We’d been looking forward to the cruise for almost a year. Five of my closest buddies from our days at the University of Rhode Island, along with spouses who have also become treasured friends, were joining my husband, Kostas, and me aboard Stressbuster, our Atlantic 70 cutter, for a week of sailing in the Greek isles.
In college, we’d lived in a co-ed dorm named Peck Hall, and we gave ourselves the dubious moniker the Peckers. Ah, youth! In late June, the Peckers arrived at our marina en masse. Seeing these much-loved faces boarding the boat brought happy tears to my eyes.
Everyone has kept in close touch for the past 30-odd years, and we quickly fell into the familiar rhythm that’s the hallmark of old friends. Only a few had sailed before, and those who hadn’t took to it like salmon to a stream. We spent a lazy week meandering around the Saronic Islands and along the coast of the Peloponnesus.
Altogether, we numbered 12 aboard. Looking like we were launching a raid, we swam into the cave on Spetses and dipped salty hands into the natural-rock “tabernacle”-amazingly, filled with cool, fresh water. On Hydra, a brave few dared to defy any fear of heights and leaped into the clear sea from a rock 30 feet up while the others watched with bated breath. We reveled in the peace and quiet of the tiny, quaint villages of Ermione and Leonidion, on the mainland coast, and deserted Dokós island, near Hydra. Each morning, we pointed the bow toward a new harbor, eyes peeled for dolphins, then dropped anchor for lunch.
In the interests of staying stressbusted, we kept the food simple: fruit, cereal, and Greek yogurt with thyme honey for breakfasts; sandwich-and-salad lunches. This combo, which we made on our first day out, is one I serve often aboard. It’s always a hit.
We had fair to moderate winds and blue skies on this journey, so preparing food while under way was no problem, but if you anticipate rough weather, this sandwich also makes a tasty and filling make-ahead-and-wrap lunch.
1 long, fresh baguette
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 pound sliced ham
1/4 pound sliced salami
1/4 pound provolone cheese,
1 jar roasted red peppers
1 jar pepperoncini
Red wine vinegar
Slice bread vertically down the middle, stopping just short of cutting it in half. Open, lay flat, and brush each side with olive oil. Fold the ham slices and add to one side, followed by the salami and cheese. Add as many slices of red peppers and pepperoncini as you need. Sprinkle with vinegar. Close the loaf and press halves together. Slice into portions and serve with Greek green salad. Serves two to four, depending on the size of the baguette and appetites.
Greek Green Salad
1 small head romaine lettuce
1 small bunch fresh dill,
4 scallions, chopped
1 small red onion, sliced thinly
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
Extra-virgin olive oil
White balsamic vinegar
Salt, to taste
Wash and dry lettuce, slice horizontally, and place in large salad bowl. (Greeks prefer their lettuce sliced, not torn.) Onto the lettuce place dill, followed by scallions, onions, and feta. Add two swirls of olive oil, or more to taste, to the mixture in the bowl. Sprinkle with vinegar. Salt to taste. Toss well and serve. Serves two to four.