This episode was one of our most fun creations to date, it was such an awesome topic, sitting and debating the beauty of both life on land and life on the ocean really brought home our reasons for being where we are today.
SAILING LEROS TO KALYMNOS ISLAND
We finally sailed away from our winter island of Leros to Kalymnos, enjoying some easy-going homeschool along the way.
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This particular journey was our first distance sail of the season (still only a meer 20 nautical miles) and I had been losing sleep over it, having had too many months tied to dock and not enough anchor life…safe to say it was time to ‘get back on the horse’.
Kalymnos is famed for both it’s time-honoured practise of sponge-diving and for its stunning cliffs and climbing areas.
We took the opportunity to get closer to these special island delights by booking some time on land via airbnb and stayed in the beautiful home of our host Sevi Kampouraki ‘Villa By The Sea’ nearby for a short stay.
It was my birthday, Noah was under the weather and so this was a lovely way to grab some respite & change things up for a few days. Though leaving Holly Blue at port is never an easy thing to do mentally.
Whilst we were there we took the opportunity to hire a car and visit Vathy, which was a fantastic rock-opening anchorage that we had hoped to sail Holly to, but was a gamble due to it’s proximity to other anchorages and both it’s accessibility/capacity for yachts.
We also explored a few other beaches of kalymnos including the famous Pirate Beach Bar – though don’t put your feet up on the tables in the near-empty garden area there – I got a ticking off when I attempted to relax and left feeling, to be honest, more disgruntled than chilled out.
And we will never forget the amazing visit to Captain Kampouraki – the oldest sponge diver in Kalymnos. Where the boys got to interview him and learn all about sponge diving.
SOME HELPFUL SEASONAL ADVICE FOR CRUISERS
An ocean life is ever-demanding, ever-changing but also ever-inspiring.
it is almost impossible to get bored and in the moments when your mind wants to wander you can relax on deck and experience a constantly changing landscape of nature, colours and culture.
Living in Greece we are blessed with the sunshine and turquoise waters but even when the weather cools and the waters lose their luminosity the ‘cosy’ feels of winter can be felt…if not more-so than on land at times when the rain might be pelting down just few feet above your head and thunderstorms perform a light display to behold.
The key to enjoying sailing life year-round is really to equip your vessel with all the comforts you require to manage the less desirable scenarios and also to be moored safely and comfortably during less favourable sailing conditions. We spend the majority of the stormier winter months in a nice marina with good facilities (code for good showers/laundry/bar/cafe/supermarket), so far our partner Preveza Marina has topped those we have visited all over Greece so far!
MAKING THE MOST OF THOSE SEASONS
Ok so this kind of sparks me to feel inspired to advise anyone out there of exactly WHAT can make or break your onboard experience year-round….
Temps are balmy, walks are an absolute must, and experiencing nature and cultural sights on land is something we would recommend you do. This is advisable before the temperature climbs and you find yourself clinging to the ladder at the back of the boat to cool off every 5 minutes and stepping foot onto a scorching pavement is simply not an option.
Probably best to pack a poncho and start to get mosquito netting ready over your hatches and windows in preparation for when those little critters start to hatch and make you scratch.
Spring is the time of year when we are usually just winding down the boat jobs, checking safety for sailing and ensuring the cleanliness of the cabins.
Hot as hell-fire. There’s no other way to describe it. Watermelons dragging in nets behind the boat, tea towels awaiting our foreheads in the freezer compartment, fans blasting non-stop and midnight sea-dips are common. At this time of year we are ever-thankful that we live on a perpetual swimming pool.
The things that have helped us the most are our amazing Bimini shade, many fans on-board, a good fridge and simple things like wind-catchers over the hatches that create an incredible cooling breeze that alone can easily knock a few degrees off the cabin temperature inside. We obviously keep water in the fridges and rarely cook a hot meal or drink tending towards greek salads and fruit instead.
Let’s just say that when summer hits you better make sure your solar can withstand it and your batteries will last it. Spoiler alert…in season 4 you will note that we are now proud ambassadors for Super B LiFePo 4 Batteries – we will be doing a whole post and episode about these game-changers. But in summary the main features of these batteries is their incredible capacity but unlike other lithium batteries they are completely marine safe and won’t explode!
Not what you would probably expect. Most people think balmy days, a slight chill at night. NOPE you can get that idealistic POV out of your head right away.
Greece is like that for sure between around October to Mid-December but soon winter properly decends and temps can drop to zero whilst rainfall of course increases along with it.
Storms are also more prevalent during these months as the wind direction switches from predominantly North or North-west to southerly which brings slightly warmer winds and generally rainfall.
For us this means some weeks we can spend days on end inside the cabin…venturing out only in order to provision or hit the gym. We spend from around Dec to March either visiting family overseas, working abroad on videography projects or marina based and use this time efficiently to really knuckle down with work projects and homeschool in order to relax the workflow a little when we re-surface to begin travels again.
The 2 main factors for being able to cope on board during these months is to create space (cabin fever is a thing) and to feel warm!
For space we have created ‘areas’ for each other to both work and relax. The boys have a TV in their rooms for both educational (documentaries) and entertainment purposes whilst myself and Ross have one for movies too. We keep the communal area in the galley device-free so that we can work together on the table and all of us have (noise cancelling) headphones so that we don’t interfere with each others work flow. If you don’t have AirPods then I highly suggest you invest…they make focusing in a small space much easier.
Regarding warmth we have onboard central heating which runs off the diesel but for obvious reasons we prefer to use our electric heater which is where those amazing Super B batteries come into play once again. Also condensation and mould can get terrible on board so we have a dehumidifier running around the clock for which our batteries need to be able to cope with. Marina electric prices can run high in no time at all so we highly recommend fitting your boat with power storage like ours which will save you tons and also be environmentally friendlier.
Relaxing becomes both a physical thing (taking time out to exercise or walk) when the weather allows and a mental thing through artistic pursuits – Josh plays piano, I play guitar and both Noah and I like to paint and draw. Ross finds his creative side through editing our episodes.
And that’s kinda how we cope…sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t and we go through periods of weathering (literally) the winter months pretty well and other patches of wishing for it to be over.
Truth is I don’t think anyone escapes the harshness of some seasons and they are there to help us slow down to take time to focus on our internal dialogue and perhaps to remind us of how epic life can feel when the sun begins to re-appear. And to not take it for granted once it does.
Hope you enjoyed this little seasonal ramble about how we cope and maybe for some of you who are looking to jump into this lifestyle (in the med area specifically) it will have provided some help and insight.
Much love to you guys, and as always, thanks for being there and keeping the dream alive for us.
We love you to Kepler 22 and back (as Noah the ‘space geek’ would say). Basically it’s long way away!