Average speed: 5.74 km/h
Total time: 03:30:07
The night was in fact so hot that I opted for falling asleep with the AC on, something I don’t recall ever having done before.
I am sleepy when the alarm goes off, and I force down some buiscuits despite the total absence of appetite. I’m probably still full from the big dinner last night.
It looks like a good day, calm, hot. The forecast shows smaller waves. I feel a bit more experienced anyway, after yesterday. I was land-sick all evening! My arm and shoulders muscles show signs of fatigue. I have paddled for like 2 minutes when I start feeling tired. I understand it’s not a good sign, but I feel confident because I only have 4 hours to paddle today, and in better conditions.
I watch the exit of the famous Samaria gorge as I set off. Then I paddle along Agios Pavlos, the beach with the church. I see more interesting beaches, with backdrops of gorges, cliffs, steep hills, worth visiting another time. The waves are reasonable, and they’re behind me. I just paddle and paddle for a while, singing along.
There’s a long stretch of barren, lower rocky coast now. The water is shallow, so I jump in for a snorkel. Waves are rocking me a bit, and it’s less interesting than I thought. I get back on the boat and paddle some more, and I am quickly go around this rounded coastline and spot Finikas and Likos in the distance. I have been there before, and they looked a bit like the deserted island village in the movie ‘Mediterraneo’ when the Italians first land. I don’t get too close this time. I do see Marmara beach, which is at the end of Aradena gorge, and looks gorgeous. I even see a few double kayaks paddle to shore and land there, with some difficulty, though the sea is completely flat on this side.
Past the next cape after Finikas bay, I take a break and eat a few more biscuits, 3-4. I feel a little hungrier now, after over 2 hours of paddling. What I thought was a quiet small bay is actually a place of high boat traffic. I count about a dozen boats speed by in less than 10 minutes. That’s because Loutro is around the corner, and I can see my destination, Chora Sfakion, only a few km away.
I pass right next to Loutro’s rock and watch the village behind me. It looks overdeveloped for such a small place, less attractive than what I have seen so far. I can see someone walking on the path back to Chora, which skirts a small beach. It looks hot out there! The next beach I see is Glyka Nera, Sweet Waters. It has a good number of sunbeds and looks pretty inviting. I am trying to make the 1 o’clock bus though, and I’m running out of time. I don’t fancy spending the whole afternoon in Chora waiting for the evening bus and get home late. So I resist the mermaids and paddle on.
Next are several caves, around Ilingas beach and just before Chora itself. I make a note to come visit them another time. I wonder if they host anything special like monk seals, but the main town is really close now. I have been faster today, I don’t even feel tired anymore. 4 hours are a piece of cake, ha! I land on the smallest beach in Chora Sfakion. Sunbeds, people and a couple of kayaks stored on one side. A guy offers timely and useful help to pull the kayak out of the water. A nice young girl, something like the beach guardian, takes the kayak under her protection and offers to store the paddle separately inside. This is a good welcome. I grab my stuff, get a spinach pie from the bakery and walk straight to the bus stop. The bus is later than scheduled, so I have time to eat my lunch in the pines shade. The wind is blowing, another day is done, all is good.