The expedition began at 1pm. We packed out boats, got suited up and launched into Matala Bay. After less than ten minutes, the sky celebrated our trip with thunderous applause… And lightning. We obviously returned to shore, had a beer and waited for the storm cell to pass. Then at 2:30pm the expedition began again. The initial push was an 8 mile open water crossing; halfway across the conditions began to build and by the time we’d made the distance, waves were topping out around 6ft.
We spent our first night on the quiet beach of Agios Georgos (Saint George) where we shared no small amount of raki and beer with the taverna owner before turning in.
After a necessarily slow start, the team was back in the saddle and making quick work of the first few miles of coastline; then the conditions picked up again. As we paddled by the beach we had planned to stop at for lunch, massive breaking waves thundered onto the shore. Passing on lunch was a no brainer; little did we know, the wind was only going to get stronger and the waves bigger. 5 miles in a kayak can be easy, or you can have 20 knot winds in your face with 6ft waves. At that point, kayaking becomes a little more challenging. Two and a half hours later we pulled up to Preveli Beach, tired but feeling accomplished at 4pm.
Palm beach is a rare oasis on the south coast where a freshwater river runs into the sea. It’s also one of the busier beaches, but the swimmers and sunbathers cleared out shortly after sunset and we had the place to ourselves.
Breakfast was quick and efficient as the sun rose over the cliffs. We left Palm Beach, heading westward and had 10 miles behind us by noon. We stopped at one of our favorite tavernas for a leisurely lunch and resupplied on Greek yogurt for the morning muesli.
When we got back on the water the wind and waves had already built to the same severity of yesterday afternoon and were still building. The team had 5 miles to go until the next stop, and they were long ones, rising and falling in the large swells and battling head on against the wind. Once reaching land, the team decided to stay there, as the sea showed no sign of settling down (and did not until after dark). And now, as I’m writing this we are camped on the beach, sheltered from the wind by overturned beach chairs, listening to the gentle but very loud sounds of the waves spilling onto the shore 20ft away.