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Published: November 6th 2006
Island of Patmos
The passengers that forked out the $30 for the guided shore excursion were given first priority on boarding the launches from the Sea Diamond to Patmos. We had to wait until 10:00 to head downstairs to the departure deck. While we waited we enjoyed the subdued lighting of Patmos in the early morning. By noon the sun would certainly be beating down mercilessly on any tourist foolish enough to venture out.
I thought the structure at the top of this mountain was some kind of Medieval fort, but it was actually the Monastery of St. John the Theologian.
When I woke this morning I could still feel our ship moving. Debarkation for Patmos was supposed to start at 9:30. In my windowless room it was a bit difficult to guess just what time of day it might be and not having a decent watch with me I had no idea what was going on. After laying awake in bed for maybe 15 minutes while Mike blissfully dreamt of diving with frolicking dolphins and discovering sunken treasure, I fumbled my way over our pile of suitcases toward the bathroom where I could turn on a light and see whether we had slept through Patmos. I was a little bummed to see that it was 5:15 am - about the same time I usually wake up for work back home. It was going to be 4 hours until we could even try
to leave the ship and I was wide awake. I performed my morning toilet duties and dressed.
Leaving the room I walked out to the observation deck to try to get a clue of as to what was happening. The ship was still steaming along at top speed. The spray coming up into my face was enough to
The port of Skala
It seemed like we were waiting forever to get to the tenders taking us to the island. I leaned out on one of the decks to take a photo of the tiny port where we were headed. In the foreground you can see one of the little boats ferrying the passengers ashore.
drive me back inside but not before I noted that there were big land masses on each side of the ship. We must be near something. But throughout this trip through the Greek islands we were always in close proximity to some sort of land, usually medium-sized islands. If Odysseus had indeed sailed through these waters then he wasn't exactly out on the high seas when he had his adventures. I think even I could almost swim between these islands.
Back in the room Mike was still sleeping and it was still too early for breakfast. I laid in bed for about an hour trying to fall back asleep but without luck. At around 7:00 Gail called and asked if I was ready for breakfast. With eyes wide open I bolted for their room only to find they still needed to shower. Forty-five minutes later we went down to the breakfast buffet.
Long lines at the buffet even at this early hour. Things proceeded rather quickly though. I scooped up some watery scrambled eggs, bacon, and a roasted tomato. Since I'd be starting my next trip to England in three days I figured it was time to start
A pleasant enough little shack
Our ship was parked right across from this beauty of an estate. I wonder what the wealthy owners though of 800 tourists gawking at them every morning.
eating like a Brit. I had to pass on the baked beans however.
While we were dining the ship began to slow down. We were anchoring in the middle of what looked like a fjord to me. There were high mountains on either side of the ship. On shore we could only see a few buildings. Nothing like the bluish-domed bleached-white homes of Mykonos or the tall sand-colored walls of the fortress in Rhodes. These were primarily white buildings but they seemed somewhat austere compared to the gaiety (pun intended) of Mykonos. The landscape was not quite as barren as Mykonos because there was a smattering of trees, but it still seemed desert-like. In fact, thinking back on it, the houses looked a lot like white-washed versions of the pueblos in the Southwest U.S.
Today we were scheduled to stop in Patmos first then in the afternoon we would visit Kusadasi, Turkey. We were a little leery of going to Turkey having seen Midnight Express
one too many times, but we opted for the $55 escorted shore excursion which I figured would keep us out of the hairier neighborhoods. In Patmos the ship offered a $30 excursion to
Shuttling off to Skala
Just in case we didn't make it back on the last launch at noon, I thought maybe I should take one last shot of the Sea Diamond. It's no wonder that I could feel the roll of the ship on our deck near the top - the ship looks top heavy.
see a monastery and the cave where St. John wrote Revelations. I couldn't justify spending almost $400 for the family to do all that, so we agreed that we'd just get off the ship in Patmos and see what was close at hand. The captain got on the horn (nautical term) and explained that we were unable to get into the dock at Patmos so we would be using local boats to debark. What would really make things difficult was that the last boat from Patmos back to our ship would be at noon. We didn't want to miss the boat because we would later be visiting Turkey and the ancient city of Ephesus.
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