The Aegean can be very hot, very windy and very rough! If you are intending to cruise anywhere in the Mediterranean in a boat normally used in northern Europe you will need to carry out a number of modifications to make it comfortable. If you are chartering, hopefully the boat will already be suitable for the conditions. However, it is still worth knowing what to expect on your holiday.
It can get very hot, over 40 degrees occasionally, and this when coupled with windless conditions makes life a little uncomfortable. We had seven fans on board mostly Hella’s and they were used a lot and I would recommend fitting them particularly in the saloon and the main sleeping cabin. These coupled with omni directional wind scoops make for good ventilation and a more pleasant existence. If you don’t want to fry when in the cockpit a biminy cover is absolutely essential. Make sure it covers the helmsman or be prepared for sunstroke!
Flies, mosquitoes and other flying insects
These can make life a misery and preclude the romantic idea of sleeping on deck under the stars. We were usually completely untroubled during the day but sometimes had to retreat down below at dusk and put up the nets despite the fact that it was a little hot and sticky down below even with the fans on. So nets capable of keeping out mosquito sized bugs are essential for all openings. We tried burning coils but Greece harbours mosquitoes which seem oblivious to them and our cocktail sessions in the cockpit could be short lived. We found the worse bays were the ones with tree covered slopes particularly pine and as much of the Cyclades is relatively treeless it is not a great problem. The worse island Hydra was one of our favourite anchorages but it did not stop us spending a long stay there.
As there is virtually no tidal range in the Agean you will frequently moor ‘ Med Style’ with the bow, or stern, attached to a quayside or rocks with an anchor out at the other end. This is particularly convenient when in a crowded bay where if you were to at your anchor would moke you very unpopular! To moor stern to the rocks or trees in a bay all you will need a couple of very long nylon warps and your bow anchor. However, if you want to moor bow to the rocks or, more likely, a quayside, you will need a stern anchor. Ours is a Fortress which has excellent holding properties and being made from alloy, it is very light and easily stowed on the transom ready to deploy at a moments notice. We always moor bow to quaysides in harbours as we have a long keel and have difficulty going backwards.
Most modern boats come equipped with stern mounted showers, if you have an old boat, like ours, you must fit one. It is essential to wash off the salt water after swimming if you want to avoid skin problems.
Fuel and Water
In all the anchorages and some harbours we found that fresh water and diesel were difficult to find. We regularly used jerry cans and a suitable trolley to cart fuel and water from filling stations and remote water taps. A couple of funnels, one for fuel and one for water, will help to eliminate spills.