Want to see all pictures in High Res? Copy the following link into your browser:
From there you will be able to see a slide show and download full resolution pictures from this blog.
Today we wrapped up the boat, filling it with gas, cleaning up, and packing. After that we went and saw the town of KOS. The most amazing ruins are in the main town of KOS. There are several acres of land that once contained an ancient city. The land was occupied from 2300 BC. The town that stood until only 100 years ago when it was felled by an earthquake, was built starting in 366 BC. After the earth quake, archeologists tried to rebuild what they could of it and it is now open to the public. You can go in and climb around in what used to be houses, the town square, and churches. The stone work that remains is amazing!
Later in the day we headed for the airport and flew back to Athens where we had dinner and said goodbye to Dad and Marla as we were taking different flights back to Seattle in the morning.
Today was a beautiful sailing day. By far the best sailing the whole trip. We sailed around to the north side of KOS to the main marina where we were to leave the boat. Along the way we dropped anchor for an hour to visit some volcanic hot springs. The water coming out of the springs was boiling hot. So it was weird to be able to stand in warm water where the hot springs mixed with the ocean.
After that we sailed over into one of the bays over in Turkey. Turkey looks pretty much like the Greek Islands. Lunch along the way we made from all the various leftovers - meatloaf, ham and cheese, and veal. Mmmm.
When we reached the main marina, we found the best facilities we had seen anywhere along our route. Everyone went for long hot showers!
That night we had a rope tying class taught by our own Captain Dave!
Dinner was lemon chicken made with the preserved lemons that Melissa made the first day we were on board. They had finally soaked long enough in the olive oil and were ready to be eaten. Yum yum!
The next day the weather was supposed to be better. So we headed for KOS. The seas were calmer and the winds were back down to a reasonable level. We sailed into a small port called Kardamena on the south side of the island. We docked the boat right in the middle of town. We walked around looking at an array of tourist trap restaurants, discos, bars, and shops.
At one point we hear, "hey - where did you get that SeaHawk shirt?" Dad replied, "From the SeaHawks of course!" One of the waiters in a restaurant called Alexander's was from Seattle. His father was Greek and he spends his summers in Greece. He lives near Bellevue Square! Of course we had to eat at his restaurant and had a good time chatting about what was up in Seattle, and he gave us good tips on what to do on KOS.
We started out of Santorini at 8am planning a 6 hour trek to an island called Astipalaia. We had anticipated a long day of sailing in 25 kt winds. Alas the weather gods were not cooperating. After pounding away in 5 foot seas and 20 knot winds for 5 hours, we were no where near the destination and the seas and winds were getting worse... and worse... and worse...
In the end, we found ourselves surfing up and down 10 foot waves. The winds were 35 kts gusting to nearly 40 kts. At one point Dave said "holy shit". Melissa knew that couldn't be good. A 12 foot wave loomed overhead. Thank good it didn't break on our heads. Many of the 10 footers did. We were soaked to the bone, shivering cold, and all wishing we could just pull over and stop. Alas, we still had another 2 hours to go to our destination.
Somewhere along the way we lost the boat hook and a fender that were swept overboard. At one point, Melissa was knocked on her back as she tried to make her way from one side of the cabin to the other. Despite holding on to a hand hold, she was tossed across the boat onto her back. Ouch. Oh, and the auto pilot quit working. So Dave hand sailed the whole long ugly day without a break (the rest of us were too scared to steer.)
At one point Dave saw two dolphins - looking horizontally into a 12 foot wave. They were zipping through the wave without a care in the world. We all wished we were dolphins.
After 8 hours of unhappy sailing we finally reached our cove. A tinny little "hurricane hole" of an anchorage - with a small entrance and tall hills on all sides, we finally found calm waters. The bay was filled with other boats waiting out the storm.
