June 30 afternoon - July 6 morning
We left Kalo Lavadi beach at 9:30 AM with winds that were blasting between 20-25 knots. We got out of the bay and set our course for Paros. We unfurled our jib and cut the engines and enjoyed the 4.25 hour sail. The winds dropped down to 15-18 knots and provided a comfortable 6-8 knot sail across. Stunning!
We arrived to the view of a church on the rock outcrop and we headed around into the bay called Órmos Áy Ioannou. It is a very popular bay as it is a very protected bay. To the left of our stern is a municipal park with an outdoor cinema that shows different movies along with lovely hiking trails. There were lovely rock outcrops that were submerged near the beach creating an aqua marine colour of the water. We had been told the snorkelling was amazing.
|church on the rock outcrop|
We walked over to the restaurant and chose a seat while the girls played in the water. The water was shallow for at least 100 meters. There are beach chairs for rent and the beach is very popular with families. Jordan met a little girl and her brother from Australia. They swam and played for quite a long time. Thankfully the prices are reasonable. Shaun and I were able to have a litre of wine for 12 euro.
|view from the trail heading to the restaurant|
|view of the beach near the restaurant|
After we returned to the boat we decided it was time to check some items off of our to do list as the seas were calm. The items that needed to be done happened to be up the mast. After a massive search of the boat, due to the fact we were unable to remember where the bosuns chair had been placed, I went up the mast and got the radar reflector and a rogue halyard (one that Shaun had used to hang a black sphere to show that we were at anchor but somehow disconnected) down. My abs sure got a work out as the radar reflector had to be attached on the outside of our spreaders. It was a wonderful view. The moon was coming up, the sun was setting, the mountains of the neighbouring island of Naxos were visible and the lovely Hora (town) of Naousa were a sight to see. Paige wanted to go up as well to see the view. She was very excited. That evening Shaun and I sat up watching the colour of the sky change from orange to black and the white square buildings disappear just before their lights came on. The sea was like glass and we could overhear other cruisers chatting well into the night. The serenity of this place is beyond words.
|Paige up the mast|
|Paige at the top|
|me at the bottom holding Paige straight|
From our vantage point being tucked into the bay the Hora is stunning. The white and blue square buildings are visible and spread up the gentle hill. It is a welcoming sight.
|view of the Hora "Naoussa"|
We were running low on bread so I decided to try a french bread recipe I found. The recipe is called "Easy Peesy French Bread". My first attempt wasn't pretty but was edible.
|my first attempt at bread|
The next morning the seas were not as calm, in fact there was a 3-4 foot swell. We were out of fruits, vegetables and bread and we wanted to explore the inviting town we had been staring at the day before. Just as we had dropped the dinghy we noticed the local sea bus (a converted fishing boat) motor by on its way to pick up people from the municipal park dock. We decided that we didn’t want to have to abide by anyone elses schedule so we hopped into the dinghy and followed behind the sea bus. The ride was calm until we came out into the channel and the fun began. Luckily we were going downwind and surfing with the waves or it would have been ugly. Shaun was able to get the dinghy going fast enough to get us up on a plane. As we were skipping along I felt a little panicked as I felt like I was going to bounce right out of the boat. We had to slow down a few times to account for the waves but once we made it across to the breakwater of the marina the seas were protected and calm once again. As we turned into the marina we could see a variety of fishing vessels brightly painted in the greek fashion we have grown accustomed to seeing in the harbour. We docked close by to where the sea bus drops the people. Over to the right we noticed several ducks and large white geese near the water. We also noticed a stream of water flowing into the sea. All of the birds were drinking this water so we figured it must be fresh water running into sea water. Paige & Jordan were excited to see fish as well in the stream.
|the geese crossing the road|
The waterfront area of Naousa is made of cobble stone streets with a small bridge that crosses over the fresh water stream. The streets were clean, and were painted the familiar white between the cobble stones. The back allies meander in the same fashion as Mykonos but are less crowded. The main street is lined with lovely restaurants, tavernas, clothing shops, and touristy shops. There are lovely large trees creating some shade and a fantastic kids play park. We stopped at a local restaurant called “Square”. The food was excellent, reasonably priced and there was wifi. A fantastic combination for a cruising family.
|one of the cobblestone streets|
|the tree lined street|
|the play park|
|Jordan on the "salad spinner"|
We had been following the Greek financial crisis and had been warned about the ATM’s being out of money and banks being closed. At this point we hadn’t experienced anything close to this. While we were on the wifi at Square we read on Facebook a post from our friends Gary and Lisa of “End Game” posted that the ATM’s on the island of Milos were dry and the banks were closed. This prompted us to pull out as much money as we could from our Canadian bank and our France account, just in case. I hadn’t brought my Canadian bank card with me so we vowed to make another trip into town to stock up on cash.
