leave to approach Olbia (northeast of the island) at 70 mn. We decided to go at least half way. Finally, a SE wind of 25 kts picked up, against all weather forecasts, pushing the MR to over 8 kts.
We thus travel 52NM to the bay of Capo Coda Cavallo, 15NM from our destination.
We are well protected from the wind and waves, but we had not anticipated the presence of an outdoor wedding and that the music played in the bay part of the night, but with fatigue it did not prevent us from sleeping.
Sunday, we enjoy one last swim, store the dinghy in his garage and set sail for Olbia. We will find a place to moor MR at the public dock in front of the city.
From there, Richard will fly to Bordeaux for a few days and Mer will take advantage of the tourist side of Olbia while taking care of MR.
See you next time …. from Corsica where we hope to receive crew members who will sail on board and discover the pleasure of sailing the coast and life on board MR ⛵