DSC05745Let’s take a look back at this “Optional Tour” off Santorini. We’d left our hotel at 1:30, took another wild bus ride down the side of the caldera, boarded a fully-appointed sailing vessel, made our first stop to hike up a volcanic island, stopped at another island to swim in the Aegean Sea, and enjoyed a fabulous Greek buffet tucked in behind island number three.DSC05735

But wait! There’s more!

This “Optional Tour” was billed as a Sunset Dinner Cruise, so after all of the above, it was finally time to tuck in beneath the town of Ia to wait for the Grand Finale. (That really IS a photo I took of Ia on the right…)

DSC05739And suddenly, there were sailboats everywhere, quietly materializing to line up to watch the sky colors change as the earth rotated away from the sun… (Ok, so that wasn’t a very “romantic” description of the sunset, but remember, I was there “alone.”)DSC05762

I stood next to a lovely couple from Los Angeles, who had boarded during our quick stop at “the old port” beneath Fira. It was their last day in Greece, and they’d had two previous aborted tries to watch the sunset from this vantage point. The first day there were too many clouds. The second day a storm had blown through and the entire tour had been canceled. But finally the weather gods had cooperated!

DSC05750It as interesting to note that the vast majority of people on board spoke English. Most were from the United States or Canada. Announcements were broadcast in four languages: English, Greek, Spanish and… Well, I’m not totally sure, since whatever it was, I don’t speak it!

But together we stood as one, the ship in full sail, gentle holding its position in the light breeze, and watched the sunset. I paused to take a photo of the people taking photos, and once again marveled at the freedom digital photography gives us over using film to capture images (You do remember film, right?).DSC05757

“After the show,” we began motoring back along the base of Santorini to the new port. The sails were quickly rolled up, with a single flick of a hydraulic switch! Oh, how the ancient mariners (and pirates) would have loved that! And then the music started.

DSC05767Around the bar, people clasped shoulders for the traditional “Zorba the Greek” dance. I watched from above, enjoying the music, but afraid that I’d twist unexpectedly and injure my knees if I joined the masses below. After “Zorba,” there were other wonderfully vibrant songs, from Mama Mia, and Dirty Dancing, and… oh dear!… Were people really trying to remember how to do the Macerena?DSC05764

All in all, a wonderful day, returning to our hotel close to midnight, yet again. An amazing adventure out among the smaller islands ringing a live, undersea volcano! What a doozy of a day it was!!