Issy's still feeling lousy so breakfast is short lived. She says that I should go on the sailing cruise that we've booked by myself and she'll stay in bed. I reluctantly agree.
We're driven along the narrow road around the rim of the caldera to the village of Oia. I remember Kostas telling us that the drivers here all constantly play Tetris with their mirrors, and all the vehicles along the way slow down as we pass them so that the mirrors only shave each other rather than being sheared off. The road from Oia down to its port on Ammoudi Bay takes steepness, windiness and narrowness to new levels. The bay's lined with restaurants and the scene is stunning. The town is about 300 metres straight above us on the cliff top, and I'm not sure how you'd go trudging up there after a couple of souvlakis and few glasses of Yellow Donkey. Apparently that's where the four legged donkeys come in. I'm now feeling very sorry for them.
We take off in our large catamaran. I'm seated with four young men from Bangalore, one of whom is called Gavin. He's a large man with a bushy beard
and hair half way down his back, and he's all decked out in bright yellow. As soon as we cast off he goes around and introduces himself to all the other passengers. He then downs a couple of white wines and starts dancing. One of his mates' phones rings, and we all have the privilege of listening in to a half hour business meeting with their associates back home in India. I'm not game to tell them that my work phone's been turned off since we left home.
Our first stop is the "hot" springs on the shores of one of the caldera's islands. The island is a large pile of black rocks totally devoid of vegetation, and it looks like Mars. The captain, a gentleman called Nancy, tells us that this is where NASA filmed the moon landing. There's a yellow line on the rocks just above water level which is apparently caused by sulphur deposits from the spring water. The real sea must be really cold, because the "hot" springs still feel chilly to me. Nancy says that it‘s "patchy hot"; I think I might have missed the patch. Everyone on board dives in and heads for the shore, except for Gavin and his three mates, none of whom can swim. This doesn't however stop them all from jumping into the water with their life jackets on and floating randomly away from the boat, much to the frustration of the crew who then need to retrieve them.
We cruise on and drop anchor just offshore from Red Beach. Some swim, but it's too cold for me and most others. One of the crew, a Greek American named Geoff, demonstrates how to make tzatziki. I didn't realise it was 50 per cent olive oil, and neither did most others if the groans of horror are anything to go by as he empties a whole bottle into his mixture. The food is however magnificent, and all cooked on board. I think I could happily live on Greek food forever.
The final part of the trip is spent cruising along peacefully as we watch the sun go down. It looks like the classic poetic scene of a large red ball falling into the sea, just as a huge yellow moon emerges from the opposite horizon. Someone points out the lack of stars, and then identifies what they tell us are Venus and Jupiter right next to each other. These are the only stars in sight, and they're not even stars? They're so close together that Issy and I thought they were a single unit when we saw them last night, so we clearly need to ease up on whatever it is we've been drinking. I get back to the hotel to find that Issy is thankfully feeling slightly better.
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