The Greek island of Hydra
Imagine a cove with beautiful light and dark blue waters surrounded by etched hills and a beach with thatched umbrellas and sunbeds. And further visualize the beach full of day-trippers all leaving the yachties to absolute solitude by nightfall. No roads, no lights, no electricity and no mobile or Wifi connection. No sign of any life in the bay. (The bay we were in was called Ay Nikolos, if you’d like to find it during your travels.)
Finding a beautiful, quiet peaceful bay isn’t always easy
So, when we anchored off the Greek island of Hydra we were very pleased. By 8pm we were joined with only a few other yachts. For the most part, we had the bay to ourselves. Not long after setting the hook, my cousin, Loryn, and I looked over to the mountainous island and thought, ‘we need to climb to the top!’ As the day was coming to an end we decided to wake early, swim ashore and hike as far as we could get. After a lovely nights sleep, we threw on our bathing suits, packed a bag with sneakers, socks, water and our cameras and headed to the aft of the boat. Once there, Loryn and I surveyed the distance between the boat and land. There was a small stretch of water we had to swim across to get to the island. Fortunately, we had a ship to shore line preventing our boat from swinging on the anchor.
The challenge, however, was to slide our bag across the line without it hitting the water!
After a bit of discussion, we fastened Lorry’s backpack onto the landline. We then tied a sail tie onto the bag so that we could swim and pull the bag along. To increase the challenge we also decided to bring our coffee’s with us.
The swim to land was full of laughter
Fortunately, the bag made it across dry and we were able to put our socks and sneakers on. We couldn’t bring shorts and a t-shirt and it was hot anyway, so we opted on scaling the hill in our bathing suits. No one was around to see us anyway. Rather than follow the main path to the beach, we instead went ‘off-road’ immediately and encountered some huge spiders. Perhaps keeping to a path might be a better idea? We eventually picked up a path and headed up the hillside. Our first stop was an abandoned house that may have doubled for a church. From there, we picked up a trail winding up the hillside towards an olive grove.
Then our climb went from easy going to hard work – we went off-road heading for the top
At a certain height the hillside went from shrubs, thorns and grass and turned to rocks and boulders. Having to slightly scale the mountain, we kept going up and up and up. Finally, we hit the top of the mountain and WOW, the view was incredible. The hike was well worth the effort. We surveyed the surrounding area, took photo’s and even a couple videos. And feeling like a kid I yelled out, ‘Echo, Echo’ and to my delight, I heard it come back to me – ‘Echo, Echo!’ Loryn and I played with our echo’s for a while and laughed like little kids.
Eventually, we realized that we had to go down, but where did the trail go? Yikes!
We had a little chat and decided to just go straight down. It was steep and we had to really concentrate on our footing. A few times we had to alter course as there was a sheer rock face drop. While descending, I yelled over to Loryn, “I feel like a kid again! I used to love climbing up hills, mountains, rocks or anything I could find” And then it dawned on me that I’m acting more and more like a kid every day. It’s as if I lost the concept of playing and now I’m getting it back. Not only am I enjoying playing with my daughter, but I’m also playing just for the sake of playing. Surely over the past land-based years I’ve had the opportunity to climb a hill or jump along some boulders but I either didn’t see the opportunity or failed to consider ‘play-time’ as a legitimate option? I had emails to send, work to do, a house to clean and important things to see to!
Heading back to the coast was more difficult than going up
We found ourselves trapped in thorns or shrubs a few times. We worked together raising branches, checking out potential passages and inching our way back to the boat. All scratched up and at long last, we made it to the beach.
Feeling exhausted, Loryn and I removed our sneakers, peeled off our socks, packed the back and swam back
My husband, Simon, welcomed us on board and said, ‘let’s release the land line, lift the anchor and head out!’ Fortunately, we got all our work done (lifting the anchor, stowing the lines, securing the fenders and setting the sails) and then Loryn and I collapsed in the cockpit enjoying a nice, slow sail to the next island. I wonder what our next off-road adventure will be?