Today was a big day. We set course for the legendary Samtorini, also known as Thira. Both the sea and the wind continued to be rough and virtually the entire journey was against the wind. Lisa and Maurizio steered the whole way voluntarily, they knew we were on treacherous grounds (sea, really). We had lots of what we began to call "salty showers" from waves breaking on board for the first half of the trip, luckily Neptune showed a bit more mercy in the second half of the journey. We originally intended to moor in the harbour on the southern tip of Santorini, but the wind was too strong for us to find good shelter there and the harbour was overcrowded anyway. So, instead we decided to go a bit further west, find a sheltered bay, swim and wait for the wind to calm down and then assess our options. We shall see what happens!
I woke up at 9am and noticed--probably at least in part due to being still half-asleep--that the sea in this harbour sounded like a river: waves were very small and frequent and hit the pier almost constantly, giving me an illusion that there was a stream nearby. Once I pondered that thought for a bit more, I had a quick breakfast and grabbed a book as Maurizio and Lisa went for a walk around Astypalaia. We left at about midday and set course to Anafi. The wind was strong for most of the journey and the sea was quite rough. The good news was that we kept on making very good progress, the high of the day was 9.7kn under my stewardship. My dad came at a close second with 9.3 kn. It seems our family has high wind in favour!
I woke up at 7:30 just as I heard the roar of the boat's engine--it was time to move. I rushed on board to help with the fenders and maneuvering and we were soon out of the port. Sadly, our enthusiasm was not matched by that of the wind; soon after leaving the port we hit a patch of no wind and so we had to turn the engine on for a few more miles to get us through to an area with more wind. As a side note--we rarely ever used our engine during navigation. Dull as it was at times to be stuck with no or little wind in the middle of the journey, we usually weathered it and slowly made our way to an area with more wind--we only ever really used the engine for the absolute final approach to ports as the engine made the ship more easier to maneuver. But today was an exception, we really had to make progress and could not have afforded to waste precious hours standing still.
Will Dierenfield, as dear a friend as one can have, just launched his own blog. Knowing him the way I do, he will come up with stories filled to the brim with wit, humour and food for thought. He's the top of the tops, but just getting started, so spread the word and read, read, read.
Today was yet another day when me and my dad woke up early to go sightseeing before we sail off--this time our destination was the Platanos castle. We caught the 7:43 bus, which was on time! Amusingly, the bus driver kept on honking throughout the whole trip, frequently but irregularly enough to catch you off-guard and make you yank instinctively each time. You see, there are many reasons to honk in Greece: a vehicular 'hello' to a car--any car--passing you in the opposite direction, a warning to pedestrians, or an alert to general traffic when the bus was approaching a turn; the streets were often quite narrow and cars could easily crash into the bus if they didn't know it was right around the corner. Noble and sociable as the reasons were, the constant fanfare from the bus must have been greatly enjoyed by anybody who lived by the street at such wee hours of the day.
I was woken by a very strong gust of wind that got through a small ventilation opening in my cabin--made a huge squeek! Once we all got a bite to eat for breakfast, we went for a long walk around the south-east part of the island--a bay on the other side of the island was our ultimate destination. Once we stepped off the boat, my dad my day lost a hat in a particularly powerful gust of wind. Not the best way to start the walk! In Greece, you do really want to do your best to hold on to a hat; it's often the only thing saving you from being burned alive under the ever-beating sun. But it was not lost for good: It turned out that Lisa had lost a shoe last night as it fell into the sea, but she managed to find a corner in the harbour where the currents and waves converged, waited for the shoe to do-si-do there and simply fished it out. We decided to do the same--by the time we're back from the walk the hat should be ready to be salvaged!
Today was an exciting day. We woke up early to catch the 7:40 bus to the Chora (generic name for the main village on a Greek island, usually also the one placed at the highest altitude of other settlements) and the monastery. The bus was on time (early, actually!) and dropped us off close to the monastery in about 15 minutes. The entrance was closed even though the monastery was supposed to open at 8am--not everybody in Patmos was quite as punctual as our bus driver! It took the warden 25 minutes to come open it--it looks like late night partying in bars that we see everywhere finally caught up with somebody.
Today we woke up exceptionally early, at 7:30, just as the wash of waves from Lisa's ferry rocked the boat. Once aboard, Lisa joined us for a walk around the town. We went on the top of a nearby hill where we found--surprise, surprise--a church! Then we bought some bread (fresh from the oven, yum!) and paid for moorage at the harbour, which was €11 for the night.
Today we woke up at around 9am and followed through on our plan from last night--first order of business was to walk up to the church on the top of the hill dominating over the port. The walk only took about 15 minutes and most of the path was made of newly-restored cobbles and steps. Even though it was still quite early in the day, the temperature began to rise regardless and sweat soon kicked in. But it was all worth it--the view was gorgeous.
As per usual, we went for a second walk around Kalomeria in the morning. I found a post office, posted a whole bunch of postcards that I had written so far and then we bought some groceries. Our meals so far have been very simple--Maurizio is a vegetarian and only eats fresh ingredients--none of the canned stuff! So our shopping consisted of spaghetti, fresh tomatoes--you haven't eaten tomatoes until you've eaten fresh Greek tomatoes--and garlic. Mix it with some olive oil and you've got a lunch!