Almost six months. Almost six months we spent in Thessaloniki, my hometown, surrounded by family and friends, enjoying sunny weather and tasty food. Months full of activities, trips, celebrations of Christmas and New Year, birthdays, and Easter. Months full of love and belonging, reconnecting and exploring. Half a year of our lives and it felt like an era. But as Jacques Yves Cousteau once said, “The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.” No matter how much we enjoyed our time in Thessaloniki, we longed for our time in the sea again. That day came on 26th April 2023, when we released our mooring lines from marina Aretsou and with our hearts and boat filled, we bid our farewell to our beloved town, waving goodbyes to my mom and my friend Anna at the pier.
The first sailing trip of the new season went great, albeit the weather could have been much better. Gray day and a shower or two before a thundershower broke making everything around us wet. A great silver lining though, as we saw dolphins swimming alongside us, a big pack of them, flipping around and under Libra, reassuring us that sailing is indeed a magical thing. We arrived at New Moudania at 4 pm, threw our anchor inside the sheltered fishing harbor, and rested.
The next morning, we somehow managed to wake up at 7:00 and at 7:30 to already be sailing away from Nea Moudania, towards our next stop, Porto Koufo, a cove in the second leg of Chalkidiki. The wind predictions warned for Beaufort 6 to 7 so we prepared in advance with one reef in the main sail. The sea was choppy but Libra was gliding gracefully along the short waves, with an average speed of 7 knots but even up to 10 knots when riding a big wave! We arrived at our destination a little tired, especially Elena who got a little seasick in the beginning but thankfully slept in my arms while Jelle did the hard work. Porto Koufo is a tiny little village, with a very well-sheltered bay, surrounded by green hills, chirping birds, and some of the tastiest seafood we ever had.
Our third sailing trip proved to be the nicest so far, with smooth downwind sailing, sunny weather, and fast speeds! That was on 30th April, when we left Porto Koufo to Ammouliani, a tiny island where I spend most summers camping with my family once young.
Ammouliani is a miniature of an island, featuring more Airbnbs and B&Bs than actual houses. But, the locals are friendly, the flowers are many and it possesses one of the most amazing beaches I have ever been to, Alykes. White-yellow fine sand, crystal blue waters, and green all around, simply worth a visit!
But if Ammouliani is beautiful, Diaporos is another story. Not unjustifiable, it has been named “secret paradise” or “Greek Carribean” and it does hold up to its name. Diaporos is another minuscule island, close to the second leg of Chalkidiki and it was our next stop in our trip and our first time ever visiting it! Sandy coves, quiet anchorages, you feel immediately disconnected from the world and stranded on an inhabited island, surrounded only by multiple birds and colorful flowers. This sentiment would be further enhanced if it weren’t for a few villas-for-rent scattered around, but thanks to the absence of any other people than ourselves, the feeling of bliss lingered.
After 2 blissful days in our secluded anchorage, we decided to explore more of Greece and start visiting some islands in the Aegean Sea, and that only meant one thing: Lemnos.