Our first attempt to get across to Anti-Paxos didn’t quite go to plan. It had been reasonably windy for a couple days beforehand and it looked set to continue the day we had hoped to go. We didn’t let this dampen our spirits as we hopped in a taxi and headed to the port of Gaios.
After we’d tucked into some breakfast, we waited patiently in the square near the shuttle boats. As it drew closer to 10am, the first departure time, we noticed that the small cluster of people were being turned away. Our hearts sank as we heard one of the captains shout “no Anti-Paxos today”.
To my wife’s delight, this meant we’d have to spend the morning looking around shops instead.
It’s great that safety was of prime concern, as even the slightest breeze can cause problems in the open waters between the two islands.
Moral of the story, always check the weather.
Second time lucky
It was the third day in a row where we were up early. I’m not sure we have quite got this relaxing thing down yet, but with the threat of potential storms on the horizon we were worried we might miss our chance otherwise.
So for the second time, with a little more optimism, we jumped in a taxi to Gaios. Whilst the wind had certainly calmed down, we now had to deal with a slightly overcast sky. Nothing we couldn’t handle.
Success, we boarded the shuttle boat without a hitch and were waving off Gaios before we knew it. Even though the wind was almost calm, as soon as we hit open waters the boat started to rock up and down. Luckily we had caught one of the slower boats, of which we were certainly grateful for.
I was relieved to find out that I don’t suffer from sea sickness. My wife on the other hand, kept letting out the odd squeak as the boat periodically crashed into an oncoming wave.
It was a little more expensive than we thought, at €15 each for a return ticket.
Land at last, or so we thought
It was incredible to see the various rock formations and impact of coastal erosion as the boat jetted alongside the coast of Paxos and then onto Anti-Paxos. I know I certainly wish I’d paid more attention to geography at school, but at least I could still appreciate it by sight.
As we knew we’d only be making the journey once, we skipped the first stop, Vrika beach, and decided to continue on to Voutoumi beach instead. This was a slightly larger beach, with a hilltop taverna that we wanted to eat in.
The boat pulled up to the jetty and we all disembarked gratefully. For some reason people were taking an awfully long time to move down the jetty and then I realised why. The location of the jetty meant that we would have to wade through knee deep water to reach the beach, so in I jumped. My wife was a little less enthusiastic, but quickly followed.
Some opted to walk along the slippery rocks, all of which were submerged, while clutching onto the cliff face for dear life as they tried to navigate across. Their persistence and lack of grace was comical at best and a great way to pass time when the next batch of tourists arrived.
There were a few loungers dotted around and we picked a nice spot to settle down. It wasn’t long before we were asked to cough up €10 for the privilege. I didn’t mind so much, as although the sea bed was sand the beach itself was pebbly, so the sun bed was a welcome comfort.
It was pleasantly warm and the perfect weather to enjoy reading and taking a nap. A little more sunshine might have taken the edge off the coldness of the sea, but I powered through. Only to my waist though, I chickened out going any further. Turns out the other men were doing the same, so we all stood there, waist deep, awkwardly swaying our arms around. I’m sure it looked as though we had all gone into the sea to pee.
With a view like that
After I’d dried off, I was then tasked with hiking up to the taverna, Bella Vista, to book a table for lunch. 200 odd steps didn’t sound like much, but when I was out of breath and only half way up I came to the sudden realisation that I’d have to do it all again. I should have just called the number on the sign at the bottom, I thought to myself.
It was certainly worth it for the panoramic views of the bay below, with the backdrop of Paxos in the distance. This alone made the idea of climbing the stairs again in an hour more palatable.
The food was as you’d expect for a Greek taverna. But let’s face it, you are really there for the views. The one issue we had was that we seemed to be the only people who attracted the wasps, so we quickly finished up and retreated to the safety of our loungers.
A bit of a bumpy ride
It wasn’t long before it was time to head back to Paxos. With the possibility of rain in the late afternoon, we caught the 2:30pm shuttle just to be safe. After seeing a queue start forming we headed over to the jetty and waded through the water again.
This time we were on one of the smaller speed boats, which made for an interesting return trip. Thankfully it was a little calmer than in the morning, but as we sat near the front the boat bouncing along the waves was enough to stop you nodding off.
Next thing we knew, we were back on dry land enjoying some Turkish (or as they like to call it, Greek) delight and an iced coffee.
The rain never did come and the weather for the next week was stunning.
Until next time.