We woke in Marmakus Bay to a lovely tangerine sunrise and waters like glass. We planned a swim around the inside of the bay to explore the caves and beaches, and we did so. And then out intrepid ladies feeling their confidence grow decided they had the stuff to cross the deep blue to little island of Nikolou Chapel for one more ringing of the bell. And so we did.
We sailed a few hours to Fermikoula Island - dubbed “SwimVacation Island” last week by Simon, where we intended to do a short bay swim and some cave exploration.
We started on our swim when suddenly I heard Kelly exclaiming in an excited, squeaky voice: A seal! A Seal! It’s the SEAL!!!!!
Last week in this same spot Richie and Lulu had spotted the VERY RARE Mediterranean Monk Seal bobbing around us. Amy caught a glimpse of its head above water, but that was it.
Today, the seal seemed very curious about us. We turned and swam slowly toward it. It actually played peekaboo with me around a big rock pinnacle. I got a few mediocre photographs, but what a thrill to see and photograph THE most rare pinniped on Earth. It is believed that there are fewer than 500 individuals left of this species, Monachus monachus. And here we are, on a swim with a young female that most certainly lives in the caves of this magnificent little island. I mean. Wow.
We were so jazzed up and the ladies were feeling so strong and swimming so well, that we took them all the way around the island, a full one mile circumnavigation. We did another underwater swim through, and even got into some wind, swell, chop and current on the back side of the island. Our girls handled it like pros, and we even got one more little visit from our Monk Seal. Wow. Wow.
Before dinner tonight, Richie got a visit (and a photo!) from a Foxy Emperor butterfly who wanted a swig of his Mythos beer. Wildlife seeking us out today.
We are anchored now at Port Lyon on the island of Kalamos, the one with the windmill ruins and abandoned town. We’ll swim here early in the morning, and move on to the rest of our busy, final day.
Tonight I’ll dream of a playful seal, one that is barely beating the odds, who found four swimmers in her bay and decided to engage, if only for a few minutes. Lucky Caryatids, we are.
Efcharisto Ionian Sea!