Chania on Crete
35:31.128N 24:01.186E Thu 24th August 2017
We spent five enjoyable days in Rethymno and sampled some excellent Cretan cuisine in the town’s wide choice of good tavernas – much more varied than the traditional Greek menu. We booked an organised tour to the Imbros Gorge to make transport simple for us and it also meant we got to see a bit more of the island by coach. The gorge walk was a pretty easy two hour downhill stroll but impressive enough along the way and not too busy, unlike its big sister Samaria. Afterwards we were driven to the south coast, viewed an early Venetian castle at Frangokastello and had a refreshing swim in the Libyan Sea there. The south coast is much less developed with strict rules about building heights and all the better for it.
Our departure from the creaking “marina” on the 24th was rather fraught as we managed to wrap one of the laid lines around our prop as we left. Cue David having to snorkel down several times to cut us free before we finally snuck away later than planned! The 34 mile passage west to Chania was frustrating in that we had to motor for some time to make progress in winds which were not strong enough to push us through choppy seas and around the large Cape Akrotiri. In the end we sailed for less than half the time and reached the lovely harbour in Chania around 2.30 pm. We were very relieved to find a empty slot on the town quay as there is not a lot of room there and no alternatives close by. We have a berth immediately in front of the “Grand Arsenal” from the town’s Venetian heyday and it’s incredibly busy with tourists, especially in the evenings. Apparently Chania hosts more visitors than anywhere else in Greece apart from Athens. It is gorgeous despite the crowds, but unfortunately the harbour itself is reputedly the worse protected in Greece and we are constantly on the move back and forth at our berth or jerking violently from side to side! There is also plenty of noise from the quayside bars and buskers until the early hours. We are sleeping in the front cabin whilst here to try to dampen the worst of the noise and the movement and it is interesting to sample our guest accommodation (more comfortable than our mattress as it happens)!
Chania old port:
The real reason we are here however, is to see a bit of cousin Sophie and husband Marios who run yoga holidays just further west near Kissamos during the summer. We have just spent a hugely enjoyable weekend catching up with them and two of their daughters, first here chez “Goldcrest” and in town for supper and then yesterday at their apartment for a long, lazy Greek style Sunday. The setting there is superb on unspoilt Kissamos Bay with the stony seashore covered in beautiful and rare sea lillies – what a treat.
With Marios & Sophie at supper:
Sea lillies at Kissamos Bay
Now we have our usual conundrum about the best time to move on north towards Kythera and the Peloponnese as the forecast winds are either very strong or pretty non-existent. We’ve decided not to risk heading out in the 25-30kt winds forecast for the middle of this week (do-able but challenging) and enjoy Chania for a few more days, even if that does mean we might have to motor in light winds next weekend.