Average speed: 5.72 km/h
Total time: 03:56:35
Today I am properly starting the journey around the South coast.
I took a break of a couple of days and developed a weird pain in the palm of my left hand, probably the result of the ‘grip of death’ in the last two days of kayaking. Also some strong back pain. Today I feel less sorry for myself and generally good.
There is already a queue of cars driving to Elafonissi before 9am. When we get there, the watersports instructor I left the boat with is initially less than impressed, then we talk about the wind and he mellows out.
The day is beautiful, the light is stunning. I set off at an easy pace towards Kendrodassos, the Juniper Forest. I stay inside the bay and go from little wind to dead calm. I aim for a sandy beach in the middle of the bay. There is some foam and junk floating not far from the shore, so I wait to jump in until I get to the next two little beaches, still inside the bay.
Now the waves are coming in, nothing big but they do rock the boat. I dive in to snorkel. Plenty of fish! I am uncomfortably close to the rocks though, so I don’t stay in very long. I get on and start paddling again. Jetskis appear from around the cape. I have left the bay and now admire the vertical rocks, at the same time watching the shallow rocks in the water. I quickly get to Viena, with a sheltered bay and a perfect natural lake. There’s a family snorkelling around. I see the remains of the ancient temple. I land on the tiny beach and have a snack, just a short break. I am still at the start and I want to get on.
Leaving Viena, I jump in the water for another snorkel. I am towing the kayak along, but I don’t see much. It’s quite deep except very near the shore, and I am wary of getting to close to the rocks, the waves are breaking and not insignificant. In a few minutes I get around to Krios. The sea is completely flat here. I see little blue leaping fish, so I jump in again. I watch them from underwater, and swim by a rock in the middle of the bay while towing the kayak. Then I get on again, and start paddling.
I can see Paleochora in the distance, I estimate about 2 hours to get there. This part is boring, so I just paddle and paddle. Sometimes I put my hands in the water and splash myself, sometimes I jump in the water for a proper cool down. Past Grammeno cape I take a break and eat some food. Less than half a sandwich. I still have quite some way to go and I want to make the 3:30 bus, it’s already past 1pm.
I am paddling in a completely still zone, but just South of me, maybe a couple hundred metres on the right, I see white horses, so the wind is out there, it just doesn’t get near the coast. It’s a strange effect to look at. I soon take a straight line for the point between Paleochora harbour and the big rock with the lighthouse. I pass between the two and turn around towards East beach.
The beach has big pebbles. As soon as I land, a guy with a racing bike on the beach comes to chat. Giorgos speaks Italian, lives in the UK and clearly we like similar things. It’s too hot to cycle, he admits, it’s about 39°C! But he’s got a new double kayak that he’s keen to take out soon. Unfortunately, I don’t think our schedules meet, no paddling together this time. Giorgos helps me carry the kayak to a restaurant parking lot across the road. Then I sit and have a beer, while I’m waiting for the bus. I eat the rest of my sandwich before crossing the island from South to North in an hour.