A Yacht on the Aegean

July 14, 2018 - Náxos, Greece

We were quite excited about our day trip with Actionseaze on the yacht Partes II, but a little apprehensive after David and I, waiting for Sarah at Bossa yesterday evening, had seen it ploughing back into the harbour through a very choppy sea. On the way home last night we had called in at the Actionseaze office and were reassured by the woman who had originally sold us our tickets that the boat had all mod cons (a rough translation of her much more formal and halting English) and that we would be very comfortable.

The morning was still windy, as predicted, but we were down on the harbour front by 8.20 with about 20 other people and we were sorted into to two groups, one for each of the 52 foot yachts doing the trip today. We ended up with two young Roumanian couples who lived and worked in London, and an older Swedish couple, so with Nick our skipper and Rodrigo his apprentice, there were 14 of us altogether. Sue had been very dismissive of David's concerns about her ability as a sailor, and in fact we all coped very well with the ten or so minutes of fairly rough open sea before we sailed into the lee of Paros and the sea calmed down a bit.

The yacht has two helms, and Nick and Rodrigo sat on the seat at one, and the Swedish couple at the other. There were comfortable padded seats along each side, just enough for six a side., and the whole of the back seating area was covered and shady. Once we were through the rough water, we moved up onto the spacious front deck in the sun, or sat on the duckboard at the back. It was magic.

Our two boats pulled into the little sheltered bay of Rina Cave at about the same time, and we were followed by the Arrabella, another well-advertised tour yacht. Nick and Rodrigo anchored first, then the second Actionseaze one, then the Arrabella decided to come between us and the shore. It scraped the side of our other yacht, almost went into a big rock just outside and to the right of the cave, was just held off Parte II by the skill of Nick, and eventually anchored far enough away to be out of range of abusive shouts and shaken fists. Nick made no comment but his shaking head and rolling eyes said it all.

Sue decided not to swim, but the rest of us leapt into the incredibly clear green water with masks and snorkels, or, in my case, just a mask as there didn't seem to be anywhere to attach the snorkel. The cave is high and open, and you can swim in about 30 metres to the back wall before a further cave branches away to the left. David went a little way into that one and saw some bats, so I was disappointed that I hadn't been as adventurous. The bottom was very sandy and clear, and there were a few little fish, but nothing very spectacular to see.

Our next stop was another little sheltered bay with no name - or so Nick assured us. There was more swimming, and I ventured across to the white stony beach which was maybe 250 metres from where we  anchored. I sat there for a bit and watched the others jumping in and swimming about. (Later in the day,  when I was changing out of my swimmers, a white pebble fell out. How had I not noticed it all day? Anyway, I will varnish it when I get home and my little white pebble from No-name Bay will add to the cairn of fossilised wood from North Wollongong Beach which is expanding on our balcony table.)

Our final stop was again across a choppy patch of water to the island of Kafoussia which is very close to the coast of Naxos, and administered as part of it. The other five were sitting on the front deck, and when I joined them they told me in a very unhappy chorus that Lucie's precious iPhone had blown overboard. We were all very sad for her, and of course she was devastated. Sarah tried to locate it by the use of some clever app on her phone, but no luck of course. When we all recovered a bit, Lucie and Sarah explained that it could have been worse, as the phone is insured, and Sarah can share hers with Lucie until we get home, but of course the worst thing is losing all her precious photos.

Kefoussia is quite flat, and we anchored a couple of hundred metres from a beach which we couldn't see too clearly, but which obvioulsy had people and umbrellas on it. It was lunch time, and Nick and Rodrigo brought us  bread, cheese and a bowl of pasta with or without seafood sauce (your choice). Sue and Jackie chose the parmesan only. Then there was a lovely plate of banana and melon sprinkled with cinnamon and nutmeg. After that was cleared away, and there had been a bit more swimming, Rodrigo started offering around glasses of white wine which I suspect Nick felt were alarmingly full. The wine came from a cask which was at least five times the size of any cask we have ever seen.

I had noticed that one of the Roumanian couples had full-faced snorkels of which I was so envious that I had to ask all about them. They very generously allowed Sarah and Lucie to have a go, and they really enjoyed them. The snorkel comes out the top  and has a one-way valve so that the water can't get in, and inside the full mask you can breathe normally. Just so you know, Max, for next Christmas .........

All too soon it was time to set off home, but we enjoyed watching the islands, some close, some in the distance, as we sailed along, and Nick told us their names as they came into view. I sat on the duckboard with my camera, and the others chatted to each other. The last 15 minutes, back into the harbour, were again pretty choppy, but of course we were all hardened sailors by this time and enjoyed the adventure.

Sarah, Jackie and Lucie chose to go back to the hotel in a taxi but we other three intrepid walkers rewarded ourselves with a drink at Bossa on the way home. With our beers they gave us (as they have done each time we have been there) a plate of corn chips and two dips - a salsa and a soft bright yellow cheese.

We decided to walk home via the beach, starting off along a promenade with a seawall which is obviously the permanent home of a number of cats. We know this because we saw some scuttling among the rocks, and noticed dry cat food on the top of the wall. I have meant to mention before that there are many apparently stray cats on the island, but very few dogs. Occasionally there are one or two of the rat-on-a-string variety, and we met a German Shepherd on the boaardwalk beside the beach. Perhaps dogs are just not a Greek thing.

When we got about half way along the beach, David decided to try a short cut which in fact led us up a few blind alleys and back onto the beach a few yards from where we had left it. We quite enjoyed the diversion, and admired some large white seaside houses.

Another swim in the hotel pool, and dinner time had come around again. Tonight it was back to To Elleniko, by now known, because of Sarah's favourite, as 'the baby goat restaurant'. (In fact I had booked for us as we walked past on our way home.) It is quite a strange set up, with the kitchen and indoor part of the restaurant on one side of the street, and the large open air seating area of the other. This means the waiters are frequently to be seen running from one side of the street to the other with an impossible number of full or empty plates, avoiding cars and strolling pedestrians with breathtaking skill.

When we arrived tonight we were greeted like long lost friends by Dad, probably the proprietor, who was performing the gracious role of host from a chair beside a table on which was his beer (I think). He leapt up and told us that we would be looked after by his youngest daughter who was his favourite. (As an oldest daughter myself, I winced.) In fact we were welcomed by both daughters, and the younger one explained that she had asked to serve us again. We were seated at a table in the back corner which was just near a speaker so I found the music a bit loud. I asked for it to be turned down a bit (favourite daughter graciously complied) and I swapped around to the other side of the table. Lovely. I can't remember what everyone ate. I had the pork in tomato casserole that David had last time, Sarah had to prove the baby goat was good as it had been last time, and Sue and Jackie had lamb. We shared another carafe of rose.

No sooner had we decided that we were barely able to stagger up from the table than our waitress brought a plate of chunks of lovely rich chocolate cake; there always seems to be an extra surprise with a Greek meal. David and I shared one piece, and I asked our waitress to have the left over one for herself or other staff.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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