Week 87 - Easter in Aegina

Easter on Aegina, hiking with Markus and Isa

Week 87 - Easter in Aegina

Easter on Aegina, cruising the Mediterranean on our boat Matilda.

Night time scenery off the end of the dock we are at.

I’m not religious at all but I do appreciate a good festival and I think the way that the Greek Orthodox faith approaches Easter is quite spectacular, full of rich symbolism and a lot of fun. Like a lot of Greek activities it also happens very late at night and I slept through most of it.

Following immediately on the heels of the “Catholic” Easter (as it’s generally referred to here), the week has been a build up to Orthodox Easter. There are several key events, the building of a bower which is paraded around the streets.There is the passing of the flame (symbolising the spirit of Christ) where a candle is lit at the alter in the church and then passed from candle to candle until everyone has a lit candle they walk home to bless their houses. Saturday is a day of family dining during lunch where all the restaurants are full, then Saturday evening they all close until around 10PM, where they reopen ready for the celebrations that start at midnight Easter Sunday. There’s fireworks, singing, dancing, traditional breads, egg battles and yes — even chocolate too!

Aside from this festivity, we spent the week battling saharan sand which blew up from Africa in big sand storms that coated the boat in a fine mud that took two washes to really clean up. We’ve finished the vast majority of our preparation jobs and we’re ready to cruise.

Isa and Karina enjoying a coffee on our day out exploring Paliachora

We spent some time enjoying the company of Markus and Isa, including a traditional German meal on board their boat Tara, visiting Paliachora and hiking to the top of the hill for the views and lunch at Ag. Marina.

Our dock companions this week have been an American couple who sailed their Leopard 43 all the way from Florida and are now exploring the Mediterranean and we enjoyed drinks with them, learning from their experiences as well as sharing our knowledge of the Saronic.

We’ve also enjoyed chatting with Ingo as we pass by his boat on the other side of the port. He gave us a tour of his catamaran and we shared an ice cream together.

Ingo had an interesting experience this week. He has become friendly with a local fisherman and was invited out on their boat at short notice. Always up for an adventure, he said yes. It turns out that in 1941 the German Luftwaffe sank a Greek Destroyer just by a small island off the north coast of Aegina.

We know the spot — the ferries pass by their most times and there is a Greek flag painted on the rocks. The ferry captains (who have more money) pay the local fisherman to maintain the flag as a memorial and then every April 22nd, the fisherman gather to pay respects. While they are there, the ferries stop, reverse up to the rocks, drop their rear car ramps and people throw wreaths into the water.

Ingo was very excited to witness it all and it just highlights how rewarding it is to get to know the islands, they all have a rich culture and tradition that doesn’t make it into the tourist guides but is quite special when you get to experience it.

It’s generally been a quiet week but a productive one — a nice balance between getting things organised, social activities and preparing for our first boat party today where we host the Habibi School teachers for a day trip. We’ll have 7 guests which will be the most people we’ve had aboard at one time.

Next week we will cruise a few nearby islands, meet someone from Athens and then come back to Aegina to meet with Michael & Brent who we saw in Athens a couple of weeks back — they’ll be joining us overnight. And then it’s only one week till we head to the US, the time is passing quickly!

The great news is that we had a call yesterday to let us know that the air conditioner parts finally arrived so when the boat comes out of the water that last job for the season can be completed and we’ll be ready to head off to the Ionian as soon as we get back.

Want to see where we are now? Check us out on NoForeignLand https://www.noforeignland.com/boat/matilda

Until next time,

Tim & Karina