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Sailing Adventures of Necessity
The Palace of Knossos
Brian Hall
04/28/2013, Crete

Thursday April 25, 2013
Up early with the prospect of seeing the capital city of Heraklion, Brian left in the rental car to see what could be done about putting Necessity in bond while she is on the hard. This stops the clock for the 18 month limit we can have her in the EU. The Customs agent was accommodating and 50 Euros later we had surrendered our transit log and all was done. It was a little trickier returning to the marina through the maze of one way streets but by 9:30 we were on the way to Heraklion 80 km away. The "new road" was good and although our Hyundai Getz lacked power for some of the hills, we followed the custom of pulling over to the paved shoulder when being overtaken.
Heraklion has a poor harbour and the guidebooks suggested it was not worth much of a visit but it does have a great archeological museum which houses the treasures recovered from the Minoan Royal Palace at Knossos not far away. We parked outside the massive gate of St. George and entered the Venetian city on foot. The Minoan civilization was a very advanced with examples of their art dating back to 6500 BC. By 1700 BC they were creating magnificent jewelry, pottery and iron pieces which were all on display. We marveled at the frescoes which were drawn and coloured on the wet plaster walls. While only some fragments have been found, the rest of the frescoes have been reconstructed so the entire picture is visible. They claim that the reconstructed parts have to be repainted every 3-4 years while the 4000 year old pieces never change colour! We then went to the sculpture gallery with heads and full size sculptures from the palace and other nearby archeological sights. The life- like images are startling and really give a better picture if the people they depict.
Walking around the narrow streets we worked our way down to the port and back up to the city walls before finding a restaurant in an old Venetian home with a lovely patio out back. Had a wonderful lunch with pasta, octopus and lamb along with a local cheese appetizer.
Travelling to the site of the 3000 year old Palace outside town we enlisted the services of a wonderful guide, Calliope, who spent over an hour showing us the detail of the site which lay undiscovered until about 100 years ago. It was a magnificent 5 story structure of stone with wood beams to improve its earthquake resistance. 1500 rooms in all surrounded the open central courtyard. There were underground cold rooms, a huge staircase and underground piping for fresh water, sewers and rainwater. The royal family's chambers were set low in the building to keep them cool while light came from a 3 storey open passageway. The many archways had doors which could be opened or closed to provide a cooling breeze or warmth as needed. It was a phenomenal site, far advanced even compared with structures 3000 years newer.
Going back to the car, we started back towards Necessity but as there was daylight left, we diverted from the main road heading up over the rounded hills to Elounda north of Ag Nik. Here a string of offshore islands form a bay with a small channel connecting it to the outside Sea of Crete. We found a causeway across the bottom of the bay with a little humped bridge over the 12' wide canal. As we watched a fishing boat transited the canal ... almost. He came aground about 2/3 through and only made it through with Brian & Howard pulling on a line he threw to them - Canada to the rescue!
Back on board, we enjoyed hors d'ouvres in the cockpit and an early night.
Brian on board Necessity, Aghios Nikolaos, Greece

Bureaucracy in Action
Brian Hall
04/25/2013, Aghios Nikolaos


Wed April 24, 2013
Brenda & Howard headed off to put a couple loads of laundry in the coin operated washer only to find they were 3rd in line. A better option was to go to a laundry in town who promised it back by 6 about the same money. Brian & Rene went to the office where the office manager copied forms and took details about Necessity. Next we were instructed to go to the tax office, a few blocks away to pay a "lifting tax" to the city who owns the marina. Off we went with a sketchy map looking for an office called DOA. We found an office which looked reasonable so we went in and took a number. Sitting there, Rene became suspicious and finally asked a desk person if this was in fact the Tax office. Turns out it was a medical centre and we were in line to pay for our treatment. Off we went and after a couple of enquiries, we discovered the office around the back and on the third floor. When we showed the clerk the paperwork they completed the necessary forms and asked us to go to the cashier to settle the account - 0.88 Euros ($1 CDN). Next it was off to the port office to check in and update our transit log. Most importantly we got the stamp we needed on our lifting permit for the marina to see. It took 6 Coast Guard personnel to get the necessary forms ready. Total cost, 8 Euros. She did inform us that a Greek cruising permit was due every 3 months. As she explained it the charge was 14.67E per day. Quickly doing the math for 3 months the number became astronomical! We asked again and finally clarified that is a one-time charge of 14.67 E per meter of boat length - not per day. Much better.
Returning to Necessity Brian & Howard went to pick up the clean laundry. They had to wait for the last load and explored the area while they waited checking out a couple of restaurants for future reference.
We went around to the next bay and chose a traditional Greek restaurant next to the water. He had a wood fired grill stoked with a hair dryer on the street. The owner assured us that it would be the best food in town and proceeded to bring baked potatoes finished on the grill. Delicious with olive oil. Brian as usual, had grilled octopus and Rene had prawns. Howard and Brenda had baked lamb and veal dishes. Dessert was complimentary and included cheese filled pastry squares drizzled with honey, served with pear, orange and kiwi slices, and Raki.
Returning to Necessity, we Skyped Jennifer and headed to bed.
Brian on board Necessity, Aghios Nikolaos, Greece

