Previously posted in www.planningmexico.com
“Without new experiences, something inside of us sleeps. The sleeper must awaken.”
This is a trip to Greece I went on a few years ago.
It was planned for two weeks, but I cut it one week short. Coming home it felt like a terrible vacation, but after a few days with some perspective I had some mixed emotions. It was an adventure, as most of my trips turns out to be.
It was summer, I had some vacation days to take but no plans. Than I read that Greece opened the water for diving, it has earlier been prohibited due to archaeological heritage and fear of treasure hunters. I booked a last minute ticket to anywhere in the Greek archipelago, ended up at Thassos, The green island of Greece, covered with pine trees.
The dive center was located on the other side of the island from my hotel, my first day I spent trying to find someone talking any language but Greek and help how to get around the island.
Next morning I took a bus to Pefkari beach and met the owner and dive guide. A crazy Greek. First he snort at my PADI-certificate, then he gave me way to much weights and a BCD (dive west) about two sizes to large. I went up and down like a yo-yo in the water trying to handle my west and avoiding to get the tank in my neck. Afterwards the crazy Greek whines I had problem keeping the depth… Yes, I wonder why….
In the evening I had some drinks, Ouzo and Retzina, drinking with the locals I had a little bit more than expected, so now diving the day after. I went around in the village tasting the domestic food. Unfortunately it’s garbage day, not a good day to smell Greece.
New morning and time to dive. On place at the crazy Greek in good time. Having breakfast and laying on the beach a couple of hours. About half an hour before we had planned to go out, he says there will be no diving today. Why? He’s a crazy Greek, he doesn’t need a reason. It’s about now I decide to go home early and save my free days for another time.
Next day I learned my lesson, I call before I leave. No diving today either. Why? Who knows, crazy Greek. He did promise it will be two tours tomorrow, Monday. 10 am and 4 pm.
Spending the rest of the day as a tourist, the beach a couple of hours, looking at ancient monuments, having some more of the Greek cuisine. They do know how to cook.
Monday is the day my trip turned from a bad vacation to an adventure. Being in Greece of course it starts a bit chaotic. It’s my last chance to dive, so I am up early. At 8:30am I start look for a rental service to get a car. I found two, none of them had any cars though. At 9 I start panicking and called a taxi. Asking the driver if he could be at Pefkari beach in an hour, it’s just 50 km, but with the narrow roads it’s about an hours drive.
“No problems,” I think he says, he only speaks Greek. And he drove… After running two stop signs, driving on both sides of the streets and speeding 120-130 km/h on roads with a speed limit of 50km I stop looking, I just lean back and holding on for the ride.
All of a sudden he turns inland… great I’m going to be robbed and raped, guess that’s what’s missing… It was actually a shortcut, I arrived after 25 minutes, with shaking legs and happy to be alive I tip the driver well and say a prayer I never have to be driven by him again.
It was well worth it, we got out at 10:30 and this time I got to choose suit, west and weight myself. It was a terrific dive. Warm clear water 20 meters visibility. Colorful fishes, squids and an enormous moray.
After the dive a dutch invited me to lunch in the village but I was sure to be back at the crazy Greek by 4pm for the last dive. When I got there he said he changed is mind, there will be no more tours today. I had to remind him he promised me one more tour, my last dive.
He offered me to go solo out on the reef. Dive alone in unknown water? Not to recommend but I do it.
I hovered between 8 and 5 meters when the moment appears, that moment you wish you bought a UW-camera. A shoal of about 500 little blue aquarium fishes shows up, totally fearless. I meet them nose to nose and for a few seconds the whole world is blue.
Back at the hotel I was satisfied with the day. My hotel neighbors was going home next day and that was my my last day so no more diving. We all go out and party as only Swedes on vacation do…. Not a pretty sight
/Damianos ~The Greek name I was given