Our plan was to leave Agios Nikolaos and head to Rethymno avoiding Heraklion as someone told us the marina wasn’t very nice. Instead, we made it to Spinalonga Island Crete – an ex-Leper colony!
Let me back up – after leaving the Agios Nikolaos Marina, and once we entered to open waters, my husband, Simon, announced:
“I’m not happy about this weather!”
Feeling a bit stir crazy and wanting to carry on, I responded, ‘Well, let’s get around this point and see if the wind calms down a bit. Perhaps it’s coming off the top of the island?’
We had only our genoa (front sail) out and kept having to reef it back more and more.
The winds were forecasted to be in the low 20’s but we were getting hit with 30 to 35 knots of wind…and again, it was on our nose!
The weather failed to improve so Simon pulled out the pilot book and asked, ‘How do you feel about anchoring off Spindalonga Island?’ Vising the area of Elounda just last night for dinner, I was happy with his decision. The town of Elounda looks out at Spindalong Island.
At least we could get a closer look at the ex-Leper colony in Spinalonga Island Crete!
We furled our genoa and headed for Spindalonga. Upon close examination, the island was filled with buildings. I went to Wikipedia to find out more and this is what I found:
“Originally, Spinalonga was not an island, it was part of the island of Crete. During Venetian occupation, the island was carved out of the coast for defense purposes and a fort was built there.
During Venetian rule, salt was harvested from salt pans around the island. The island has also been used as a leper colony. Spinalonga has appeared in novels (The Island by Victoria Hislop), television series (Who Pays the Ferryman?), and a short film (Last Words).” Source: Wikipedia
What an awesome place to anchor for the day!
Due to strong winds, and occasional gusts, Simon and I wanted to stay on the boat. Being surrounded by land makes me nervous – If the anchor does get unearthed and we’re on land watching the boat drift towards land I think I’d die of a heart attack.
At least while we’re on the boat we can put the anchor alarm on and rest comfortably knowing that we’re not drifting.
So what does a family of three do while anchored in a bay for the afternoon and evening?
Aside from enjoying the spectacular views of Spinalonga Island Crete, Sienna played with her dolls house, watched a couple of movies and we did some educational workbook exercises together. I also read here a few stories that I was able to download on my Kindle. Impressively she sat through, ‘The Ugly Duckling,’ by Hans Christen Andersen. I often download the Kindle freebies to save money and several of the classics are free.
What’s great about Sienna is she’s happy to have a story read to her in full animation on the Ipad and she’s just as happy to have me read a story with a few static pictures. Some people comment that the new technology is replacing our old ways but I disagree. I think that it’s just giving all of us more choices.
While Sienna was playing on her own, Simon read a book about sailboat maintenance and I typed the article, How to anchor a sailboat – what I’ve learned about anchoring thus far. Fortunately, we were close enough to land to pick up a mobile internet connection so I could write and post my blog.
Aside from that, Simon made our favorite dish of all time – Spaghetti Carbonara.
Watch our Britican Galley video and grab the recipe here: Spaghetti Carbonara – the easiest and tastiest Carbonara you can make on a boat!
We all went to bed relatively early – ready to get up and battle forward towards the west coast of Crete leaving Spinalonga Island Crete.
A visitor on deck – is that a plant or is it alive?
In the morning, we quickly stowed everything and got ready to lift the anchor and push forward. I went to the bow and direct Simon on which direction to put the bow as I pushed the button that lifts the chain. It’s best to get right above the chain rather than have the winch pull the boat towards it. Putting unnecessary strain on the winch can cause it to malfunction or break.
After I pulled up around 20 meters of the 60 meters of chain I was met by an unexpected guest.
At first, I thought it was two clams or mollusks that attached themselves to either side of the chain. I then realize that it was one object stuck between one of the chain links.
Looking very closely for eyes or a mouth, I searched for something to identify whether it was a plant or a being. I finally touched it very quickly and it was rock hard. I then pulled up my bravery pants and started pulling and pushing the object. Whatever it was, it wouldn’t budge. Next step, call hubby…
“Simon – can you come here please, I have an issue.’
Simon ran to the front of the bow and then he had a go and pushing and pulling the object. We couldn’t leave it in there – the chain goes through a winch and the object would cause a bottleneck. We had to get it off there and then.
Simon ran down to the galley to grab a knife. He announced that, ‘we’ll have to cut it off.’ At this point, I seriously thought that it must be a plant as it’s rock hard. Simon then took the knife near the object and the chain to try and jimmy it out. The object was punctured and like a popped balloon, it deflated instantly, slithered out of the chain and I watched its entrails hit the water, and then the rest of the body follows it.
I felt ill.
All-day I wondered if there was a way that we could have done things differently. Apparently, it was a sea cucumber or sea slug. Poor thing. Well, at least we created lunch for another sea creature nearby. At least that thought gives me a bit of solace.
The rest of the anchor was pulled up. We set our sails and had a great run along the North coast. Our aim was Rethymno but as the sun was starting to set, hubby decided to pull into a beautiful bay in Bali, Crete.
In Bali, we were greeted by a sea creature 100x the size of the sea cucumber. Read, Sailing around Crete – anchoring off the town of Bali to find out what it was.
Read All My Articles About Crete
To get a synopsis of all the places we visited in Crete, visit Exploring Crete. Otherwise, here lists all the articles:
- Agios Nikolaos, Gournia, Mochlos and Vai Beach
- Knossos, Aqua Park and Elounda
- Anchored off of Spinalonga Island Crete
- Anchoring off the town of Bali
- A tour of Rethymno
- Agia Galini, Gortys and the Amari Valley
- Agios Nikolaos Marina – Crete: A review
- Rethymno Marina – Crete: A review
Check Out Some Areas Other Than Spinalonga Island Crete – Greece & The Mediterranean
If you’d like a breakdown of all the places we’ve visited while sailing the Mediterranean please read our destination overview: Sailing The Mediterranean. Otherwise, check out more posts about our time spent in Greece.
- The Greek Ionian Islands
- Corinth Canal
- Poros Greece
- Kos Marina
- Methoni, Greece