The first full day was a sea day – just water all around. Well, we did go through the Straight of Messina (the small bit of water between the toe of Italy’s boot and Sicily) – but I have better pictures on the return trip.
Then it was Santorini day!! The morning was a sea day, and we had a late departure. It was a tender port – meaning we were not at a dock but anchored off shore and shuttled to shore in small local boats. Because people not on ship-based excursions want to get off ASAP, they do tickets for tender boats for the first 2 hours – after that no tickets needed, it’s just first come, first served. My experience with tender tickets for Kotor was a clusterfuck, so while I had an excursion and as such did not need a tender ticket, I headed up to the pool deck to see how it went this time.
It was amazingly organized! I was a little worried about the clump at the front, but it turned out they had ropes up with some switchbacks so it was organized in spite of looking like a clump.
This was the boat – a kaiki – that we took to get to Nea Kameni, the volcanic island in the middle of the caldera. (When she had a massive eruption between 1642 and 1540 BCE, it created the caldera, destroyed the city of Akrotiri, the island that is now Santorini, and the coast of Crete…and is thought by some to be what destroyed and lost forever the mythic city of Atlantis.)
After some discussion (loud discussion) between the captain and our guide (apparently there were more people than originally scheduled and that required a different permit?) we were allowed to board and we were off.
Apparently that’s how it’s done in Greece.
…we were set free to hike the trails at our own pace.
She is not extinct – indeed there is monitoring equipment all over the island. Her last eruption was in 1950, and there is some thought that she is due for another big eruption in the possibly not-so-distant future. There are sulfur vents around, and this was one of them. You smelled it before you saw it.
I finished hiking on Nea Kameni, and headed back to our boat – again, climbing over another boat to get there.
After finally getting some food and hydration in me (“open seating” on the ship meant that I did not have my regular serving team, and it took the team I had forever to locate my pre-order (being gluten-free, I pre-ordered my dinners each night) in spite of me giving them all the information they could possibly need – lesson learned: if I am ever on a RCCL ship again and there is open seating, I will just go to the buffet that night), I watched the sunset. Santorini sunsets are about as famous as Key West sunsets.
It was a great day!!