We arrived in the bay a bit worse for wear. Melissa immediately got in a hot shower because she was shivering so hard she couldn't do anything else. We also found that nearly all the deck hatched leaked. So all the bunks, sheets, blankets, and pillows were soaked. We put them out on the deck to dry.
We then discovered much to our dismay that one of the toilets didn't like being heeled over and tossed about all day in the waves. So the holding tank spewed its guts all over. No only did this totally trash one of the two heads, but since the boat bilges aren't properly isolated, it also dumped sewage into one of the lower kitchen cupboards. We spent a hour pumping and cleaning sewage. And the remaining bilges are not properly connected and draining. So we spend another hour pumping them out as well.
We slept in and then in the afternoon Marla and Melissa went for massages at the Euros beach bar we found last night. We paid for 50 minutes each and got 1.5 hour. The masseuse was a gal from the UK on vacation, but in Santorini because she wanted to move there and set up a palates center. She was filling in as a favor to the owner of the bar. The massages were fabulous - set on the beach you could hear the waves and feel the nice breeze. Ahhhhh.....
We went back to the Euros bar at sunset and Dad and Marla exchanged a short set of vows. Dave ends with "By the authority vested in me by the Washington State Boater Education Card and endorsed by the Greek Port Police, I now pronounce you still husband and wife." Melissa had ordered a bottle of champagne and we had a toast to celebrate.
We then went to dinner at the Saltsa restaurant. It was described on one of the guides as being "the best restaurant in the island and the cook/owner is supposed to be one of the best 10 chefs in Greece". Directions to the restaurant were as follows: It is located in Firostefani on the right side of the main road going from Fira to Imerovigli about 800 meters after the main square of Fira. Believe it or not we found it! The food was AMAZING. One of the 5 best meals we've ever eaten anywhere any time. Every dish they served was incredible and unique. And not expensive. A bottle of wine, dessert, appetizers, and main dishes for 4 people and the total was $135 Euros.
Today we sailed around from the little bay we anchored in to the marina just down the way. A big storm is expected tomorrow so we wanted to get into the marina early before they fill up. It's likely to be a wild night and we didn't want to spend it on anchor. The wind is already blowing 20 kts. When we get to the marina we don't know where to go to tie up. After floating around for a while, someone finally takes pity on us and waves us towards a spot. Problem is that with the wind blowing 20 kts on our side, we can't get the boat positioned in this narrow spot to drop the anchor and back into the dock. Around and around we go with Greeks yelling helpful (if not contradictory) help from all sides. At one point we end up aground on a silt build up on one side of the marina. Fortunately Dave was able to just power off the sand (no harm done). Just then another sail boat departs the marina leaving a slot where we could tie up along side - and the wind was blowing us onto the dock. Whew! We would sure hate to be doing this when it gets worse this afternoon!
We rented a car to drive to the north end of the island - Oia the town that Santorini is famous for. The view is breathtaking. Absolutely amazing staring down into the center of the volcano. We wander through the shops and buy a few trinkets. At one shop we find a place to get Hagen Das ice cream milk shakes. The guy in the shop tells us that the jazz he has playing over the stereo system is coming live from Seattle. (I'll bet he says that to all the tourists!)
On the way back to the marina, we get lost. More than once. We end up on the mountain on the South end of the island with another breath taking view over the island and the airport. One detour we make leads us down a long dirt road (we are convinced we will run into Indiana Jones somewhere along the way), to a lovely little beach bar. We have margaritas and consider whether Dad and Marla should renew their vows there before we depart Santorini. (Dad and Marla's 18th wedding anniversary is coming up and they planned to renew the vows on this trip.)
Tonight's dinner is stuffed mushrooms. We plan to cook one of the "mystery" vegetables we found in the market. Low and behold - it is a cucumber. So we have marinated cucumber salad on the side. Yum.
We spend the evening working on the vows. You would think we might have thought to bring the original vows, but alas... our memories are not so good... "I think Marla promised not to feed Dad any rat poison, but I can't be sure..."