Photo 1 - Spinalonga Lagoon Photo 2 - Venetian Fort at entrance Photo 3 - Leper Cemetery
We left Iraklion last Sunday and sailed 30 miles east to Spinalonga Lagoon. We were delighted to find flat calm water and total quiet except for the occasional bird singing. Each night the water has been like glass, we can see a perfect reflection of the hills and town lights on the far side of the lagoon. It is so pretty and peaceful, late at night I sat in the cockpit and soak up the view, the breeze is warm and sky is full of stares.
Our Swedish friends (Ulf & Irma) have been in the same bay so we get together at sunset for a drink and a chat. Ulf belongs to a choir and has a rich baritone voice. He sang for us each night which was a treat except I have been humming 'You Fill up my Senses' for about three days now - I wish they would hurry up and "fill"!
On Wednesday we took the boat into the township of Agios Nikolaos to get diesel and go to the fresh market. The farmer's markets in Greece are fairly disappointing. The prices are high, the quality is average and the selection is limited. In Turkey, the selection is brilliant, but in Greece I firstly go to the farmer's market and then to the supermarket to get the veges I couldn't get at the Farmer's market.
The town of Agios Nikolaos is full of tourists and tourist shopping. I spent a hour running around trying to buy an international phone card, eventually I was told that the phone cards come from Israel and the last delivery hadn't arrived. We called into the marina and bought diesel and had time to caught up with a English couple (Rod and Margaret)we have meet along the way. The marina was full of rally/race boats that came from France and were heading for Istanbul. Each race leg is about three days and then two days rest in a marina. After doing the EMYR I think the French rally/race would be pretty hard going. After refueling we said good bye to Ulf & Irma and sailed back to Spinalonga Lagoon.
Yesterday we went over to a fort which stands on Spinalonga Island at the entrance of the Lagoon. It was first occupied by the Venetians in 1200 for five hundred years, then in 1700 the Turks owned it for two hundred years and in the first half of the 1900 it became a Leper Colony for Crete until 1957 when modern medicine started treating the disease at hospitals in Greece. We saw photos of the victims with hideous deformities and there is a large leper cemetery with many cement slabs and no headstones or identification. The cemetery is high on the hill in the most idyllic setting which seemed only to magnify the sadness of it all.
Today we had hoped to leave Spinalonga Lagoon and move east 18 miles to the town of Sitia. But at present the wind is blowing 30-35 knots from the south. So we will wait here safely anchored in six metres of water and see if the wind comes around to the west as forecast.
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