- Captain Nikos Blog
My adult life dream was and remains to sail around the world onboard my sailing yacht, remaining reasonable for the time being this does not seem doable in near future however this should not obstruct me from enjoying sailing expeditions in my home waters until my circumstances turn favourable towards my ultimate life project.
Yin Yang is a Formosa 46’’ Ketch that came in my hands in 2019 and since 2020 we have been offering high quality daily cruises off Pisso Livadi Paros with great success, and even though I enjoy serving guests and showing them my Island’s waters, I cannot relax and enjoy my special boat as in my mind job is job and fun is fun.
This fall, after 3 years of hard work I grabbed the chance to sail her for myself on adjacent waters and came to conclude that my life has certain traits to follow from now and onwards.
The first chance came in September 2022 when a forecast for SE gale brought me in front of making a decision, Pisso Livadi is exposed to SE winds and remaining moored there is a game of compromise with safety. As there were not any bookings secured for the next 5 days, I did not think of it a lot, packed few things and provisions and made my way to the South East. The tour lasted 5 days, I overnighted at Koufonisi, Aegiali and Katapola in Amorgos, cruised along Antikeria Islands and Schinousa to finally pay a visit at Naxos and return back full of relaxation and joy.
The tour was superb, had a little bit of everything as every sea trip that respects itself has, but allowed me to relax and enjoy, to spend time with my self and to explore ashore, even to cook. It was all captured in a 20min video that can be found here .
Being fascinated and fully inspired by this first experience I was only waiting for the timing to move on and sail even further away, Aegean Sea is full of uninhabited Islands and Islets that are rarely visited and even though their landscape is not ideal for usual cruising, they host superb vibes and pure bold nature to explore. After concluding commercial season by mid-October, I prepared myself and casted off on October 20th to the South Aegean aiming to make it all the way to Kasos and Karpathos Islands in far South and then start making it back to the NE all round Dodecanese Islands.
The initial timeline was set to a month in total with weekend stopovers in major islands that could safely moor the yacht and allow me the ability to fly to Athens spending time with my kids in regular times. It was all supposed to be doable and my will to explore was tremendous, nonetheless life had other plans. As my profession up to day remains the one of Shipmaster, I am regularly called on winter to fulfil openings in ship’s command and this time the plan was to take a mega yacht to Caribbean Sea. As up to the day I casted off said voyage was not secured and there was a possibility for the vessel to not make it at all, I could not wait anymore and set sail with the Yin Yang to the South.
My inspiration to visit those Islands and explore them came since my earlier days in the Merchant Marine where I was trespassing them regularly without the chance to step ashore (as ferries make touch and go calls in several Islands in a row) and get to know the places therefore my inspiration was fuelled even more now that for first time I had time available on my own yacht.
My favourite quote comes from an Army General that made it clear “No plan survived after first contact with enemy’’ hence only few hours after commencing my voyage from Pisso Livadi to Anafi and just before few seconds my mobile decided that it was time to leave its last breath, I received a message to join the Mega Yacht in 10 days as she would finally make it to the Caribbean. This was an unexpected turn in the plan as there was still some time to sail my own expedition and return back on time at some point to join the mega yacht.
A significant modification had to me made in initial plan though as I would now have to not make it more South but East if I wanted a shorter version of my intended tour to Dodecanese Islands. So, after sailing 50nm and spending 2 awesome days in Anafi I continued to my beloved Astypalaia Island where I combined touring with one day expedition to uninhabited Syrna Island.
As forecasts were not favourable to allow favourable winds back to Paros and under time running out for the next commitment I decided to return back only after one week with regret, there were things to unload from Yin Yang and she still had to make it to Syros Island for Dry Dock to winter. Last leg of this expedition can be seen here where I spend time in Heraklia Island with a friend and enjoyed the stillness of this fabulous remote island.
Yin Yang was eventually sailed to Syros Island by November 4th and pulled ashore to winter, I made my way to the mega yacht right after and we eventually set off to Caribbean by end of November nonetheless plans changed again -sic-and we were advised to return back before we even left behind Med Sea, the old moto goes that Gods are laughing when humans make plans.
One major issue I face when I am sailing single handed in Aegean Sea is the lack of sleep, in contrast to solo sailors that cover significant distances in long periods, I struggle to do alike as sleep while sailing is not safe to my eyes in Aegean waters as done in open seas and oceans. This is supported by 3 major factors, the dense marine traffic almost everywhere around the islands as well as the very special weather pattern combined with the geographical distribution of endless islands and even more standalone rocks and shallows.
In other words, sailing and sleeping even for short periods is not the easiest neither safer thing to do in those waters, crossing vessels of all types, constantly changing wind that often intensifies in the leeward of coasts or funnels between islands along with numerous navigational hazards make this terrain a difficult one. On daytime with open eyes and adequate rest it is fine as long as you know your stuff, but letting her sail at night with you sleeping onboard cannot be my choice.
This restricts a lot the destination options to sail between and the voyage plan has to be carefully designed and implemented, it makes it interesting from navigational point of view however if you wish to do it alone your eyes have to be open whatsoever.
Apart of this issue though, life is great onboard the yacht if you are in search of relaxation and self-fulfilment. There is no rush to do anything and you can arrange your days according to nature’s pace without pressure or anxiety. For someone that has spent all his life up to now under such supressing conditions, sailing by yourself across those magic islands is a gift from heavens and I cannot but thank my luck of being able to live this experience.
If you love nature and are someone that works his way in various activities sailing and touring around is a serious choice to consider and if you may be self sufficient in cooking and taking basic care of yourself then you better start thinking of it .
Once you have the bliss to spend days onboard your beloved yacht, getting to explore and enjoy wonderful destinations in easy pace without rush, life turns nice and meaningful. And when you return to find her waiting where you left her to provide you rest, care and the cosiness of home then life becomes worth it.