Day 171 (7.3.17): Cliffs, caves, and cavorting

We woke late on our third morning on Koufonissi lightly salted from another slightly sweaty night without air conditioning.  After our usual buffet breakfast, we came up with the plan for the day.  On the first day, I bought a detailed map of the island that, while all in Greek, indicated that there was a cave or something at the northeastern tip of the island at a place labelled “Gala Beach.”  We weren’t sure what it was but thought it was worth a peek.  From there we figured we’d either stay at nearby Pori Beach or find another beach where we could relax.  ‘Cause we were so stressed from the previous days…

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Fresh off of our boating success from the previous day, we decided to search for Gala Beach by taking the boat from the main port to Pori Beach.  The boat trip was fun, but it was windy, making for larger waves and a bouncy ride.  The girls loved it, giggling at the front of the boat as we traveled north into the wind.  Julie?  Not so much.

We soon reached Pori Beach, and started walking along the rocks towards Gala Beach to see what we could find.  After about 10 minutes we reached the cliffs along the water’s edge.  The waves were much bigger today with the wind and crashed at the base of the cliffs.

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We soon reached a rocky bowl surrounded by cliffs on all sides.  This had to be “Gala Beach,” though it was certainly a stretch to call it a “beach” since the enclosed space appeared to be cut off from the ocean on all sides.

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Nevertheless, we could see water in a couple of places inside and decided to climb down.  One pool appeared to be a tidal pool of sorts, with warmer, still water.  The chickadees immediately hopped in.

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The second pool turned out to be a cave out to the ocean, with the water almost the same height as the tunnel ceiling.  It was a little sketchy, what with the waves and the lack of breathing room in the tunnel, so we didn’t stay long.

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The girls were happy to swim in the warm pool, but I’ve got an extremely low threshold for boredom.  I decided to explore the area a bit more and climbed up to the top of the cliffs, circling around to the far side of the bowl-shaped beach.  Looking back I could see the kids and Julie.  In the background was the low cliff we followed to reach Gala Beach.

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The views of the beach, island, and sea were fantastic from the top of the cliffs, so I went back to get the girls.

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Lydie claims to be afraid of heights.  I’m not so sure she knows what that means.

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With the cliffs and Gala Beach thoroughly explored, we decided to move on.  The wind had really picked up, making nearby Pori Beach less than ideal.  The winds tend to come from the north, so we we decided to take the boat back south to Faros Beach, which we hoped would be sheltered from the wind by the island.  Sadly on the boat ride south we traveled with the wind, making the trip much less bumpy for the girls.

Faros Beach was perfect, with only a slight breeze.  The girls played in the water, made sand castles, and tried not to look at the naked people (or did they?!).  Cassie made a castle, dubbing it Beaumaris.

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I enjoyed relaxing on the beach and just doing nothing.  For about five minutes.  I grabbed the snorkeling gear, hiked the coastal trail for about fifteen minutes, and hopped in the water to swim back.  On the way, I found a cool stone archway under the water not too far from the beach.  Upon returning, I told the girls about it, and they immediately said that they wanted to swim through it.  Off we went!

IMG_5086My “phone in a bag” photography is not the best, but you get the idea.  I was a little nervous that the girls would panic and get stuck somehow, but of course they didn’t.

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The Squidlettes had fun swimming under the arch (and I did, too).

We ended the day with a swim in the pool back at the hotel.  The girls were tired, and asked to have dinner in our hotel room, leaving Julie and me free to go out to dinner at a wonderful Greek restaurant.

IMG_5109This particular restaurant had a clowder of cats on patrol (thanks, Google), which you can see to the right in the photo above.   After a wonderful meal with another ridiculously good Greek salad (mmmmm…feta), Julie and I walked down to the harbor.  The hotel at the center of town where had dinner on our second night was hosting a wedding, and we enjoyed hearing the music across the water.  As we sat, we noticed lights in the sky.  The wedding guests had taken a break from Abba tunes and were launching fire-driven lanterns.  Our guess was that there was a bride down there that loved Mama Mia and Tangled.  We walked back to our room, arriving just as the revelers started launching fireworks.

It was another ridiculous day.  Ridiculous.

-Will

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