Wednesday Oh Well.
I’m currently sitting in the galley writing and editing. Lulu is humming. Softly, to herself, whilst she prepares a lunch fit for Odysseus just home from his arduous, weird and wacky journey. She hums, and sort of dances around the galley, doing 2 things at once but looking and sounding like she’s just flitting around a garden like a butterfly. She takes up chatty conversations with guests as they pass through, just doing it all with aplomb. She just put a pyramid of cheese on a board with perfectly sculpted slices of prosciutto. Humming all the while, a quiet little Lulu Lunch Symphony. She is loving us with this food.
Let me back up to just after she brought me my morning coffee (day three and counting). We pulled out of the port of Fiskardo which gave us all (except for Richie and Lulu) a chance to sleep in (again). We motor sailed for about 40 minutes around the northern tip of Ithaki – that’s Ithica to you and me (hence the Odysseus reference). We rounded a corner into Afales Bay. As we pulled in, a little old lady was getting in the water from the shoreline, looking like she had just hiked down the steep hillside for her daily morning ritual. Alone in the bay, what a peaceful, meditative practice. We dropped anchor and prepared to join her (so much for peace!).
We swam here last year on probably the grayest, coldest day of the trip, and I remember that it was beautiful, but I was distracted by the cold. So my feelings about it were a little meh. Simon and I secretly agreed that after our tantrumous Tuesday, it might be a good idea to drop the bar just a little this morning with a nice but maybe mehswim. Better to lower their expectations a tad mid-week and climb to a strong finish, right?
Damn you, Greece, shame on you Ithaki! No wonder Odysseus fought so hard to come home. Afales Bay was simply stunning. Glassy water, clear and turquoise, filled with rock formations and, yes, caves (we are still investigating the depth of Greece’s cave problem), all along a cliffy, Cyprus littered hillside with the occasional white stone spire and ancient foundations. Okay. Fine. It was spectacular. We had planned to swim out for 30 minutes then turn around and come back. After meandering one way for nearly a mile and 50 minutes – in and out of caves, up onto beaches of round white stones, diving to the bottom to touch the silky, fine, rippled sands – we finally turned around and swam hard back to the boat. Thrilled and tired, we bobbed around a little more.
Skipper put the sails up and we silently exited the bay. The hot sun, cool breezes, blue water all around us, and the restful peace of a boat under sail. Perfection.
Simon reviewed stroke videos with our swimmers, using the new Coaches’ Eye app that gives them a video file of their swimming and Simon’s session with them. Awesome. Lulu’s lunch didn’t disappoint (as if). As a matter of fact, our guests raved, calling it the best lunch so far. I concur. We stuffed our bellies as Richie pulled into Gidaki Bay on Ithaki. This was one of our favs last year, with its towering white cliffs and the secret amphitheater that Simon and I discovered. We jumped into the impossible turquoise and swam along the beach made of perfect white stones, around the corner and into the amphitheater where we bobbed and played and of course, Natalie climbed, higher than she has yet. After one photograph, I buried my head underwater until she was back down.
We made a leisurely return to the yacht where we were delighted to hear from Skipper that conditions would allow us to spend the night here. Jeff took a spin (and a fall) on the paddleboard, Kendra and Simon built towers underwater from large white stones, and we enjoyed the warm evening in the cockpit with glasses of Ouzo. Or Oyzo. I don’t knowZo.
One thing I love about this group is how immediately and thoroughly they transitioned to vacation mode. They literally spent about two hours tonight watching and tracking a few goats on shore. When I came out to join them, they reported to me excitedly the journey of the goats, having determined the nature and backstory of each one. You know, it was pretty relaxing to listen to and think about.
The light got low, the other boats left, the white cliffs glowed in the dim. Dinner was fantastic, of course, and Lulu made me my own special plate of goodness since she knows I don’t like salmon. I didn’t ask, she just did it. Everyone else devoured the salmon.
That’s the kind of crew we have.
Our guests chatted into the dark again, fast friends that they have become. They are all abed now, and I’m not far behind. We are alone in this fantastic bay, at the end of another fantastic day. The breeze is cooling and the yacht is gently rocking. I think we’ll dream of caves and figs and Greek heroes coming home to Ithaki. Hard to believe we are heading into the back half of our own spectacular journey, but we’ve still two full days of mythical memories to be made.