We successfully picked up our fruits and veggies, loaded up the dinghy and headed back across the channel (with less swell) to our boat. Shaun and I decided that Paige could babysit and that we could head over for a date night. I was in desperate need of a pedicure and in this desperation I took the neon orange nail polish Paige had given me and painted my toes to try and cover up the remains red (it worked out in the end). The winds were a little brisk so we put on our sweaters, headlamp, and life jackets and off we went. We left the VHF on and headed along the coast to where we had seen flashing lights the night before. We made it safely to one of the small wharfs and tied up. We went inside the resort and found their bar. Shaun had a fantastic baileys latte and I had a Alpha Weissen (lovely beer). As we were heading out of the reception we saw and advertisement for the Aqua Paros water park along with a brochure for a Butterfly Valley. We headed back to the boat in a bit rougher weather against the wind so of course we both got soaked. As I was getting ready for bed I heard popping noises and looked outside to see another vessel shooting off fireworks. We think perhaps that they were to celebrate Canada Day!
We decided to take the sea bus into town as the winds were heavier. On our dinghy ride to the municipal park dock we got soaked as we were moving against the wind. Sadly Paige & I got the most of it. Once we arrived at the dock and were tied up Paige left her backpack unattended in the blustery conditions and learned the hard way that wind has no mercy. Her back pack and all of its “stuff” ended up in the ocean. Luckily her laptop was not amongst it. Once we arrived the girls were able to feed the ducks and geese while we waited for Shaun to drop off the pdf of our boat card (similar to a business card) but has all of our information. Once this was completed and the order placed we decided to grab some lunch and hit Square once more for the reasonably priced and great food before renting a car to explore the island. We followed the signs and found ourselves driving through various parts of the island. Looking out of the windows we saw bails of hay, olive groves, vegetation, people growing fruits and veggies to sell, and wineries. We parked the car in the parking lot of the lovely shaded area and went into the Butterfly Valley. We paid our 2 euros each for the adults and read the instructions and rules. At first I was sceptical, but as we followed the trail and looked beyond our noses into the fig trees and various other flora and fauna the butterflies became apparent. As we started to look they could be found resting in the shade in large groups in shaded areas close to water. Stunning black and yellow winged butterflies against their green leaf resting places. Once in flight the salmon colour on the inside of their wings was present. When we reached the end the girls wanted to go to the play park that we noticed on the way in. Shaun and I had a beer that cost 1 euro 60 under the canopy of the giant fig tree while the girls ate their popsicle while playing.
|many butterflies resting in the shade|
|one of the trails|
|up close and personal|
|our 1 euro 60 beer in the idyllic setting|
The car needed to be returned and the boat cards picked up so Shaun graciously took the girls with the promise of some beach playtime. I stayed behind for some peace and quiet. I was able to do two loads of laundry, snooze, read and generally relax without having to worry about who had to be fed or kept occupied. It was bliss! Upon return Shaun explained that the card weren’t finished as they had a broken part so we had to cancel the order. He also mentioned that he met the people on the power boat that had set the fireworks off on Canada Day. It turns out that they are from the USA and it was in celebration for someones birthday and not for Canada Day.
Today the winds were high (25-30 knots) so it was a day on the boat to make sure the anchor held and the boat was safe. We watched movies and napped. The girls were getting pretty bored by the end of the day but we had to be safe. We told them that we would go to the waterslides if the weather was calmer.
Lucky for them the weather calmed down so we took the dinghy down. To our surprise the slides went right into the ocean. We decided to take the lazy river around the park to check out where everything was and then Paige and I went on a yellow slide which hurt my bottom. The girls had a blast. The girls found a slide in the kids area that they were allowed to use a tube. Jordan had a blast. Shaun took some awesome video footage. It was time to leave and head over to the beach for wifi that didn’t block us and for some cheap wine. We made a pit stop at the boat to grab Paige’s computer and then we were off to the beach. The evening was beautiful and calm, the calmest it had been in several days with a stunning full moon. We decided that the following day we would depart for the island of Naxos.
Follow our video adventures on the following youtube channel: