February 29th. There is some oddity in the air, it’s the carnival weekend in Greece but official celebrations have been cancelled over epidemic fears.
It’s a sunny day, so we head South with some friends to spend the day in Elafonissi.
When we get there, it’s windier than expected, but we launch anyway. We launch from the West side of the peninsula to circumnavigate anti-clockwise. First we ferry the non-kayaking crew across one of the channels that open in the winter and cut off the peninsula, making it technically an island.
Then we paddle into the East breeze. It’s cool, even wearing some gear. We can’t avoid splashing ourselves. We ride some waves and we get to the passage between the shallow rocks on the South-West tip. We navigate perilously with the waves picking us up and then coming from the side, but we manage to reach safety unscathed.
From the sheltered side, it’s easy going. The sea is flat now and we can just enjoy the scenery. We pass all the little beaches and we join the girls on one of them. We land on a sheltered spot, then we go for a swim.
The best part is around the corner though, there’s another channel with unbelievable colours, from gold to pink on land and from emerald to turquoise in the shallow water. We navigate into the channel, in very shallow water and strong current.
In the end we get back, ferry the group 2-3 at a time across again, and go for a picnic behind a sand dune. A day to appreciate the colours of nature.
Early December and the weather is still great. The sea is about 21° C, and on this day it would be pretty still on the South of the island, so I went out for a paddle from Elafonissi, which to me always brings to mind the idea of a tropical beach.
Nobody was on the road on the almost one-hour drive there. In the summer there is a continuous flow of cars and buses going back and forth. Around the beach, there were a few campers with campervans. I launched in dead calm sea from one of the small coves on the East side.
I paddled easy, playing hide and seek with shags. I admired the clearness of the water and the amazing visibility to the sea bottom.
After about one hour, I reached Viena, a hidden cove that is incredibly well sheltered. There are ruins of an ancient sanctuary on the shore. I had a quick snack and got back in the water.
I considered snorkelling around the shallow rocks, but the cool slight breeze that had picked convinced me against it for the moment. I navigated through the rocks instead and paddled back towards Kedrodasos little beaches.
I watched the turquoise sea under me and the cedar trees to the side. A good size rock offered a goal, and I paddled on.
I must have been now less than 1Km away from the start. After tying the kayak rope around my waist, I jumped in with mask and snorkel, swimming towards shore. I spotted a couple of small cornetfish in the shallow water.