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Longest Paddle Yet

This past Monday, I set out in my kayak to go from Marathi Beach to Stavros Beach. Both of these are on the Akrotiri Peninsula on the northwestern part of the island of Crete. It was to be my longest paddle yet and the first time I’ve not had to go out and turn around and come back to the same launch point. There was only one good place to stop along the way – in fact, it was a really nice, secluded beach accessible only by boat. The only problem is that once you get around the most eastern point on the peninsula, you get the pleasure of smelling what I can only express as a highly concentrated geep (goat/sheep) urine/feces smell. No joke! It just so happened that the little beach I stopped at must be somewhere near Ground Zero. So, while I did hang out there for a few minutes, I didn’t linger as long as I would have had the wonderful aroma not been there.

After that, it was a long paddle around to Stavros. The scenery was gorgeous and being pretty much the only one out there (other than the odd fishing boat) was very nice – though being a beginning paddler, it is nice to know folks are around in case you get into trouble. Fortunately, I didn’t have any problems and just enjoyed the morning. I only wish I had actually eaten something before starting out – my energy was definitely waning there at the end.

Going Kayaking

Okay, not yet – but I hope to be tomorrow morning. A couple of months ago I picked up a couple of hard shell sea kayaks from the base MWR auction and have been dying to try them out ever since. Well, today I have the kayak loaded up on the car, have my wetsuit and other cold weather kayaking gear ready (though with today being 74 degrees, not sure I really need it), and am all ready to hit the water bright and early in the morning. I’m pretty sure with tonight being New Year’s Eve I will have the water all to myself. Translation – since this is the first time I am trying out the sit-inside kayaks, I might end up in the water a few times trying to get in. So tomorrow is a good day to be without witnesses!

* Oh – and it just wouldn’t be Greece without a picture of one of our neighbor’s goats watching me load up the kayak!

A Day in the Water

Yesterday we spent a wonderful day in the ocean. It was our first trip out where we snorkeled off of the kayaks. We launched off from Marathi Beach and paddled around the water for a little bit, doing a bit of snorkeling in a couple of spots, then paddling over to “Rabbit Island” for lunch. After lunch, we paddled about 50 feet or so from where we ate lunch and snorkeled some more. Click on the picture below to see the photos we took; not too bad for a sub $100 underwater camera.

Kayaking and Snorkeling

I also shot a little bit of video:

In total, we spent about 4 1/2 hours in the water and really had a blast. As for snorkeling off the kayaks, it was fantastic. Getting in was so much easier than we thought it was going to be. Hopefully we’ll get to do a whole bunch more of this over the summer! Here’s to life in Crete!