our dune buggy
but first a little catch up from Greece...
Itâ€™s been quite the busy couple days here. After I wrote that last bit about being up at 4 to move the boat, Chantale, Boomer, Jay, Tommy and I all met up at the top of Fira to begin our adventures. I had a nice quiet day of walking around and shopping in mind, but they had other plans. I was led to the town square where my chariot was awaitingâ€¦ drumroll pleaseâ€¦ a dune buggy. Thatâ€™s right.
Jay and I drove around Santorini all day in dune buggy. Boomer and Ctale and Tommy had all terrain vehicles (ATVs), which also looked like fun. First we drove to Oia and walked around there for a bit. Then just started driving randomly around the island. We got to one spot on the side of the road where Tommy pulled over and pointed at a dirt track, and of course, boys being boys, we had to drive down the dirt track. Very, very fast. So as Jay drove maniacally down this dirt road, and I protested the whole way naturally, we began to see signs that other people were around, like a few other ATVs parked by the side of the road. When we finally made it down a hill to a little rocky beach, quite possibly the most random spot on the whole island to possibly go to, who else did we find there but our own shipmates, who had ridden their own ATVs down the same path and were having a picnic lunch on the beach. It was pretty funny. We said hello but the boys were anxious to drive some more on the dirt road so we were off. Only we accidentally got separated from each other, so Jay and I spent a while driving around various parts of the island (very fast of course) looking for them. We gave up (not before going offroading again, because maybe they were there) eventually and headed back to town in the afternoon to check our email before going back to the boat at five. I had a really good time, despite being wind and sandblown, terrified of the 70kph that Jay was driving, and having to pee most of the bumpy, endless dirt roads we were on. But Santorini is absolutely gorgeous and new beautiful things appear after every hairpin curve of the roads. We stumbled across a view down onto the area where the boat sank, or we assume so because there were lots of ships patrolling the area and cleaning up the oil spills. The next morning we left at 6am and headed on our last passage north to Athens. It was really calm and we were trying to time our arrival for early in the morning, so we tried all sorts of combinations of sailing and using the motor. The highlight were the several groups of dolphins that came to play in our bow wake for a while. They were very small and seemed to really enjoy jumping and playing near us. This morning we arrived at the marina and docked stern to. The marina is huuuuuuge, and we are at the very outside end near some very big boats. Unfortunately that means itâ€™s a trek to go anywhere, but thatâ€™s ok. I got the blogs ready to send and then set out on my errands with Eliot and Mike. We stopped for lunch at a cafĂ© and had gryos, fries, and cokes and it was delicious. Then we went to an internet cafĂ©, and then I split off to go on my index card mission. Every program ends with the use of about five hundred index cards, which for us is tomorrow night. And we had a grand total of five onboard as of this morning. So whatever it took, I had to find them. The first thing I saw when I stepped off the boat was a Carrefour. Perfect, I thought. What self- respecting department store doesnâ€™t have index cards? Ha! I searched and searched and asked and asked, to no avail. So I started asking people in nearby shops. No one had any ideas. No one even knew what an index card was. They stared at the one I was holding like it was covered in dog poop. So I just started walking. I donâ€™t know what I was expecting, a freaking Staples or OfficeMax to just appear out of nowhere?? After about a half hour of walking and realizing I was about to end up in the commercial port, I saw a store that had some electronics in the window and on a whim decided to go in and ask. I was getting desperate, no one had any idea what index cards were, let alone where to buy them. As a last resort I was willing to hail a cab and point to the card and hope for the best. But I went inside the store and showed the woman at the desk my battered card. After a minute of confusion, she told me there was a bookstore on the street behind her building and one of the employees would take me there. So she wrote down the name in Greek and I was escorted down the street by an elderly guy in a suit, who pointed at the shop to me when we got close. I was very skeptical. I was on a back alley, about to go into a small, locally owned stationary store. But when I showed them my card, the woman smiled and led me to a shelf, where there were index cards!!!! I asked to buy all they had, so she went into the back and produced a few more packs, and now we are the proud owners of 1500 index cards! It took me the better part of an hour to walk with my heavy purchases back to the boat, where of course Mike said well why didnâ€™t you try Carrefour? I donâ€™t think they understand. But at least we have them for tomorrow. Ok thatâ€™s the end of my story, itâ€™s time to get dinner going now.
marina in Athens
Ok let me try to piece together the past couple weeksâ€¦ our last couple days of the program were pretty uneventful. The shipmates flew out on the 15th and we had six more days at the dock getting things ready for our next passage. We had some time off here and there in between getting the boat ready to go, so I caught up on some emailing, downloaded a bunch of Greyâ€™s Anatomy episodes (at the request of the rest of the crew, we have a bit of a problem), and generally relaxed. It was a nice break, but you could tell that we were all going a little stir crazy at the dock. The last day before we left I made a morning trip to the Acropolis, at the request of my mother, who threatened to disown me if I didnâ€™t go. For the record, I had already been, but like a good daughter I went again anyway. I was cranky the whole time because the woman at the ticket booth didnâ€™t give me my change and I realized too late, so I spent almost $30 to get in. But I walked around with the rest of the population of Europe, took some pictures, had my picture taken, and then had a nice lunch at a cafĂ© while reading a new copy of People magazine cover to cover. It was a nice outing and the public transportation system was really easy to use. The next day we left the dock in the morning and set out for Italy. There are eight of us onboard right now and we split into two watch teams of four hours on four hours off. Itâ€™s a bit of an adjustment to get into but over the course of three or so days it wasnâ€™t that bad. My favorite watch is the 2-6 in the afternoon, when itâ€™s still sunny and warm. The weather has been nicer recently for the most part, and my shorts have made an appearance for ten minutes since the Egypt, which is saying something. Our passage was pretty uneventful, no wind really so we motored the whole way, but it was really beautiful out. We arrived in Messina, Sicily yesterday evening. After a tricky docking we were getting ready to settle in when one of the lines holding us in position snapped underwater, so we had to move to another spot. I made dinner and then we just hung out and now Iâ€™m getting ready to go provisioning. Oh I just remembered another highlight. A small cruising catamaran pulled in next to us on the dock in Athens and I was down below when I heard some barking coming from it. I thought to myself, wouldnâ€™t it be great if there was a dachshund onboard? And there was! I went up on deck and this long haired mini was prancing around, barking everywhere. It was pretty cute. I saw it for a minute when it was on the dock for its walk, and it was the most excited and exuberant small dog I have probably ever seen, but unfortunately they left before I could see it again or get a picture. Ok sorry none of this is very interesting, Iâ€™m having a hard time remembering things right now, oh well. Weâ€™re off again today for Rome, about a two day passage. I canâ€™t believe Iâ€™m in Italy!