Day 169 (7.1.17): Cliff jumping into a natural pool

Today we explored more of Koufonissi Pano!

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We woke up late, in part because the air conditioning in our room broke in the middle of the night.  We sweated our way through, and  were still excited to start our day with the hotel buffet.

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Our plan for the day was to explore more of the island, including some of the other hidden beaches and coves.  We started by biking to a beach on the southern end of the island.

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(Incidentally, our hotel room is the second floor balcony that is third from the left.)  We biked to Finikas beach, where we locked up the bikes and stashed some of our beach gear.  We then hiked inland to the more southerly point labelled “unnamed road” on the map up top.  From there, we hiked along a seldom-used path to the other “unnamed road” spot on the map.

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Cutting through the middle of the island, the hike was dry and rocky.  We hiked in our bathing suits, as we had plans to get in the water before too long.  In the distance, we could see Pori Bay, near to where we had snorkeled the day before.

Once our small path reached the water again, it joined with a larger coastal path.  Soon, we reached our first destination:  a natural pool formed by a collapsed cave.  Surrounded by rocky cliffs, the pool connects to the ocean through an underwater tunnel.  Deep pool?  Rocky cliffs?  Perfect!

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The girls had a ball jumping into the pool.  Above, Lydie shows off her cliff-jumping technique, with Cassie doing the same in the video below.

Lydie was hot on her heels (but fortunately not landing on her head).

Julie and I are trying to encourage our girls’ adventurous natures while also teaching them not to be reckless.  Today, we drew the line at letting them swim through the underwater tunnel that connected the pool to the ocean.

After cavorting in the pool a bit more, we continued our hike along the cliffs on our way back to the beach where we’d dropped off our stuff.  The plan was for the chicklets and me to snorkel back to the beach, while Julie walked and carried some of our stuff.  To do so, however, we needed to find a spot between the cliffs where we could get into the water without losing our mask and fins.  We found a promising spot, and climbed down…and discovered a sea cave!

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We explored the cave a bit, before climbing into the water.  The girls and I linked up, holding hands and using our flippers to move us through the water.

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(Julie later admitted to fearing that this would be the last she would see any of us.)

As we approached the beach where we were going to meet Julie and relax, we spied a star-shaped pattern in the sand.  We dove down, scooped up the sand, and found the only star fish we would see on the trip.  We saw sea urchins by the dozens, but just the one star fish.

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We met Julie at Italda Beach (where she was excited to see us alive and happy).  Julie and Lydie continued on foot, while Cassie and I continued to snorkel to Finikas Beach.  Along the way, Cassie spotted a big sea urchin shell, which we dove down to pick up.  We also found a penny, we decided counted as treasure.

We decided to walk back to Italda Beach, which we liked better than the other beaches.  The kids played, Julie relaxed, and all of us studiously tried to ignore the completely naked sunbathers.  Eventually, we headed back to the hotel, where the girls enjoyed another swim in the pool.

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For dinner, we got some pizza for the girls to eat in the room, while Julie and I went out to a wonderful dinner at an open-air restaurant incongruously named “Melissa.”

The day was as close to perfect as they come.

-Will

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