Our “Sunset Dinner Cruise” began at 1:30 in the afternoon. That’s when Mary (with the perfect Greek look!) directed us to board the full-sized bus to head back down that zig-zag road with seven hairpin turns. (Don’t. Look. Down!)
The wooden sailing vessel immediately conjured up romantic visions of pirates and trading frigates and adventures on the high seas (and I was not disappointed).
There was inside and outside and topside seating, a bar/galley and plenty of music as we sailed. Although we’d just sailed this same sea when we came in on the Sea Jet, it was quite a different experience on a such a smaller ship.
We made a brief stop at “the old port,” directly beneath Fira, taking a quick look up at the city, the cable cars that could transport you in either direction, and the donkeys carrying supplies up the hillside.
Then we swung west (I think), toward a series of smaller islands, or islets, or isles, that ringed the other side of the volcano which created them. The main volcano is actually beneath the water, and was active as recent as 1950.
We moored in a tiny “harbor,” alongside several other excursion vessels, and 2 Euro was paid for each of us wishing to climb up to the craters at the top. We were given one hour, 15 minutes to be back on the boat. As I am always fearful of my knees, and climbing up is easier for me than climbing down, I decided I would hike up for just 30 minutes, then turn around no matter where I was, giving myself 45 minutes to navigate the downhill slope of loose rock.
It was a good plan, and I am grateful I didn’t push myself to make it clear to the top. I led the pack headed up, and my legs felt good and strong, but coming back really did put different pressures on those joints, and I was glad I’d not let my ego take me farther than I had gone.
I went past the first crater, and on up to a fabulous viewpoint where I could see all of Fira on the rim of the other side of the caldera, along with three huge cruise ships moored beneath the cliff. I was well-satisfied, and pleased with my efforts.
Just for the heck of it, I took a picture of a gal who much younger than me, fit and able, and thoroughly enjoying her experience. For some reason, it reminded me of a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, given on April 3, 1968—the night before he died.