Monday Morning Mainland Swims and Afternoon Ruins and Figs.
“Heathah…..Heathah…..good morniiiiiiiing……” I wake with a start, still shaking from the deepest sleep. Richie is hovering above my hatch with a perfect cup of coffee, sent by Lulu. God it’s good to be home with these two. Lulu had tried to bring it earlier but I was out cold. When she came by to check on me afterward, I hear “How is your coffee, Treacle?” She calls me Treacle. She loves me. So in order to satisfy my blog of morning wakeups to Lulu’s perfect coffee delivery I had her pose for me with the cup. She loves me. Did I say that already?
Breakfast. I had Greek yogurt (the real stuff, y’all) mixed with this amazing stuff called Taxini Meli which is tahini with honey. You haven’t lived till you’ve tasted this stuff. I’m sorry, but you really haven’t.
So yes the yogurt and the taxini meli and some more coffee and chatting about everyone’s first night sleep aboard the boat. We had a lovely sleep with light, cool breezes and the gentle lapping of waves. People pay for sound machines and fans for this kind of sleeping. But all you need to do is be on a boat in the Ionian Sea.
Our morning swim was along the mainland. It was a live drop A to B – that’s SwimVaca lingo for our skipper drops us off while the boat is running in neutral, and then moves on down the coast and we swim to it. We began along two sweet little isles, full of underwater layers and ridges and all kinds of texture. From there we swam to the mainland shore only a few hundred yards away and continued along high steep cliffs to where Caretta sat in a clear bay; a total of about 2 miles. These guys were up for it and never wavered. The water was crystal clear – I could see straight to the bottom from atop the stand up paddle board. Guiding from the SUP is perfect for a swim like this, where we have the distance to spread out. I could see all 5 of our guests and Simon from the board, and they could see me.
The sea was so perfect – flat like a pond and a delicious temperature. Even after they reached the yacht, everyone just bobbed around. So I took advantage of them bobbing and grabbed my free diving gear for stroke video recording. After that, Kendra and I just bobbed and dived around a while longer. Just a coupla bobbers. Why not?
Sails up, we traveled to the island of Kalamos, where we sit now, enjoying lunch in the breeze with spectacular mountain views. Actually, the guests are, I’m inside writing. But not for long….
Right. So belly full of yum (quiche, Greek salad, little cheeses, palette cleansing with little rose flavored Greek delights, you get the picture), I am back at blogging while our guests are doing a combination of relaxing on the yacht and splashing around in what is a purely turquoise bay along a stunning white rocky beach. Jeff swam to shore for a sit on this beach, while Kendra dives dives dives down into the blue to see what she can see. Natalie put on cap and goggles and swam away, probably to scout a climb.
It’s some kind of idyllic Greek dream in this spot, and while it isn’t crowded at all, there are a few others here enjoying the view, including a sailboat full of naked Germans. Oh my. I may have gotten a photograph of two of them sitting on the beach (sand in crackers, no thank you).
We have a cool afternoon swim planned and will set out for it in about 30 minutes. I may kick back and take in the view myself for a bit.
Whoa whoa whoa.
What was THAT????!!! THAT was a warm, fresh fig – no. No, you have never had a fig. Nope. You haven’t. I’m not talking about the dry, tasteless things you can pay a fortune for in the US and pretend you’re eating figs, but really, they are zombie versions of their former selves having been shipped past their perfection overseas to your local grocer. No. That’s not a fig. I’m talking about a Mediterranean grown and harvested fig that you eat whilst aboard a yacht in the Mediterranean. That’s the fig I mean. Let Lulu give you one of those, warmed just enough, split down the top, and with a dollop of goats cheese (again, not the goats cheese you’re thinking, this is something from mythical, magical, Mediterranean goats) nestled into the top of that warm perfect fig. If you really want to launch yourself into Elysium, add a schmear of the taxini meli (tahini honey) stuff. Go ahead. Try it. I promise, once you return to Earth from your heavenly culinary orbit, you will never want to eat your favorite candy bar again. Just take that butterfinger and throw it in a trash. Whoa. I’m still not quite over it.
Give me a minute.
Our afternoon swim was in those delicious turquoise waters along Asprogiali Beach, around a rocky corner to a near ancient abandoned structure known as Agios Donatos Church. We were all enthralled with the clarity of the water, the romance of this historic little building just feet from the sea, little fishes and swim throughs and scenery that makes you want to swim with your head only up. A mile of that, and we played underwater for the camera before climbing back in the boat.
It’s nearly 6pm now and we just pulled into another exquisite little bay on the south east side of Kalamos. This bay leads to Port Lyon, a town that lost all of its access to freshwater after a massive earthquake in the first half of the 20thcentury and was subsequently abandoned. Lining the shore are ruined stone structures, including two old windmills. It feels like we’ve stumbled onto the remains of a lost civilization. So we’re pulling into this surreal scene in stunning sunshine and Lulu shows up with gin and tonics and little plates with these fig catastrophes. We slurp and eat and consume them entirely, getting fig juice and goats milk and taxini meli all over our faces and licking our fingers and ….Damn. I got lost again. Sorry (not sorry).
What made our arrival here even more impressive and special was the way Skipper Richie shopped around this bay for the perfect spot, where we are tucked into a sweet little pocket, without neighbors and safely secured with an anchor and two stern lines tied to the white rocky shore. I know because I watched Simon swim them there while I was slurping the figs.
We are soooo set up for our morning swim here.
Dinner was Greek wine to accompany a baked chicken and chorizo masterpiece, aubergine sautéed to perfection, and topped off with some lemon custard work of art for dessert.
There’s still laughter in the cockpit as I sit in the salon finishing up the account of today. I would call this a well-seasoned first day – the kind that 5 souls who are totally confident that they are in the right place are able to embrace.
Why can’t every Monday be like this?