21 August 2015

Sailing the Greek Islands - Oia, Santorini

Sailing the Cyclades
"The magic of the islands settled over us as gently and clingingly as pollen." 
- Gerald Durrell
On a 51' (15m) Beneteau, Stan and I join 8 others in Santorini and head out into the blue waters of the Aegean. Strangely, our skipper was the same one we'd had during our BVI catamaran trip - before we started taking our sailing lessons! He worked summers in Europe and winters in the BVI.

And yes, most everyone is much younger than we are. 
As usual. 
But they're great to be with.

We sailed from Santorini to Ios to Amargos to Schinousa to Naxos to Mykonos (the crowds on Mykonos! Yikes!) to Dhespotiko to Sifnos to Folegandros (my favorite) and back to Oia. 

Sometimes we anchored, but often we had to pull into a marina, where we had a lot of close company. 
We brought the boat in stern first, which was new for us. 
Often, we had to wait until a space opened up. 
Like a busy parking lot!

I preferred the freedom of being at anchor, but being in port was handier for getting around the islands. And we did, visiting olive makers and distilleries, churches and statues and ruins and monasteries. 
By local bus, and mostly on foot.

We ate a lot of Greek seafood, cheese and olives. 
We were always on the hunt for a decent bottle of Greek wine. 
There were a few, but they were difficult to find. 

The Greek islands are known for their fierce winds about the time we were there. 
Of course, when we wanted to go sailing, the wind died completely. 

It was glassy clear and beautiful. 
But not sailing weather!

We hiked up to this monastery...quite a long way.

After 10 days, dirty, sore and tired, we returned to Santorini. 
Found a place - a cave house just outside Oia - and settled in for a week of recovery!

This from my journal:
"In a cave house in Finikia, just beyond the town of Oia. The view is splendid. 
The temperature perfect. Quiet. 

A white cat is snuggled beside me, eyes closed. 
Neighbor women hanging out washing in the morning sun. 
Stan playing guitar. 

There's a nearby tavern for dinner, outdoor tables, low key and friendly. 
Or we walk into Oia and shop for groceries. 
The market woman had her son drive us home on Day 1. 
We have too much heavy stuff to walk back - water and wine, yogurt, pasta, cheese, olives - the usual stuff. (But I had NO idea what our "address" was!)

Gorgeous sunsets, whitewashed walkways. 
So we successfully enjoy the beauty of the island, while avoiding busloads of tourists and crowds of Chinese wanting to get married on Santorini. 
And piles of young cruise ship passengers for whom "sunset at Oia" is on the to-do list. 
It's a busy world out there. 

Right, kitty?"

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