July 14 afternoon - July 20 morning
We departed Milos at 8:00 AM heading towards Santorini. It was a beautiful day to sail.
We went around to the bottom of Milos to Kleftiko where the rock formations and caves are located. We arrived to their white natural beauty with aqua marine waters. Sadly we only had 1 hour to spend there including lunch. We dropped the dinghy and went to explore. We arrived into the first bay with striking sheer cliffs and incredible caves. We went cautiously through the first one and were awestruck by it. It was heartbreaking that we were unable to swim and explore their wonders. After exploring another dinghy-thru cave we headed back to the boat in preparation for the 50 nautical mile sail.
We had 12 knots of wind with beamy seas (meaning, as we were sailing the wave were hitting us in the middle) making for a bit of a bumpy ride. The girls watched movies and slept for most of the day. They are getting used to the longer sailing days.
As I was sitting in the port helm chair I felt a vibration but ignored it. I mentioned it to Shaun but he thought it was the sail drive but was a bit confused as the engine was off and in reverse. I was getting really concerned about the mechanical feeling of the vibration so I decided to investigate. I opened up the engine compartment and to my shock and horror found an engine room 1/4 full of water. I said the first words that popped into my head “oh shit!”. Shaun calmly climbed in and tasted the water to determine if it was salt or fresh water. It was fresh thankfully and was contained to the engine compartment. The vibration I was feeling was the bilge pump working to pump out the water. We closed the compartment thinking that the pump would get rid of the water……. To our dismay the water wasn’t getting any lower. In Shaun went again to determine it wasn’t functioning. He ended up having to cut its power to stop it and then get rid of the water the old fashioned way of a bucket. I was unable to go below with the bumpy water even medicated…… Thank goodness for my husband.
Several hours later we arrived into Santorini, Greece. It was nearing 8:00 PM so we needed to find a place to park the boat. Shaun had read that the marina can get so overpacked that they raft boats together 2 and 3 deep. This would have meant we would either have to crawl over other peoples boats or vice versa. We decided to look at the bays before the marina in hopes that karma was smiling on us. It just so happened that karma was with us and we found this incredible anchorage in a bay surrounded by reddish lava sheer faced rock walls with a small beach with several beach chairs that had been emptied earlier in the day. We dropped the hook, set the bridle and finalized our post sail checklist and took a deep breath.
|first view of Santorini|
The evening turned out to be super calm and relaxing and at 9:30 PM we heard the bats. One or two were circling the boat checking it out. We hadn’t heard bats like this since Marmaris, Turkey almost 3 months ago. Shaun and I both were extremely tired so we headed to bed and I for one slept like the dead.
We woke up to see our beautiful bay and vibrant surroundings in daylight. We also woke up to an extremely hyper Jordan (I found out later she had been eating gummies at 7:00 AM). I got suspicious when she said she wasn’t hungry for breakfast…. Her punishment was no more for the rest of the day.
Our view was a striking red sheer faced lava wall with a dark beach with beach chairs and then aqua marine water. The sound of the water breaking on the beach and the Greek music being played up on the hillside. Oops, I forgot to mention the asian wedding going on. I’m quite sure we are in the wedding photos.
|view of red beach from the boat|
The daily trip boats started arriving (and only stayed for 30 minutes to an hour) at 10:00 AM (5-6 at a time). Several of the captains making reference to our Catana. One wanting to come back later for a ride and when he did come back jokingly saying “I can have my ride now?”. We all had a chuckle.
As Shaun was fixing the water pump (swapping it out with a spare that we had aboard) the girls and I went swimming. As I was snorkelling a day trip boat went by with a passenger asking if I had seen any sharks. I replied not yet, and he mentioned there were many in search of beautiful women. To this I replied that I think that I just spotted one. We had a good laugh.
Around mid day another round of day trippers arrived as well as kayakers going by on their long trip up and then down the coast. We had our snack lunch and swam again (diving and jumping from the side and back decks). When the afternoon trip boats arrived we had already become part of the fellow explanation on the tour
“here are the people from Canada who live on their boat 24 hours a day 7 days a week”.
