Last night was another night without air conditioning. We opened the windows and the doors to our balcony, and with the breeze we eventually fell asleep. Cassie took to putting wet cloths on her head, and Lydie cuddled with a cool bottle of water. With some trouble sleeping, we didn’t exactly leap out of bed in the morning, but we still made it to breakfast in time to get some food.
While eating, we came up with a plan for the day: visiting the uninhabited southern neighboring island of Koufonissi Kato. Every hour or so, small boats ferried visitors to some of the beaches on the island, and we decided to check out one called “Nero.”
We packed our snorkeling gear and headed off, with the girls wearing some wraps that Julie and I bought them at a nearby shop.
Weaving through the small streets of the town, we stumbled on some lovely bougainvillea.
We reached the small harbor and soon found a boat headed for Koufonissi Kato.
As we rode, we all enjoyed looking down into the crystal clear water. The ride also gave us a great view of the tiny island where we were staying.
After about thirty minutes, we reached Nero beach, where we disembarked on some rough wooden boards strapped to some rocks. The beach was beautiful — dark and gravely. The girls took a few minutes to find small, colorful rocks that had been polished by the Mediterranean waves. The scenery was, however, decidedly mixed. The beach was gorgeous, and there were cliffs in the distance. But there were also some very naked older men. They were surely lovely people on the inside, but the three Hubbard girls apparently would have preferred a bit more clothing.
All of this was working out perfectly for me. In studying the map of Koufonissi Kato, I had noticed that there was another beach that could be reached after a short hike. I scouted the trail quickly, and once our route was confirmed, we set off. Julie was not a huge fan of this trip. She said something to the effect of “Only you, Will, would come to a small, uninhabited, Greek island and think that the beach wasn’t remote enough.” I think she was just trying to cover up the fact that she liked the view at the first beach. The entire view.
The hike only took about 30 minutes, though it was hot. Apparently, it made everyone crazy.
When we reached the beach, it was definitely worth the hike. It was a few hundred yards long and enclosed by rocky points at either end.
We were almost completely alone. There were two other people at the far end of the beach and a sailboat in the cove.
After walking on the beach for a bit, we snorkled for a while in our usual fashion, the four of us holding hands to stay together. Coming back to the beach, we nearly swam into the carcass of a Mediterranean seal, which we all agreed was pretty gross. (It turns out that there are only about 700 left in the world. Maybe 699 now. Yeesh.) The girls headed to the beach to relax, while I decided to snorkel a bit more.
On the beach, Lydie made a sandcastle, while Cassie looked for shells. After I finished swimming around, I helped Cassie look for shells. We found lots of small snails and tiny, red sea urchin shells. Soon, it was time to go. We had to make it back to Nero beach so that we could catch the boat back to Koufonissi Pano. The sun was going down, and the naked men had apparently moved on (Sorry, Julie).
The girls had a snack, and I snorkeled a bit more. (I have an extremely low tolerance for boredom on beaches.) The boat trip back was once again fun, with Lydie and Cassie staring down into the clear water from the front of the boat.
Once back to civilization, we made found the girls some ice cream.
Back at our hotel, the girls played in the pool while Julie and I enjoyed our version of ice cream — Greek beers at sunset. We went to bed happy…but hot. The air conditioning still was not working. Laying in my bed sweating, I realized that I felt something I hadn’t felt since I was a kid: When I closed my eyes, I could feel the gentle rock of the ocean, as if I were still in the water. It was wonderful.