Sailing the caldera in Santorini

(continued from our last post)

Look straight ahead. Stare at the horizon. Have some salted peanuts. That last one is a bit dubious but when you are desperate you will try anything, even if it’s from the Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy. I (Peter) on the other hand have no need of these travel sickness remedies. I have travelcalm. When its effects are in full swing, I am superhuman.

I can sail the seven seas. Violent swells are child’s play. And when I get bored playing, I can sit down for a meal and read a book without a care in the world.

But the key is you have to take them and take them early. I ticked only one of the boxes. And now I am the ocean’s play thing.


Sailing the caldera is one of the things you cannot miss in Santorini.

To fully appreciate how entire villages are perched on the top of the cliffs like snow on a mountaintop, you have to see it sailing into the caldera. Besides where else can you walk on possibly the youngest islands in the Aegean sea that are still growing inches every year? The Minoan Eruption, one of the largest in recorded history may well be long gone, but the Santorini volcano is still very much alive. The twin islands of Palea and Nea Kameni attests to that with Nea Kameni erupting as recently as 1950.

chocolate cake
We called this the chocolate cake cliff. It looked almost edible!

So, even after our week in Croatia, we were not going to miss sailing the caldera. As such, here are a few things I have put together that you can only do in a sailboat:

  • Although you can get to Red beach on foot, White beach which lies adjacent is only accessible from the water. (By the way, the names don’t leave much for imagination. They are literally just red and white in colour!). So, if you have a bucket list for beaches, you need to get a boat. And you will likely have most White beach to yourself as a bonus.Whilst we were there, the trail to Red beach had also suffered from erosion and we were told that until repairs were done, Red beach was accessible at your own discretion. Of course, that hardly hindered the trail of visitors we saw from our boat.
red beach
You can see the eroded section of the cliff between a car park on the right (hidden) and Red Beach on the left.
white beach
If you want exclusivity and privacy, White beach is for you if you have a boat
  • You can meet the elusive Sostis, the only inhabitant on Palea Kameni Island. Apparently, he has been on this island for a very long time. No one could tell us for how long. So much so that the speculation is that he may actually have land title rights to the little patch he calls home. The crew did not know why he chose this life. If it was for lots of privacy and solitude to ponder thoughts about the universe, he might as well be living in downtown Tokyo.
Sostis and his home on Palea Kameni (We couldn’t get any closer and had to zoom in to get this shot)

The reason is that the spot he chose has grown tremendously in popularity due to the volcanic hot springs that flow into the ocean here. As such, many sailboats now stop here for a swim. So much so that when we arrived, there were at least 5-6 other boats here already and we couldn’t even find a “park”! So, there’s Sostis and his ramshackle hut but just a stone’s throw away, dozens of tourists are splashing away having a whale of a time like a busy hotel pool on a hot summer day. Seriously, I don’t think he gets any peace and quiet at all!

kameni island traffic
The reason why we couldn’t get any closer. Chock a block with boats and tourists swimming on the left near the rocks. Sostis and his bachelor pad is on the far right.
  • Finally, there’s the event that everyone looks forward to in Santorini that happens  . . . . . every single day. This place is sold on sunsets. And there are a few options. You could join the crowds at Oia or Fira. Or you could just lie back on a sailboat, think of nothing else and just watch the big red disc disappear under the waves. Heaven.
Oia sunset
What’s there not to like

As we were sailing back to the marina, I could not help but agree with one of the crew members that they have one of the best jobs in the world. He said they get to do what they love, be paid for it and still be rewarded with amazing sunsets every day. What’s there not to like  . . .

So, how did Peter go? Did he spend the whole time looking over the side of the boat paying for his folly? Well, incredibly the longer we sailed, the better he felt. It was like he was back where he belonged. The ocean was his home. He was one again with Neptune, riding the waves like they were ponies  . . . .

That is Peter’s version. My version . . . he was lucky his travelcalm kicked in just in time!!!

Tell me what you think!

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