Sailing east of Crete we dropped anchor near the island of Spinalonga for an afternoon swim stop in water so intensely blue that you’d be forgiven for thinking the photoÂ above had been digitally manipulated. (It hasn’t.) Harking back to the Venetian occupation the name is Italian, meaning “long thorn,” which perfectly describes the island’s prickly shape. For most of the 20th century the land was used as a colony for the lepers of Crete before being laterÂ abandoned. Today, it remains unoccupied, save the random swimmers who chance upon its silent shore.