In 2017, Rex and I decided to broaden our horizons, and set off to sail to Denmark. Sadly all did not go to plan. Rex sustained a back injury in the Ijsselmeer on a course towards the Kornwerderzand Sluis, and the remainder of the trip was a slow, gentle meander back home. Then, in 2019, we tried to reach Denmark again. However, by the time we reached the German group of the Frisian Islands, we realised that slow progress due to weather conditions plus time constraints would allow us no quality time once we reached Denmark. So we did an about turn, allowing us to spend some quality time in Holland on our return home.
These two unfortunate outcomes left us very frustrated to say the least. I remember, shortly after our return from our 2019 trip, sitting in Rex's study. We were discussing future sailing trips, and the obstacles that always confronted us. Suddenly I had one of those lightbulb moments (very rare for me, my lightbulb moments are more like tallow candle moments nowadays).
"Look Rex," I piped up, "apart from time constraints, the biggest issue we have to face on any trip is being constantly thwarted by weather conditions rendering planning a nightmare. It is a long way up to the Baltic coastlines of Denmark, and we know we are always plagued by lows rolling in from the Atlantic crippling our progress. And when they do come in they usually herald inclement weather. Why do we continue to push this rock uphill? Perhaps we should consider chartering a yacht somewhere warm. That way we would have more reliable weather, plus we avoid all the hassle of sailing to a far off destination.
A huge grin spread across his face. "I've been trying to say that for some time, and now you're seeing the logic in it. In the past Meryl and I have enjoyed some wonderful times sailing a chartered yacht around Croatia with Dougie and Karen, mind you their chartering fees have escalated in recent years, as have mooring charges."
"I've had a few holidays in Greece, and was always envious of the yachts that sailed around the Greek islands, popping into harbours to sample the local culture and cuisine before moving onto the next island. What would you think of that option?" I asked.
That comment immediately sparked enthusiasm, and within minutes we were discussing the possibilities. We would have to choose an area offering plenty of sailing opportunities with lots of islands in the locality to explore. The ability to fly direct to where we could charter a yacht would be a necessity too. There and then we spent a while examining maps, and checking the availability of flights. We homed in the Ionian Islands that lie off the Grecian west coast, the northernmost island being Corfu, easy accessible via air. A cursory examination revealed several chartering opportunities out of Corfu.
Rex had a vast knowledge of yachts, and of chartering, so we agreed that he would delve into the chartering market and come up with some suggestions. Within a week we had settled on one particular charter, we agreed on a time slot during the summer of 2020, and paid a deposit.
Even the best of plans ........ early in 2020 the world turned pear shaped due to the Covid pandemic. There was no way we would be flying out to Corfu and chartering a yacht in 2020. An agreement was reached with the chartering company that we slip the charter back by a year with no penalty charge. A year later we were still living in the Covid dark ages. We dropped the idea of chartering yet again, but this time took the hit on losing the deposit. During 2021 we just stuck to sailing in local waters, visiting exotic places such as Lowestoft and the south coast. All British sailors were sticking to the UK at this time, so trying to find marinas on the south coast where we could berth was a severe challenge.
At the beginning of 2022, when the world was beginning to live with Covid, we hatched a plot to return to Holland. Why? Because we loved the country and had missed it. A simple plan was devised, start at the south and work our way up to the Waddenzee and Friesland, visiting many of the ports we have enjoyed in past times.
So, that was the plan, a bit loose, but one we understood well.
The actual route taken can be examined on the route link. How the story unfolded can be revealed by following the diary link.
Read and enjoy!