We are up at 6:30am to eat breakfast and be ready to board the bus at 8:50am. Its another beautiful, sunny 78 degree day, and we make our way down to the water to join the second AESU Greece tour group on a 5-hour catamaran.
60 of us board the catamaran and we cruise out into the blue ocean. We pass small little private beaches with umbrellas and beach chairs. White and red catamarans anchor out in the little coves and we enjoy the gentle waves.
A member of our group brought along his bagpipes (yes, you read that correctly) this trip so he brought them out on the deck and played two songs.
We first stop at the ‘hot springs’ where half the group jumps into the cold water. Some have pool noodles while others don’t, and we float in the water near the boat, searching for the warm ‘hot spring’ areas of water.
After a few minutes in the water, we are back on the boat and head to our second cove – the red beach. Again we can either dive into the water or sunbathe on the front of the boat. I opt for the front of the boat this time while Jay dives in again.
The air is sweet and warm as we gaze up lazily onto the cliffs above us, and hear the faint chatter of the people on the boats next to us.
We pull up the anchor and sail to our last cove – the white beach. Here we can dive into the blue water one last time as the air is now filled with the smell of BBQ. The boat’s staff prepare a gorgeous lunch for us of greek salad, grape leaves, feta, tzatziki, and either chicken or pork slouflaki gyro. The meal was beyond delicious and the best lunch to enjoy with the incredible view.
The group all sunbathes on the deck as we listen to a mix of 90s music, “Mamma Mia’ and other island music. If you look over the side of the boat, you can see clear down to the bottom of the crystal blue water.
The excursion comes to end with us sailing back into the port while dancing to the Macarena, Shakira, and the cupid shuffle. After disembarking the catamaran, we load back onto the tour bus and Nikolaus takes us to Kanari beach town.
We arrive at a private beach club, Ariale, in which we are provided lush beach chairs, palm umbrellas, and service staff scuttling from chair to chair offering the option to order drinks and small menu items. The group lays out in the sun (or shade) for a much-needed beach day. The sand is black and rocky, with some of us venturing out to cool off in the waves, while others sit back and sip cocktails. Women are walking around offering food and back massages, and others instead of sitting on the beach, go into town for a bit of light shopping.
I stay put and enjoy a nice shady seat on the beach, while Jay, Nikolaus, and a few others hike a little over an hour up the side of the cliff, to see some spartan ruins.
When they return, the group walks across the street to the beach club’s restaurant, Ariale Restaurant, for a spectacular meal of white wine, seafood tagliatelle (seafood pasta), pizzas, and greek yogurt with honey for dessert. We were all drooling over the meal and were content and now sleepy as the sun begins to set. The moon tonight has a red glow to it, and as we wait for the bus to pick us up, we take a quiet stroll down the street.
Although it’s nighttime, little beach restaurants and bars are all still open, offering happy hour drinks, different music, or live bands playing at each one. Although very busy with the night’s festivities, the street, and people are quiet, as they are all enjoying the warm breeze coming off the ocean as they eat dinner with friends.
We return tired and happy to the hotel, ready to say goodbye to the island of Santorini, and travel to Mykonos in the morning.