Thursday, July 10, 2014

Greece: Santorini Sailing

We mentioned in our last post that the original attempt to take the sailing trip was canceled due to a freak cyclone hitting the island. Winds were over 60mph and the whole island was a mess. While we were witnessing the storm from the far south of the island, our hotel on the north got pummeled as well. Our hotel room door lock broke when the wind blew the door in and the fencing by the pool broke off. One of the heavy wood lounge chairs ended up in the pool.

We were able to re-book and take our trip two days later.

Found on the internet
Prior to our vacation Hotel Ikies in Oia sent us a great email full of information about Santorini that included some tour options. After combing through the choices we decided to book with Santorini Sailing. One of their excursions was a semi-private sunset cruise that included a dinner on the boat. According to the literature we were going on the same tour featured on The Travel Channel, TLC, Food Network, etc. Sounded nice.

The tour price included round-trip transfer from the hotel; or a nearby meeting point. On our second attempt we had Adonis for a driver, a twenty-something Greek that was fluent in English with an Australian accent. We think he was the owners' son (the owners are of Greek decent from America and Australia). He kept us entertained by DJing our trip with current hits. When we arrived at the port we were divided between two boats: Americans on one, all other nationalities on the other. Our catamaran was a mix of pairs: mother/daughter, younger married couples, babymooning couples,  and us. We were offered drinks: a horrid Greek pilsner or white wine. Apparently red wine was not an option since their upholstery was white.

After setting sail we moved to sit on the front of the boat. This gave us the best view and allowed us to have more time in the sun as the air chill was creeping up on us quickly. This also got us wet as the wave action was still pretty strong. Time to put the big SLR camera away and rely on the GoPro.

We departed around 3pm and dinner was served at 5:30. In-between, we sailed by the Red Beach, White Beach, some pretty cliffs, and the Venetian Lighthouse. Then we made it to the volcano and got to swim in the hot springs. This time of year the definition of hot was maybe 3 degrees higher than the typical water temperature. The water was freezing! We didn't hang out in there too long. We left the hot springs area and anchored off an island where a hermit lived.

The dinner portion of the sail was very good. 12 of us worked our way through salads, shrimps, chicken, pork, etc. It was some of the best food we had in Greece. The rest of the sail was concentrated on moving slowly towards port and awaiting sunset from the chosen vantage point. Not to complain, but since this was billed as a "luxury" trip they missed the boat (ha ha) on dessert (they didn't have any) and champagne at sunset. We had a great view of the sunset with the exception of a big ferry cutting across the landscape at an inopportune moment.

It was a long drive back to Oia. Instead of hitting the town we decided to take showers, finish the backlog of wine we had in the room, and enjoy some episodes of Pawn Stars. It was a great day overall and a perfect way to see Santorini from another point-of-view.

Here is some video from the trip.


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