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Crete Circumnavigation: An Overview

by | Sep 12, 2016 | Crete Circumnaviagtion, Expeditions, Kayaking | 5 comments

Crete is a land where characters of myth once roamed the earth, where ancient gods made their home. Crete is the place where Zeus, king of the gods, was born in the Dikti Mountains; the land where King Minos built his palace atop the labyrinth that housed the Minotaur; the place where Icarus flew too close to the sun and fell to the sea.

This is a land of mythos and legend, and while paddling along the remote coastline you can feel the history thickly in the air.

On September 20th, our team of four will embark on a 5 week, 450+ mile circumnavigation of the island by kayak. Crete is the largest and most populated island in Greece, with miles of beautiful sandy shores surrounding the entirety of its 8000 square km.

The Cretan coastline is well populated and hospitable so many of the challenges of living out of a kayak will be mitigated. Tavernas (local restaurants) and Inns dot the coastline at regular intervals, providing plenty of access to potable water, electricity, food, and company. Ultimately, it is the perfect island to spend five weeks kayaking and camping along the beach.

Along the way we’ll be telling the story of simple, minimalistic living that typifies the Greek island culture. Meals will be simple, greek-style, cooked over the fire or camp stove, supplemented by freshly caught fish and the occasional stop by a taverna.

In average conditions, the team expects to make between 3-4 mph, so the daily goal of 15-20 mile should not be difficult to achieve. However, the Aegean Sea is known for a prevailing Northwest wind that could slow our progress, especially on the northern coast. The water conditions this time of year can range anywhere from pond calm to sea state 7-8, so our team will have to take full advantage of favorable paddling conditions, even if it means paddling all day and into the night.

Three of the four team members, including myself, have guided kayaking adventures along the southern coast of Crete for many years and attempting a full circumnavigation has always been a pipe dream. We’ll be posting regular updates as the journey progresses, sharing our successes, challenges, and stories of basking in the Mediterranean sun. Be sure to follow along to take part in all the joy, drama, and suspense!