In which I finally submerge myself in the Mediterranean

Today (May 25) was the last day of the Education Abroad portion of my trip — the last day of the whole deal for most of our group — so we went on a easy breezy boat tour along the west coast of Crete.

The Gramvousa, our home for the day.

The Gramvousa, our home for the day

Stop one on the cruise was Gramvousa Island, a tiny rocky spot just off the coast of Crete.  There we found a sand and rock beach with sea urchins and teeny little fish.  The water was so clear; one reason it looks so blue in photographs.

Approaching the beach

Approaching the beach

It won't hurt you unless you step on it. So ... just don't step on it.

It won’t hurt you unless you step on it. So … just don’t step on it.

A little oasis in the sand

A little oasis in the sand

There was a path up to the top of the island, to a “castle” built by the Venetians in the late 1500s.  Really more of a fort, the massive triangular structure offers an amazing view to the sea below.

But really, most of just wanted to hang out on the beach.

Down to the beach or up to the castle?  Hmmm ... down.

Down to the beach or up to the castle? Hmmm … down.

Looking back to Gramvousa (the boat) from Gramousa (the island)

Looking back to Gramvousa (the boat) from Gramousa (the island)

But the water was -capital C – Cold!  Even though it was nearly my last chance, I just couldn’t bring myself to go in any farther than my ankles.

The water temps go up later in the season, but so do the air temps!  I don't think I'd want to vacation in 90+ temps just so I could swim in the water.

The water temps go up later in the season, but so do the air temps! I don’t think I’d want to vacation in 90+ temps just so I could swim in the water.

Back on the boat, I had a sandwich and Greek salad, while we slowly thumped our way to Balos, a small lagoon on the Cretan coast.

Clouds -- our first since Santorini!

Clouds — our first since Santorini!

Balos is known for its very shallow pools.  We could walk across entire stretches of water without ever getting our knees wet.  Of course, the water in these pools was much warmer than any other we had encountered during our trip.  So I decided it was time to get wet!  I found a pool that was deeper, more frequently refreshed by the tide.  It was chilly but bearable.  Sorry, no pics of my swim; but I promise I completely submerged, paddled around, and floated in the salty water with the best of them.

On the way back to shore, we reviewed our trip and discussed the best and the worst of Athens, Santorini and Crete.

Big Winners:

  • The natural beauty of the islands
  • The food!
  • The friendly people

Big Losers:

  • The traffic (that accident didn’t help!)
  • The noise in Athens
  • The touristy nature of some places

But overall, the trip got an A+.  We would miss Greece when we left!

Beach selfie ... life is good.

Beach selfie … life is good.

 

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