A Final Peak at the Peloponnese, Ep. 139

A couple of years ago, when Samuel Adams started hawking their ‘West Coast Style’ Rebel IPA, I was intrigued. Here I was a California-born living in Samuel Adams country on the East Coast. What could be a better beer to drink? If only one could solve the riddle of what ‘west coast style’ really meant. Beer aficionados touted its hoppier hops, but to a mere commoner like me, it was just a simple IPA. As we pointed Sea Rose up along the west coast of the Peloponnese peninsula, I wasn’t going to let a catchy marketing cliche get in the way of appreciating this region’s unique west coast style. If it meant a little beer tasting along the way, all the better!

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The Eyes of Venice, Ep. 138

It might help if you scrounge around ahead of time for the ouzo in the back of your liquor cabinet, but when I look at the layout of the Peloponnese coastline and bays, it reminds me of the profile of an American Bison, grazing on the plains of Yellowstone National Park. And with that spirit of the Wild West, we set off westbound from Limeni to cross the last 20 miles of open water to the port of Koroni.

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A Transformative State of Mind, Ep. 137

The Peloponnese landmass branches out into three prominent peninsulas on its southern shore, forming two long, deep bays. These peninsulas are barren, dry landscapes, with steep ridge lines running their length, reminding me of the spiny, crusty back of a Tyrannosaurus rex. And perhaps it is the threat of a T-rex emerging from the dead that keeps the general populous away from this region of Greece. Or the lack of roads. What remains is a number of small villages and, in the summer, a preponderance of mini-campers driven by modern day hippies trying to find a momentary escape from contemporary living. Perhaps there were a couple people onboard Sea Rose looking for a bit of the same.

We launched our exploration of these deep bays and peninsulas after an early morning departure from Elafonisos. I was hoping that the concentration of large motor yachts around the corner were not going to hinder our escape from a contemporary state of mind. Thankfully, the four hour trip across calm flat seas to the Mani peninsula and the port of Kayio was blissful – dare I say transformative. After so many days of high winds and nasty seas, it was magical to rediscover sailing in benign weather. 

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Windward and Airborne, Ep. 136

Sitting at anchor in Gramvousa, on the island of Crete, with the prevailing northerly winds howling down on us, and a long upwind climb in our near future to get up to the Peloponnese, it felt a little like being stuck in a sink hole. Cruising down to Crete had only exacerbated our upwind challenges. But it was worth it. We had hiked the gorges of Crete’s interior, ambled through narrow stone-lined alleys of historic villages, sipped the nectar of its burgeoning wine industry, and swam through the rusting hulks of not-so-long-ago shipwrecks. Now we had to pay our dues.

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Love Thy Siesta, Love Thy Sister, Ep. 130

There are not many marine preserves in Greece – in fact, not many in the entire the Med – but we set our course for the island of Arki, a soon-to-be ratified part of the North Dodecanese Wildlife Refuge, and a short distance from Leros where we had started from just a week ago. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a protected area in Greece, but our arrival in the calm harbor of Port Augusta answered any doubts I had. Here was an only slightly larger version of the charming little village of Agathonisi that we had visited last week. Approaching the small town quay, we could see plenty of space around the few boats already med moored to the quay. After the warmup at Agathonisi, Karen was in natural form as she turned Sea Rose around and began backing into the quay as I lowered the anchor. Med mooring with two people is a bit tricky, as you can really use a third person to manage tying the stern lines to the quay. Thankfully, a gentleman from a nearby boat wandered over and helped with that task. And the reduced breeze reduced the stress level as well. 

Port Augusta, on the island of Arki
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A Visa and A Smirk, Ep. 128

Our daughter, with a bit of a smirk, said, “I’ll see you in a day or two” as she dropped us off at the airport. The problem was, we were packed to the gunwales with gear for a summer of sailing onboard Sea Rose, and we had no intention of coming back home in a few days. But this is the era of Covid-19 and most any effort to plan for the future seems futile. 

A nearly empty international terminal in Boston, apart from all of our bags!
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The Home Stretch, Ep. 127

Our previous blog left off with us exploring the wonderful island of Kalimnos by rental car with our friends, Conner and Andree! They would be flying out today to make their way back to Athens and then eventually to the United States. They kept the car since the harbor where Sea Rose is docked is on the opposite side of the island from the Kalimnos Airport.

We walked them and their luggage to the car and said our good-byes. We would be leaving the dock as soon as we had Sea Rose prepared for her final sail of 2019. We had about 20 miles ahead of us to get up to the northern end of Leros Island, where Sea Rose would be hauled out and stored for the winter. See the map of our starting and destination islands below as a reference.

Our last 20-mile sail from Kalimnos to Leros Island, Greece
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Toying With The Turkish Border, Ep. 126

Like a seasoned pit crew at the Indy 500, Karen and I worked as fast as lightning in Astipalea, bidding farewell to Dan, Shelly and Don at 7am and welcoming Connor and Andree on board just 2 hours later. In fact, Connor and Andree  were getting off the same flight at Astipalea that Dan, Shelly and Don were boarding! Buckets of soap and sponges were flying around the cabin, linens were being picked up by the local laundry service, and provisions were hastily purchased and stowed. With only two flights a week, and no ferry service directly available, we had no choice but to ask our guests to deboard and board the same day.

Welcome, Connor and Andree, to Sea Rose in the Dodecanese!
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Sailing In And Out Of Civilization, Ep. 125

All I could remember about Ios, from our honeymoon 27 years ago, was its reputation as a party island. We had already held an awesome party in the form of an outdoor wedding reception in the wine country of California’s Sonoma Valley. When we had finally shed ourselves from all the strings of post-weddingness and boarded the flight to Greece, late-night parties were not high on my list. I wanted to be a regular tourist, with regular tourist ambitions in Greece, like touring the Parthenon and relaxing on the sands of a sun-bleached island. Mykonos, like Ios, hadn’t made the honeymoon cut, but after Karen and I spent three days there earlier this summer and appreciated the island’s charms, I felt bad that we had stereotyped it into a corner. For sure, it was no fun being anchored off the cacophony that is Paradise Cove, but we found the old town of Mykonos immensely stroll-able and oozing with striking bougainvillea at every turn. Now, as we sailed Sea Rose into the main harbor at Ios, I tried to keep more of an open mind. If nothing else, we greatly appreciated the protection of the harbor, nearly enclosed except from the Southwest, making the high winds from the North less threatening. We had heard that the public dock was a good option here, in fact, the only option. With the high frequency of big passenger ferries arriving constantly, they needed all of the navigable water in the harbor to turn and maneuver on to the ferry landing. If anchoring in the harbor was forbidden because of this ferry traffic, I was completely accepting; neither of us wanted to get rolled by the ferry’s wake, or worse. 

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Meltemi Reimagined, Ep. 123

As we looked back on our time with each of the collections of people we had aboard Sea Rose over the past summer, special details stand out for each group. Some had particularly amazing snorkeling experiences or a bunch of caves to explore. Others had lots of opportunity for star gazing from isolated coves. Our good friends Bob and Lisa joined us on the island of Mykonos, Greece and got off Sea Rose in Paros and their time with us was defined by high winds. As Tom mentioned in our last blog post, the hot, dry winds that come out of the North and slam down through the Aegean Sea during the Greek summers are called the Meltemi and we got very familiar with that term while Bob and Lisa were with us!

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