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F + 17 : Sunset Cruising in Santorini

Nothing prepares you for the spectacular entrance into the caldera of Santorini. We all have seen photos of this beautiful island but they are usually taken from above - from the villages. We experience it from sea level. As we got closer, the cliffs grew higher and high. They tower about 200 to 300 meter above us.

The Cliffs are layers of Basalt, Ash, Mud, broken Stones, Pumice - A Paradise for Geologists

The Crossing over from Ios took only three hours. There was so little wind, we could not even use our sails. Santorini attracts two million visitors every year, quite a lot for a small island with only 13'500 inhabitants. During peak season in summer, the number of people on the island grows to 120'000. It is a good business. On average, international tourists spend USD 800.- per visit in Greece which nets the island the considerable sum of USD 1.6 bn per year.

Tourism is so important for Santorini that the Greek Prime Minister choose the Island to announce the end of the Covid Lockdowns for Summer 2020

Santorini is now a mandatory stop for cruise ships in the Aegean. When we entered the caldera at lunch time, there were already three large boats. In the afternoon, there were two more. Not surprisingly, this leads to considerable" traffic" jams in the small alley ways of Santorini's villages. It is as not as bad yet as in Tokyo's rush hours, but it is getting there. People though are in a happy, giddy mood and patient.

Santorini's layered Rocks make you want to study Geology - the powerful Explosion that ripped the island's top off in 1'650 BC gives Scientists access to Layers which are otherwise deep under ground

Of course, we wanted to visit the island and were looking for a place to dock - not that easy since the island is still full. This is the last week of summer holiday. We soon discovered that docking or buoy rights are in the hands of an exclusive elite. You have to fork out EUR 150.-Just for tying your boat to a buoy.

In Thera, the buoy rights belong to Dimitrios who conducts his business by phone. His staff have his number. They offer a ride for EUR 70.- a person. We declined and used our tender.

First order of business in Thera was finding a fish monger. After a week on sea, there is nothing left in our fridge. Thanks to Captain Nikos with whom we sailed in 2020 and 2021, we found one. But we were a bit late. The good piece were already sold. No calamari, octopus nor shrimps were left and the last sea bass looked a bit tired. We decided to return the next day and placed an order.

Meagre Pickings left at 4 pm when we finally arrived

We got up to Thera using the cable car - my brother treated us and happily waved the nine tickets. Within minutes we reached the top station - and saw the very long queue of people wanting to return to their cruise ships. We would not queue and walk back instead. There was a winding path down to the harbour 238 meters below us.

You can also ride up or down on a Donkey or Mule -

they wait patently in the simmering heat

Back on the Queen of Datca, it was time to get to our anchoring place for the night. We stay close to the harbour of Akrotiri, the Bonze Age village, we want to visit tomorrow. It is also the place where the sunset cruise boats take their guests to watch the sun setting in the sea. We joked that Santorini guarantees "cloud free" sunsets. We counted 59 nine boats. The sun set was beautiful indeed. No wonder it is such good business.

A few Sunset Cruise Boats lined up behind us

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Sep 02, 2022

Another glorious day. Santorini was much more than expected and much more than the “Instagram pictures” that you see in travel adverts. Akrotini bronze village was an incredible experience. To think that the most beautiful pots lying in front of us had been there for 4000 years in their exact location was mind boggling.

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