Sunday on the Caretta Nana

Five guests, two guides and two crew aboard the Caretta Nana!


Caretta means Turtle. Nana, well, that’s a bit of a longer story. It’s a mythical tale with the daughter of a river god Sangarius (which sounds like Sangria to me) who somehow got pregnant when an almond fell in her lap….oh now come on, Greece. Pregnant by almond?? From there it gets even more complicated so let’s just say we set sail on our Turtle Yacht.

Our swimming group consists of 5 alums this week. One of the many great things about our repeat guests is that they come to the trip with some experience about what we do. This short-cuts the time it takes them to settle in. These 5 fell right in with each other and found an easy rapport. We left the dock early and Lisa prepared a phenomenal mezzes lunch with dippins and salad and these absurd spanakopita pie varieties. It’s amazing I was able to squeeze into my bather just a short time later.

This week, we have Jeff and Amy who come to us from Colorado and have joined us in the BVI and Hawaii, Heidi who came all the way from California who has also swum BVI and Hawaii with us, Kendra from Virginia, who has done BVI a few (maybe 3?) times – one time including the most loud and melodic whale song experience. And finally, Natalie who’s been to the BVI and this week came from Washington to swim in Greece with us for the second time. If you followed us in Greece last year, you may remember that Natalie is a climber. A rock climber. She swims to climb. It’s pretty incredible to watch when I’m not having a heart attack as she scoots up the side of a sculptural cliff face that rises from the Ionian blue.

These 5 arrived along with my fellow guide Simon, fresh (not fresh) from travel from Maine, who hit the ground running and swimming and has earned his sleep tonight.

Everyone relaxed into comfy cushions here or there as we enjoyed a 2 hour sail to our first swim spot, which is Varko Bay along the Greek mainland. Mountains line the distant horizon and green islands dot the sea before us. We dropped anchor in a beautiful blue bay.


No need for warm-ups and get to know you swims – we jumped right in and did almost a mile and a half in an out and back sort of thing along beautiful rocky coast line with white and orangey cliffs peppered with greeny silver vegetation – so distinctly Mediterranean. The water is a perfect temperature for swimming. Warm – maybe 80 – with sudden cool surface patches as we pass through what I can only imagine are freshwater springs coming from the rocky caves beside us. A delight for the senses. Yes, Natalie climbed. At the end of the swim we lolled about in the sea, diving down, floating around and just being here.

We climbed out and the late afternoon sun was so warm and strong we all just stayed in our bathers and chatted for a while, until Lulu and Richie started passing out a champagne cocktail that required something a little dressier. Sweet little apps accompanied more conversation until we all sat for a lovely dinner of pork with apple and tomatoes and fantastic potatoes. Baklava rounded things out and made for a fabulous first impression of life and eating in Greece.

We chatted and laughed together about stories we have in common and those we don’t until the sun set, and even then we laughed and reconnected in the warm, welcoming dim.

I won’t lie: I’m rushing the blog a bit tonight. Everyone is in their bunks with cool Mediterranean breezes flowing through their hatches and I’d like to get there soon myself. 

This was an easy start to what I think will be a great week here. Our guests are already pros at swimming and vacationing, which means we can get quickly to the business at hand. Simon and Skipper Richie have already plotted a fun swim for the morning. This group is ready for whatever the day will bring.

Efcharisto, Greece.

-      Heather