Goodbye to Halki
04/25/2013, Agaio


Monday April 22, 2013
After a rough night banging and crashing we are motivated to leave this concrete dock if we can. Brian was up several times in the night adjusting fenders and lines to try to minimize the surge and no one got a great sleep. The wind was still blowing strong all morning and we waited till about 4PM before deciding to head out for the 110 mile sail to Crete. The wind was about 20 knots but was forecast to drop overnight. We finally left the dock about 5:30 with 20-22 knot winds on our beam. Seas were 1-2 meters but were predicted to drop with the wind overnight. We were able to have the motor off for the first time this trip and sailed about 9 hours before the wind dropped. It was an excellent if lumpy crossing north or the island of Karpathos and into the Sea of Crete. By daybreak the winds were up to 16 but coming from more westerly direction so we motor sailed the rest of the way arriving in the marina about 1:30.
Aghios Nikolaos is a small resort town on the west shore of the large bay in eastern Crete. We will stay here on the hard over the summer and it seems a lovely place with many English living aboard.. The girls reported the showers were clean and had lots of hot water. Brian & Howard attempted to wash off the salt Necessity had accumulated on the crossing and then we all relaxed with a pasta meal aboard and all were ready for bed by 9. It was a treat to have a bed that didn't move and wasn't being hit by a jackhammer at regular intervals.
Brian on board Necessity, Aghios Nikolaos, Greece

The Island takes on Water
Brian Hall
04/25/2013, Halki


Sunday April 21, 2013
We watched from our anchorage as a large government ship was emptied to supply utility (non drinking) water to supply the island's needs. They attached 2 - 4" waterlines to standpipes on the dock and pumped for 8 hours to empty the tanker. In the summer it arrives every second day. They hope to have a desalination plant of their own by the fall. Once the tanker departed we returned to the dock only to have the Germans come to raft off again. They promised to move when the fishing boat left but made no move to do so until we insisted they move to an empty space on the wall. We were so glad we did as the wind swung to create a nasty surge which forced Necessity up against the huge rubber bumpers for the commercial ships. Having another boat tied to us would make the bouncing even worse. In spite of our heavy inflatable fenders, we suffered some mild damage to the rub rail and none of us got much sleep. We had a great pasta dinner by Brenda with mussels and Ouzo and later talked by Skype with Angela on her birthday and got a live look at Khalea Rose. We spoke with Jen as well. Our plans are to leave for Crete on Monday if the wind drops.
Brian on board Necessity, Halki, Greece

To the Castle
Brian Hall
04/25/2013, Halki


Saturday April 20, 2013
Everyone was excited about showers (simple pleasures) and we were there by 9 only to find we were talking Greek time. The owner arrived about 10 and turned on the hot water heater. We had coffee and a great shower and updated the blog while taking turns in the single washroom upstairs in the restaurant.
After lunch Howard Rene & Brian decided to head for the hills and Brenda stayed on Necessity. It was a 1.5 hour trek mostly uphill to the site of the Venetian fortress which was in the progress of being renovated and was not open. The views of the island were amazing and we took a ton of pictures. Returning to Necessity we learned that the large ferry which was to come at 10 PM, also returned at 6am and then the water tanker was due to arrive about 7AM Sunday and would take up the entire dock for the day. We went back to our favourite restaurant for chicken and lamb then left the dock and anchored out in the bay near town. Before we could leave we had to wait for a German boat to leave. He had rafted off of us for the past 2 days to leave space for the large fishing boats which came and went a couple times a day. We lost track of him and the next day we discovered they had rafted off a sailboat on a mooring for the night. His anchor seemed a bit sketchy so that may be the explanation.
We heard the anchor chain drag on the rock below as the boat shifted in the night. Other than that, it was a comfortable night.
Brian on board Necessity, Halki, Greece

Village Life up Close
Howard & Brenda Tims
04/20/2013


Friday April 19, 2013
We woke up to another bright sunny day tied to the large concrete pier in Halki. After a light breakfast we walked along the harbour front. The water is so clean it is almost transparent. Thousands of small minnows hang near the surface. Above the harbour there are small walkways winding around the houses. Many of the houses are unoccupied waiting for the British and Italian residents to arrive for the summer. They have small gardens with all kinds of flowers and herbs all out in bloom. We worked our way up the hill towards 3 windmills overlooking the harbour on the South side past a small military post and the helicopter pad. The views of the town and the bright blue sea are fantastic. On the way back we passed the coast guard station. He has a small row boat about 6 feet long. He had complained to Brian that he was stationed here by himself without a real boat. We all wondered what he had done wrong in his last posting? In the afternoon it rained so we hid in the closest internet café and met Spiros again. He told us that the Phoenicians settled here first, building a port and a castle at the top mountains about 1 ½ hour walk away. Dinner was at Café Babis consisting of homemade Halki cuisine. Appetizers were spagetti with fried onions, fried octopus balls and small soft shell shrimp. For dinner we had swordfish, lamb chops and more octopus. All of it was homemade and fantastic. Irene spotted a shower head in bathroom and we are returning tomorrow at 9 for showers! All in all a great day.
Howard and Brenda on board Necessity, Halki Greece

04/20/2013 | Dean Nisbett
Phoenicians! Hope another Punic War isn't in the offing!
Real nice photos and a good blog Tim
Keep up the good work!

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