We had a quiet and peaceful evening with beautiful stars and the bay to ourselves. The wind was calm when we went to bed. In the night the winds picked up to 20 knots with 25 knot gusts so Shaun got up and closed the emergency hatches and saloon hatches. He then had to get up and bring in towels. It was a very disruptive sleep for us both.
We woke up to another asian wedding on the cliffside and to another beautiful day, windier but still pleasant. I was getting antsy without knowing how we would get to explore the island of Santorini so Shaun said he would dinghy me of to the beach and I would walk the trail to see where all of the people where coming from and to find the I wanted to find the bus schedule. We dropped the dinghy and took me and my dry bag of shoes, socks, money and camera to the beach. Due to the higher winds I had to dump into the water as beaching the dinghy wasn’t an option (there was a big surge that would have harmed us all and possible some innocent bystanders). Off I went into the sea to swim the short distance to the beach holding my dry bag awkwardly. I sure I gave someone a good laugh. I made it to the beach with as much decorum as I could muster and walked gingerly over to find a rock to dry my feet and get dressed. I put on my shorts and sadly looked as though I had peed my pants as I had no towel. Embarrassment tucked away I started the climb up the path to see what I could find. The views down into the bay were stunning. Thankfully my dry bag kept everything dry. I made it to the top and just around the bend there was a small fruit stand set up with lovely fresh fruit. Further down there was a road that meets the path. There is a small taverna and a larger fruit stand with amazingly fresh fruits. I tucked this information away for later. I followed the road to find out where the sea buses go and to find the public bus stop. I took photos along the way including the bus schedule as my memory os good but short. I headed back and decided to stock up on some of the fruit. I purchased apples, cherries and bananas. I managed to fit it into the dry bag without too much squishing. The poor bananas took a bit of a beating.
I made it back down to the beach and singled to Shaun to pick me up. I stowed my shoes, shirt and shorts and closed the bag. I wadded out into the water with the bag with a look that said “what the hell are you doing”. I swam out past the breaking water and met Shaun. I found out it is extremely difficult to climb back into a dinghy so I decided I would swim to the boat. The wind was behind me so off I went. It was only at the end I had to hitch a ride. The atmosphere of this days trip boats was very much a party with music pumping and people dancing and swimming. We joined in by cranking our tunes and danced.
|my recon mission to find the bus stop|
|another view down the trail|
We needed internet and on my walk I had seen some spots where we could potentially dock the dinghy so off we all went at high speed in our dinghy around the point. We tied up where the sea buses arrive and depart and stopped at a local taverna to have a beverage and use the wifi.
As the evening arrived (8:00 PM) so did the evening trip boats. On one of the catamarans there were a couple of guys calling us “hosers” as we are from Canada. Shaun and I had a good laugh at that. We enjoyed the evening being the only ones in the bay. Serenity is a word that best describes where we are anchored.
Shaun slept in a bit to try and catch up. We had discussed taking the local bus into Fira but I wasn’t sure if this was going to happen due to the lack of sleep. We decided to
take the local bus to Fira. We knew we had a secure spot for the dinghy so we packed up our wares for the day and headed out.
We were waiting at the “Local Bus Stop” when we started talking to a girl from Montreal. She explained that she had seen a bus stop at the bottom of the street and that the bus was “rickety”. We were up for the adventure. As the bus pulled up Shaun and I looked at one another saying “thats not rickety”…… We were directed across the street to wait to be picked up. The bus is the size of a tour bus with plush seats and all for 1 euro 80 per person (children Jordans age ride for free). We found our seats and off we went along the crazy narrow and twisty roads to Fira.
We were dropped in the most chaotic bus station I have been to. It was organized chaos with all of the buses and all of the tourists cramming in and out. We left the chaos and started our walk up to Fira. In true greek fashion the buildings are snow white perched up on top of the caldera looking down into the huge crater of the volcano. The views are hard to describe to do them justice. For those of you that have been to Santorini you can understand what I mean. Even though there were tons of people it was a very nice village. Lots of shops and stunning views. We stopped at a cafe to have lunch and to watch the cruise ships and other sail boats. We also were watching the day trip boats pulling into the bay taking their visitors for the tour. Shaun and I agreed that as beautiful as the crater of Santorini is we were loving our anchorage better. As we were sitting overlooking the water we looked down to the right to see the donkey trail switch backing up from the bottom. This was what we were planning to do after lunch.
