Getting down here to Crete, with fair winds and a following sea, was simple; however, getting away again is not proving to be so easy.
The Meltemi blows here every afternoon and recently has been blowing all day, every day. As it hits the north coast of Crete the wind turns to come from the north west and west, the direction we want to go. So we are back to waiting for favourable weather to head up to Peloponnisos, then on towards Cephalonia, Lefkas and Corfu.
On reflection ‘favourable’ may not be the right word, perhaps ‘least unfavourable’ would be a better description! When we get good weather in Crete it is not so good further north, and vice versa. But we have decided to go for it on Saturday morning aiming to reach the anchorage off Porto Kayio on Sunday evening anticipating generally north westerly winds to 15 knots for most of the way, we hope.
So, having said farewell to Lu and Marco we left Ágios Nikolaos Marina on Tuesday morning (with a bit of a struggle against the wind still pushing us onto the jetty) and returned to the south end of Spinalonga Lagoon to anchor off Elounda again.
Although sheltered here, we still had up to 30 knot winds whistling down off the high ground to the west of the town but apart from the, sometimes sharp, snubbing of the anchor bridle as we swung in the wind it was comfortable enough. Getting ashore in the tender would have been a very wet endeavour though so we sat on board until Friday when the wind stopped.
The weather forecasts appeared to remain unchanged, showing 15 knot winds again, which seemed to translate to double that at the bottom of the mountains. But on Thursday evening the wind off Elounda died away and Friday was a beautiful calm day with the occasional puffs of stronger winds. We went shopping, had lunch and managed to scrounge 40 litres of fresh water from the skipper of a day trip boat on the quay and another 40 from the restaurant Poulis, right by the scrap beach (all of 30 metres long and 3 metres wide.
So on Friday evening it was early to bed looking forward to heaving the anchor at sunrise and setting off for our 36 hour passage to the tip of the middle finger of Peloponnisos.
As with a lot of places we’ve spent any time Elounda grew on us. It is a tourist town and base for the day trip boats to the Venetian Fort, but it was not manically crowded and in the evenings was quite quiet. It is hardly picturesque but it is pleasant and has a certain charm to it. The harbour area and sea front is home to numerous restaurants right on the water, literally tables on the beach in the case of Poulis!
Also, just south of Elounda is the site of the Minoan city of Olous. Most of it is submerged beneath the sea and what were salt pans. I had a walk around looking for the remains pictured on the web site but found nothing but some goats.
Over all Elounda was a pleasant stopover. A nice place to wander round; we found fresh fruit and veg, a butcher, water and some nice restaurants. I have read of people spending the winter in Spinalonga; that might be a bit much but there are definately worse places to wait out the weather.