Wrap up of Season 3 - Eastern Mediterranean Sea
Well, we can say we had a season full of adventure from big storms at anchor to big fish at the back of the boat. I can say that the 2019 season has been a good one, from the quiet anchorages of Croatia to the iconic lamb chops in Preveza, Greece (Ana would never mention the lamb chops as a highlight of the season).
We have felt a sense of final freedom, to be where we wanted when we wanted, we tried to firmly keep ourselves to the budget and this year we almost succeeded on that goal.
After a few challenges, we finally made it to our winter berth in Tunisia with another winter full of boat projects and maintenance ahead.
As usual, we had plans that changed continually over the year even down to our last passage when we had battery problems during the crossing from Preveza, Greece to Siracusa, Sicily that lead us to briefly stop in Roccella Ionica, Italy. That was nearly the end of our season I can say, but with determination, we pressed on another 340 nautical miles to get here to Hammamet Tunisia.
What was our favourite time this year you ask, well it depends on what aspect you consider.
The quiet anchorage in island of Krk, in the north of Croatia, with the early morning fawn (deer) grazing by the shore eating the new tree shoots, or the perfect sunsets in any of the Croatian islands, maybe the polite light wind sails down the coast doing 3 to 4 knots with the Code 0C sail in maybe 6 knots of wind. The breeze may only have been there for an hour or two but it was worth it for sure.
The rolling storms of the Bora taking a still evening of no wind to a raging 54-knot gale in seconds, the whipping of the water, wind, thunder and lightening showing the power of our planet in all its glory.
The great people we met time and again all with the same desire to break from the rat race, find freedom and unburdened by the mundane routines of life, we have a strong connection with them all, we have found in common that cruiser sailing is an ongoing learning experience and one we all share and gain from each other.
Maybe the food, from the Peka of Croatia that must be ordered a day in advance, to the home-style cooking of the traditional Greek tavernas, the smells that invite you back time and again to try there tasty meals (lamb chops, fish of the day maybe freshly caught and cooked, squids, all yummy).
The challenges we face as a team, just the two of us, learning even after three seasons that we need to listen and communicate fully to have the best outcomes from any situation, from landing a fish to battery checks, from sail changes to weather windows. We are a team and we work best by sharing the knowledge and experience, neither of us runs the ship it’s a joint effort.
What’s ahead for 2020.
Well for a short moment we were almost lured to pack the boat up and head back to work, the idea of being able to get a few upgrades without stretching us in a way that we would prefer not enchanted us for a while, but another couple of years at the grindstone would pay dividends at a cost.
In the end, we seem to have settled that what will be will be and carried on with the original plans of working on the boat pushing to complete our projects.
This winter's projects include completion of the diesel heater, the redesign of our solar arch to add strength without excessive weight, fixing the battery bank and some other enhancements to make life just a little more pleasurable. The usual maintenance items with some major preventive items including a full engine inspection and service.
Our 2020 plan will see us in the greater eastern Greek islands through to Turkey and maybe winter in Cyprus or a combination of the three countries, we may spend a lot more of the next winter at anchor if we can find the right places. Beyond we can see the slow exit of the Mediterranean and onto a season of The Canaries, Cape Verde islands and then to Brazil.
Feel the fear and do it anyway.
Life is for living and we only get one chance to do it, so we say do it to your fullest.