After lunch we walked further along the streets looking in the shops along the way to the gondola. We stopped in a music store and almost bought our first guitar. I wanted to think on it before we purchased. We arrived at the gondola and took it down. Paige is nervous with heights so was NOT enjoying the stunning views. Jordan was sitting on the far side of the gondola staring out and down saying “Paige you do not want to look down”. We passed the donkey trail on the left watching them go up and down with their passengers.
We reached the bottom and took a look around the old town area before hitching our ride up on the aromatic donkeys. Jordan and I rode together as I thought that Paige would have her own donkey. When I looked back though I saw that she was made to ride with Shaun. It was an extremely painful ride up for her. Jordan and I had a blast. Our donkey liked to follow a particular one however, when another tried to pass us he would pick up the pace and jostle us around. We were giggling and smiling the whole way up. Unforgettable! If ever you are in Santorini it is a must to do. It is better to take the gondola down and ride the donkeys up.
|view in Santorini looking down from the edge of the caldera|
|view of the donkeys on their trip up from our lunch spot|
|view from the gondola|
|more views from the gondola|
|looking down while in the gondola|
|side view of the donkeys on our way down in the gondola|
|view from the old town of Santorini before we took our donkey ride|
|another view up|
|view along the old part of Santorini|
|selfie of Jordan and I on the donkey|
|view ahead of us on our trip up|
|trying to capture Shaun and Paige behind us|
|Jordan and I at the end of our donkey adventure|
|walking the rest of the way through the throngs of resting animals|
|view overlooking the village of Santorini|
It was time for us to grab a bus back to the boat so we headed back to the chaotic bus station for our ride back. We arrived back to Akritiri and took the dinghy back to the boat.
The following day was a chill out at the boat day. We wanted to enjoy the crystal aqua marine calm waters. We jumped and dove off the boat. Paige and I snorkelled our way to the beach and got washed ashore. Paige wanted to go ashore further down which I should have listened to as we ended up being washed up onto rocks. A lesson learned.
|she should be a ballerina|
Later that evening and for 2 more evenings we employed Paige to babysit while we took the dinghy around the bend for some quality time together. The girls got to watch movies and Shaun and I were able to chat amongst ourselves.
We chose to stay in Santorini one extra day as the weather was acceptable so we headed around the bend with the girls. I hiked back to the trail as I wanted to purchase the CD of the fellow playing music everyday as well to the wonderful fruit stand to replenish our stocks. I came back with apples, bananas, green grapes, nectarines and the fellow had given me a sample of an apricot and then loaded me up with them as a gift.
I hoofed it back to meet Shaun and the girls at the ice cream café. By this point I was sweating buckets and was looking forward to a swim back at the boat. Off we went with our fresh fruit.
The bay was extremely busy with day trip boats. The busiest that we had seen it. Perhaps there were some cruise ships in? A possibility. Whatever the case we enjoyed the different boats and people. As evening approached so did our preparations. Out came the pre-sail checklist and in went all of our loose items. All the dishes completed and dry towels stowed. We headed out one last time just Shaun and I to confirm the weather for Monday so that we wouldn’t be surprised. We ate dinner at the same taverna we had dined at twice before. As we were sitting we saw a family pull up to the dock with a very fancy dinghy. I made mention that we loved his dinghy and got to chatting. Turns out that he will be in the 2016 ARC (atlantic ocean crossing) with us. It also turns out that they will be staying in Turkey for a year. We gave him our boat card to contact us. Shaun ended up getting an e-mail from David on a later date. We chatted for a bit before he joined his family for dinner. We said our farewells and headed back to the boat for our final evening in Santorini. My heart is now officially splintered as I am leaving a piece of it here.
|starry starry night|
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