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Story: The Cyclades, a group of over 200 islets scattered in the Aegean Sea, are popular among modern-day sailors. It’s island hopping at its best, with large cosmopolitan offerings like Mykonos and Santorini, as well as local favourites such as Amorgos or Folegandros, and the small, secluded bays of the Lesser Cyclades. It never gets boring thanks to meltemi, the seasonal northern wind which blows across the region during summer months. They can strong and unpredictable, forcing crews to change plans and seek refuge.
Nothing beats the excitement of sleeping on a different island each day. I’m a food photographer, so a large part of that comes from exploring local flavours.
One day, we anchored in the former pirate bay of Ormos Despotiko, where we enjoyed a feast of freshly caught sea bass, tomato fritters and a Greek salad (with homemade feta) followed by an evening swim in the moonlight. Another, we moored next to a fishing boat on sleepy Irakleia and bought red mullets from fishermen’s morning trip, which we then roasted in the galley and ate with warm pitta bread for a light lunch at sea.
In the charming village of Vathi on Sifnos, we had a sunset dinner in a taverna with tables laid out on the sand, sharing a simple sea-urchin salad, red snapper grilled with local herbs and a divine salad with wild rocket, fresh tomatoes and a delicate mizithra cheese – a local speciality made from ewes’ milk. We climbed a hill on rocky Amorgos and enjoyed a spectacular view of the bay (Luc Besson filmed The Big Blue here) while tucking into a simple picnic of olives and capers, cheese and hortopitakia – filo pastry stuffed with wild spinach, spring onion, fennel and mint.
The unpredictability of the meltemi winds and the tapestry of local flavours are what keep me coming back year upon year.
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