Summer of Dreams with Sea Kayak Milos
“I can remember looking around at my fellow paddlers – wondering why they appeared so calm. I trailed my hand in the water and watched my fingers light up – leaving a luminescent trail in their path.”
My taxi pulled up in front of the Kafeneio and my luggage was unloaded onto the sidewalk. I stood there for a moment, awkward and unsure what my next move should be. Light from the Kafeneio spilt out onto the street casting the locals drinking ouzo and eating chargrilled octopus in a warm glow. They inspected me with curiosity and I did my best to appear presentable and worldly and not like I had just ridden the ferry/vomit comet for the last three hours from Santorini to my current island paradise of Milos. I picked up my bags and walked inside. The barman spoke in my direction in a flurry of Greek I had no hope of understanding. I edged forward and he handed over the phone. I took it, unsure what to expect. The broad Australian accent that greeted me on the other end of the phone was so welcoming; I broke out into a relieved smile. It was Rod….the owner of Sea Kayak Milos and my guide for the next 6 days. The key was in the door and he would see me in the morning for breakfast. I took my instructions and headed upstairs to Petrinela’s Guesthouse to grab a few hours sleep before I embarked on day one of my six-day kayak adventure around Milos.
The six days that followed can only be described as the summer of my dreams. When I look back at the photos, it all seems so surreal. Was the water really that blue? Did I really kayak through that cave or cliff jump off that island? Did I actually share my lunch with a donkey…? I kept a diary of each day and while it explains what we did and where we went, it doesn’t describe what it felt like. When I close my eyes and take myself back, I remember how the island smelt of thyme, how good it felt to trail my hands in the water, I remember lunch times on deserted beaches and cucumbers that tasted sweet like melons. I remember diving into the water and looking up from my underwater world. I remember cool nights and warm days and drifting off to sleep in a happy but exhausted daze.
My favorite paddle came on day four on a kayak from Psathi to Kleftico, a 17km round-trip with sea caves you can get lost in at every turn. It was a still day and the water was like glass. On days like this, kayaking becomes almost meditative. I love the feeling of breaking the surface of the water and watching the ripple effect caused by my paddle. We spent the morning exploring caves as we made our way to Kleftico. I am excitable at the best of times but kayaking through sea caves tips me over the edge. Picture me…wide eyed with wonder, floating in my kayak – cradling my camera. Pure happiness.
I love all the creative places Rod has sourced for lunch breaks. On a rock, an island, in a cave, under a bridge, it became a common theme for my photos and each day I would look forward to discovering Rod’s restaurant of choice, castaway style. On this particular day we stopped for lunch on a rock and I devoured several of Rod’s famous salad sandwiches, followed by the sweetest, juiciest of watermelons.
After licking all the watermelon juice from my fingers, I decided to don a snorkel and swim through a nearby sea cave – effectively living out all my mermaid fantasies. The deep blue and turquoise colors were so magical it was all I could do to stop myself from breaking out into my own rendition of Part of Your World. I made several laps of the cave before Rod eventually had to convince me my name was in fact not Ariel. I reluctantly acknowledged my legs and agreed to join the rest of the kayak crew.
I was enjoying the paddle home, lazily considering my restaurant choices for that evening when Rod set a challenge for the more adventurous souls (adventurous being my middle name) amongst the group. We pulled up on a rock and I dive bombed into the water – keen to show exactly how adventurous I was. My fellow adventurous souls entered the water in a more graceful fashion and Rod led us on a swim through a sea cave so narrow I could touch both sides. It was dark and cool and entirely thrilling. We climbed the cliff at the end of the cave and I commented how the rocks were a little harsh on my bare feet. Rod accused me of becoming a soft city girl. He had a point – so to prove him/myself wrong I launched off the rock James Bond style, diving into the ocean and swimming back to my kayak grinning like an idiot.
By this point I was entirely high on life. But Rod had saved the best till last. What came next was perhaps my favorite experience in the Greek Islands. Let’s put that into perspective…of all the awesome things I experienced during my 23-day pilgrimage through the Greek Islands – this was perhaps the most awesome of all. I am convinced the Blue Cave has magical powers. The water is illuminated from below making it appear this crazy electric blue color. I can remember looking around at my fellow paddlers – wondering why they appeared so calm. I trailed my hand in the water and watched my fingers light up – leaving a luminescent trail in their path. I can only imagine how cool it would be to actually swim in the cave. I expect it would be a bit like the scene in The Little Mermaid when Ursula grants Ariel her legs – except in reverse. I would burst out of the water in a luminescent shower of magical water and swim off into the sunset to live happily ever after in my underwater world. (sigh…)
That night as I watched the sunset with a fellow kayaker, cocktail in hand – I reflected on the day and how fortunate I was for the experience. I felt happy and healthy with a renewed clarity that city life can’t offer me. I felt grateful for my fellow kayakers and their mutual joy for life and thirst for experience. I felt like I was living out my ultimate summer experience and making every moment count.
Milos is in the top ten kayaking destinations in the world. It was this fact that my entire Greek Island trip was built on. I loved that kayaking can take me places larger boats can’t. In the Greek Islands, it allowed me to step outside the circle of tourists and become a part of the landscape rather than remaining passive observer.
I highly recommend taking a kayak trip with Rod and discovering his island paradise. It is truly a trip of a lifetime and one I am looking forward to repeating next summer. For more information, rates and availability – please visit ‘Sea Kayak Milos’ and don’t forget to tell Rod I sent you.