It was breezy & a little rough in the anchorage this morning, but as soon as we got out of the inlet we were in some pretty steep waves – our first challenge this year getting the sails up (2 reefs in each) whilst keeping head to wind. I think we acquitted ourselves OK. Then we were out into a good F6-7, beam reach (winds from the side you lubbers!) and the boat bounded along in the strong sunshine, feeling great. We managed to get the boat up to 9kts as we rounded the headland (to the NW of Iraklion) in 44kts wind gusts (F7 with periods of F8). Then, like a switch had been thrown, the wind stopped. Looking back at the headland there was no wind behind us either, just calm everywhere - boy the Med is weird. So a couple of hours motoring along the fascinating coastline, gazing at the snow clad mountains and listening to Radio 4 podcasts, then the switch was thrown back on and the fun re-commenced. This time it was Force 8 consistently, our first real experience of this. We minimised sail as soon as we realised what had hit us, and had a great reach into Rethimno, arriving very salty and exhilarated. Logging onto the net here we realised that the day had become a F9 forecast, which we would never have ventured out into! Ho-hum, we are here now, and although a little exposed to the SW gale forecast, we feel pretty secure. The first night was indeed pretty noisy, but the wind generator dismantled itself during the night (luckily failing entirely safely) which left just the waves slapping to keep us awake.
Snow capped mountains behind a pretty windy sea:
It’s now Saturday and we spent this morning exploring the town in blustery winds, some warm sunshine and occasional rain. It’s a delightful place with lovely old Venetian and later Turkish houses in a maze of narrow, winding streets. It has a pretty little Venetian harbour (Venice occupied the island for about 400 years until the Turks took over in the mid 17th century), and an imposing fortress on the headland. The town is probably all the better for its out-of-season peace and quiet and most of the seafront tavernas are closed up at the moment.
Rethymno, approaching the Venetian fort:
The old harbour: