Thursday, July 5, 2012


Welcome to Crete!

Captain Steve standing on the rim of a small caldera in Agios, Nikolaos, Crete that is supposed to be where Athena would bathe in the deep waters (213 feet deep!).

Maria high above the town and caldera of Agios Nikolaos, Crete

Yes, we found one!  It is in a town about 30 minutes from where we are.  

The local geology (nice conglomerate!)

Agios Nikolaos Marina where Aspen is.

A nice beach on Crete!

Another nice beach with some limestone outcrop in the distance.

The caves behind the beach are where the Romans once lived in about 500 AD.

Admiral Maria making the leap from the dock to Aspen.  She hasn't missed yet!

The setting for the town of Agios Nikolaos and Athena's bath

We are tied up in the marina at Agios Nikolaos Marina in Crete, enjoying the cloudless, warm and breezy days.  The temperature climbs into the high 80’s to low 90’s every day and then cools down to around 77 degrees at night with no humidity.  This is a really arid and stark place but very enjoyable. 

We are lucky to have the cool nights because our air conditioning doesn’t work here because of the difference in power that we can get.  In Euro Land they use 220 volts and 50 Hz which is a LOT different than what we use back in the USA.  Because of that difference we still have power for our battery charger because it can use Euro power so everything else on Aspen works just fine.  Whew!

Greece is a land of so many contrasts.  As you know, they had the recent elections and 51% of the people decided to stay in Euro Land.  A lot of people decided not to vote because they knew the election was corrupt anyway, that is what they told us.  But at least there are no riots here in Crete and the people seem to like the tourist revenue.  We feel very welcome.

Crete became part of Greece only recently, in 1917 after Turkey lost control of it during WWI.  Yet this is purely Greek here with very little remaining of the Ottoman Empire.

The working hours in Greece are a mystery to us.  It seems that a worker might work 3 days a week, if that much.  They close all businesses at 1:30 pm and might re-open at 6 pm most days.  Some businesses just decide not to open in the evening at all.  Then everyone takes Wednesday afternoons off and Sunday all day of course.  So maybe 3 days of work is a stretch but it sounds good.  This work schedule doesn’t include all of the holidays and the fact that the country closes down for the entire month of August.  No wonder the country has financial problems!

The beaches are really nice and very busy.  We heard that in the US they were showing empty Greek beaches on the TV news lately.  Maybe the beaches are empty at 5 am but Steve sees people sunning themselves and even swimming at 6:00 am when he is running!  Everyone loves a good beach day here, even the locals it seems.

Greece doesn’t celebrate my birthday on the 4th of July for some strange reason.  But at least 1 hotel remembered and had a small fireworks display that we could see from Aspen.  That was nice of them!

This morning at 2:48 AM we had a nice 4.8 earthquake that was just to the southeast of Crete.  We didn’t feel a thing onboard Aspen and nothing seemed out of place in the town when we walked around today.  They are used to earthquakes here – if you remember the giant earthquake and eruption on the nearby island of Santorini?  That big one wiped out the Minoan civilization that existed on Crete in about 1600 BC.  That must have been a memorable event!

Sail on, sail on and sail safe Aspen…

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