The first few weeks of our trip has whisked by. All of the travel and activities of the first week getting Coastline ready and provisioning her had us onto the water and stern to at Port of Aegina at the end of week one. We have already seen and experienced a huge amount and we are only one month in!
Week 2 of our journey had us stern-to at Port of Aegina for three nights before heading onto Poros for two nights. To finalise week two, we let the lines off and set sail from Poros to Syros after meeting two other Australian couples and their boats Sunday and Salacia Star. This was a big voyage, particularly for new cruisers! A 75 nautical mile motor sail departing at 4.00am and arriving at 5.30pm. This was a litmus test, not only for us, but for our sailing yacht and home. We all fared very well!
We have now had 3 and a half weeks living on the water and we are adjusting well. Along with Aegina, Poros and Syros, we have visited the Greek port towns of Myconos, Naxos, Evdilos and Chios. We are now in Cesme, Turkey. We are well, healthy and content.
Here is a little more detail on our first week. Further details on weeks 2, 3 and 4 to come.
Week 1: Arriving and preparing Coastline for the water
After arriving at Athens Airport on Thursday (13 Feb) afternoon after 27 hours of travel, we made our way by bus to the port town of Piraeus. Passing through Athens Airport was smooth and quick, rather uneventful. We were spat out the other end of the airport in short order and were met by the bus service X96, almost waiting for us jaded travelers to help us on our way. With the help of airport baggage trolleys we piled our 3 large and 10 small suitcases, the boys giggle backpacks and ourselves on the bus and sat in the warm winter sun taking in our new surrounds. Getting to Piraeus an hour and a half later and off the bus was a bit of a comic affair. All those bags, hungry boys, 5.30pm peak hour, cars and motorbikes roaring and tooting around us, hundreds of pedestrians and us - a family from a faraway place looking like possums in headlights. As lost as we had ever been and as fresh a good tourist as you have seen. We laugh at that moment wishing we had taken a photo. We had arrived!
After consulting Google Maps, we hauled all our worldly possessions a short walk around the corner to our studio apartment overlooking Piraeus Port. A short freshen up and we were off to the local supermarket for some overnight supplies and to grab a bite to eat. The boys got a second wind, mum and dad too, and the day slipped to night while overlooking the Port.
Waking at 2am to the reality that we survived the prior 48 hours, the task of getting to Aegina Island had new context. We had a logistics issue in managing our baggage and possessions until our boat is ready for the water. Hiring taxis on Aegina Island would quickly get expensive and with our Airbnb in Aegina town and the boatyard 5 km away, hauling all that baggage about and being without transport on the island while preparing our boat for our journey was an ugly thought! Car hire was expensive on the island too. We decided that it would be a good idea to rent a car for a few days and take it on the ferry across to Aegina. After some early morning research and a booking online, a 5-minutes walk around the corner was an Avis/Budget office who rented us a Volvo S90 for 14Euro a day! (thanks for the upgrade Budget Piraeus!). We called into an H&M Outlet for track suit pants for the boys. We crammed that S90 full; all of our bags into every square inch. No room but for the driver. We boarded the 11am ferry service to Aegina a little chuffed at ourselves for having a eureka moment just 9 hours earlier. The weather again was gorgeous, a cool 12-degree winter day with warm sunlight lifting us through the day.
We met our next accommodation host, Georgio, soon after arriving at Aegina. A cute 2-bedroom period Greek home. The time up until launching Coastline on Wednesday 19th Feb late afternoon was used to start settling into and getting familiar with our new life and prepare our boat. A little sightseeing as well and trying to be present for our boys and each other among all the feelings, sensations and unknowns. The boat preparation included taking out and cataloging all the existing inventory stored on the boat by the previous owner, making redundant what we didn’t need, cleaning and freshening up the interior, installing AIS and Iridium YB3i, painting new water line strip, applying new graphics (pin strip vinyl and vinyl letting) and provisioning food and water among other things. Applying the new name ‘Coastline’ to the stern and bow was emotional. She was finally ready to take to water, our home for our journey together. A visit to Alpha Bank to pay cruising tax, visit to the local Customs office and to the Port Police gave us the necessary paperwork to set off for our maiden voyage from Takis Boatyard to the Port of Aegina, a 45-minute journey under motor.
Our first night on the water was calm and cool. A new experience for all of us. The start of new experiences, possibilities and growth.
See our Gallery for photos describing our first week.